best solar driveway lights

In this article, we’ve pulled together the best solar driveway lights for lighting up your yard for security and landscape design. We’ve assessed the solar path lights based on their efficiency, run time, affordability, and ease of installation, and we’ve found the best product overall is the XMCOSY+ Solar Pathway Lights.

Top solar pathway lights for 2021

Here are the best solar lights for your driveway or path, from the best overall products, to the best budget pick, premium option, and other models that we think you should know about!

1. Top pick: XMCOSY+ Solar Pathway Lights

This pack of four solar pathway lights will charge in the sun during the day and then provide eight to 10 hours of light with 360-degree illumination. Each light is fitted with a 2.4-inch solar panel and has an LED filament enclosed in a transparent, polyhedral glass shade that radiates light in all directions, nicely illuminating your path or driveway.

The lights will turn on automatically when it gets dark, giving out up to an impressive 40 lumens of light, which is adjustable down to 10 lumens with their dimmer function. This means you can turn them up to full brightness if needed, or dim them to conserve battery life if sunlight for charging is limited.

These solar path lights also have a nice, modern design in black electroplated copper, and give out a warm white light that will add an element of cheeriness to your outdoor space. Rated IP65 waterproof, they are durable and will stand up well to rain and other weather without short-circuiting.

They are also easy to install, with sturdy aluminum ground spikes to keep the lights in place.

What we like:

  • Bright: These lights emit up to 40 lumens of lights, which is more than bright enough for most outdoor needs.
  • Adjustable: You can also choose to dim the lights down to 10 lumens to save on energy.
  • Durable: Rated IP65 waterproof and made of electroplated copper with rigid aluminium ground spikes, these lights will stand up well to outdoor conditions.
  • Automatic: Fitted with light sensors, the lights will automatically turn on at dusk, and off again when it gets light.

What we don’t like:

  • Only four lights included: This set of four lights will be ok for a shorter path or driveway, but you may need to buy two packs for a longer space.

Although only four lights come in a set, these XMCOSY+ solar pathway lights are affordable enough that you can buy multiple sets and still enjoy excellent value for money. Durable, light, and with adjustable brightness to help you balance charging with your light needs, we think these are the best solar driveway lights around at the moment.

2. Runner up: Signature Garden Solar Garden LED Lights

These solar outdoor lights from Signature Garden are another excellent choice. Durable and reliable, they give off 15 lumens, bright enough for most outdoor needs.

They come in a pack of six lights which will be enough to illuminate most paths and driveways, turning on automatically at low light, and working for around eight hours.

They are made of durable stainless steel and are resistant to rain, snow, frost, and sleet. This is backed up by online reviewers who confirm that the lights continue to work well even after being buried in snow!

We like the stylish, brushed-steel design that will look great in almost any outdoor setting. These lights are also easy to install: all you need to do is take them out of the box, drive them into the ground with their built-in ground stake, and they’re ready to go!

What we like:

  • Automatic & bright: The lights will run for around 8 hours from dusk, giving off a decent 15 lumens to light your way.
  • Stylish: This stylish and modern design will add an aesthetic element to your yard.
  • Durable: The lights are made of sturdy stainless steel and resistant to rain, sleet, and snow.
  • Easy to install: They come with a built-in ground spike for easy installation.

What we don’t like:

  • Not IP65 rated: These lights are not rated as IP65 waterproof, so you cannot be assured they are completely waterproof.

Although these lights are not IP65-rated, many online reviewers have reported they continue to perform well in all conditions, even following heavy snow. Overall, this is one of the best solar driveway lights on the market at the moment, being durable, stylish, and easy to install.

3. Best on a budget: GardenBliss Outdoor Solar Lights

The best solar driveway lights can be expensive, so this set from SolarBliss is a great option if you don’t have a lot to spend. The set of 10 solar lights comes at a very reasonable price tag while being bright and reliable, with a light sensor to come on automatically at dusk.

The lights give off a bright white light, helping you to see where you’re going while adding to your home security. They’re available in two different heights, at eight inches or one foot, so you can choose the option that will look best along your path or driveway.

On the downside, they are made from plastic so are not the strongest or most durable outdoor lights around. However, online reviewers confirm that the plastic is pretty sturdy and the lights are waterproof.

The lights run on premium LED batteries charged via individual solar panels, and the batteries are guaranteed to last more than 30,000 hours before needing to be replaced.

What we like:

  • Affordable: The set of 10 lights comes at a very affordable cost.
  • Automatic: The lights come with in-built sensors that will turn them on at dusk and off again at dawn.
  • Reliable: The premium LED batteries in each light will last for at least 30,000 hours.

What we don’t like:

  • Plastic: Being made from plastic, these lights are not as durable as their metal counterparts.

These SolarBliss outdoor lights are perfect to light up your path or driveway on a budget. The large set of lights is automatic, reliable, and reasonably durable, all at a low cost, representing excellent value for money.

4. Most stylish: Home Zone Outdoor Solar Pathway Lights

Your solar driveway lights not only have practical and security functions; they are also an important part of your outdoor aesthetic, so you want them to look good! The most stylish solar path lights are undoubtedly these from Home Zone.

They have a sleek, modern design with a crackle glass shade for a beautiful look. They also create an accent lighting effect with their unique rotating LED lights, making the lights shimmer in the night.

With an automatic sensor to turn the lights on at dusk, they are easy to install with an integrated and sturdy ground spike. Although aesthetically stunning, these lights are not the brightest at only eight lumens, so are more suitable as a yard accessory than for security.

What we like:

  • Beautiful design: These Home Zone Security lights have a stylish design with beautiful crackle glass shades.
  • Lighting effects: The rotating LED lights create a unique light show in your yard.
  •  Easy installation: The lights are easy to install: simply drive the stake into the ground.

What we don’t like:

  • Not the brightest: Giving off only eight lumens of light, these are dimmer than most solar driveway lights.

What they lack in brightness, they most certainly make up for in style; making these beautiful lights a great choice for those interested in aesthetics, rather than practical function. The chic, rotating lights will add an extra design element to your driveway that looks stunning by day and creates a light show at night!

5. Best large bundle: Solpex Outdoor Solar Lights – 16 Pack

If you’re looking to illuminate a long path or driveway, you’ll need more than four or even eight solar lights. That’s where this pack of 16 lights from Solpex will come in handy: giving you enough lights to cover a large area.

The lights are made of stainless steel, so you can drive them into the hardest ground without breaking, and will stand up to a range of weather conditions. However, some online reviewers report that the lights do not have the sturdiest construction and are prone to breaking.

As well as having a nice design, the lights produce a snowflake-like light pattern for an extra aesthetic element.

The built-in solar panels will charge in six to eight hours and will produce up to 10 hours of light overnight. This is more efficient than most solar lights and will allow you to light up long nights with less daylight hours during winter.

What we like:

  • Large pack: Each pack comes with 16 lights, enough to light a long driveway or path.
  • Efficient: The lights will run for up to 10 hours after just six to eight hours of solar charging.
  • Stunning light pattern: The lights throw unique snowflake-like patterned light.

What we don’t like:

  • Not sturdy construction: Some online reviewers criticize these lights for being a little flimsy.

While not the sturdiest of lights, this bundle pack from Solpex is a solid option for a multi-buy, at a reasonable price. Energy efficient with a modern design, it’s definitely a great choice if you have a long driveway and so need a bulk back of lights.

6. Best ground lights: Dekugaa Solar Ground Lights

These in-ground lights from Dekugaa are installed right into the ground, so that only the disk light appears on the surface. These create a subtle look while providing light down your path or driveway.

The installation works in essentially the same way as other solar lights: all you need to do is drive the built-in stake into the ground, pushing it all the way so that only the top is visible. This also has the advantage of being out of the way so the light is not a trip hazard.

Each five-inch disk has a solar panel in the center and eight small LEDs around the outside. Most in-ground solar lights have only six LEDs, so the Dekugaa lights provide more light with a more even spread.

Like the other solar lights on this list, they are activated when it gets dark, and will work for up to 10 hours depending on how much sunlight they have to charge during the day. They are each fitted with a powerful 600 mAh Ni-MH battery so you’ll be able to get the maximum run time out of the light.

However, some online reviewers report quality issues with some products, such as poorly soldered parts and low-quality plastic stakes.

What we like:

  • In-ground: The lights sit snugly in the ground, giving a subtly-stylish effect, not to mention you won’t trip on them.
  • Bright: Each light has eight LEDs for bright illumination.
  • Long runtime: With a powerful battery, each light will run for up to eight hours when fully charged.

What we don’t like:

  • Quality issues: Some reviews say that the lights are poorly made, though there are over eight thousand reviews averaging a four star rating, so take this with a pinch of salt.

Although some users have reported poor quality of some parts, overall the product gets very high reviews for its aesthetics, brightness and runtime, making this the best option for in-ground lights.

7. Premium pick: Ring Solar Path Lights With Motion Sensor

These smart solar lights from Ring are fitted with a sensor that activates the light when motion is detected. This makes them excellent for home security, as they will turn on when they detect motion, so will provide light as you come and go, as well as deterring intruders.

Additionally, because they are not on all the time, they are able to be much brighter without using too much solar energy. These lights shine at an impressive 80 lumens, much brighter than most solar lights, which also helps with security.

The lights are also equipped with a number of smart features, centrally controlled from a Ring Bridge, a hub that allows devices to communicate with each other. This lets you set schedules for your lights, receive mobile notifications, turn the lights on and off remotely, and customize other settings. 

You can even pair the device with your home smart speakers to control the lights with your voice.

What we like:

  • Motion activated: The lights are equipped with a motion sensor so they will turn on whenever motion is detected for better security.
  • Smart features: You can also control the lights remotely through the Ring Bridge, as well as having a range of other smart features.
  • Very bright: When activated, the Ring lights give out a very bright 80 lumens of light.

What we don’t like:

  • Ring infrastructure required: You will need the full Ring setup to make the most of these lights, and not everyone will be prepared to invest in this.

With all these advanced features, it isn’t surprising that these Ring solar lights are pretty pricey. However, if you’re looking for excellent security lights with smart features, they’re worth the money.

What to ask when buying solar path lights

Along with environmental benefits, solar lights have a number of practical and aesthetic advantages, without needing to be plugged into a power source. However, it is important to choose the right type of solar light to illuminate your driveway or path to make sure that it will meet your needs.

Here are some things to keep in mind when buying solar driveway or path lights.

What type of solar lights do you need?

With the many ecological and practical advantages of solar lights, it’s not surprising that the market is full of solar lighting of various types. However, the wide range of different solar lights can be confusing or even overwhelming, so which should you choose to light up your driveway or path?

Some of the most common solar lights available are:

  • lantern/torch lights
  • floor lights
  • wall lights
  • spotlights
  • floodlights

Each of these have their own pros and cons, and all can make great solar driveway and path lights depending on your needs.

Most people go for ground stake lights because they can be easily positioned in the ground along your driveway or path. This makes it easy for you to light up all the way down even the longest driveway, helping you and your visitors see where you’re going while looking great at the same time.

ground stake solar driveway light
Ground stake solar path light

Lantern, torch, and other types of wall lights can also be suitable if you have a wall adjacent to the driveway or path you want to light. The advantage of these is that they are sturdy, resistant to harsh weather conditions, and difficult to steal –  since they are secured to the wall.

Solar spotlights and floodlights are best if you don’t want to light up your path all night, but only when motion is detected, such as when you’re entering or leaving your home. These also make an excellent security measure as the sudden bright light may deter intruders.

How long is your path or driveway?

Solar driveway lights can be installed in various ways, and may or may not be suitable for the size and shape of your individual driveway. Some lights are mounted to a wall, so will only be suitable for paths and driveways that are adjacent to a wall.

Equally, if you want to light up a long path or driveway you will need a set with more lights such as the Solpex Outdoor Solar Lights. On the other hand, a small set like the XMCOSY+ Solar Pathway Lights will suffice for a shorter path.

How easy are they to install?

Some solar driveway lights are much easier to install than others. While some models need to be screwed in or mounted on a bracket, others can be mounted with an adhesive or easily driven into the ground.

Although you don’t want to struggle with a very difficult installation, it is often worth making a little extra effort to install your solar lights to ensure they are sturdy and able to stand up to various weather conditions.

On the other hand, adhesive lights that are quick to install are perfect for temporary use, such as to provide lighting for an outdoor event, but probably won’t stand up well over time.

How bright should solar driveway lights be?

The amount of light emitted by lights is measured in lumens: solar path lights can give out anywhere between five and 350 lumens.

Your needs will also determine how bright you want your solar driveway lights to be. Brighter lights are obviously better for security, as well as making sure you can see where you’re going when making your way up your driveway or path.

On the other hand, brighter lights use more energy, and so may not be able to fully charge on gloomy winter days.

Lumens chart

A bright light of 300 to 350 lumens is only really required for a floodlight or spotlight. For most driveway and path lights, around 15 lumens will be sufficient.

What are your light requirements?

Solar path lights charge in the sun during the day and then use that energy to produce light overnight.

Solar driveway lights generally work one of three ways:

  1. They turn on automatically at dusk and then go off again at dawn
  2. They’re motion activated
  3. The lights are set on a timer

It is important to choose the right kind of lights for your needs, because you will have a limited amount of solar energy to use, which will vary, depending on how much sun you have. Therefore, if you live in an area with little sun, especially in winter, you need to make sure that your lights only need as much energy as you will be able to supply through sunlight.

If having enough sun to charge your solar lights is an issue, timer-controlled lights are your best bet because you can set them to run only for the number of hours you have energy for. Likewise, motion-activated lights will only turn on when motion is detected, so will only use energy when needed.

On the other hand, if you experience long nights and short days in winter, dusk-to-dawn solar lights may not be able to charge sufficiently during the day in order to run all night.

What do the lights look like?

It is also important to consider what solar lights look like before buying them for your driveway or yard. There is a range of designs available, and the most stylish models, like the Home Zone Outdoor Solar Pathway Lights, will actually add to the aesthetics of your property.

Most solar lights are black, but they also come in other colors such as stainless steel, silver, or white. Be sure to pick a model that goes well with your outdoor design and think about whether you want solar lights that blend into the background, or those that make a statement.

Finally, remember to consider how the lights will look in your yard during the day, as well as what they look like when lit up at night!

FAQ

There’s a lot to keep in mind when searching for the best solar driveway lights. We’ll clear up any remaining doubts you may have with the answers to the most frequently asked questions on the subject.

Do solar lights need sun or just light?

Solar lights charge using sunlight: they work by absorbing the sun’s energy, storing this energy in some form of battery, and then using the energy later to emit light. They do not need to be exposed to the sun specifically and will charge under artificial light (though this somewhat defeats the purpose, in most situations at least).

They do not necessarily need to direct sunlight to charge, and will charge with sunlight that has been filtered through a window or in the shade, or even under artificial light. However, they will charge most efficiently in direct sunlight, so it is best to position your solar path lights so that the solar photovoltaic (PV) panel receives as much direct sun as possible.

Solar driveway lights usually have small, individual solar panels attached to each light, usually on the top of the light, so it is a good idea to place the lights where they will get the maximum amount of sun during the day.

Are solar lights a good way to light a driveway?

One of the major advantages of solar lights is that they have their own built-in power source – the sun – so you don’t need to cable them into mains electricity. This makes them ideal for lighting your driveway or outdoor path, as they can be positioned anywhere outside.

Equally, you won’t need to worry about replacing the battery regularly, as the battery will recharge itself every day, as long as you choose a solar light that is suitable for the amount of sunlight you receive in your area.

There are also different types of solar lights, so you can choose the type that best suits your needs. For example, if you’re looking for bright lighting to deter intruders, you can go for a sensor-activated flood light like the GardenBliss Outdoor Solar Lights. On the other hand, something like the Dekugaa Solar Ground Lights will provide ambient light from dusk to dawn to lite your way while improving the aesthetics of your yard.

Perhaps best of all, solar driveway lights are eco-friendly, so you can enjoy the security, practical, and aesthetic advantages of driveway lights without negatively impacting the environment.

Key takeaways

Solar driveway lights are an eco-friendly way to light your path or driveway, helping you to see where you’re going while also assisting with security. We’ve summarized the best solar driveway lights against various criteria, and our top pick overall was the XMCOSY+ Solar Pathway Lights because of its quality, reliability, design, and value for money.

The Signature Garden Solar Garden LED Lights came in as a close second, while the GardenBliss Outdoor Solar Lights is an excellent choice if you’re on a budget. If you’re willing to spend more and want the best solar light for security, check out the Ring Solar Path Lights.

If you’ve found this round-up of the best solar path lights helpful, go ahead and share it on social media!

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