Installing traditional lighting on the outside of your home can be a hassle that involves electrical work and paying a hefty price tag. Fortunately, there are many solar lights that can illuminate your space without it turning into a pesky home project. The best solar-powered dusk-to-dawn lights can automatically turn on at night and off in the morning, so you won’t even have to remember to flip a switch — and since they have solar panels, you don’t have to worry about higher electric bills. When shopping, choose weather-resistant lights with the design, battery power, and lighting modes you need.
Solar-powered dusk-to-dawn lights come in all kinds of designs and styles — from floodlights and sconces to
path lights and string lights — so consider where you require light and if you’d like to illuminate a large or small area. Some dusk-to-dawn security lights are more practical than stylish, so the area of your home and use case may determine if you should go for a more functional or decorative design.
No matter what style light you go for, it’s important for your
outdoor solar lights to be weather-resistant enough to withstand rain. Water resistance is typically measured in IP ratings with two digits — the first representing the item’s dust resistance and the second its water resistance. A light with a rating of IPX5 or higher has been tested with low-pressure water jets and should be enough to withstand consistent rain and other weather in your area, but the higher the number, the more water it will be able to withstand. All of the lights on this list have the highest possible dust-resistance rating of IP6X, making them dust-tight.
Dusk-to-dawn lights also offer a range of lighting features. Basic models will have simple on/off functionality with one setting that turns them on when they sense the sun has gone down and off at sunrise. However, some are equipped with additional settings to further customize the light, including motion sensors, multiple brightness levels, and timed automatic shutoff.
Here are some of the best solar-powered lights on Amazon — they’re all practical,
easy home upgrades for your outdoor space. 1 A Set Of Traditional Path Lights
This set of six
pathway lights illuminates your lawn on either a low or high setting, turning on automatically at night and off at dawn. After fully charging in the sun for 8 hours, you can expect up to 18 hours of power on low and up to 10 hours on high. They have a classic look, but their grooved casing provides a slightly streaked light pattern for a bit of visual interest. One reviewer wrote: “I like these lamps so much I ordered another set to have ‘just in case’. They are attractive and give off a bright light at night, working perfectly after just one day in the sun.” IP rating: IP65 | Run time: 8 — 18 hours 2 These Adjustable Stake Spotlights
stake lights have a directed beam which will be perfect for illuminating specific areas like a walkway of your outdoor space for either aesthetic or practical reasons. They can tilt 90 degrees vertically as well as rotate 180 degrees horizontally. Their light sensor automatically turns them on at dusk and off at dawn, and they have low and high lighting modes. When fully charged, the integrated solar panels can power the lights for up to 12 hours — just keep in mind that it is recommended you charge them fully in the sun for a few days before the first use. The set is available in four- or six-packs and with warm or cool white light. One reviewer wrote: “Charge reliably and light up nicely. I have bought solar lights before and they are a gamble. These look like professional quality installed landscape lighting. Just bought my second set. A monkey could set them up!!” IP rating: IP67 | Run time: 6 — 12 hours 3 A Pair Of Floodlights With Built-In Solar Panels
In addition to a dusk-to-dawn setting, these
wall-mounted floodlights have a manual on and off switch. It’s recommended to charge the light for 12 hours before installation via the solar panel on their top section, and with a full charge they can run for up to 10 hours. They’re adjustable by 90 degrees vertically and are also available in four-packs and with white or multicolored lights. One reviewer wrote: “These lights are very simple to install. I love that they don’t take up much room but give off great lighting. We installed these around our sheds and barn for lighting at night.” IP rating: IP65 | Run time: 6 — 10 hours 4 These Path Lights That Sit Flush With The Ground
This pack of eight
path lights on stakes sit flush with the ground, providing you with light at night courtesy of their automatic on/off function without much visibility during the day. They only have one basic dusk-to-dawn light setting, but are relatively budget-friendly at just $30 for an eight-pack. They require at least four hours of sun for a full charge via their individual solar panels and can run for up to 13 hours. If you don’t need as many lights, they’re available in a two-pack as well as in gray.
A word of advice from Bustle editor
Wesley Salazar, who purchased a set of lights in a similar style: Since they sit flush with the ground, expect to periodically clean leaves, snow, and other debris off the solar panels. One reviewer wrote: “Easy to use and at a reasonable price point. The brightness is satisfactory and has completely transformed my garden. Even placed in a lightly shaded area, the charge was enough to last through the night. Lays almost flat against the ground keeping it discrete during the day. Will be recommending to a few of my friends.” IP rating: IP68 | Run time: 10 — 13 hours 5 The Best Solar-Powered String Lights
For decorating your backyard while providing it with ample light, try this pretty set of 48-foot
string lights. They offer four light settings with steady light and three flashing patterns, and, of course, they have light sensors to turn on at dusk and off at dawn. Eight hours of charge from the attached solar panel can yield up to 18 hours of illumination. On cloudy days, they can also be charged with a micro-USB cord (not included) if needed. One reviewer wrote: “These things are bright and 100 feet went further than I expected. I hooked them up to a dimmable Alexa plug so I can dim them and not annoy my neighbors too much. These things are resilient though 2 Texas ice storms, a few thunderstorms, and with sweltering days coming up I hope they stay as strong as they have been.” IP rating: IP65 | Run time: 16 — 18 hours 6 A Pair Of Lantern Wall Sconces With Edison Bulbs
This pair of
lantern-style sconces will look wonderful on your home’s exterior, framing your front door, back door, or garage. They each have three small solar panels on their top, and charging for six to eight hours can offer up to 10 hours of light. They’re equipped with automatic dusk-to-dawn capability, and includes three modes that activate at night: The first mode is a constant low light setting and high when it senses motion, the second is off and high when motion is sensed, and the third is steady light with no motion sensor activity. They come with Edison bulbs to get you started. One reviewer wrote: “Our 120 year old house needed something to brighten the front of the house at night. As first time homeowners we really weren’t looking to get into the headache of having the electrical work done to have lights put in. These were so easy to install, just screw them in and it’s done. They day after putting them up we had an ice storm and even though the solar panels were covered they still picked up enough rays to light them up that night!” IP rating: IP65 | Run time: 8 — 10 hours 7 The Motion-Sensor Floodlight You Can Set Up In 2 Ways
If you’re looking for a floodlight with versatility, this
solar-powered floodlight can be attached to your house or set up on an included stake, providing a wide area of light wherever you need it. It automatically turns on at dusk and off at dawn, and it has one default mode that emits low light all night, changing into its high setting when it senses motion. It’s recommended to charge for four or five hours before use, and it can run for up to 12 hours. All components of the light can be swiveled, including the solar panel on the top so it can be angled for the ideal position for charging. It’s also available in a two-pack. One reviewer wrote: “I was able to quickly install this light under eave of house without issue. This light is very bright and love that it is solar and motion-detector. The light is bright enough to see where they are going and to get into and out of the vehicle. Overall I'm very happy with this purchase. It does light up a fairly large area and I'm considering getting another one to install over my garage doors. I would definitely purchase this again.” IP rating: IP65 | Run time: 8 — 12 hours 8 A Floodlight With A Detached Solar Panel
If you’re trying to place a solar-powered light in an area that’s often shaded, think about getting this
single floodlight. Its solar panel is attached to the light fixture by a 10-foot cord, allowing you to place it somewhere where it can charge more easily. It’s simple, with one light mode and no motion sensor, but both the panel and the light can be tilted to get the right angle. It takes 6.5 hours for the light to fully charge, and it should be able to illuminate your space reliably throughout the night. One reviewer wrote: “I give it 5 stars for it is exactly what I wanted and needed. I live in an area where it gets dark very early in the winter. I have two of these solar lights, one is installed and shines brightly in a tent and the other one illuminate a dark walkway entrance. As advertised these solar lights provide me light from dusk and till dawn. Easy to install and I don't have to use electricity!” IP rating: IP65 | Run time: Approximately 18 hours 9 A Value Pack Of Decorative Outdoor Lights
outdoor lights are unique in that they cast light in a decorative streaked semi-circle pattern and can emit warm or cool white light. They feature integrated solar panels at the top (and require five to eight hours of sun to charge), and they automatically come on at dusk and turn off at dawn. Plus, they’re available in white or black, and adhesive is also provided for short-term or easy hanging, though they can also be screwed-in. One reviewer wrote: “Very happy with these little solar lights. They add just enough illumination to my back steps for safety and the solar charge lasts far into each night. The dotted spray light pattern is charming and lovely, especially on the warm light setting. Installation is simple, just setting a couple screws for them to hang on. But if you just want to use the double side sticky tape included, you don’t even have to get out your tools.” IP rating: IP65 | Run time: 8 — 12 hours
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