Best Batteries for Solar Lights - 2020 Reviews

The Best Batteries for Solar Lights

Outdoor solar lighting is a very neat and eco-friendly way of illuminating the surrounding area outside your home. Some people ask how to charge solar lights without sun, and we’ve got the answers! These lights have solar panels attached to them and, when placed in direct sunlight, they will absorb the sun’s energy in order to charge an internal battery. When the night comes, the battery will be used to power LED lights that will illuminate your yard without using any electricity whatsoever.

While the positioning of the lights and their corresponding solar panels is important (as the most sunlight exposure throughout the day will guarantee a longer runtime for your lights), the battery that comes inside your solar lights also plays an important part in how many hours your lights will stay on before dawn comes. For those of you who are interested in knowing more about solar light batteries and for those who are looking for replacement batteries for your lights, we’ve put together some tips and product suggestions that might make shopping easier.

5 Best Batteries for Solar Lights Comparison

IMAGE BRAND FEATURES
byb2-table__imageEnergizer AA Batteries
  • Type of battery: AA alkaline
  • Items per pack: 48
  • Capacity: 3000mAh
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byb2-table__imagePanasonic BK-3MCCA8BA
  • Type of battery: AA NiMH
  • Items per pack: 4/8/12/16/24
  • Capacity: 2000mAh
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byb2-table__imageTenergy
  • Type of battery: AA NiCad
  • Items per pack: 12/24
  • Capacity: 1000mAh
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byb2-table__imageAmazonBasics
  • Type of battery: AA NiMH
  • Items per pack: 8
  • Capacity: 2000mAh
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byb2-table__imageEnergizer AAA
  • Type of battery: AAA NiMH
  • Items per pack: 8
  • Capacity: 800mAh
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Types of Batteries for Solar Lights

The most important thing that you have to know before purchasing new batteries for your solar lighting is to acknowledge that there are different types of batteries, each with its own pros and cons:

Cropped view of man holding batteries among can, glass bottles, plastic bags, paper strips, paper and plastic tubes

  • Nickel-cadmium batteries (which are labeled NiCad) were very popular once upon a time. In fact, they were considered to be the best rechargeable batteries that the market had to offer back in the 90s. Because of their rather lightweight, they were extremely popular for portable devices, but since portability isn’t your concern when it comes to solar light, this advantage isn’t something you’re interested in. Compared to alkaline batteries, these won’t have any noticeable voltage drop as they’re drained of power, and that is one major advantage. However, as you’ll come to learn, they aren’t the most popular choice when it comes to buying rechargeable batteries for solar lights.
  • Nickel-metal hybrid batteries (labeled NiMH) are a new market entry (at least compared to alkaline batteries), but they have quickly taken over the throne. When it comes to NiCD or NiMH for solar lights I personally think NIMH is best. They are considered a better choice over NiCad batteries for solar lights and other battery-powered devices as well. They can hold more electric charge and are more eco-friendly when it comes to disposing of them. As far as size is concerned, they are similar to alkaline batteries.
  • Lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion) are definitely a type that you’ve heard of in the past. They have been around for decades, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that they actually become popular. In fact, your laptop or your smartphone mostly get their power from this type of battery. The biggest advantage that these bring over NiMH batteries is that they take way less to charge (about half the time), but the major drawback is that they are quite expensive.
  • Lithium-phosphate batteries (LiFePO4 as they are abbreviated) are a type of lithium-ion batteries, but they are a much more improved version. Their voltage drop is even lower when compared to Li-ion batteries, which is why they are often the number one choice for those who need batteries that don’t heavily rely on voltage circulation circuitry. If you’re considering buying them for your solar light-related needs, you should know that they often make lights shine brighter and can sustain this brightness for longer (even when they’re almost out of power).

What Makes a Good Solar Light Battery?

Energizer AA Batteries (48 Count), Double A Max Alkaline Battery in white background

Naturally, not every type of battery is compatible with just any solar light. Type and size are very important if you want to avoid wasting money on batteries that aren’t going to serve their purpose.

The instruction manual and even the packaging of your solar lights will most likely mention what type of batteries they’re compatible with. Always read this information before you go battery-shopping, as there is still a huge number of people that buy batteries that simply don’t correspond to the type of device they’re looking to power.

If you can’t find the instruction manual for your solar lights, simply open the battery compartment and take one of the batteries from there. The safest way to shop for batteries has always been taking an old compatible battery to the store. If you’re shopping online, you’re going to need the manual or some manufacturer instruction to make sure you’re spending money on the right item. As a general note, solar lights use AA or AAA batteries (because of their size similarity, people often mistake one type for the other and end up buying the wrong thing).

I wanted to insist a little bit on the four types of batteries mentioned before, but analyze them strictly from a solar light-related benefits/cons point of view:

Tenergy AA Rechargeable Battery NiCd 1000mAh 1.2V Battery Pack for Solar Lights, Garden Lights, 12-Pack in white background

  • NiCad batteries may be the veterans of rechargeable batteries, but they experience problems with memory charge. That means that you have to discharge the battery completely before you can recharge it, which means that you can’t really plan ahead, battery-wise. Let’s explain that: if you want to charge a NiCad battery that still has about 30 percent of juice left in it, the battery’s memory will remember that you only charged it with 70 percent-worth of power. The next time you’ll want to charge the battery, it will only fill with 70 percent of its normal capacity.
  • NiMH batteries are very efficient in terms of the economy, but they have a shorter lifespan compared to other types of batteries. However, they are more affordable than others.
  • Li-ion batteries are the champions of rechargeable batteries, but they aren’t all that affordable. The best part about them is that their voltage output will never be affected by the amount of charge left. That means that a Li-ion battery will give a solar lamp the same power whether it’s 100 percent charged or has a mere 20 percent of battery power left. They also have a longer lifespan compared to the other two types of batteries mentioned above.

Important: If you buy NiCad or NiMH batteries, never use them in the same compartment. You should either use one or the other. Because of the discharge difference between the two, the batteries are more likely to leak.

Top 5 Batteries for Solar Light Reviews

AA / AAA battery charger with four Nickel Metal Hydride batteries

Now that we’ve gained a little bit of battery know-how, it’s time to explore the current options that might just serve as the next replacement batteries for your solar lights.

Energizer AA Batteries

Energizer AA Batteries (48 Count), Double A Max Alkaline Battery in white background
  • Type of battery: AA alkaline
  • Items per pack: 48
  • Capacity: 3000mAh
  • Voltage: 1.5
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Energizer is a very popular brand of batteries and if you don’t have your heart set on buying rechargeable ones, there is a pack that comes with a very convenient offer. It includes 48 AA batteries that come at a really good price for each battery. You can buy in bulk in order to always have spare batteries at hand, as these are good for more than just solar lights.

These batteries feature a leak-resistant construction in order to avoid leaks that could damage your solar lights or other electronics that you might use these for. Energizer promises that these batteries can hold power for up to 10 years when in storage, so you know you have your battery stack all ready for any out-of-battery emergencies. When used in solar lights, it makes them look very bright.

Pros:

  • Protect against battery leaks.
  • Bright solar lights.
  • Good price per package.
  • Well-known brand.

Cons:

  • Not rechargeable.
  • Not the best long-term solution for solar light.

Pro Tip

Something we may have forgotten to mention in the first part of this article is that buying batteries in bulk is actually more convenient when it comes to price-per-unit. This package here contains 48 batteries that come at a really good price, so if you’re hunting for offers, you might want to check this one out.

Panasonic BK-3MCCA8BA

Panasonic BK-3MCCA8BA eneloop AA 2100 Cycle Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries, 8 Pack in white background
  • Type of battery: AA NiMH
  • Items per pack: 4/8/12/16/24
  • Capacity: 2000mAh
  • Voltage: 1.2
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The Panasonic BK-3MCCA8BA batteries are NiMH and promise they bring out the best of the brand’s technology in order to be recharged up to 2,100 times before replacements are required. They are good for more than just solar lights, be it remote controls, flashlights, room thermometers, or digital cameras.

Panasonic promises that these batteries will stay at 70 percent charge for up to 10 years, but we’re feeling pretty skeptical about that promise. What we found to be particularly interesting is that these batteries are delivered pre-charged from the company’s Japanese factory, using power generated by solar energy. Talk about commitment to energy savings!

Their performance in terms of solar lights compatibility will vary depending on the type of lights that you have. For example, these work very well with Annin Flagmaker 2804 Solar LED Pole Light, but when used with other brands, they only managed to run for a few hours before the lights lost their brightness.

Pros:

  • Operates at temperatures as low as 4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Pre-charged with solar power.
  • 2,100 recharging cycles.
  • No memory effect.
  • Storage charge of 70 percent in up to 10 years.

Cons:

  • Low discharge output

Pro Tip

Do you trust the voice of the people? Are other buyer’s experiences an important factor in your shopping decision? Then the Panasonic BK-3MCCA8BA batteries are definitely something to consider if you’re looking for the best rechargeable batteries for solar lights.

Tenergy

Tenergy AA Rechargeable Battery NiCd 1000mAh 1.2V Battery Pack for Solar Lights, Garden Lights, 12-Pack in white background
  • Type of battery: AA NiCad
  • Items per pack: 12/24
  • Capacity: 1000mAh
  • Voltage: 1.2
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These Tenergy batteries are another reliable source for your solar light battery needs. They come in a pack of several NiCad batteries that provide you with a long-term solution that’s cost-efficient and eco-friendly (as in you won’t have to keep buying single-use batteries which are very difficult to dispose of).

Unlike the other batteries we’ve talked about earlier, these have a more solar light-oriented approach and are being advertised with an emphasis on why they should be used to power these kinds of devices. These 1.2-volt batteries are designed especially for lighting purposes, which makes them a good candidate for powering your solar panels.

Tenergy promises that these batteries will last up to 1,000 charging cycles, which pleads in favor of using them with solar lights. Also unlike other brands, Tenergy is more realistic about the shelf life of these products, promising a 5-year life when in storage.

Pros:

  • Compatible with a lot of different solar lights.
  • Realistic shelf-life claims.
  • Positive customer feedback for solar light use.
  • Very bright lights.
  • Hold charge for long.

Cons:

  • Not high-capacity.

Pro Tip

The Tenergy batteries are a really great choice for people who want a solid set of NiCad batteries for their solar lights, so we wanted to make our readers more aware of their existence. They are ideal for people who want to try something new.

AmazonBasics

AmazonBasics AA Rechargeable Batteries (8-Pack) Pre-charged - Battery Packaging May Vary in white background
  • Type of battery: AA NiMH
  • Items per pack: 8
  • Capacity: 2000mAh
  • Voltage: 1.2
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AmazonBasics always delivers decent products at a really advantageous price and these batteries are a testament to that. They are designed to withstand up to 1,000 charges, which is pretty much a realistic expectation when it comes to rechargeable NiMH batteries for solar lights.

They have a rather unusual 2000 mAh capacity, which basically means that on a full charge, these babies should have no problems in keeping your lights bright and shiny until the break of dawn. Available in a pack of 8 units, these batteries are pre-charged, which means that you can use them as soon as you unpack them.

When their lifespan has come to an end, they can be fully recycled in a location near you. They are backed by one year of warranty from our most respectable and popular online store, and they promise a long battery and a decent shelf life (up to 24 months at 80 percent capacity).

Pros:

  • Pre-charged and ready to use.
  • Fully recyclable.
  • 1-year warranty.
  • Very high capacity.
  • Hold up to 1,000 charges.

Cons:

  • Average shelf life.
  • Some units are prone to leaks.

Pro Tip

If you want some batteries with a higher capacity and that are fully capable of holding a charge at bright lights from dusk until dawn, these AmazonBasics batteries are something to look into. Great for gardens or detailed landscaping.

Energizer AAA

Energizer Rechargeable AAA Batteries, NiMH, 800 mAh, Pre-Charged, 4 count (Recharge Power Plus) - Packaging May Vary in white background
  • Type of battery: AAA NiMH
  • Items per pack: 8
  • Capacity: 800mAh
  • Voltage: 1.2
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Yes, we’re back with another Energized battery because these guys know what they’re doing, and they’re a brand that most people have heard about and trust with their battery-related needs. This time, we’re here to show you these AAA NiMH batteries that are compatible with some types of solar lights (which is why we stressed the importance of checking the manual or the battery compartment on your solar lights to see what fits).

While the 800 mAh capacity of these batteries may seem like too little, remember that batteries that come with larger capacities will also need to be charged for longer, which translated into longer daylight/sun exposure times for your solar lights. Even if you get plenty of sun in the summer, these batteries can get you through winter as well, with the scarce sunlight available in a day.

Pros:

  • Good brand.
  • Made with 4 percent recycled batteries.
  • Pre-charged and ready to use.
  • Up to 5 years shelf life.

Cons:

  • Customer complaints about some units not holding a charge.
  • Expensive.

Pro Tip

Bottom Line

When you’re considering buying new batteries for solar lighting, it’s best if you replace them all at once. But the most important piece of advice that you should remember is that not all batteries for these lights are the same, and knowing the differences, pros, and cons of each might save you some money in the long run. Also, if someone advises you not to spend money on rechargeable batteries because these are more expensive, remember that they are a good investment.

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