Providing nighttime lighting for your landscaping, decks, and patios used to require an electrical outlet. This practice often limited the reach of illumination or left ugly extension cords laying across walkways or through gardens.
Times have changed, however, and you can now light just about anywhere with solar light bulbs. The following solar LED string light reviews highlight some of the most popular, quality, heavy duty, weatherproof, and even commercial grade string lighting you can use not just for Christmas lights but also for an outdoor wedding party, a backyard bistro, or just general patio lights and home decor. Choose from soft glows that cast gentle shadows or bright lights for all-night parties. They are eco-friendly and, because they use solar energy, won’t show up on your electricity bill.
We’ve mostly focused on lights that cast a warm white light, but many of these also come in multicolor varieties.
5 Best Solar String Light Comparisons
|Outdoor Solar String Fairy Lights||Check The Price|
|Upoom LED Garden Crystal Ball Solar Lights||Check The Price|
|GIGALUMI Outdoor Solar Rope Lights||Check The Price|
|Brightech Ambience Pro String Lights||Check The Price|
|SUPSOO Solar String Water Drop Lights||Check The Price|
How Solar Power Works
Solar power is the result of converting the power of the sun to an electrical current that can be used to power various products. This process is called the photovoltaic effect and explains how the cells in a solar panel work to create usable energy.
Solar cells are made of multiple layers of crystalline silicon and chemicals to create semiconductors that have layers of negatively-charged electrons and positively-charged spaces. Sunlight passing through these layers and activates the negative electrons. The ‘excitement ‘ of the electrons move them into the positive spaces. They then travel as current through wires embedded in the cells to a battery to be stored until needed.
The Convenience of Solar Lighting
Solar lights use a solar panel made of solar cells and a battery for storage. They also have a photoreceptor that detects when it is dark to turn on the light. Many solar lights also have an on off switch, or even remote controls to access various functions, such as light dimming, timers, or blinking options. The best solar string lights use LED bulbs which are bright, long lasting, and do not put out much heat – making them safe in just about any situation.
Because they are wireless, and only need you to mount the panel where it can receive the majority of the sun’s rays throughout the day, you can place them just about anywhere. This makes them highly convenient and is the perfect choice for garden lighting. They also are an awesome choice for patio and deck lighting to avoid having to take up space in an outlet- if one is even available.
They also are built for outdoor weather and include tough, waterproof housing. Many can bend or wrap to customize their placement as well. Bulbs may be either plastic or glass, so care does need to be taken with them to avoid breakage, although some models are encased and protected- so choose according to your climate, wind, etc… Most include a rechargeable battery for solar power storage that can be replaced with specialized solar light rechargeable batteries for years of use.
Solar Lighting Issues
Panels that don’t receive direct lighting may not be able to charge fully through the day, resulting in less light output. Cloudy days and short winter days also may become an issue and reduce the amount of time they are light.
Popular Types of Outdoor String Lights
There are many styles of string lights you can choose from to fit your vision of evening ambiance. Bright lights, fairy lights, twinkling lights, bright party lights, colored and even shaped lights are all choices you can find to fit your own personal style and lighting needs.
Some of the most popular include:
Globe String Lights
Considered some of the most popular as they are affordable and unique, globe lights generally cast a soft glow for a cozy ambiance. Many have adjustable lighting features and also provide the option to remove the bulb for replacement rather than having to toss the whole string if breakage occurs.
Tube Rope Lights
PVC encased LED lights create a bendable, shapeable, tube-like string of lighting that is amongst the best for inclimate weather. Durable and tough, they can be wrapped around vegetation and other home or garden features, plus you don’t have to worry about them breaking if blown about.
Wire Rope Lights
Similar to tube rope lighting, wire rope lighting is also bendable, shapeable, and very durable for outdoor use. They are a bit more delicate in nature overall, but are not as bulky either, allowing you to use them in smaller decorative areas and spaces.
These lights are set in a net-like, draping wire that allows you to place them over bushes, trees, etc, or hang like a curtain. Popular for seasonal use, they don’t always hold up well for long term use in areas that may have growing vegetation that can stick through the netting, or have wind that may move it about loosen the connections.
Technically all the lights mentioned are ornamental in nature, but did you know you can find fun shapes and colors as well? Bulbs may be star shaped, look like raindrops, or include a variety of colors to meet your decorative needs.
Ideas for Solar Lighting Use
It used to be that outdoor lighting was a seasonal experience due to the cost of electricity and the fact that there were very few long lasting options. With advancements in technology, you now can hang bright, cool bulbs that put out almost no heat and last for thousands of hours without having to add to your electrical bill at all.
Because of this, solar lighting is commonly seen year round in gardens and landscaping design. Some fun ideas for use include:
- Wrapping tree trunks and lower branches
- Providing lighting over outdoor dining or entertainment areas
- Brightening covered patio, decking, or gazebo spaces
- Using them for garden pathway illumination (tube lighting is awesome for this)
- Fairy lighting
- Mixing and matching them with colored flags or other hanging objects
- Fence border or balcony lighting
- Draping along the openings of a gazebo or pergola
- Creating hanging mason jar firefly lighting
- Line the edge of a swimming pool or hot tub
Top 5 Rated Solar String Lights Reviews
The following string lighting options are some of the most popular with consumers- but only provide a sample of what is out there. Their safety, affordability, and popularity has created a large market demand and you can find just about anything you want or need with just a little research. Many of the brand lights highlighted below offer much more in the way of style as well.
Outdoor LED Solar String Fairy Lights
- Type: Wired Fairy Lights
- Length: 33 feet
- Light Amount: 100 bulbs
- Run Time: 6-8 hours
- Features: 8 lighting modes, Flexible
These brilliant wired LED fairy lights make it easy to decorate your landscape with a soft, radiating glow. Each 33 foot string length has 100 bulbs and a 3 foot length of wire to the solar panel for adjustable placement. Designed to withstand all inclimate weather, these lights can last up to 8 hours on a full charge. They also have 8 lighting modes to choose from.
- Durable despite delicate look
- Long lasting
- Covers a lot of space
- Modes may take a little time to start
If you are looking for a soft ambiance and need a malleable lighting option, these are an excellent choice. They also work well to fill small spaces, such as garden orbs or jars.
Upoom LED Garden Crystal Ball Solar Lights
- Type: Globe Lights
- Length: 24 feet
- Light Amount: 50 lights
- Run Time: 8-14 hours
- Features: 8 Various Steady and Flashing modes
These long lasting, grape-sized globe solar lights are very durable and easy to string wherever you want a gentle glow of illumination. The crystalized looking bulb allows for a unique lighting pattern, and with 50 LED lights along a 24 foot string, provides all you need to light up the night. They also have various modes to choose from on the adjustable solar panel.
- Long lasting and easy to change rechargeable battery when it wears out
- Durable in all climates
- Adjustable solar panel
- Lighting is dim if you expect bright, but is dependable
If a gentle, dependable glow is what you need for outdoor lighting, these are a great choice. They are durable and hang easily for a long lasting glow when fully charged.
GIGALUMI Outdoor Solar Rope Lights
- Type: Rope lighting
- Length: 37.5 feet
- Light Amount: 100 lights
- Run Time: 8-10 hours
- Features: 360 viewing, Flexible, 8 lighting modes
If you have wanted a bright lighting solution, these rope lights are an excellent choice. With a 360 degree viewing angle due to the high quality clear PVC rope, and a 8-10 hour run time off a full charge, you can use these to illuminate walkways, pool and hot tub sides, stairs, or run along the tops of your decks and patios. The 37.5 foot length contains 100 lights and a 6.5 foot wire length to the solar panel and has 8 different modes.
- Great for wet and cold weather
- Easy to install
- Long lasting
- Stiff until warmed for flexibility
Bright lighting enthusiasts rejoice. These are a great choice when a dim option just won’t cut it. Plus, they are easy to flex and wrap so you can place them just about anywhere.
Brightech Ambience Pro – Waterproof LED Outdoor String Lights
- Type: Plastic Bulb
- Length: 27 feet
- Light Amount: 12 bulbs
- Run Time: 5-6 hours
- Features: Retro Edison Bulb
The vintage Edison bulb look these light strings provide are the perfect addition to outdoor areas that need a light to see by without feeling overwhelming. The 27 foot long strings have 12 LED bulbs attached which are made from a durable, all weather plastic housing to avoid breakage. The design allows you to hang them from just about anything you desire, and a full 6 foot length between the string and solar panel provides sunlight sustainability.
- Incredibly durable
- Easy to install
- Lasts as long as advertised
- Some lights may look dimmer than others
Great for gazebos; pergolas, and porches, the vintage style bulb of these strings cast a soft glow perfect for entertainment and evening lounging.
SUPSOO Solar String Water Drop Lights
- Type: Water Drop Bulb Light
- Length: ~20 feet
- Light Amount: 40 lights
- Run Time: 6-8 hours
- Features: Water drop bulb, 8 modes
40, 3.5 inch water drop bulbs hang from a 2 foot string to provide a lighting source amongst your landscaping. Available in bright white, soft white, and colored options for the holidays, these are perfect for year round use and are considered highly durable in all weather. With 8 modes, you can pick and choose your own personal lighting effects with the diamond LED like effect.
- Long lasting
- Very Durable
- Unique and fun!
- Some bulbs may not be equally bright
If you are looking for something more unique and a bit different, these are an excellent choice, Their hanging effect makes them a perfect addition to placing in trees and other heights.
We could honestly post reviews of various solar lighting options all day and still not cover all the unique variations that exist. If you need lighting in your yard, want some ambiance in lounging areas, are looking for illumination of walkways, or simply think it’s cool- solar lighting is an excellent, affordable option for year round interest.
We’d love to see how you use solar lights, and also hear about which of the above options are your favorite. Me? I’m partial to fairy lights and tear drops! As always, please share!