What are the best solar path lights?

Your favorite hideaway at home might be your patio or garden. Or maybe you have a sidewalk or pathway often traveled at night that needs to be illuminated for safety.  Adding solar path lights not only makes your getaway more accessible at night, but it also makes it look warm and inviting.

There are many styles of solar path lights that dramatically change the look of your courtyard, backyard or gathering area. They are affordable, low maintenance and harness their energy from the sun, not the utility company. For their brightness and easy installation, the best solar path lights are the Rayolon Solar Ground Lights.

What to know before you buy solar path lights

How much light do you need?

Are you lighting a sidewalk or patio area where people are walking and need ample light for safety? Or are you using path lights decoratively to accent a courtyard or special area?  If your goal is bright light to keep people safe, then LED lights with large lenses are best. Decorative accent lights with dimmed light can be used for individual style.

How many lights do you need?

It comes down to how much light you want to project. The rule of thumb is for commercial areas, a light every 4-6 feet will provide ample illumination for walking or wheeling. Residential areas should use a light every 6-8 feet. You can use tighter specifications at your home based on individual taste.

What are the different ways to place path lights?

There are three main ways to place path lights.

  • Ground stakes have pointed ends and are pushed into the soil to hold the light in place. They are made from plastic or metal and easy to install. Be aware that some plastic stakes may struggle in hard soil like clay.
  • Flange mounts are plastic or metal rings that are attached to the outside of the light. They sometimes are used for path lights that lie flat with the ground surface.
  • Hanging hooks are designed for path lights that are used as accents in bushes or from fences to provide elevated light without actually being grounded. Most stake lights are not designed for hooks. Look for accent lights designed for hanging.

What to look for in quality solar path lights

LED lights

Innovations in the design of solar path lights have led to the majority using LED (light-emitting diode) lights. LED lights are bright and use a small amount of energy. They don’t produce heat and are reliable; they are the best option when you want lights that will last a long time and stay bright.

Timer

A timer setting is helpful for running the lights when you want them to be on at night for security purposes, too, but not on all night. If you want the lights to come on sooner than dusk or later than nightfall, a timer allows you the convenience without having to manually turn the lights on and off.

On/off switch

An on/off switch is an important feature. Most models have an automatic setting that turns on the lights when conditions become dark and then turn off when daylight is breaking. A manual on/off switch is helpful when you have a special event and want to save the stored energy for those times. You can turn on the lights as festivities begin and be confident they will be at their brightest for the duration.

Weatherproof

The materials used to make solar path lights are able to stand up to rain, snow and freezing temperatures. Most metal lights are corrosion-proof. 

How much you can expect to spend on solar path lights

Solar path lights come in a variety of styles and multipack sizes. Inexpensive path lights are $1-$2 per light; they are made from plastic and have four or six lights. Middle-range lights are $3-$8 per light; they are made from high-grade plastic and have six to eight LED lights for extra brightness. Expensive lights are $9-$12 per light; they are made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel and come in attractive designs.

Solar path lights FAQ

Do path lights come in colors?

A. While the stakes are usually black, brown or stainless steel, the glass or plastic panels that form the lenses come in different colors depending on the manufacturer. There are packs with a broad range of colors, while others come in a solid color of your choice.

Will path lights work in a cloudy climate?

A. The photovoltaic panels in solar lights work in cloudy conditions. Indirect solar energy can be absorbed when the sun is blocked. They work better in bright sunlight but you still should be able to illuminate paths and small areas no matter the conditions.

What are the top solar path lights to buy?

Top solar path lights

Rayolon Solar Ground Lights

Rayolon Solar Ground Lights

What you need to know: These lights are installed in 20 seconds and provide a bright pathway for six to eight hours.

What you’ll love: Featuring eight LED panels, each ground light illuminates pathways, gardens and lawns. They automatically turn on at night and turn off in daylight. They are designed for rain, snow and frost.

What you should consider: Some lights are brighter than others, and your design may have inconsistent light patterns.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top solar path lights for the money

Solplex 12-Pack Solar Ground Lights

Solplex 12-Pack Solar Ground Lights

What you need to know: These affordable solar lights illuminate eight to 10 hours and have a flat disk design that is flush with the ground.

What you’ll love: With a wide solar panel and eight LED lights, each light stays brighter than six LED competitors. They charge in four to six hours and have an automatic on and off switch. They are made from stainless steel with fixed screws to protect against rain, snow and sleet.

What you should consider: There were some reports of lights no longer working after several months.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Gigalumi 8-Pack Solar Pathway Lights

Gigalumi 8-Pack Solar Pathway Lights

What you need to know: These attractive lantern-style pathway lights offer a distinct look for your home and are weather resistant.

What you’ll love: Designed with performance in mind, they have a rechargeable nickel-metal hydride battery in reserve. They are 15 inches tall with a 3.5-inch lantern. They are waterproof and illuminate eight to 10 hours on one charge.

What you should consider: The stakes are not sturdy and prone to split if pushed too hard.

Where to buy: Sold by AmazonHome Depot and Wayfair

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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

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