Lighting up a tree

Make your garden an evening event. Landscape lighting not only extends the hours you can use outdoor living space, it also improves safety (you can see where you are going), security (so say the experts), and your viewing pleasure. A good plan will include a variety of lighting types for different purposes. Here we focus on uplights, perfect for illuminating trees, garden walls, and other landscape elements that deserve attention.

Above: Soft uplights draw the eye to tree trunks on the deck of a rooftop garden in Soho, New York by Robin Key Landscape Architecture, a member of our architects and designers directory. Photograph by Francine Fleischer.

Contents

What is uplighting?

Uplighting simply refers to the directional focus of the light. Landscape uplights are typically mounted below or at ground level, shining the light upward.

Above: Uplights highlight drifts of perennial grasses and balance the lighting on the front porch in a project in Hollywood, by LA-based Walker Workshop, a member of our architects and designers directory.

Why use uplighting in my landscape?

As part of an overall landscape lighting plan, uplighting is particularly good at spotlighting focal points of your garden and home. Specifically, uplights will:

  • Highlight garden features, including your prized plants or architectural features.
  • Create nighttime drama in your landscape with shadows.
  • Add depth to outdoor walls, fences, or other flat surfaces.
  • Contribute ambient light for safety and security.
  • Establish or emphasize outdoor space boundaries.

Above: Uplit at night, young olive trees look statuesque against the modern fence in a backyard garden in San Francisco designed by Remodelista Architects-Designers Directory member Creo Landscape Architecture. Photograph by Kayo Shibano.

Are there different types of uplights?

Many varieties of lights can illuminate in an upward direction. The most common types used in gardens include:

Bullet/Spot

Above: A daytime view of bullet lights installed at the base of a manicured installment of trees in a project by Coen + Partners. Photograph by Paul Crosby.

Named for its resemblance to a bullet, this directional light usually has a narrow spot beam, perfect for shining light on prized plants or trees. They can be surface mounted or pole mounted and are most often adjustable.

Wash

Above: Uplights with a low diffuse wash add visual interest to the artful walls and provide practical pathway illumination in a Los Altos Hills, California project by Arterra Landscape Architects, a member of our architects and designers directory. Wash light is a good choice for subtle illumination of lower plants, shrubs, and wall surfaces. Photograph by Michele Lee Willson Photography.

Well

Above: Well lights are installed slightly below grade to offer uplight without becoming a visible fixture in the landscape. Used for lighting the underside of plants, benches, or the lower part of walls. Photograph via Blasen Landscape Architecture, a member of our architects and designers directory. (Don’t miss Blasen’s Amazing Seaside Garden.)

Landscape Accent Lighting: How to Highlight Trees or Other Features in Your Yard

Accenting Trees with Exterior Landscape Lights

As an example, let’s think about outdoor accent lighting for a tree of average size. If you are highlighting the tree from one side only, I recommend using 1-2 landscape light, spot fixtures. Place each fixture about a foot away from the tree.

To highlight the trunk, select bulbs with a tight, 10° – 15° beam spread. To highlight the tree’s branches and foliage, select bulbs with wider “flood” beam spreads. You can even combine different beam spreads to capture the best features of a full tree.

If you have a very large tree and you want it to appear lit from all sides, I would use 3-4 landscaping light fixtures. Remember that these are guidelines. Experiment to determine what treatment works best for your area!

Illuminating a Statue or other Prominent Garden Feature with Exterior Accent Lights

For a statue or other similar type feature, you may want to try a three-point accent lighting technique to control shading and shadows produced from direct lighting, also known as the “Frankenstein Effect”.

To do this, a “key light” shines directly onto the subject from the front, at roughly a 45 degree angle from direct center. A second “fill light” also shines onto the feature, but from the opposing 45 degree angle. A third “back light” shines on the subject from behind as well.

Ideally, it is best to have these outdoor accent lights illuminate the subject at an angle 30 degrees from directly overhead. If you can hit that angle, great! If not, then do the best you can.

BULB SELECTION TIP

Like color temperature, you can find the beam spread for a lamp listed on its packaging. Also, you can accomplish this look without consuming a great deal of power. If you select Halogen/Incandescent fixtures, 20 watt lamps will provide ample light output. If you select LED fixtures, 10 watt lamps will work fine.

What Is Uplighting: Tips For Uplighting Trees In Gardens

DIY uplighting is a fast, relatively inexpensive way to change your backyard from run of the mill to magical. As long as you are installing lights that angle up, it’s uplighting. You can choose among many types of uplighting to illuminate your garden and backyard. Let’s learn more.

What is Uplighting?

When you install ground lights that shine on higher objects or plants, you have accomplished DIY uplighting. Uplighting means that you are illuminating objects from below. It simply refers to the angle of the light. Most types of uplighting are installed at ground level or even below ground level.

Uplighting allows you to spotlight your most beautiful garden features, like your favorite shrubs or the architectural elements of your hardscaping. It can also add depth and drama to flat surfaces such as walls and fences.

Uplighting Trees in Gardens

One of the classic uses of this type of angled-up lights is uplighting trees in gardens. If your tree has an open, leafy structure, you can install uplighting close to the base of the trunk. The angled light illuminates the central branches and leaves of the tree.

Don’t try close-to-the-base types of uplighting with trees that have a tight, compact silhouette. It’s better to place the lights farther from the base of the tree so that the uplighting illuminates the exterior of the canopy.

Garden Lighting Solutions

For uplighting trees in gardens, both in-ground lights and lights mounted on stakes work well. Stake-mounted lamps will likely cost you less money to buy and less energy to install. However, the stakes can stick out obtrusively. They can also get in the way of lawn mowing or even walking in the backyard.

Experts advise that high-pressure sodium lamps are not a good choice for uplighting plants and trees. The light wavelength emitted disrupts the growth patterns of the plants, rendering them more vulnerable to injury.

Instead, choose mercury vapor, metal halide or fluorescent lamps. These will not harm your plants. It’s also wise to use low-intensity lights.

Solar lights are an inexpensive, low-intensity option for your garden lighting solutions. Installation is easy since no wiring is involved. Some of these solar types of uplighting allow you to install the light in a shaded area and then remove the solar panel to charge in a sunny spot.

Now that you know about some of the outdoor lighting options available for uplighting, you can show off prized plants or other areas of the garden.

Downlighting & Uplighting: When Do You Need Each In Your Landscape?

Downlighting vs. uplighting: this is common lingo in the landscape lighting world.

What’s the difference? How do you know what type of lighting to use where?

Deciding all this is part of the fun — and challenge — of landscape lighting.

It’s all about direction. In uplighting, landscape lights are mounted below or at ground level, shining the light upward.

To downlight, you might place a fixture high up, in the branches of a tree or beneath the eaves on your house, so the light shines down. The higher the light, the wider space it tends to illuminate.

So many possibilities! Let’s take a look.

What Should You Uplight?

Certain areas outside your home are perfect for the effects of uplighting.

Trees, for instance. Lighting a beautiful tree, like a Japanese Maple for instance from the ground up shows off its interesting bark, branch structure and delicate leaves.

Architectural columns. Why not enjoy the beauty of your home’s architecture at night, too?

Lighting columns from below adds drama and can create interesting shadows on walls.

Garden features are great candidates for uplighting. Highlight a beautiful fountain, elegant statue or a prized plant with uplighting.

It automatically adds drama to your garden.

Uplighting With Well Lights Vs. Directional Uplights

It’s worth noting the difference between uplighting with well lights — fixtures installed even with the surface of the ground — and directional uplighting, which features fixtures above ground atop short posts.

Each serve specific purposes.

For instance, we wouldn’t use well lights in a flower bed. The plants would grow right over them and block the light. Beds of plants need lights that can rise a bit above the greenery.

But I love using well lights to light a lovely Japanese maple. A well light can snug in close, right at the base of the trunk, and shine straight up, highlighting the exquisite lacy foliage.

We often add hoods or “lids” to directional uplights to prevent glare and distracting hot spots.

What Should You Downlight?

Some features are best lit by downlighting.

Think about a bed of beautiful hosta, with their big textured, variegated leaves. Lighting them from above shows them off after dusk.

Outdoor seating is perfect for downlighting. We often use it under benches and seating walls to cast subtle lighting along pathways and patios. Not only does it cast a welcoming pool of light, but it offers an element of safety for people walking through.

When Downlighting Is The Practical Solution

Sometimes downlighting is just the more practical choice.

One of our clients has three active boys, all under the age of 10. Their boisterous activity around the property had trashed the family’s traditional directional path lights — fixtures atop short posts lining their paths.

The solution? Lighting those areas from above, with downlighting installed in trees overhead. No fixtures to trample. Just beautiful dappled light spilling onto the paths.

The Magic Of Moonlighting

Moonlighting is a type of downlighting that offers a specific look. You got it — it looks like moonlight.

A light fixture is placed high up in a tree and angled downwards. The effect? Moonlight shining down through the branches. It feels natural, and creates a lovely effect as the leaves and branches create shadow patterns on the ground.

When Mother Nature gives me a beautiful canopy of trees, my mind goes there automatically. Lighting from overhead feels natural to our eye.

It’s the way nature does it, with both the sun and the moon.

When Should You Use Moonlighting?

Think about the spots around your house that would be perfect under a full moon. When the moon doesn’t cooperate, no problem — you can create your own.

Patios are ideal for moonlighting. If there are trees overhead, they’ll create intriguing shadows as the light filters down through them, and you can happily entertain your guests under your “moonlit” sky.

Swimming pools? This is a no brainer. Who doesn’t love a moonlit swim?

I love to use moonlighting over driveways. Think about the scenarios that happen in your driveway. You’re carrying a load of heavy groceries in bags about to burst. You’re toting a cranky toddler. You’re shuffling to the door after a stressful day of work.

It will all seem better beneath your own personal moonlight.

Will Moonlighting Damage My Trees? No Worries

Homeowners are often understandably concerned about mounting lights in their trees.

We only install lights in mature trees we know can support them. We use stainless steel screws so they don’t cause disease or damage. We’ll return to adjust the screws as the tree grows as part of our annual service agreement.

We hide the cable on the non visible side of the tree so you don’t even know it’s there.

Can’t Choose? Use Both!

Downlighting vs. uplighting? You don’t always have to choose.

A beautifully lit garden might feature moonlighting filtering through the trees, as well as uplighting and downlighting to highlight dramatic plants and statuary.

In fact, you often need both, working in harmony together.

If you use downlighting by itself, you can see the cone-shaped area where the light begins. Add uplighting to the mix, and that line of demarkation disappears. You can’t really see where one source ends and the other begins. You just see beautiful, natural looking light.

A residence we transformed in Park City, Utah demonstrates how using both can work great in a front entry.

This home has a beautiful stone facade and stone columns flanking the front porch.

We installed uplighting at the base of each column to highlight the stone work, and added downlighting on the gable over the front porch.

The two sources of light, working together, create a warm, inviting pool of light on the entryway.

Give Us A Call

To learn more about how down lighting and uplighting can work together to beautify your landscape, call us at (801) 440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or fill out our simple contact form.

Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah serves customers throughout Utah’s residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper and Holladay. Our outdoor lighting portfolio includes projects from Salt Lake County and Utah County, to Davis County and Summit County — and beyond.

Metal Halide Uplighting for Larger Trees

Uplighting of trees adds drama and vertical emphasis in a garden lighting scheme. Use metal halide uplights typically with a 36° beam to penetrate up through the branch structure. 60 degree beams may be used for wider, spreading trees.
Recessed uplights require a position above the water table with 300mm of shingle drainage below the fitting; use spike mount uplights in ground subject to water-logging.
If the diameter of the canopy exceeds 10 metres, consider using 2 or more uplights for a fuller effect and select the 60 degree beam angle options in APOLLO spike mount uplight and PERSIUS/OLYMPUS recessed uplight ranges
Where the outer canopy of a large tree is dense, uplight the trunk and centre of the branch structure with a 36 degree beam uplight and position one or more wide beam 60 degree metal halide floodlights to illuminate the outer canopy. Use metal halide uplights to penetrate up through the branch structure of the tallest trees and a peripheral beam to light the canopy which complements the central beam focused up the trunk & inner branches*

For spreading dense-canopied trees such as chestnut and yew, use a wide beam 60 degree spike-mount APOLLO hidden behind a landscape feature to stand back from the tree. Frontal lighting cannot generally be achieved with ground recessed units as the internal lamp adjustment is insufficient.

APOLLO70 70w will light many trees up to 15 metres well, unless the foliage colour is particularly dark. Use APOLLO150 150w lights for trees over 15m in height, where the light is further than 10m from the outside of the canopy or where foliage is particularly dark in colour.

When the feasible position of the light is just outside the canopy or you want to “graze” up the foliage surface to emphasise texture, you need to position the uplight so that it will light the bottom of the canopy but still “stretch” the light beam up towards the top. This is a matter of experimentation before final installation: some slack in the cabling and choice of mounting position or type will allow for moving the light as the tree grows is a good idea.

Suggestions shown are subject to the tree having an open structure to allow the light beam to travel upwards; look up through the tree you propose to light – if you can see up through the branches, then light will be able to penetrate the canopy and structure as well. Lighting large trees is something of a black art: if in doubt, test the position and focus of uplights with a temporary wiring set-up before final installation. Metal halide lighting is energy efficient and uses controlled beams to focus light onto a subject rather than scattering it into the night sky

Copyright 2014; Information based on products supplied by Lighting for Gardens Limited and is advisory only. The company accepts no responsibility for incorrect use or application of information given. Light fittings can become hot in use; exercise appropriate precautions. Exterior electrical installations should be undertaken by a qualified electrician.

Solar spot lights are a great addition to your backyard and when you need extra lighting. They are great for highlighting a business sign (if you own a small business), statues in your garden or front of your house, or anywhere you need extra light. They are very resourceful, easy to take care of and can make your home or business look beautiful.

The great thing about these is there is no wiring needed. They are easy to install and take only minutes compared to hours or days with traditional spot lights. They are easily charged during the day and will last for eight hours or more during the night.

Reviews of the Best Outdoor Solar Powered Spot Lights

Solar Spot Lights Price Our Rating
Amir LED Solar Outdoor Spotlight Wall Light

$

InnoGear MT-057 Outdoor Solar Spot Lights

$$

200 Lumens Solar Wall Lights / In-ground Lights

$$$

Mini 50X Twin Solar-Powered Cast Aluminum Warm White LED Spotlight
High Output Solar Spot Light – White Light
Frostfire Landscape Spotlights (Set of 2)

**Below, you’ll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Who Needs Solar Spot Lights?

If you own a small business or want to display your garden at night, then you will need these wonderful devices. If you are someone who hosts a lot of parties or you have a business such as a restaurant, you will want to have spot lights which will allow people to easily see your sign or building.

It is great for people who are on a tight budget and are very money conscious. It will save you time and headaches to install them and will save you a ton of money in the long run. Think of your budget first, and your income. Then realize how much you will spend if you have traditional spot lights versus spot lights run with solar energy.

Why Do You Need Solar Spot Lights?

You need solar spot lights in areas where electricity cannot be used. They help to not only highlight your garden or business sign, but give off necessary light for safety reasons as well. Anything that helps to light up the area makes it more secure.

You will not run the risk of tripping over anything in the dark. They have strong lighting capabilities and will illuminate anything. They are a great money saver and time saver as well and anyone can install them. All you need to do is place them in the area you want them to be and presto! You are done.

Things To Consider When Buying Solar Spot Lights

So now you are more than convinced that the benefits are great with these lights. The benefits of these lights do outweigh the cons in many aspects. So what are some of the things you want to consider when choosing and purchasing a solar spot light? Let’s go more into detail here.

One thing is, how bright do you want it to be? Check out the lumens number on the product description. A lumen is the measurement of the amount of light produced and the higher the lumens, the brighter the light will be.

Read More: Best Solar Motion Security Lights – Top 9 Reviews

How Do Solar Spot Lights work?

Solar spot lights work like any other spot light. They use the power of the sun and will shine in the front of your house or in your back yard. Most of them have LED lights and shine really bright. The solar panels can even be adjusted so they can be charged even if you install the lights in dimmer areas. No matter what excuse you come up with, there is a solution with these lights.

Top 6 Best Solar Spot Lights

Below you will learn about six different solar powered spotlights. If you are looking for one that is lightweight, easy to install with no wires and will shine bright for hours, these will work for you. No matter where you want to place them, you are able to do so much with them.

1. Amir LED Solar Outdoor Spotlight Wall Light

This light gives off 200 lumens and has an LED light so it saves energy while it is working. It also has a high and low mode and will be able to work and continue to work in different types of weather because it is waterproof.

It has a switch on it that automates it so it comes on at night and will turn off in the morning. So you don’t have to remember to turn it off. They come with the option to install it two different ways. You can put it in the ground or if you want, it comes with screws so you can mount it to the wall.

Also, if you want to adjust the angle of the light, you can do this as well. It was made so you can angle the light and illuminate the spot that you want to. Once the light is fully charged, you will get eight to fourteen hours out of it until it needs to be charged again. The battery is an 18650 lithium rechargeable and they are meant to last.

Customers who have purchased these lights have a lot of good things to say about them. They love the way the spotlights look in the yard. This particular customer purchased the color changing light, which is identical to the solid color one. It works very well. They put the light in a large potted plant and have it facing cacti and succulents and shines on them all night long.

Another customer claims that this waterproof 180-degree adjustable light is just what they were looking for. They bought it to illuminate a flag they had in their backyard. They left the setting on low and it stayed on for ten hours or more. It has been through a couple of rain showers and still works, so when they say it is waterproof, they mean it.

This last customer said they purchased the white light, but received the color one instead. They decided to keep it, as they are quite pleased with the performance. It turned out that their granddaughter loved the light and all the colors, so it was a nice treat. They love how bright it is and it lasts a long time.

2. InnoGear MT-057 Solar Lights Spotlight Outdoor Landscape Lighting

These are an upgraded version of solar spot lights and they are waterproof, heatproof, and are super bright. They give out 200 Lumens and have a 4 X 50 Lumen enhanced LED. There is a two in one installation capability, where you can stick it in the ground or mount it on a wall.

It will automatically turn on at night and turn off at sunrise. InnoGear lights have a two level brightness mode and it has a longer working time with 18650 lithium rechargeable battery. The light is adjustable meaning you can point it at any angle you wish and shine the light on the perfect spot of your choice. You get optimal sun exposure so that it charges the way it should.

Customers who have purchased this brand of light are very happy with what they received. They say they are bright and the best ones. The solar panel is separate from the light itself so this is an advantage because if you want put the lights somewhere that does not get a lot of sun, you can put the solar panel in an area that gets more sun as long as the chord reaches the area.

Another customer praises how long they last as they have had them in use for three days and the battery lasts until they leave for work the next day. This person wanted a couple of spot lights to light up some dark areas of the yard and did not want to run the power. When they started using these lights, they were exactly what they hoped for.

One other customer notes that with the purchase you receive the spotlight, stake, and the solar panel all connected together. The whole thing is rather large, but very light weight compared to similar lights. They love the high beam and low beam settings and how it is activated when it turns dark.

Read More: Best Solar Powered Pathway Lights – Top 10 Reviews

3. 200 Lumens Solar Wall Lights / In-ground Lights

There are two modes with this light. There is bright and half bright and it has an auto switch which will come on at night and turn off during the day. It saves power and that is why it lasts. This brand was made to give off 50 Lumens in each LED which totals 200 for the entire light. It is super bright and you will have no problem seeing anything with this.

It has a longer use time with the built in 2200 mAh and an 18650 lithium rechargeable battery. It gets fully charged during daylight hours and will hold the charge for eight hours or more. There is a two in one version of this spot light and it is very adjustable. You can mount it on a wall or put it in the ground. It is very easy to install and takes no time at all. It is also waterproof like most models and will withstand all types of weather making it very durable.

Customers who purchased this light say that it is almost identical to other lights being sold with different brand names, so you are really getting quality no matter what brand you purchase. There are two varieties with this light having 80 lumens and a more powerful 200 lumens. The design is very sturdy and they do last through different types of weather.

Other customers say they are very happy with the purchase and just looking at them you can tell that they can withstand different types of weather. They did mention that it will be better to use the ground stakes as they make it sturdier. The screw holes seem to be close together and make it more difficult to install.

These lights are extra bright which mean they offer more security at night. If you want to light your pathway to your door, or in front of your garage, they help make the way brighter so you can do that. They are very affordable so you don’t have to worry about your budget. They are designed for people who cannot spend a lot to make their home more beautiful and they are worth every penny.

4. Mini 50X Twin Solar-Powered Cast Aluminum Warm White LED Spotlight

These particular lights come with a sixty or one hundred lumen feature. The high power light is warm and has LED with special magnifier lenses. The output is at a forty-five degree angle and covers a wide area than other light fixtures.

They are made of cast aluminum which makes them light weight and they have a stylish black textured finish. The lens on the front is clear and resistant from scratches and impacts. It comes with a large remote that controls the solar panel and a lithium battery. This battery is a high performing one and it is made to work with outdoor equipment.

The Mini 50 X Lights have three brightness settings. They run five to fifteen hours on a full charge and have an adjustable brightness setting. Also, on these lights there is a two way mounting feature which is new and improved. You can stake it in the ground or mount it on a wall. The fasteners are mechanical and will allow you to adjust the lights with a soft downlight or uplight.

Customers who have bought these are impressed with the design. One customer bought it for the front of their house and did not want to deal with plugs and electrical outlets, so they went with solar powered lights. When they got the product and tried it out, it was perfect. They decided to get another set shortly afterward so they have a total of four lights.

This customer said they do not write reviews much, but when they got these spotlights, they felt the need to. When they placed them on the front of their home, the up-lighting that they provided was better than expected. They ordered solar spot lights in the past and those were not so great, but these were different. They are bright and provide continuous light at full strength for the entire night.

One other customer said the stands are very sturdy and the brightness is easily adjusted. They have LED lights and a large solar panel remote. They look like they will be able to withstand any storm. When you set them up, they allow you to position them directly under the sun. They are going to buy more in a few months.

5. High Output Solar Spot Light – White Light

They are very lightweight, only weighing two pounds. They come with a half-inch NPT heave duty PVC stake. The solar spotlights come with an on and off switch on the backside of the solar panel. They have an incredibly high output for a solar spotlight compared to others of the same kind.

Customers are saying really good things about these lights. One person said after they left the lights to charge for at least two day per the instructions, they lit them up. They pointed them against the side of their garage. They definitely worked the way they said they did. Also, they shone the light against some fruit trees and it made them look light blue. It makes everything in the yard look very nice and inviting.

Another customer changed their old lights to a solar light in the yard about three years ago. They got tired of having to hide the wire all the time. The solar lighting has come along way in three years, so when they finally received their lights, they were very excited to set them up. They are very happy with them and say they give off a tremendous amount of light. They also do a great job lighting up a tree in their backyard.

One other customer has had the lights for nine months and can tell everyone that they work great. They let them charge for two to three days like it said to do, and they work like a charm. They never shut them off and will come on automatically at night after charging all day.

6. Frostfire Landscape Spotlights (Set of 2)

These lights have a powerful LED and are great for outdoors. They are waterproof and heatproof. Frostfire lights come on at night and there are no cables or wires to worry about. The solar panel life expectancy is about five years or fifty thousand hours.

Customers who have bought these say they are better than the others ones they have seen on the market for cheaper. They are the best ones to light up the landscape without having to use the more expensive brand. Paying a little extra for these solar panel lights was the best decision they ever made. You can place the solar panel away from the lights so if the spot you want them does not get a lot of sun during the day, you can position them so they will get more sun.

Another customer says they have a shady area in the front corner of their house and wanted to get lights with a panel that can be mounted around the corner. So these lights seemed like they would work. Not only were they able to put the solar panel where they wanted to place it, the lights worked better than they thought.

The one customer had the lights for over two months and are very impressed with them. Even in the snowstorm, the lights are shining after charging during the day. They purchased these lights and another comparable brand and found that this brand was way better than the other one.

Final Verdict

If you want to light up your home and do not want to spend a lot of money or have to worry about hiding the wires, then these are a great choice. Most of them are 200 Lumens which is very bright for a solar-powered light. You can place them anywhere you want and most of them have a solar panel you can install in an area that gets more sun.

If you are looking for a lightweight product that can withstand any weather conditions, then you should consider any one of these mentioned above. Most people who purchase them fall in love instantly and are very surprised at how bright they really are.

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Garden lights are the perfect complimentary finishing touch to a beautiful yard. Not only are they functional and can help you find your way in the dark, they also add a touch of softness to your yard come dusk, help highlight the features you want to show off, and even lend a bit of mystery and romance to your space.

A quick search yields a plethora to choose from however, and it can become difficult to decide what, exactly is the best solar garden lights for you. In the past I have been drawn to the inexpensive choices found on the shelves of my local garden center, but have grown frustrated with the poor lifespan they seem to have. In my search for the best solar garden light reviews, I discovered just how limited I’ve been in not exploring my many varied choices.

Table of Contents

BEST SOLAR LIGHTS COMPARISONS

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
Our #1 ChoiceOur #1 ChoiceURPOWER Solar Lights
  • Both panel and lights are adjustable
  • Water and weatherproof
  • Has dimmer options
Check The Price
Bell and Howell LED Disk Lights
  • Disk Pathlight
  • Auto Turn On at night or manual
  • Long lasting
Check The Price
SolarGlow Garden Lights
  • Good ground lighting width
  • Durable stainless steel material
  • Lifetime warranty
Check The Price
Olympus Path Lights
  • Pathlight
  • Auto Turn On at night
  • 8 hours of illumination
Check The Price
Enchanted Spaces Solar Light
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Weatherproof
  • Excellent customer service
Check The Price
Litom Solar Outdoor Lights
  • With eight different light modes
  • Long lasting
  • Warm, cool white, or color choices
Check The Price
Litom Bright Path Garden Lighting
  • Holds up to both wet weather and freezing temperatures
  • Three modes
  • Very bright
Check The Price

Why Solar?

Solar lights have come a long way from the short loved, dim lighting they once put out. LED bulbs are now more commonly seen, which put out more light, and less heat, and therefore require less energy to operate. Plus, by using solar, you are no longer trapped by the location of light placement. Solar panels are generally card-sized mounts that can be placed almost anywhere you can imagine to add lighting to even the furthest recesses of your yard.

Improvements in solar cells over the years have also resulted in better energy charges that can store and use emitted daylight even in shady areas, or cloudy, winter weather. This means that your lights will still come on in the dark winter nights, although they may not last as long as they did in the summer.

Solar lighting can be used for motion detection for pathway lighting, for nighttime hazard detection, to light a pathway, or to simply add ambiance to your peaceful backyard escape.

Types of Bulbs

ANY type of outdoor light can be used with a solar panel to create solar lighting, but solar lights created specifically for garden lighting have increasingly replaced all bulbs with LED lights which should last the life of the product.

LED stands for light emitting diode, and are directional, meaning they emit light in a specific direction, unlike traditional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, which emit light in all directions. They also put out very little heat, unlike their predecessors, which makes them much more affordable to run, and a good choice for all night lighting from a solar charge.

Because of how LEDs work, there are many more options for their punctuality. Obviously they are becoming increasingly popular in the house as well as for outdoor use due to their cost effectiveness, but they also come in a variety of colors! Gone are the days of coloring a lightbulb for color effects as these bulbs can put out their own mix of hues, but even more impressive is that some are even wifi connectable and can work through your smartphone as part of a smart house (or garden) system.

Solar Light Choices

As mentioned, there are a LARGE variety of choices to choose from when considering solar garden lighting, and it’s important to first choose what you want based on the categories available.

Garden Light Accents

Accent lighting is just that, pretty soft lighting placed in areas you want to draw attention to: such as around an arbor, wound in your trees, or as colorful details in your garden itself. Fun shaped lighting brightens up your areas by night, and are colorful additions in the shapes of butterflies, birds, and even flowers by day.

Netting, light strings, and staked designs are all readily available in a multiple hues and color changing choices to place in any area of your garden. They are also very affordable, but may not be all-season weather proof and need to be stored in the winter. Occasionally these also do not have a very long lifespan and may only last a few seasons.

Solar Path Lights

Path lighting is typically staked into the areas you want to light up your walkway, whether it be to mark driveways, sidewalks, garden paths, or garden bed hedging. Since LED lighting is directional, fun star shaped, and spiral designs are commonly focused on the paths they light up.

Path lighting is probably the most popular consumerist lighting choice as there are a variety of designs one can choose from using many different materials: plastics, metals, glass, and wire are commonly found in these products, making them stand alone artistic statements for your garden addition as well. Typically very affordable, higher priced path lighting also come with a longer life and weatherproofed materials to last as long as you need them.

SOLAR TASK LIGHTS AND SPOTLIGHTS

Task lights and spotlights are generally your more expensive choices due to their versatility and brightness for specific needs. Although these can be used for path lighting, you will most likely choose them for focused lighting on statuary, house front lighting, water features. They also usually have a separate solar panel for increased usability- meaning you can mount the panel separate from the lights so you can take advantage of your best available lighting.

Because of where they are generally mounted, they are more durably built as well, and have both weather proofing, and UV protection for long-life.

How to Choose the Best Solar Lights for Your Yard

If you are considering starting your search for the best outdoor solar garden lights, be sure to assess your needs in advance in order to get what you want based on high quality products. A quick online search will yield hundreds of choices, and it’s easy to become distracted by the incredible array of design, light and color choices available.

What function do you need your lights for?

Are you interested in lighting a pathway, spotlights, or a light that can serve as both added security and landscape interest? There is something for every need out there, and narrowing your choices down to specific needs will help you find your top rated products that much easier…

Are you needing year-round lighting?

Not all solar powered lights are all-weather and usable year round. A fantastic price on a set of lights may be a determining factor in your purchases, but be sure to read the specifications before finalizing what’s in your shopping cart, as that lower price may belay an issue with freezing temperatures.

Where do you plan on placing your solar lights?

Although many lights are versatile in their placement for both solar panels and lighting effects, be sure to look your space over well to determine where your panel will get maximum sunlight, and if the power cords are the lengths you need. Some lighting may only have mounting or staked choices, whereas other can be directly focused where you need light for the brightest effects.

What sort of sunlight do you get?

Although high quality panels can change in shady areas and on cloudy days, the best charges are still determined by the amount of daylight received. If you have only shady areas, look for those products that are rated for low light charging. There are many items on the market that can connect remotely if needed, but there is usually a high cost associated with this, so it pays off to know your area and placement in advance.

5 Top Rated Solar Lights to Consider

URPower Adjustable Solar Spotlight

  • Weatherproof: yes
  • Functionality: Pathlight, spotlight
  • Auto on/off: yes
  • Placement: Stake or mount
  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Light Time: 6-9 hours fully charged
  • Warranty: n/a

Check The Price

The perks of these lights are their overall versatility. Not only can the be both staked and mounted, the solar panels and lights are adjustable as well to maximize sunlight and spotlight capabilities. Although the lights are to be used as an auto on/off light, it does have an off switch for storage (to prevent inadvertent charging), as well as on, bright, and dim setting.

These lights can also be used as a spotlight or pathlight as long as you aren’t trying to light something up 30 feet in the air. Their brightest setting can light things up for about 15 feet, although the highest setting may not last a full night of use even on a full charge.

These lights seem to be a great choice for those looking for a task light to brighten up certain features on a home, or in a garden. They also do provide a bright pathway surface, although they may be too bright for subtle garden lighting, even when set on low.

The biggest complaints surround the life of the product in some cases, however this may be due to poor rechargeable battery life which can be replaced. It is also noted in solar garden light reviews the high quality of customer service this particular product has.

PROS

  • Both panel and lights are adjustable
  • Water and weatherproof (brush snow off panels in winter)
  • Charges in indirect sunlight
  • Has dimmer options
  • Good customer service

CONS

  • May fade after a couple of months
  • Confusion over how the settings work (not consistent)
  • Complaints of only 2-3 hours of lighting total
  • Batteries may go bad, but rechargable ones are replaceable.

Recommended for

Great choice for those looking for a task light to brighten up certain features on a home, or in a garden.

SolarGlow Garden Lights

  • Weatherproof: All-weather resistant
  • Functionality: pathlight
  • Auto on/off: yes
  • Placement: Stake
  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Light Time: 6-9 hours fully charged
  • Warranty: 100% lifetime replacement guarantee

Check The Price

A popular product for pathlight lighting, these stainless steel solar lights send out a downwards, cool white light for footing purposes. Due to the ribbing of the housing, the lights are cast as a patterned wave rather than an interrupted glow. These lights can only be staked into the ground and do not come with any functionality for mounting of any sort.

There are no switches to deal with, and the lights are completely automated in response to daylight. Although they do seem to charge reasonably well in the shade, their overall on time may be affected by less than full sunlight. This can be problematic on darker, overcast days, or in seasonal weather as they may not charge as fully, and be triggered by later afternoon shadows.

Overall this is reviewed as a durable design that puts out a bright pathlight that is functional along driveways, sidewalks, and in the garden. Plus they are a bit taller than many other brands, so lighting is more widely dispersed. This is a good choice for anyone looking for a basic, no-frills path lighting design that is a bit more durable than plastic solar housing found in many garden centers.

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Excellent customer service
  • Very durable stainless steel material
  • Very good ground lighting width
  • Charges in indirect lighting
  • Does not charge well without direct sunlight
  • May crack (covered by warranty)
  • LED housing not a super snug fit

Recommended For

This is a good choice for anyone looking for a basic, no-frills path lighting design.

Litom Bright Path Garden Lighting

  • Weatherproof: yes
  • Functionality: Spotlight or Pathlight
  • Auto on/off: Motion detection auto on/off
  • Placement: Mount
  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Light Time: Stays on for 15 seconds after no motion is detected. Detects motion from 26 feet away
  • Warranty: Defect warranty for replacement or refund

Check The Price

With three modes to either say on constantly in a bright or dim mode (and brightens with motion) or one only with motion, this is a good choice for both pathway and spotlight lighting within your yard. Solar panels that top the light itself charge well in indirect light to provide you with the light you need all night in a motion only setting, which turns off after 15 seconds of no motion.

Motion detectors have a very wide range (approximately 26 feet to the front and in a 180 degree radius) which also works well for security issues, and power outages.

Complaints include issues with mounting off anything that is not wooden or easily drilled. They also have some defective complaints concerning how long they last overall (issues seem to arise around 4 to 5 months, although covered by warranty).

These are a great choice for anyone looking for either a downward focused spotlight, or pathlight, for use in both the garden and around housing foundations. Because you can mount t as high as you want this is helpful for additional security lighting.

  • Three modes
  • Holds up to both wet weather and freezing temperatures
  • Very bright
  • Compact size for easy mounting
  • Cannot mount to brick or rock
  • Issues with longevity after about 4 to 5 months on some products (covered under warranty)
  • Can get stuck in a mode

Great choice for anyone looking for either a downward focused spotlight, or pathlight, for use in both the garden and around housing foundations.

Litom Solar Outdoor String Lights

  • Weatherproof: yes
  • Functionality: Decorative accent
  • Auto on/off: yes, but also has an on/off switch
  • Placement: Mount (can stake the solar panel)
  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Light Time: 6 – 8 hours
  • Warranty: Warranty on defective products

Check The Price

This 72 foot long wire houses 200 LED lights that can cycle through 8 different modes. They are a great decorative accent for wrapping around trees, decks, or placing within your gardenscape for a low nighttime glow. Although they aren’t suggested for pathway lighting, or holiday roof trimming due to their dimmer glow than lights made specifically for those purposes, they do light up a decent area and are useful as an added light addition in your yard and garden. They also come in your choice of colors: warm white, cool white, and colored bulbs.

The biggest complaint about these particular lights is that after they turn off each night, they reset themselves so you have to cycle back through the modes to have it set to your preferred choice, although this was not a complaint made by the majority of buyers. Defective strings are covered by warranty so they can be replaced.

These are a great choice for anyone looking for stringed accent lights that are waterproof, and can be used year round as a nighttime decoration.

  • Eight different light modes
  • Long lasting
  • Warm, cool white, or color choices
  • Can charge solar cell separate from lights
  • Will charge in indirect lighting
  • Cycles back to first mode after each day
  • Not very bright
  • May stop after a few months (replaced by warranty)

Recommended For

These are a great choice for anyone looking for stringed accent lights that are waterproof, and can be used year round as a nighttime decoration.

Enchanted Spaces Solar Light Path

  • Weatherproof: yes
  • Functionality: Pathlight
  • Auto on/off: yes, but also has an on/off switch
  • Placement: Stake
  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Light Time: 6 – 8 hours
  • Warranty: Hassle Free Warranty (will replace rechargeable battery)

Check The Price

As staked pathway light go, these are a durable, and fashionable choice that seem to hold up well in weather. They also have replaceable rechargeable batteries covered by warranty so as to not have to purchase a whole new housing. Each light covers approximately a four by four foot space, meaning this 6 pack will cover close to 100 square feet altogether.

Issues with the product itself are focused upon defective products upon purchase, which is completely covered by warranty, as well as issues with dimming and not charging at all within a few months of initial use. This is most likely a rechargeable battery issue, that comes on when purchased, and is replaceable under warranty as well.

This is a good choice for solar pathlight seekers as no the hassle warranty makes it fairly risk free in its purchase. Consistent auto on and off with daylight, and decent charging in indirect sunlight provides illumination through the majority of your night with a full charge.

  • Color choices to match decor
  • Light pathway clearly
  • Excellent customer service
  • Rechargeable batteries are replaceable if fail over time
  • Weatherproof
  • Dim light, although consistent
  • Lights dim and may go out (battery replacement issue possible, covered by warranty)
  • Plastic stakes fragile

Recommended For

This is a good choice for solar pathlight seekers as no the hassle warranty makes it fairly risk free in its purchase.

Conclusion

Since I have a lot of dark recesses around my property, I am constantly on the lookout of a durable, and affordable option for garden lighting. I also have very few electrical outlets, so solar options are very appealing to me. Since I can put to use almost any sort of lighting, making a choice out of one of garden light categories I described is difficult, but my main concern is pathway lighting.

My favorite of the choices I’ve listed is the Enchanted Spaces Solar Light Path as I can currently put to use path lighting, although string accent lights are high on my list of wants as well. In choosing functionality over decoration, I personally find this to be a long lasting, and durable choice, with a no hassle warranty I don’t mind taking advantage of if problems arise.

Although there are a LOT of choices out there for additional solar lighting, you need to make your choices based on the needs of your space, and the effects you desire. Have solar lighting you can’t live without, or searching for a particular type of product? Comment and question below, and as always, share!

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The most dynamic kind of landscape illumination is the spotlight. Solar spotlights can bring these kinds of lights to the next level. They do that by eliminating the extra hassle of cords and switches associated with most yard spotlights.

With settings to automatically activate the lights at night and a solar panel to charge them without any work, solar spotlights are the easiest, greenest way to highlight the best parts of your yard at night.

They can even be as reliable and durable as the best landscape lights out there. They have the same classic features like motion sensing and colors.

7 Best Solar Spotlights

  • Best Overall: InnoGear Upgraded Solar Spotlight
  • A Close Second: MINI 50X Twin Solar-Powered Spotlight
  • Another Favorite: CLY 3-in-1 Solar Spotlights
  • Best Value: DBF Outdoor Solar Lights
  • For Those on a Budget: LITOM Upgraded Solar Spotlights
  • Most Colorful: Itscool Colored Solar Spotlights
  • For a 2-Head Light: Double Head Outdoor Solar Spotlights

Best Overall: InnoGear Upgraded Solar Spotlight

  • IP 65
  • The High Points: good run time, good value (4-pack)
  • The Not-So: materials are not very durable

Innogear’s Upgraded Solar Spotlight takes the top spot on our list because of its all-around good performance combined with excellent reliability. Innogear lived up to their name in the design and execution of this light by creating an innovate solar spotlight. It does well in all categories.

We also love that this solar spotlight comes in a four pack. That means that buyers get twice or quadruple the value of other similar kits.

The design of the light makes each light independent and easy to install. That way, they can be spotted around the yard or lined up together for extra effectiveness.

What Reviewers Say

In general, reviewers love this solar spotlight. They comment on the run time and charge time, saying that even when they weren’t able to get full charges, the lights still ran for most of the night.

Other reviewers also noted that the lights look good, even during the day. That is because of the professional-looking design.

The most important negative that reviewers consistently noted is that the Innogear Ungraded Solar Spotlight is made out of plastic. They say that were something to fall on it, even a small item like a tennis ball or a branch, it might easily break.

Features & Considerations

Each Innogear Upgraded Solar Spotlight consists of four powerful LED bulbs. They produce 50 lumens each, making each individual solar spotlight shine at 200 lumens.

They come in either white or warm white. For these lights, we prefer the white, since it is a bit cheaper. The white lights have a color temperature of 6500K.

One of the strongest points of the Innogear Upgraded Solar Spotlight is its run time to charge time ratio. Since it has two different settings, high and low, users can choose the setting that gets them the most run time versus brightness depending on weather conditions.

Run time on the high setting is 4-6 hours and on the low setting it is 8-12 hours, both of which are based on a complete charge, which takes 8 hours in direct sunlight.

Alongside all its other positives, this solar spotlight is reasonably water-resistant. It ranks IP65 in terms of water and dust resistance, which means that it is fully resistant to particles entering it and is resistant to jets of water. That’s generally enough for most normal weather situations.

The Innogear Upgraded Solar Spolight is something of a jack-of-all-trades of solar spotlights, so its most important shortcoming to keep in mind is that it doesn’t quite excel in any one particular thing. Instead, it’s just an all-around well-designed, reliable light that has a good value.

A Close Second: MINI 50X Twin Solar-Powered Spotlight

  • IP 55
  • The High Points: good run time, useful modes, made from durable materials
  • The Not-So: not very water resistant, okay brightness

The strongest point of the MINI 50X Twin Solar-Powered Spotlight is its strength. Made out of cast aluminum with a low profile, these lights are perfect for a yard that is susceptible to lots of movement, from kids, pets or large groups. The stakes are particularly durable and will keep the lights in place over a long period of time.

Another important feature of the MINI 50X Twin Solar-Powered Spotlight is its modes. It has three different settings: full power, normal power and power saver. Each mode uses a different brightness to make the most of the light’s charge.

Reviewers highlight the durability of these lights by noting that instead of being lights that you can only count on for a few months, they are multi-season lights. They say that this is because the most important pieces are made of either metal or glass, unlike alternatives that are often made of entirely plastic.

Most reviews also mention the wide angle of illumination that the MINI 20X Twin Solar-Power Spotlight gives off. This is particularly exceptional, according to reviewers, because the physical light is actually quite small.

Since this light has three different modes, as mentioned above, full power, normal power and power saver, it also has a run time that greatly varies based on mode.

In the power saving mode, it can last up to 15 hours, while in the other ones, it will last at least 5 hours, depending on the mode. For any mode, the light must have a complete charge to reach its maximum run time, which takes about 8 hours.

One of the things to keep in mind about this light is its brightness. Because the lights are quite small and last a long time, their brightness is somewhat less than other comparable lights. Depending on the mode, they range between 60 and 100 lumens.

These lights’ resistance to damage from physically being hit are their forte, but they do lack other kinds of resistance, namely, water and dust resistance. They are rated IP 55 for water and dust resistance, which is the lowest rating on our list. That said, normal weather events shouldn’t be a problem for these lights, but in the face of extreme weather, its better to take them inside.

Another Favorite:

  • IP 66
  • The High Points: good run time, very waterproof, flexible placement
  • The Not-So: no modes, long charge time

The CLY 3-in-1 Solar Spotlights’ name speaks for itself – the three lights connected to one small solar panel combine to make one of the most efficient, high-value setups of solar spotlights that we could find. They don’t sacrifice much in brightness or in run time to be a triple threat, which makes them one of our favorite solar spotlights.

In addition to being powerful, they also are resistant to weather events, even though the three lights are connected to the solar panel via a cord. What could have been a point of vulnerability for these lights ends up being a strength because it provides a wide range of areas where the lights can be placed, even in the shade, as long as the solar panel piece is in the sun.

Reviewers focus on the sturdy build and high-quality material of these lights, as well as the convenience of having three lights for just one solar panel. They also say that they are exceptionally easy to install, which brings all the positives together.

One point where reviewers wished for improvement was in brightness. Although they are brighter than some other options, reviewers pointed out that the lights don’t throw their illumination as far as a brighter light might, something that many considered very important for a solar spotlight.

Each of the three lights gives off 150 lumens. They come in a kit that includes all the tools you need to install the lights by either staking them into the ground or by mounting them onto a wall and are attached to base which can be rotated to suit a variety of angles.

As previously mentioned, these lights are water- and dust-resistant. They are IP 66 rated, which although not submersible water-proof, means that they handle just about any external source throwing water at them, which is usually good enough for a solar spotlight.

Unfortunately, the run time to charge time ratio for these lights isn’t that good. Although it has an excellent run time, 12 hours, it takes 8-10 hours to reach maximum charge, which is more light than most peoples’ yards get in one day. The consolation is that even with a partial charge, these lights will stay on a long time.

Best Value: DBF Outdoor Solar Lights

  • IP 65
  • The High Points: very bright, good value
  • The Not-So: long charge time

For our best value choice, that is, the light that combines solid features at a low price point, we considered a number of options, and settled on the DBF Outdoor Solar Lights in large part because of their brightness.

They perform well in run time and in water resistance, which are two features that we consider most important at a basic level, but where the DBF Outdoor Solar Lights really shine is in lumens. These lights clock in at 600 lumens each (they come in a package of two), which makes them among the brightest that we found.

Reviewers say that what stands out most about these lights is the brightness. Many said that they were dubious about solar lights before using these or had had experiences with solar lights where the brightness did not live up to their expectations, but these lights proved those experiences wrong.

A few reviewers also cautioned users to be gentle when installing the stakes. Although the process is relatively simple, it can be easy to break the stakes upon installation because these solar lights are not made of as durable materials as others, since they are largely plastic.

The DBF Outdoor Solar Lights have two modes: high and low. Those modes have an important effect on their run time.

On the high mode, you can expect that the lights will stay illuminated for 4-6 hours, while on the low mode, they should stay illuminated for almost double that, 8-10 hours.

Both of the possible run times are based on a complete charge, which for this solar light, is somewhat variable. You can expect it to charge in anywhere from 6 to 9 hours. At its best this solar light has a reasonable charging time, but if not at its most efficient, it is not ideal.

These lights come in two different colors, either warm white, which gives off a more yellow glow, or cool white, which has more of a blue tone. To many, cool white seems brighter, so it tends to be a more common choice among solar spotlights, but both options have a very similar price in this particular product.

For Those on a Budget: LITOM Upgraded Solar Spotlights

  • IP 67
  • The High Points: very water-resistant, very bright, quick charge time
  • The Not-So: limited side-to-side swivel, looks like a camera

The LITCOM Upgraded Solar Spotlights look like they’ve come from the future, and they perform like it too. LITCOM’s upgrade utilizes modern LED and solar technology to create lights that are bright and charge quickly, all at a very accessible price.

Instead of the solar spotlight being in two or more pieces with the solar panel separate from the light piece, LITCOM combined the two aspects for a more space- and material-efficient light. In doing so, they also created a light that is very resistant to water and physical damage.

Although the LITCOM Upgraded Solar Spotlight is our budget choice, no solar spotlight user should rule it. It combines high-quality features with a low price.

Most reviewers love this light so much that they bought multiple sets. They highlight how well the design allows them to angle the lights up and down because of the way that the solar panel/light piece is molded to the stake, but also explain that it is important to note that it does not swivel side to side.

One thing that reviewers noted as both a positive and negative aspect of these lights is that their design is aesthetically reminiscent of a camera. Some liked that the lights were well-disguised and might provide some safety, while others thought that the camera-style didn’t go well with their outdoor spaces.

In either case, reviewers did appreciate the placement of the solar panels directly onto the light, which is part of what contributes to the camera look.

Out of all the lights on our list, the LITCOM Upgraded Solar Spotlight has the highest IP rating, 67. It’s the only one that reaches the status of truly waterproof. Its compact design also helps to make it more resistant to not just rain, but other types of weather, like wind or hail.

In addition to its durability, this solar spotlight is also very bright. It shines at 600 lumens in its brightest mode, and in its low mode, it is 350 lumens.

Having two modes that vary so much in brightness also means that the run times of the two different modes are vastly different. In high mode, it may last just 6 hours, while in the low mode, it can last up to 12 hours.

To achieve either of those run times, it must be charged in direct sunlight 4-5 hours, which is also the shortest charge time on our list. Most homes receive at least that much direct sunlight even in the winter, so these lights are sure to run during all seasons.

Most Colorful: Itscool Colored Solar Spotlights

  • IP 65
  • The High Points: good run time, colorful, different modes
  • The Not-So:

As much as solar spotlights can light up a yard and bring new life into it, that might not be enough for everyone. If that’s you, the Itscool Colored Solar Spotlight can bring extra exuberance to a space, whether it’s through a consistent single shining color or a flashing rainbow.

These solar spotlights come with a remote that lets users select one of eight colors to set the lights on, click through multiple colors manually or allow the light to automatically scroll through all color options. Out of many solar spotlights, the Itscool Color Solar Spotlights are the only ones that combine fun colors with the excellent functionality of a normal solar spotlight.

The all-around favorite aspect of these lights from many reviewers is the remote. They say that having the remote to control the color settings and the timer settings is much easier than having to toggle through options with just one or two buttons, as is the norm for many solar lights.

Reviewers also generally love the actual colors, noting that compared to other colored yard lights that they’d had in the past that these have a number of color options, each of which is unique and brilliant. They also said that the setting to leave it on one color is extra useful, especially when decorating a yard with a specific theme in mind.

Like other solar spotlights, the Itscool Color Solar Spotlights have many of the same basic features. They feature an excellent run time of 16 hours. That is based on 7 hours of charging to fill the battery.

These solar spotlights are also reasonably weather-resistant, with an IP rating of 65. They’re made almost entirely of a durable plastic, including both the head and the stake.

The brightness might appear to vary by color because of each color’s tone. However, each of the two lights included in this pack are 200 lumens on their brightest setting. They have three brightness settings: high, medium and low.

The color options are: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple, pink and plain cool white. On the setting that scrolls through the light colors automatically, you can set them to change either every 30 seconds or every 30 minutes.

For a 2-Head Light: Double Head Outdoor Solar Spotlights

  • IP 65
  • The High Points: very bright, motion sensing, quick charge time
  • The Not-So:

To more widely distribute the light from a solar spotlight, there are the Double Head Outdoor Solar Spotlights. This solar spotlight features two light heads that can face in two different directions.

Each of the lights is attached to the panel and stake piece on a swiveling base. That allows them to be pointed in any way necessary.

The Double Head Outdoor Solar Spotlights also come with a motion sensor. That makes them an excellent candidate for a security light as well as an aesthetic light. With a wide range of light and the ability to sense motion, they are a next generation solar spotlight.

What Reviewers Say

Reviewers rave about almost all of the aspects of these lights. They explain that these lights are bright, always charge fast, run for a long time and even are a pleasant color.

Most reviewers also love the motion sensing features, which they say are the perfect level of sensitivity; not too sensitive that small motions will set them off, but larger objects and people will.

The one thing that reviewers note is that they two-pronged head of these lights creates a structural weak point in the middle. A few reviewers found that in strong winds, this weak point becomes important and can cause the light to crack or even break under the pressure from the winds.

Features & Considerations

These solar spotlights come with four different settings, two of which are associated with motion sensing and two of which are associated with brightness. The settings include: micro-light mode (dim-to-on motion sensing); auto switch mode (off-to-on motion sensing); always 50% brightness; and always 100% brightness.

Their different settings feature different brightness settings. In the 100% brightness mode, these lights illuminate at 1,000 lumens, and in the 50% brightness mode, they shine at 500 lumens. The other two modes use the same brightness levels where applicable.

Users can expect that these lights will stay on for approximately 9-10 hours, depending on setting and charge. In order to achieve maximum charge and thus optimal run time, these lights should charge for about 5 hours in direct sunlight.

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The Complete Solar Spotlights Buyer’s Guide

  • What Makes a Good Solar Spotlight?
  • Selection Criteria: How We Ranked the Best Solar Spotlights
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Makes a Good Solar Flagpole Light?

  • Lighting Up Shrubbery and Other Plants
  • Highlighting an Object (like a flag or other decoration)
  • Spotlighting in the Winter
  • Giving Accents to your Space

Every solar spotlight is different, just like every person’s need for a solar spotlight is different. There are a few factors that are common to every solar spotlight, like run times, charge times, brightness and color, but what users need out of solar spotlights depends largely on where they’ll be using it or what they’ll be using it for, so different users should prioritize different factors.

Lighting Up Shrubbery and Other Plants

Color is an important factor in illuminating greenery. The wrong color can make plants look fake or wilting, whereas an ideal color can make shrubs and flowers the center of a pleasant ambiance.

Highlighting an Object (like a flag or other decoration)

Brightness is the number one most important factor for highlighting an object. That’s because the main purpose of the spotlight is to draw lots of attention to the object and to make it easy to see. The best way to do that is with a light so bright that it’s impossible to miss.

Spotlighting in the Winter

Short charge times and long run times should be the priority for those using solar spotlights in the winter or in places where direct sunlight is in low supply. By choosing a light that has a short charge time and a long run time, you can be assured that your lights will stay on long into the night, something that might not be accomplished otherwise.

Giving Accents to your Space

Brightness might not be so important for accents in the grass or solar lights along a path, but the ability to adjust light angle is. You don’t want your accent lights angled too high so they don’t shine up into the air, and getting a wide angle with the light is key for a tasteful accent.

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Selection Criteria: How We Ranked the Best Solar Spotlights

  • Run Time/Charge Time Ratio
  • Light Characteristics: Lumens and Color
  • Durability
  • Other Features

In order to develop our list of the best solar spotlights, we took a number of factors into consideration. There are a few which we see as must basic to every solar spotlight, such as run time and charge time, brightness and color and durability, while there were other factors we looked at when they made the lights stand out among the rest.

Here’s the breakdown of how the different factors affected our rankings.

Run Time/Charge Time Ratio

When choosing any light, knowing how long it will stay on is essential. That is what we mean by run time, and time often varies based on settings. It also varies greatly between lights, but in general, we favor lights that have longer run times.

With solar lights, charge times are of particular interest. In order for a light to fulfill its run time, it must receive enough sunlight during the day to complete that charge.

The charge time values are the estimated number of hours that it takes for the battery to be fully charged if in direct sunlight. In this case, we favor lower numbers, because shorter charge times mean that the lights are more likely to receive enough charge to run longer.

Product Run Time Charge Time
InnoGear Upgraded Solar Spotlight 4-6 hours (low mode); 8-12 (high mode) 8 hours
MINI 50X Twin Solar-Powered Spotlight 5-15 hours 8 hours
12 hours 8-10 hours
DBF Outdoor Solar Lights 4-6 hours (low mode); 8-10 hours (high mode) 6-8 hours
LITOM Upgraded Solar Spotlights 6-12 hours 4-5 hours
Itscool Colored Solar Spotlights 16 hours 7 hours
Double Head Outdoor Solar Spotlights 9-10 hours 5 hours

Light Characteristics: Lumens and Color

Knowing what a light is going to look like before buying it is something that most people generally want to know. We chose to explore this as a function of color and brightness.

We didn’t necessarily rank brighter lights or specific colors as necessarily better, because both factors are subject to personal taste, but we were sure to consider if that information is clear and seems to be accurate.

Product Lumens Color Color Temp (if known)
InnoGear Upgraded Solar Spotlight 200 white 6500K
MINI 50X Twin Solar-Powered Spotlight 60-100 warm white n/a
150 warm white 3000K
DBF Outdoor Solar Lights 600 cool white n/a
LITOM Upgraded Solar Spotlights 600 in high mode; 350 in low mode white 6600K
Itscool Colored Solar Spotlight 200 multicolored n/a
Double Head Outdoor Solar Spotlights 1000 in high mode; 100 in low mode cool white 6500K

Durability

When considering durability, we took two main factors into consideration: IP ratings and materials. We wanted to determine durability in inclement weather situations as well as in the possibility of physical damage due to being knocked around or hit with something.

The IP rating is the best way to think about weather resistance, as it applies to water and dust resistance. Each rating consists of two numbers, the first number applies to dust and the second applies to water, and higher numbers correspond to greater resistance.

On the other hand, the resistance to damage from trauma is more difficult to quantify, but in general, we preferred lights made of metal and glass over plastic, since those materials tend to last longer, especially in the stake piece of these solar spotlights. When a light was particularly durable in this sense, we pointed it out.

Other Features

In addition to basic features, which we see as necessities, we also favored solar spotlights that go above and beyond with useful extra features. Some of the features that we found and highlighted are:

  • Brightness level settings
  • Motion sensing
  • Colors
  • Power-saving modes

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • How do I install the solar spotlights?
  • How bright are yard spotlights usually? Do these solar spotlights compare?
  • What do I need to consider when installing my solar spotlights?
  • Why are the run times and charge times so different between all the different lights?

How do I install the solar spotlights?

Most of the solar spotlights on our list have two possible ways that they can be installed. The first is the simplest, by staking them into the ground. All of the lights include the stake, so the actual installation process just consists of pushing the stake into the ground.

If you’re looking for a light that can be mounted onto a wall, most of the lights on our list also have this capability. Most of them also include the tools needed to successfully and strongly mount them and are designed for the stake to be removed to allow for easier mounting; it is just a matter of selecting a suitable wall.

How bright are yard spotlights usually? Do these solar spotlights compare?

Most landscapers agree that approximately 120 lumens or greater is appropriate for yard spotlights, although certain small shrubs or installations could be suited for fewer lumens.

The solar spotlights that we considered are almost all brighter than 120 lumens, and the vast majority are much brighter, with the option to use a dimmer setting if desired. They range up to 100 lumens, with most of the lights having the majority of their settings between 200 and 600 lumens.

What do I need to consider when installing my solar spotlights?

As with most solar lights, one of the most important considerations of installing solar spotlights is the placement of the solar panel kit. Most of the solar panels are built directly into the light piece and as such, the entire contraption should be installed in a place where it will receive direct sunlight for at least a few hours a day (see the charge times to see how many hours are necessary to charge a light completely).

If the solar panel is somehow separate, as it is in a few options on our list, then just the solar panel needs to be in direct sunlight and the light piece can be located elsewhere.

Why are the run times and charge times so different between all the different lights?

Run times in ideal situations are largely determined by the capacity of the battery in the solar light. Batteries with larger capacities tend to have longer run times. They also can vary based on the solar energy being used by the light (from the battery), which is often a result of the brightness of the light and if any other settings are involved (like motion sensing).

Like run time, charge time is also dependent on a device’s battery capacity, because larger capacities require longer amounts of time to charge. Charge time is also affected by the efficiency of the solar panel in absorbing energy. The more efficient the solar panel, the more that can be absorbed.

In order to charge at maximum efficiency, lights also need to be in direct sunlight. Placement and sun angle affect how directly the sunlight hits the solar panel. Thus, since so many factors are involved in both elements, the run times and charge times tend to vary largely based on materials in theory and can vary even more in practice, depending on placement and sun angle.

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Understanding How to Uplight Trees in Your Landscape

Once darkness creeps in, your yard may look a bit spooky. By adding uplighting to the trees, you’re able to illuminate beautiful areas of the yard without making it overly bright or adding too much to the yard. There is a certain way to uplight your trees, as well as certain fixtures that should be used for this type of landscape lighting. Identifying both the method and the fixtures can provide you with an idea of where to start on your landscape lighting endeavor.

How to Uplight

By placing a fixture at the base of the tree’s trunk and shining it up towards the tree, you’re able to capture the beautiful branches, leaves and even blooms above. However, making sure that the fixture is inconspicuous is important since you want to ensure that you are not advertising where the light is coming from. You want a soft, subtle glow that is natural and provides an ambiance rather than a bright, menacing light that may be more of an annoyance. By placing the light in the right place, directing the glow towards the tree’s branches and not across the lawn, you’re able to give a dramatic effect to both the yard and the tree.

Fixtures to Use for Uplighting

There are numerous fixtures that can be used for uplighting trees in your landscape. Keep in mind that choosing too bright or bulky a light can be a problem when it comes to creating a soft glow. With the Lupine series that Touchstone offers, you’re able to get that soft glow right below your trees that provide the illumination needed to capture only the branches, leaves and blooms. There are other fixtures that provide the same glow, are adjustable and can provide the right brightness without overdoing the look. Make sure to purchase the right-sized transformer as well to provide the electricity needed to power the lights when the sun goes down.

Having a soft, beautiful glow all night will not only add a touch of personalization, but it can also provide security and a way to see your yard at night. Sit outside and relax while the soft glow shines over trees and onto walkways.

By asking our experts at Touchstone Accent Lighting, you’re able to get the most comprehensive answers to all of your landscape uplighting needs. Not only can we recommend a brand to you, but we also extend our services to give you tips and tricks on how to install the light properly in order to get the results you’re looking for.

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