Even a small deck or yard can make warm weather much more enjoyable because you can move meals outside, sit under the sun with a morning coffee, or have friends and family over for a visit outdoors. With a few simple solar post cap lights, you can keep the fun going into the night. Illuminating a perimeter is made easy with solar lights since they don’t require a direct electrical connection or frequent battery changes.
The best solar post cap lights are made of strong materials like ABS plastic, aluminum, and glass, ensuring that they continue shining even in poor weather conditions. These lights can also range in brightness from just 10 lumens, which is about as bright as a cell phone flashlight, to over 200 lumens. Keep in mind that this brightness rating only refers to a single light, so adding more to the deck or yard would increase the overall light. Take a look at the products below for help in finding the best solar post cap lights for your home.
- BEST OVERALL: CaiFang Solar Post Lights Outdoor, 2 Pack
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: OTHWAY Solar Fence Post Lights Wall Mount, 4 Packs
- BEST VINTAGE: Kemeco ST4311AQ LED Cast Aluminum Solar Post Light
- BEST MODERN: FOOYANCHO Solar Post Cap Lights – Outdoor – (1 Pack)
- BEST LOW-PROFILE: MAGGIFT 15 Lumen Solar Post Lights, 2 Pack
- BEST FOR GARDENS: Siedinlar Solar Post Lights for Garden (2 Pack)
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Solar Post Cap Lights
Before making a quick decision when purchasing a solar light based completely on a great design, you may want to first consider the size and shape of the fence or deck post where it will be installed. Once that is determined, move on to the more detailed features, like its weather resistance, brightness, and overall performance, as well as a few other important factors mentioned below.
Deck and fence posts come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes that can impact the size you need for your solar post cap lights. In order to ensure the solar lights will fit the specific posts, it’s important to take accurate measurements beforehand and reference the product information and manufacturer’s recommendations before buying a product.
Most solar post cap lights are designed to fit over the top of a fence or deck post, typically coming with a bracket that screws directly into the wood. However, there are other products that have different requirements, including some solar post cap lights that attach directly to the side of the post, and others that have a bracket specifically made for round posts. It’s wise to take proper measurements before deciding on a product.
Solar post cap lights are made with a few different materials, each intended to give the lights a unique appearance while protecting the sensitive electrical components from rain, sleet, and snow.
- Plastic is an inexpensive and durable material that can be made with a variety of different color options, so it may even be designed to resemble metal. It’s resistant to water and extreme temperature fluctuations, though plastic isn’t as robust as aluminum.
- Aluminum and cast aluminum are regularly used to give solar post cap lights a high-quality appearance that can be modern, faux weathered, or antique in appearance. Aluminum is more durable than either plastic or glass; however, it’s less resistant to rain, sleet, and snow.
- Glass is typically used for ornamental panes in lantern-style solar post cap lights, but it can also be used in spherical and honeycomb lights. Glass is completely safe from rust and corrosion, so it won’t be impacted by rain or snow. However, it is fragile and can easily be broken.
Solar post cap lights are made to stay outside during inclement weather so you won’t have to worry about covering them over or removing them before they get wet. However, the level of resistance to dust, dirt, debris, rain, sleet, and snow varies between products. For this reason, solar post cap lights usually feature an IP (Ingress Protection) rating that denotes their specific level of resistance.
The IP rating system refers to the device’s resistance to solid objects, represented by the first digit, and the resistance to water, shown with the second digit. The scale ranges from 0 to 6 for solids, with 0 being no protection at all and 6 indicating that the product is completely sealed against dust and any larger solids. The scale for water resistance ranges from 0 to 9. As with solids, 0 refers to no protection, while a 9 would indicate full protection from powerful close-range water jets.
Typically a water-resistance rating between 5 (protection against low-pressure jets of water) and 7 (can withstand full immersion in 3.2 feet of water for up to 30 minutes) is suitable for a solar post cap light.
The brightness of the light is a very important detail to note before deciding on the best solar post cap lights for your home. This is because if the post cap lights don’t produce enough light, the deck or yard will still sit in darkness. The number of individual LED bulbs in a solar light can be a broad indicator of the light’s brightness, but this is a basic product specification that isn’t as reliable as lumens.
The brightness of the light produced by solar post cap lights or any other type of light is measured in lumens. Solar post cap lights can range in lumens from as low as 5 lumens to more than 200 lumens, but the cost of the light will typically increase with the number of lumens it can produce. However, adding additional solar post cap lights will make the entire area brighter, so several low-brightness lights can be as effective as one or two high-brightness lights.
Battery and Charging Time
While you won’t have to worry about regularly replacing disposable batteries, solar post cap lights still use internal batteries that can impact the run time of the lights and the charging time. These batteries will typically take about 6 to 8 hours to fully charge, though the specific charging time will vary between individual products, even those that use the same type of battery.
Once fully charged, the average solar post cap light battery will be able to provide light for 6 to 10 hours, depending on the product. Inclement weather will reduce the efficiency of the solar panels, but the solar post cap lights will still charge during the day, even during a storm.
The aesthetic appearance of solar post cap lights isn’t the most important detail for functionality, but it’s an undeniable factor that needs to be considered in order to find the best solar post cap lights to match your deck and yard decor.
- Lantern-style lights are often as large as full-size lanterns and may have plastic or glass panes on each side to protect the lights inside the casing. These lights are usually made with aluminum, though some may be made of ABS plastic.
- Faux weathered finishes are great for adding a classic or antique appearance to the yard. This finish looks good with wood or metal posts and is most frequently made with cast aluminum.
- Honeycomb covers are used on solar post cap lights that attach to the side of the post or to the fence boards. They have a quarter-circle appearance that directs light down and out to each side, while the top half of the light is taken up by the solar panel.
- Modern solar post cap lights have a sleek appearance with very little decorative design. These minimalist pieces are a good choice for providing light without drawing a lot of attention away from the rest of the deck or yard.
- Spherical solar post cap lights are typically made of glass or plastic. They sit on top of a flat bracket, but are otherwise completely spherical in shape which gives them the ability to give off light at nearly 360 degrees.
- Flame effects may be added to standard solar post cap lights to give them the appearance of containing a blazing fire. The flickering light adds a comforting ambiance to the yard as day turns into night.
Our Top Picks
These products were selected for their quality, price, and the other essential factors mentioned above. The best solar post cap lights will keep a deck or yard illuminated so the outdoors can be enjoyed even after the sun has gone down.
The two-pack of water-resistant solar post cap lights comes in three different color options, including black, bronze, or silver, so users can find the ideal look for their yard, deck, or patio. These lights can be installed on 4-inch by 4-inch posts, 6-inch by 6-inch posts, and even on flat surfaces, so they can be added to the top of the railing instead of trying to slot them over a fence or deck post.
The solar post cap lights each output 10 lumens of light, giving the yard a comfortable look and feel as day turns to night. These lights take about 6 to 8 hours to fully charge, but once fully charged the light can last for up to 10 hours each night. The durable plastic casing keeps the lights protected from rain, sleet, and snow, with a water-resistance rating of IP65, so users can be confident that the lights will continue shining throughout the night, regardless of the weather.
- Two-pack of water-resistant solar cap lights
- Can mount on top of railing
- Charges in 6 to 8 hours and lasts up to 10 hours each night
- Made of durable plastic and comes in three colors
- Light output on the low end for lighting up stairs, etc.
- Simple, basic aesthetic
- Includes only two lights
These affordable solar lights come in a pack of four and mount directly to the side of a post, a fence, or even to a wall. The flat back can be attached with just two screws. Then, after the quarter-sphere cover is replaced on the bottom half of the light, it can be turned on. However, these honeycomb solar lights aren’t intended to illuminate the entire yard. Each produces about 12 lumens of light, displaying it in a decorative pattern that looks appealing as the sky begins to fade to night. Using multiples of this light can create brighter lighting.
Like most solar lights, these are designed with a built-in sensor that detects whether it’s day or night so that the lights don’t continue shining when they can’t be seen. The lights are made of ABS plastic and take about 6 hours to fully charge. Once charged, they work for between 4 and 8 hours on each charge.
- Comes in affordable four-pack
- Flat back made to mount on fence, post, or wall
- Each light casts 12 lumens of light in decorative pattern
- Charges in only 6 hours
- Lights last 4 to 8 hours, which might be too brief
- Modern look might not fit all styles and purposes
- Not necessarily water resistant
Bringing an antique elegance to the deck or the yard, the Kemeco solar post cap light is capable of blending technology with the outdoors without detracting from the natural setting. It comes with four top-mounted solar panels that can recharge the light in 6 to 8 hours. However, upon first use, the light should be charged for a full 24 hours before selecting the “on” setting. The vintage lantern-style solar post cap light is made with cast aluminum and glass panes.
This solar post cap light also comes with a 3-inch round base for circular posts or a 5.5-inch by 5.5-inch base for square posts. The bright 130 to 150 lumens make this a great choice for stand-alone light posts in the garden, at the base of the driveway, or on the steps leading up to the house.
- Vintage appearance and made of durable cast aluminum
- Comes in round or square design
- Bright, at 130 to 150 lumens, so good for safety
- Charges in 6 to 8 hours
- More expensive than others, but powerful enough to use alone
- Requires 24-hour charge before turning on for first time
The FOOYANCHO solar post cap light is designed with a modern appearance that resembles an upside-down pyramid with a flat, squared top to gather energy from the sun and a tapered, frosted plastic lamp that connects to the circular base. The base is made to be installed on top of the post so it can be used with posts of almost any size or shape as long as it exceeds 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches for a squared post or 4.5 inches in diameter for a round post.
These solar post cap lights take about 6 hours to charge during the day and provide 6 to 8 hours of light when the sun has gone down. Each light is capable of producing around 100 lumens of light, and the aluminum and plastic construction has an IP65 water-resistance rating so users can be confident that the lights won’t be damaged by rain, sleet, or snow.
- Light has a modern look
- Squared top gathers plenty of solar energy
- Ranked for water resistance
- Charges enough in 6 hours to produce 100 lumens of light
- Might be too bright for some uses
For those looking to illuminate the yard but don’t want the decorative shapes and sizes common with standard and lantern-style lights, this pack of two solar post cap lights is a great choice. The lights have a low profile that measures only 2.4 inches in height. Each solar post cap light provides up to 15 lumens of light without drawing attention away from the outdoor decor.
These solar post cap lights are made of durable plastic that has a water-resistance rating of IP44, ensuring that they are protected against rain, though it may be a good idea to cover them during ice storms to prevent damage. The lights take 6 to 8 hours to fully charge and can then function for 8 to 10 hours before needing to be recharged. It should also be mentioned that these lights can be installed on either 4-inch by 4-inch posts or 6-inch by 6-inch posts.
- Low-profile light (2.4 inches high)
- Water-resistant, durable plastic housing
- Provides light for 8 to 10 hours
- Install on 4×4 or 6×6 posts
- May need multiple sets to sufficiently light an area
This attractive two-pack of solar post cap lights incorporates a metal woven floral design in the lamp shape that looks great in the garden and is also suitable for patios, decks, and fences. The lights are each capable of producing up to 15 lumens of light, which is about 5 lumens more than a cell phone flashlight, so these lights are well suited for outdoor decoration.
With an IP65 water-resistance rating, these solar post cap lights are made with durable cast aluminum. These lights take about 6 to 8 hours to fully charge, providing between 8 to 10 hours of light. They also come with a reversible base so that the lights can be secured to a range of different posts and railings. In fact, the base doesn’t even need to be used because the light can be fastened directly to the post.
- Two attractive lights with metal woven floral design
- Rated for water resistance
- Made of durable cast aluminum
- Reversible base to fit on different post types
- Only two per pack, which might not be enough light
For a functional set of post cap lights powered by the sun that hold up to water, look to the CaiFang Solar Post Outdoor Lights. Or light up an entryway or sidewalk area with only one or two super-bright and attractive vintage-style Kemeco Cast Aluminum Solar Post Lights.
How We Chose the Best Solar Post Cap Lights
Solar lights can add safety and ambiance to entryways, gardens, patios, and other outdoor spaces with no cords or wiring required. To work well, they need to charge within typical daylight hours and last as long as you need them to, hopefully up to 8 hours. Aside from battery and charging time, we looked at brightness, which is measured in lumens, to offer a range of choices. You might want one bright light or a set of several that add just enough light to provide some safety while still allowing you to see stars.
Since these lights sit outside in the sun and rain or snow, they need to hold up, so we analyzed materials and weather resistance when choosing the best solar post cap lights. Most cap lights are designed to fit over a fence top or deck post, so check measurements when deciding. Finally, this list offers several aesthetic choices to match modern, garden, or vintage styles.
FAQs About Solar Post Cap Lights
Before investing in a new solar post cap light, take a look at these frequently asked questions and their answers to learn more about how solar lights function and how long they will last before needing to be replaced.
Q. Do solar post lights work if it’s cloudy all day?
While direct sunlight is the best way to quickly charge a solar post cap light, indirect daylight, even when it’s cloudy, will also charge the solar battery, just not at the same speed.
Q. Do solar post lights come with batteries?
While you won’t have to worry about regularly replacing disposable batteries, a solar post light still comes with one or more rechargeable batteries inside.
Q. How long does a solar post cap light last?
A solar post cap light can last between 2 and 8 years, depending on the frequency of use, the replaceability of the battery, and whether it’s somewhat sheltered or completely exposed to any and all weather conditions.
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Timothy Dale is a freelance writer, specializing in the home repair and construction niche. He spent his post-secondary years working in the plumbing trade, while completing degrees in English Literature and Psychology, before taking on a Project Management position that ended up lasting 10 years. Mr. Dale has worked in residential plumbing and carpentry over his time as a Project Manager and also spent a year of his career in the commercial and industrial sector.