Whether you have a large backyard, a small patio, or a tiny balcony, string lights illuminate your outdoor space while adding sparkle and whimsy. String lights create a festive atmosphere for entertaining or simply relaxing with your family.
Standard string lights need to be plugged into a wall outlet, but solar lights are powered by the sun. This makes them handy if you don’t have a conveniently placed outlet or are looking for an energy-efficient and eco-friendly choice that won’t add to your electricity bill. The solar panel simply needs to be placed in a location that gets plenty of sunlight, and the lights will automatically illuminate as soon as the sun goes down.
Solar lights can be hung over a dining table, woven into the beams of a pergola, or strung from the trees to turn your backyard into an atmospheric oasis. Read on for some of the best solar string lights for your outdoor space.
Our Top Picks
The following picks consider all of the key features to look for in string lights, including length, brightness, bulb style, and color. This list offers a variety of choices for a top-notch string of solar lights that suits your needs and budget.
Most high-quality solar string lights use LED bulbs because they are long-lasting and emit plenty of light but very little heat, making them a safe choice for many settings. These LED Edison-style bulbs have a vintage look and last five to six hours on a full charge. The panel can be fully charged with six hours of direct sunlight.
This strand of lights features 12 bulbs spaced at a distance of 20 inches apart, creating a span of 20 feet. Additionally, there’s a 6-foot wire connecting to the solar panel, allowing you to place it in the sunniest location. The bulbs are protected with shatterproof plastic shells that are heat-resistant up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
To establish the warmth of a lightbulb, look at the color temperature in Kelvins. The lower the number, the warmer the light will be. This set of lights is available in both warm white (2700K) and a slightly cooler soft white (3000K).
This versatile set of string lights can be either solar powered or charged with a micro-USB cable and used both indoors and outdoors. It’s 44 feet long and includes 15 Edison-style LED bulbs. Multiple strands can be connected for larger spaces. The solar panel takes six to eight hours of continuous sunlight to charge completely and will power the lights for up to eight hours. They have four modes: steady lights, slow flash, quick flash, and pulsating.
It has excellent waterproofing, with a rating of IPX5, meaning it can withstand even strong water jets. The bulbs are also shatter-proof, meaning you don’t have to worry about breaking them.
This affordable string of solar lights is 72 feet long and features 200 tiny LED lights. It is available in a variety of colors, including warm white, cool white, green, blue, and multicolored. It also offers a number of different lighting modes, allowing you to set the lights to fade, twinkle, flash, or steadily glow. After receiving a full charge, the lights will shine for as long as 12 hours.
The solar panel itself is small and unobtrusive, at 3.3 inches by 2.9 inches, making this pick a great choice for small balconies. The lead cable to the panel is 6 feet long, allowing you to place it in the most convenient location. These lights have an IP65 waterproofing rating, meaning they’ll hold up in rainy and even snowy conditions.
This string is 66 feet long and includes 200 tiny LED lights. They come on a flexible copper wire, allowing you to easily bend them into a number of different configurations. This specific set has a warm yellow hue, but the same collection is also available in blue, purple, pink, and multicolor to create a variety of different lighting atmospheres. What sets this group apart is that it has eight operating modes, allowing you to select the lights to flicker, fade, or create a firefly effect.
It takes approximately eight hours to charge, and the battery then lasts for six to eight hours, providing a long-lasting result. It has a waterproofing rating of IP65, meaning that it’s weather-resistant.
While most sets of string lights feature bulbs with classic shapes, these are available in a number of whimsical varieties that are sure to bring an element of fun to your outdoor living space. VMANOO offers standard orb-shaped bulbs, but their solar string lights are also available in shapes like dragonflies and flowers. The floral variety comes in warm white, cool white, purple, and multicolor.
The set of multicolored floral lights features a 21-foot string of 50 LEDs. They operate in eight different modes, allowing you to create many interesting effects. The solar panel is small, at 2.64 square inches, and the cord has a 6.5-foot lead length. The battery takes six to eight hours to charge, which allows the lights to operate for eight to 12 hours.
This string of 100 tiny fairy lights is set on a flexible copper wire that can be manipulated into a number of different shapes, allowing you to easily wrap it around furniture or a pergola. It has a length of 33 feet and, when fully charged, can operate for up to eight hours. It comes with eight different lighting settings, including fade, chase, slow fade, twinkle, and steady on. It also has an internal memory, so it will recall the last setting you used. The lights have a warm white hue.
It has a waterproofing rating of IP65, meaning it can withstand being sprayed with water but should not be submerged. These lights are also safe to use indoors, though the solar panel will have a hard time charging completely if it’s not in direct sunlight.
This 27-foot string of lights includes 25 large Edison-style bulbs spaced 10 inches apart. This set can be used either indoors or outdoors. For indoor use, a micro-USB charger is provided, allowing you to charge the battery electronically. It takes five to eight hours to charge the battery using solar power or four hours using the USB charger. By having both options, you can ensure your lights will illuminate even on a cloudy or rainy day. The solar panel itself is large, measuring 7.87 inches by 8.66 inches. On a full charge, the lights will shine for up to eight hours. The color temperature of the lights is 3000K, giving them a versatile, neutral color that is neither too cool or too warm.