Landscaping

The UK’s Best Solar Garden Lights To Add Decorative Lighting To Your Landscape

solar garden lights arranged along a driveway

Take a leap in garden decor and try outdoor solar lighting. Beautify your garden from dusk to dawn with anything from an austere bluish light to a twinkling golden glow.

Whether you’re setting up a Midsummer Night outdoor barbecue to enjoy with the kids or you aim to lend a touch of romance to midnight strolls with your S.O. on cool spring nights, there is the ‘right’ solar garden light for you – and even the ‘right’ mode. For the barbecue, try rippling waves of bright lights twinkling through shades cut with star shapes. For the strolls, how about a low-key, steady, diffused light emanating from tiny spheres?

You can use solar garden lights for many other purposes: for pathway lighting, to add a festive touch, to enhance security, to enjoy outdoor activities after sundown, and – of course – to add another and further kind of atmospheric charm to your garden. Go ahead and impress your dinnertime guests.

For all their multi-purpose usages, outdoor solar lights are very affordable and are also as easy as pie to set up. Thus, they give you bang for the buck and bang for your effort!

Solar garden lights have rechargeable batteries eliminating the need for electrical points or for mood-breaking electric cords. These batteries charge to the extent that available sunlight and the positioning of the solar panel(s) will allow. The lighting system is equipped with both solar panels and light sensors enabling the lights to charge during the day, automatically turn on at dusk, and automatically turn off soon after dawn. All you need to do, after set up, is to turn on the switch. And hey, presto! you get precisely the lighting of your choice night after night; all automatic and with no recurring costs.

Last update on 2020-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API

Let’s start with our best-pick product:

Best Pick: Golwof 6 Pack Solar Lights

‘Bring on the festivities!’ That is what Golwof’s brilliant set seems to say as it emanates a golden glow and casts star-like patterns on your lawn.

Golwof’s 6 pack of solar lights comprise of LEDs inside cylindrical shades that have patterns cut in star-like shapes with the occasional crescent thrown in.

The bulb emits a gentle, warm light that suffuses your garden with a golden glow. And that’s not all— these lights throw lovely patterns of light comprising of those star-like shapes and crescents on your lawn!

Unlike many other garden lights, Golwof ’s solar lights create a festive atmosphere and are almost certain to wow all visitors.

Affixed to the supplied stakes, these lights are 45.6 centimetres high. However, this brilliantly-designed set allows you to attach a couple of lights on the supplied stakes and push them into the ground, hang a couple of them on the gate or a cross-beam, and simply place another two sans the spikes on a decorative post or the verandah wall. Then turn each one on once and that’s it.

These solar lights charge in 6 to 8 hours with sufficient sunlight. The solar-power system is definitely well above average because even with feeble or limited sunlight they still charge well and light up for at least a few hours at night.

Equipped with IP44 waterproofing, Golwof’s kit is designed to withstand rain and sleet.

What’s there not to like about these solar lights? Nothing! Once in a blue moon a product can be endorsed without caveats and cons, and we think that . . . hey, it’s a blue moon!

These lights are the best pick for those who want to generate festive cheer and hear some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’!

Golwof is confident that you’ll be well pleased because they have a 30-day refund policy besides a one-year warranty.

Pros

  • The design and styling of the lamps and cut-outs is quite excellent.
  • The patterns they throw on the ground are even ‘more excellent’(!)
  • Lamps can be affixed to stakes, hung, or placed on a level surface.

Cons

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Value Pick: Usboo String Lighting

They may be tasteful, and elegant, and even multi-mode, but above all, Usboo’s cool blue frosted-glass crystalline solar lights are easy on the pocket.

Usboo’s product comprises of 30 fairy lights strung on 7.32 metres of wire, with about 2 metres between the solar panel and the first light. The spherical lights are made of a clear, strong, lightweight plastic and each sphere is about 2.5 centimetres in diameter. These lights have a crystalline, frosted, crushed glass appearance and emit a cool bluish light of just the right intensity for garden decor.

These lights look tasteful and elegant.

This budget-priced set has 8 settings: steady on, fireflies, waves, fading, chasing, slow fade, twinkling, and combination. Push the mode button beside the power button to change the lighting style. Push it repeatedly until the desired mode is reached.

Though a full charge is rated to last 10 to 20 hours in flashing modes, realistically you will get about 8 hours.

Some units exhibit a flaw that may be funny to some and maddening to others. Every day at dusk when the lights automatically turn on, they do not stay at the mode you had set them to; they simply ‘choose’ one or another mode at random! So you may have set them to ‘Fading’ mode but what you may get the next day is ‘Fireflies.’

While the lights themselves are quite robust, if you’re unlucky you may get a set in which a few lights go out in three months or so.

The solar panel can be put on the supplied spike or mounted on a fence. It has an adjustable angle to maximise its exposure to sunlight.

These lights are the best pick for those who want cool fairy lights with many modes, all at a budget price.

This kit is genuinely water-proof and it will keep working through rainy days.

Pros

  • Call it crystalline, call it frosted, call it crushed glass – it looks lovely!
  • Eight different modes of which a few are truly creative and delightful.
  • At such a low price, you can’t go wrong.

Cons

  • Now and again, the selected mode won’t ‘catch’ and will change by itself.
  • Some sets have a few defective lights which quit working in three or four months.
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FLOWood LED Solar Garden Globes – 8 Pack

For those who like their lighting classic and sedate, you can’t beat FLOWood’s globes and their diffused white light which is ideal for garden walkways.

FLOWood’s design comprises of pole-mounted globes emitting diffused, soft white light in a sedate and classic design. Though some may find the lighting to be on the weak side, this set is particularly good for walkways and garden paths as both the design and illumination are perfect for such purposes.

Each set has 8 pieces.

FLOWood markets its solar garden lights in two variants or styles: an ‘8 pack’ and a ‘4 pack’ but do not be misled by the names. The 4 pack has lights of a wholly different design comprising of black cuboid shades cut with abstract patterns.

While these lights look classy, the screw plate, pole, and spike are made of cheapish plastic and are anything but durable; something or another could break if handled roughly.

After 8 to 10 hours of charging these lights provide 6 to 8 hours of illumination. They charge fairly quickly, even on days with feeble sunlight. However, some units fail to emit sufficient light, even after being charged in bright sun and other sets may have one or two defective lights.

Both the solar panel and its battery are encased within the sphere and thus are shielded from rain and snow. The IP44 protection is not a gimmick because these lights are really waterproof.

These lights are the best pick for those who want something low-key and with a classic look.

FLOWood provides top-flight customer service.

Pros

  • This set is well conceived and well designed and has a sedate, classic feel about it.
  • The soft white light is gentle and is perfectly suited for walkways and pathways.
  • Very easy to assemble and set up.

Cons

  • The materials and construction are shoddy; some or another part could break.
  • Depending on your luck, you may get one or two pieces that emit little light or do not work at all.
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Iihome 50 Solar Crystal Lights Warm White

Another set for the budget-conscious buyer, Iihome’s 50-light set may have a few defective bulbs but just look at those tiny embedded bubbles – stunning!

Iihome’ 50 Solar Crystal Lights are available in five styles: Coloured, 2-in-1 White, White, 2-in-1 Warm White, and Warm White, which is the most popular variant and is the style reviewed here.

This product comprises of 50 spherical LED lights strung over 6.7 metres of wire with a solar-power system. Each small sphere, 2.5 centimetres in diameter, contains a thick plastic bulb. The charming feature is that each bulb has innumerable minuscule bubbles inside it. It emits a warm white light with a hint of gold.

The size of the lights is perfect for suspending them anywhere and off any structure from garage to gazebo. Drape them over a fence or twist-tie them to railings.

The multi-press mode button cycles through eight modes: combination, waves, sequential, slow-glow, chasing, slow fade, twinkle, and steady on.

The lights themselves are robust and well-made but the overall system less so. Some units pack it in in one month to one year though others continue working through rain and even snow. However that may be, to get 50 little solar lights at a throwaway price is a value-for-money deal even if they are not ‘perennials’ and are merely ‘annuals’!

The 6.7 metre-long wire with so many lights is prone to getting tangled and knotted.

On a charge of 6 to 8 hours, Iihome’s set provides static light for up to 10 hours. Even under faint sunlight or on cloudy days these lights charge quite well.

This set’s IP65 waterproof design proves itself because the lights continue to work properly even after a spell of rain.

Iihome kit is the best pick for those who want many little lights for little-little money, with whimsical flashing modes.

Iihome provides a one-year warranty and are very good about honouring it.

Pros

  • Super value for money.
  • The little spherical lights are the ideal size for fairy lights.
  • The innumerable minuscule bubbles inside each sphere close the deal to provide an enchanting fairyland appearance.

Cons

  • Dicey quality control means that some sets work for some months to a year.
  • The long wire strung with so many lights can get tangled and knotted.
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Bawoo Outdoor Solar-Powered Lights

Cool in more ways than one, Bawoo’s pole-mounted lights may be of dodgy quality but they are both classy and unusual in their starburst light patterns.

Bawoo’s solar lights comprise of a transparent cylinder on a spike with the solar panel on top of the cylinder. It casts a cool white light that is somewhat brighter than most solar lights.

The textured transparent cover is constructed so as to throw light in a starburst or spoked pattern. Though the light is not powerful, the overall effect is unusual yet classy.

Each set has 12 lights and they provide illumination that is well-nigh ideal for walkways and paths.

Some assembly is required but it’s so simple as to be child’s play. The main task is to find the switch inside the cover or cap of the lamp and turn it on.

Although the materials are inexpensive and delicate and the pole or spike can get bent, the quality and finishing are good. However, the quality control is anything but: some sets are defective; within a day or two or after several months of use, two, three, or even four lights lose brightness or stop working entirely.

Bawoo claim that their IP65 rating makes their lights ‘waterproof and corrosion-resistant.’ And that is true, for, barring the odd defective piece, on the whole, they withstand rain quite well.

These lights require an initial charge of 6 to 12 hours after which charging for only 4 to 6 hours will provide 6 to 8 hours of light.

These lights are the best pick for those who want modern, classy and stylish lights with a fresh twist.

Bawoo provides a two-year warranty and also a 30-day money-back guarantee, and also have excellent after-sales support.

Pros

  • The styling of the lights and the starburst pattern exude classiness.
  • The overall quality and finishing are very good.
  • The company provides not only a warranty but even a money-back guarantee and excellent after-sales support.

Cons

  • The dodgy quality of the materials means that a pole or a spike can get bent if handled roughly.
  • Equally dodgy quality control results in defective sets in which three or four lights are duds.
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How Long Do Solar Garden Lights Last?

This really depends on the quality and the durability of the product, which depends for the most part on the price point. However, when solar garden lights quit working it is usually not the LEDs that are worn out, but, the rechargeable battery which has a life of two to three years. Even if the batteries continue working, their charge capacity and discharge rate will be reduced. The LEDs last much longer; good quality LEDs will last over ten and up to 20 years.

How To Clean Solar Panels On Your Garden Lights

You may need to clean accumulated and caked dust and grime from your solar panels from time to time but doing so incorrectly or roughly could scratch or damage the panels. As a general rule, avoid using detergents or abrasives. Apply a jet of water from a hosepipe while pinching the nozzle and rub the panel with a cotton towelette.

To remove more stubborn grime, scrub it off with a soft brush. Alternatively, prepare about one cup of a 1:8 solution of vinegar and squeeze in a slice of lemon. Soak a cotton towelette in the solution and clean the solar panels.

Do Solar Garden Lights Work Well in the UK?

While Cloudy Old Blighty is not exactly Sunny Italy, it is a misperception and a myth that solar lights are incompatible with British weather. The fact is that solar panel technology has come a very long way in the past several years. Now, although direct or bright sunlight is – of course – preferable for solar panels to charge rapidly and fully, it is not a ‘must.’ Solar panels can charge up, albeit less efficiently, on whatever ambient light is available even when it is cloudy and overcast. So, yes, solar garden lights work quite well in the U.K.

About the author

Kersasp 'Kersie' Shekhdar

Kersie learnt the basics of gardening as a toddler, courtesy of his grandfather. In his youth he was an active gardener with a preference for flowering plants. He is a professional and vocational writer and his freelance projects have spanned various kinds of writing.

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