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Best Solar Lanterns: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide (2022)

GreenCitizen reviews solar lanterns for power outages, emergency situations, backpacking, or simply prettifying your garden and home space.

The solar lighting market is expected to reach $10.8 billion by 2024, compared to $5.2 billion in 2019.

After being left in the dark during a recent power outage crisis when my flashlight stopped working, I’ve decided to give solar-powered lanterns a try. And I haven’t looked back since. In dangerous emergency situations where you don’t have any other source of light, a solar-powered lantern is a definite life-saver.

I’ve talked to my friends, and tested solar lanterns on my own, to bring you the list of the best solar lanterns out there.

10 Best Solar Lanterns of 2022

1. LuminAID PackLite Nova USB Solar Lantern

LuminAID is my top pick for a solar lantern. It has 5 brightness settings, so you can choose between a low light to set an atmosphere or go for 75 lumens on turbo mode when you want to light up the whole area.

You can charge it either via solar energy in 10 hours or use a micro USB input and have it recharged in 1 to 2 hours.

The lantern is light and compact. It measures only 4.75 x 4.75 x 4.75 in. when inflated and packs down to less than 1 inch, so it’s a perfect traveling companion.

Luminaid

Pros

  • Charges via solar energy or USB 
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Lasts for 24h on low mode
  • Adjustable strap
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • USB port snaps off easily

Why Do I Like It?

I like that there’s no need for batteries, and you can charge it in two ways. 

2. TomCare Solar Lights Upgraded Solar Lantern

What makes TomCare solar lantern stand out is the flickering flames design. 

The flames look like real flames, and the yellow light creates a warm ambiance. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly candle alternative, this is a great choice.

The lantern doesn’t have any wires. It comes with a hanging clamp and a hook, so you can clip or hang it anywhere. 

You have to do is place it in direct sunshine to charge, and the solar panel will transfer the energy into electricity. 

TomCare Solar Lights Upgraded Solar Lantern

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Can be hung or clipped
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Needs manual turning on and off

Why Do I Like It?

I love the flickering flames effect. It looks like a real fire and adds ambiance and atmosphere.

3. MAGGIFT 2 Pack Hanging Solar Lights

These solar lights come in a pack of two. They are made of iron with a white finish, so it looks very decorative. 

The lantern can be used as a Christmas decoration or every day.

The light is subtle and soft, so this is an excellent choice if you need a lantern to give some glow to your garden or set a warm atmosphere at a party.

These lanterns can be hung on porches, trees, or placed on a tabletop. The lantern can last for 8 hours when fully charged.

MAGGIFT 2 Pack Hanging Solar Lights

Pros

  • Made of iron
  • Rustic style
  • Last for 8 hours

Cons

  • Not the best choice if you need very bright lights

Why Do I Like It?

I like the rustic design and the atmosphere they create. Plus, they are a perfect holiday or party decoration.

4. TomCare Solar Lights Metal Flickering Flame Solar

The next solar lights are made of metal with a rustproof finish, so they are durable. 

You can keep them outside all year long. The lantern has a glass effect, which makes it look more expensive.

But you don’t have to worry it’ll break if it falls down.

The design is flickering flames that resemble real fire.

The light the lantern gives out is warm yellow, so it’s a good candle substitution.

TomCare Solar Lights Metal Flickering Flame Solar

Pros

  • Rustproof
  • Made of metal
  • Attractive vintage design
  • IP65 water-resistant

Cons

  • Short lifespan

Why Do I Like It?

I like that it’s rustproof and made of bronze, which gives it a vintage feel.

5. Pearlstar Hanging Solar Garden Lights Outdoor

If you’re a fan of vintage style, you’ll love these.

 The lantern gives out a warm light. Moreover, it gives out a pattern when you place it on the ground. 

These lanterns can be placed on trees, garden, yard, or a pathway to your home.

They have a built-in light sensor, so they automatically turn on at night and charge during the day.

There’s a handle, so you can hang them on walls or place them on a flat surface.

Pearlstar Hanging Solar Garden Lights Outdoor

Pros

  • Vintage style
  • Sturdy handle
  • Light censored

Cons

  • No water-resistance

Why Do I Like It?

 I like that there’s a light sensor, so I don’t have to worry about manually turning them on and off.

6. OxyLED Solar Lanterns Outdoor

If you’re looking for a decorative lantern, look no further. 

OxyLED lantern casts out patterns of clouds. This is one of the best decorative lanterns you can get.

You can place it in your garden, backyard, pathway, or even use it when you go camping for a nice ambiance.

Even though it gives out light patterns, it’s strong enough to be used as a lamp.

The solar panel is located at the top, so it easily collects solar energy. The lantern needs 8 hours to reach full charge and lasts for 6 to 8 hours.

OxyLED Solar Lanterns Outdoor

Pros

  • Lasts all night
  • Attractive pattern
  • Bright light

Cons

  • Handles rust easily

Why Do I Like It?

I like the light pattern it gives out and that it’s bright to be used as a lamp.

7. Ulmisfee 2 Pack Solar Lantern

Here’s another lantern with a retro design. 

It has flameless horizontal stripes with an LED wavy edge column candle inside.

The candle looks so realistic, I had to check twice that it’s not the real thing. Overall, the lantern has a retro metal appearance and can be used indoors and outdoors.

It’s made of plastic, which isn’t ideal, but it’s rustproof and lightweight.

The top ring is detachable. You can use it to carry the lantern, hang, or remove it when keeping the lantern on a flat surface.

Ulmisfee 2 Pack Solar Lantern

Pros

  • Detachable top ring
  • Retro appearance
  • Battery can be replaced

Cons

  • Made of plastic

Why Do I Like It?

I like that it comes with a battery which collects solar energy. The bottom part of the lantern is replaceable, so it’s easy to switch batteries as needed.

8. Cooo 8 Pack Outdoor Solar Lantern

This is a set of 8 mason jar lanterns. 

The jars look like they are filled with fireflies at night, so if you’re looking to add a touch of magic to your garden or patio, look no further. 

The package includes 30 LED lids, handles, and crystal glass jars.

You can hang the jars with a shepherd hook or just place them on a pathway or another flat surface.

The jars are waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about rust or erosion.

Cooo 8 Pack Outdoor Solar Lantern

Pros

  • Made of glass, so they are durable
  • Package includes 8 jars
  • Perfect decor addition

Cons

  • Some users didn’t receive jars, only the lights

Why Do I Like It?

I love the whimsical design. It looks just like fireflies and gives out plenty of light.

9. TANSOREN LED Camping Lantern

Here’s a solar lantern for campers. The lantern is ultra-bright and easy to use. 

There’s a red light next to the DC input. If the light is on, it means the lantern is charging.

The bottom has 4 magnets, so you can attach the lantern to your car or another metal surface. 

There’s also a USB port, which means you can charge your android or another USB device.

This comes in handy in emergencies and means you won’t be left without your phone.

TANSOREN LED Camping Lantern

Pros

  • 4 magnets allow the lanterns to be attached to a metal surface
  • USB port for charging your phone
  • Gives out bright light

Cons

  • Can’t charge Apple devices

Why Do I Like It?

I love that it can be attached to a metal surface due to strong magnets.

10. OxyLED Solar Lanterns Outdoor Waterproof

The final solar lantern is another decorative one. It gives out a whimsical pattern and resembles tree branches when fully charged. 

This is a good choice if you want a soft light and to add some ambiance.

It automatically turns on and off and can last for up to 8 hours when fully charged.

The installation is extremely easy.

Simply open the cover, flip on the switch, and place the lantern where you desire.

OxyLED Solar Lanterns Outdoor Waterproof

Pros

  • Has a pattern resembling tree branches
  • Easy setup
  • Made of metal

Cons

  • Not very bright

Why Do I Like It?

I like the light pattern it gives out and how easy it is to set up.

What To Look For When Buying a Solar Lantern?

Design

Choosing the best lamp design can add classiness and elegance to your patio, garden, or backyard.
You can choose between different designs, such as:

LED Lights vs Conventional Lights

You’re not sure which ones have better features? Here’s why you should choose LED lamps:

  • LED lighting design is more environmentally friendly
  • Running and maintenance costs are low or free as solar LED lanterns use the sun’s energy
  • Solar LED bulbs are brighter than conventional ones and provide even illumination
  • Solar LED bulbs are safer, as they have no wires attached to them

Number of Lumens

Are you hosting a yard or garden party or you need a backup light during extreme weather conditions where solar lanterns are your only source of light?

Depending on what you’ll use the lanterns for, think about the brightness intensity.

When choosing a lantern for you, bear in mind that a lot of them have a decorative function and aren’t intended for lightning purposes. This means the light intensity won’t be very high.

Average lanterns have between 5 and 40 lumens. However, if solid lighting is your main goal, go for a LED lantern that has more lumens (such as the Luci Outdoor 2.0), and can give you more illumination. 

Charging Options

Choose solar lights with shorter charging and a longer working time.

If you live in an area where there isn’t a lot of direct sunlight, go for a lantern whose features include a combination of a battery and a solar panel. In this way, no matter the weather you find yourself in, you’ll be able to charge your product.

Pro tip: If you don’t have a good outdoor solar resource available, choose a battery with a low capacity type, as this will give you more time to charge it to the fullest, which will optimize its performance.

Location

To get the most of your solar-powered lantern, you should use it in a region that gets plenty of sunlight.

If, however, you live in a cloudy place, choose a lantern that uses an amorphous solar panel. (2)

Pro tip: Ensure that the solar cell isn’t shaded by foliage or surrounding structures, which can interfere with the charging.

Maintenance and Lantern Materials

Using sun energy equals easy solar lantern maintenance. Solar products generally don’t have a lot of moving parts, which means it’s easy to clean them.

To not worry about lantern damage, choose a quality material. Go for a high-quality plastic that doesn't sustain exposure to direct sunlight. If there are any metal parts, they should be stainless steel to ensure the lantern won’t rust because of moisture.

In case you go for a glass lantern, choose the kind of glass that won’t fade or frost as this will affect the lighting quality.

Weight

We know that string lights will add that magic touch to your garden, but they might not be the best choice.

Over time, the string will thin and break, which will cause solar lights to fall and break.

Also, to make the hanging lights last longer, go for a lightweight lantern instead of a heavyweight one. 

Pro tip: Instead of buying lanterns on a string, choose ones that have hooks. This way, you can choose where you want to hang your lights.

Emergency Situations

It’s essential to have a reliable lightning source in times of crisis and emergencies. The last thing you want is to get stuck during a blackout without adequate lighting for your family.

Solar-powered lamps that are also a LED lantern is a great choice:

  • For night lightning purposes — Being able to illuminate your environment at night is key to survival in emergency situations
  • Emergency backup — If systems fail during extreme weather you’ll have a back lighting source
  • Safer alternative — A candle lantern, or camping lanterns, are safer alternatives than kerosene lamps or open-flame candles

How Do Solar Lanterns Work?

A lantern is made of:

  • Battery
  • Light fixture
  • Controller board
  • Four cell solar array
  • Photoresistor

The solar cells are wired to the battery through a diode. During the day, the battery charges.

The controller board accepts energy from the solar cell and battery, as well as input from the photoresistor. Once the photoresistor indicates darkness, the controller board turns on the light fixture.

For the lantern to work correctly, its placement is important. Position the solar cell south at an angle perpendicular to the sun to make the most out of it.

Why Invest in Solar Lanterns?

A Renewable Source of Light

Solar power is renewable and more eco-friendly than items using electricity.

The sun always rises, so you’ll never worry about running out of energy, which can’t be said for other finite sources.

Also, solar energy is readily available and it doesn’t harm the planet.

Solar Light Will Save You Money

They pay off in the long run.

We all know how pricey electricity is, but energy from the sun is free. Whether you want to light up your patio, garden, yard, or you need a lantern for camping, using the sun to charge energy-consuming items will save you a pretty buck. 

Mobility

Pick up your UV light products and place them wherever you want. If any part of your space doesn’t have tons of sunlight, it’s easy to reposition the solar lantern.

You need to take your dog out in the middle of the night? A solar lantern will give you all the light you need wherever you go.

Solar Lights are Safe

Solar lanterns don’t have any external cords or wiring to worry about.

You don’t have to worry about your child or pet being electrocuted or tripping on these cordless lights.

Finally, they don’t overheat. Their design is safe to use.

FAQ

Are solar lights worth the money?

Yes, solar lights are worth the money. They’re budget and environmentally friendly, can add ambiance to your yard, and stay on for 8 hours. All you have to do is position them where you want them to be.

How long do solar lanterns last?

Solar lanterns last for 3-4 years before you have to replace the battery. The LEDs last even longer, up to 10 years. Those that have a build made of stainless steel will also last for a long time.

Do solar lights need the sun or just light?

Solar lights don’t need the sun to charge. Just place the lights under artificial lights and it will charge speedily, without any sunlight.

Is it OK to leave solar lights on all night?

Yes, it’s OK to leave solar lights on all night long, but be aware that come morning chances are after about 8 hours the lantern will be empty, and you’ll have to charge it.

Do solar lights stay on all night?

Yes, solar lights will stay on all night unless you turn them off, based on the energy they have stored during the day.If the battery is in good condition the LED bulb should have enough energy to illuminate all evening and night — starting from sunset until the next morning.

How can I make my solar lights last longer?

You can make your solar lights stay longer by regularly cleaning them, changing the expired battery regularly, putting them in a location with direct sunlight, or turning them off on a rainy day.

Does rain ruin solar lights?

Yes, rain can ruin solar lights. If it rains continuously, the panels can’t charge efficiently, so the lights put a strain on the battery. To save the battery, switch off the lights on rainy days.

What to do when solar lights stop working?

If your solar lights stop working, you can check if they’re turned on, check if they receive enough sunlight, replace the battery, clean the solar panels, or switch them off for 72 hours and try again.

Can I leave solar lights out in winter?

No, you can’t leave the solar lights out in winter if it snows on your backyard where you live. You should dismantle them and put them inside until spring.

How many lumens should solar lights have?

How many lumens solar lights should have depends on their purpose. A lantern used for backyard lighting should have 100 to 200 lumens. If you want a solar light for security, it should have 700 to 1300 lumens.

How do I make my solar lights brighter?

You can make your solar lights brighter by cleaning the solar panel, checking for debris, checking the battery, checking if there isn’t rust or corrosion, and checking if the panel is getting enough direct sunlight.

How do you charge solar lights without the sun?

You can charge the solar lights without the sun by placing them underneath an artificial light, LED, or incandescent bulbs, directing the sunlight to lights with mirrors, or using alternative charging options such as a USB port.

Do solar lights charge on cloudy days?

Yes, solar lights charge on cloudy days. The solar panel still gets sunlight, but because the clouds diffuse direct sunlight, the solar power generator will be less effective.

Can solar lights catch fire?

Yes, solar lights can catch fire because batteries hold sunlight energy. However, most solar bulbs put off a little heat, which isn’t enough to set the lighting on fire.

My Recommended Solar Lantern

So, what’s the solar lantern to rule them all? LuminAID PackLite.

Most importantly, this lantern proved itself to me in emergency situations, such as long, drawn-out power outages. Because of that, I could rest easy knowing I always have a reliable source of light on hand.

Whether you’re looking for something to create some backyard or patio ambiance, a loyal companion on your next adventure, or a source of light you can always count on, my vote goes to the LuminAID PackLite.


Marina is passionate about sustainability and works to help ensure our planet stays as our home for a long time. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and not buying single-use plastic. When not writing, she can be found with her nose stuck in a book or trying out new baking recipes.

3 Comments on “Best Solar Lanterns: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide (2022)

  1. Pingback: Greatest Photo voltaic Lanterns: Evaluations & Purchaser’s Information (2022) – Shop Eco Friendly

  2. The buying process won’t be a struggle for me since you’ve provided me with the most vital shopping details I’ll ever need. Thank for sharing this article

    Solar lights are great investments because they are easy to install and use; they save energy, and don’t require high maintenance. Many people prefer them because they can provide a brighter light than conventional wired alternatives.

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