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10 Best Solar String Lights (2021): Review & Buying Guide

Chris Bolt

November 13, 2021
Solar String Lights

It's coming up to the Christmas holiday season, and there are a lot of families excited about getting the decorations ready. And to make sure that every aspect of your Christmas preparations is eco-friendly, we've put together a guide solar-powered string lights.

The great thing with these solar lights is that when you pick the right ones, you could even get benefits out of them all year round. Not only will the LED lights last for many years, but when they are solar-powered, there's much less of a CO2 impact. 

Let me show you some great solar lights. 

My Top 3 Picks for Best Solar String Lights in 2021

Brightown Solar String Lights

Brightown Solar String Lights 

Overall Rating: 5/5

  • Ideal for outdoor use
  • Warm white color
  • Efficient solar panel
  • Eight lighting modes
Brightech Ambience Pro Solar String Lights

Brightech Ambience Pro

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

  • Water and shatterproof
  • Vintage Edison bulbs
  • Warm white light
  • Easy-to-install solar panel
kolpop Solar String Lights

kolpop Solar String Lights

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

  • Both outdoor and indoor use
  • 120 individual LEDs 
  • Extra-long light string
  • Eight unique lighting modes 

10 Best Solar String Lights to Light Up This Christmas

1. Brightown Solar String Lights (Best For Year-Round Use)

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Globe | Length: 35.6 feet | Runtime: 8-10 hours

These are the patio string lights that I have enjoyed the most all year round. I can easily set them to twinkle flash for Christmas or a slow fade for a summer BBQ. 

The solar charger works quite effectively once you find the ideal position for it. In winter, the panel charges the battery enough to keep the lights on for about eight hours. 

I've also had no problem with the lights being exposed to plenty of rain, so they stand up to the waterproof claim. 

Brightown Solar String Lights

Pros

  • Suitable for outdoor use, making them ideal for patio and garden areas
  • Warm white color makes it a less harsh environment
  • The solar panel provides 19% efficiency 
  • Choose from eight different lighting modes

Cons

  • The on and off button doesn't make it easy to tell if you've turned them on

Why Do I Like It?

You get a long string with 60 bulbs that are an ideal size for indoor and outdoor use, and the battery lasts all night, even in the winter months. 

2. Brightech Ambience Pro Solar Powered Lights (Best For Visual Appearance)

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Vintage Edison| Length: 48 feet | Runtime: 5-6 hours

What attracted me to these outdoor solar string lights was the unique shape of the bulbs. They have a vintage style that looks really well when they light up a dark area. 

The waterproof rating also means that you can leave them outside in all weather conditions.

Also, it seems like the bulbs are shatterproof as well to avoid accidental or weather damage. 

And with up to six hours of runtime, it should be enough for any kind of party. 

Brightech Ambience Pro Solar String Lights

Pros

  • The outdoor string lights are water and shatterproof
  • Bulbs have a vintage Edison shape 
  • The warm white light is bright enough for a large garden
  • Simple and straightforward installation

Cons

  • They don't have different lighting modes to choose from

Why Do I Like It?

These outdoor solar string lights have a really nice shape and light color that can brighten up your patio or garden for any kind of party setting. 

3. kolpop Solar String Lights (Best For Lighting Modes)

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Fairy Lights| Length: 78 feet | Runtime: 12 hours

This is a great set of outdoor fairy lights, and the two included sets will provide about 120 bulbs for a great light show. You also have eight different light settings that give you a great option to change things around. 

Many buyers were saying that it's great that the batteries last for up to 12 hours on a full charge, which is long enough for the darker days of the year.

If they come on at 5 PM, you'll be well and truly in bed before they turn off automatically. 

kolpop Solar String Lights

Pros

  • Suitable for outdoor and indoor use 
  • 120 individual LEDs 
  • The extra length from two sets make this ideal for larger areas
  • Choose from eight lighting modes

Cons

  • Switching the modes is a bit tricky to do

Why Do I Like It?

These lights seem to work exceptionally well for lighting up parts of your garden with over 100 LEDs to create a great Christmas effect. 

4. Binval Solar Fairy Christmas String Lights (Best For Waterproof Rating)

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Fairy Lights| Length: 72 feet | Runtime: 8-12 hours

This is a set of two string lights that are suitable for Christmas trees or decorating your garden. 

They are easy to unroll and hang up, but you do need to be careful while handling them as the wires are pretty thin. 

The fairy lights also seem to be perfectly spaced out to give you a great effect without them looking too cluttered. And they are very water-resistant, so you shouldn't have problems with persistent rain. 

However, the wires seemed a bit too thin, so be careful with that!

Binval Solar String Lights

Pros

  • Pack includes two sets of LED string lights 
  • Fully charges in about six hours 
  • 200 LED lights spaced out at 4 inches for maximum effect
  • IP65 waterproof rating

Cons

  • The wire is a bit thin, so be careful when handling

Why Do I Like It?

One big attraction with these string lights is the fact that they charge pretty fast and stay lit for over eight hours. 

5. MPOWERD Luci Solar Powered Lights (Best For Camping Trips)

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Fairy Lights| Length: 18 feet | Runtime: 20 hours

This is a very popular set of string lights with people who like going camping. 

Not only does it rely on solar power, but in a worst-case situation, you could also use a USB connection to charge it. 

When fully charged, the battery should last for about 20 hours, and that should give campers a few evenings' worth of light. That means you might not need to constantly worry about getting a lot of sunshine. 

There's even a built-in flashlight in addition to the mini bulbs for situations where you need more light. 

MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights

Pros

  • The battery can last for up to 20 hours in one charge
  • Allows for USB charging
  • Comes with a built-in flashlight
  • Perfectly suitable for patio areas and even camping trips

Cons

  • No waterproof rating

Why Do I Like It?

It's practical for camping trips, and the battery charge can last for a few evenings on one charge. 

6. Semilits Solar String Lights (Best For Unique Looking Mini Bulbs)

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Honey Bee| Length: 16 feet | Runtime: 8-10 hours

These are really unique outdoor solar string lights because they are shaped like honey bees and provide a warm white light output for a pleasant atmosphere. 

They work great as outdoor patio string lights, and the waterproof rating should provide enough protection from rainy conditions

The solar panel also is effective at recharging the battery enough to give you at least eight hours of lighting. 

The honey bee shape really stands out.

Semilits Solar String Lights

Pros

  • Suitable as outdoor string lights 
  • Great visual effect on small trees and shrubs
  • The solar charger works great 
  • 20 individual LED bulbs

Cons

  • No color modes variation available

Why Do I Like It?

The shape of the LED bulbs is really unique, and they work great for lighting up garden areas. Kids also like them for decorating their room with some playful lights. 

7. Windpnn Star-Shaped Solar String Lights (Best For Color Choices)

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Star| Length: 50 feet | Runtime: 10 hours

Here is another set that is ideally suitable for indoor and outdoor solar string lights as the waterproof rating should help them stand up to rainy days. 

And because you can choose and combine different colors, you can achieve a completely unique effect. 

There are also eight different lighting modes, including slow glow, quick flash, and slow flash, to illuminate a space in a truly unique way. 

I did see a few reviews that mentioned the stars were a bit small, but that might make them suitable for year-round use. 

Windpnn Star-Shaped Solar String Lights

Pros

  • Suitable as outdoor string lights 
  • Comes with eight different lighting modes
  • Available in multiple different colors
  • The star shapes are ideal for Christmas decorations

Cons

  • Star shapes are too small to see from a distance

Why Do I Like It?

If you like combining a few different colors in your Christmas string lights, then these are the ideal choice. The combinations look great when you combine them. 

8. Soco Solar Rope String Lights (Best For Patio Fences)

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Rope Lights| Length: 33 feet | Runtime: 8-10 hours

Rope string lights have a great advantage in that they are so easy to wrap around trees, fences, or any other plant or furniture. And you can create great-looking patterns as well because the rope is so flexible. 

The solar power panel looks like it's very effective and charges the battery within about six hours to give you enough energy to light up all night. 

The NI-MH battery seems to quite effective.

Plus, the IPX65 waterproof rating is always a plus in my book. 

Soco Solar Rope String Lights

Pros

  • Rope lights are very easy to wrap around a fence
  • Efficient NI-MH battery charges within 6 hours
  • IPX65 waterproof rating
  • Perfect bright light that is warm and not blinding

Cons

  • The rope is quite short to cover larger areas 

Why Do I Like It?

I like that these rope lights offer great flexibility to create different shapes, and it's easy to attach to fences in a garden or patio area. 

9. Irecey Solar String Globe Lights (Best For Runtime)

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Globe Bulbs| Length: 38 feet | Runtime: 10-15 hours

The major advantage of globe lights is that they can suit any time of year. Whether you're decorating for a summer BBQ, Halloween, or Christmas, this string light gives you a lot of flexibility. 

And for those long winter nights, you'll find that the battery charge lasts for up to 15 hours on a single charge.

Again, these lights come with NI-MH batteries too.  

That means you can keep them on for longer and be less reliant on direct sun exposure for the panel. 

Irecey Solar String Lights Globe

Pros

  • Nice-looking and large globe shape bulbs 
  • Come with a large enough NI MH battery to run up to 15 hours
  • Seems to work well enough even when there is no direct sun exposure
  • Flexible wires makes things to wrap around objects

Cons

  • A color shift more towards warm white would make this string light a bit less severe

Why Do I Like It?

If you want to light up an area for more than 8 hours, then these string lights are ideal with a runtime of up to 15 hours. 

10. Bomcosy Solar String Lights (Best For Maximum Length)

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Globe Bulbs| Length: 100 feet | Runtime: 8-10 hours

These outdoor solar string lights are particularly popular for lighting up large areas outdoors for parties as each set is 100 feet long. And with a good waterproof rating, you won't need to wrap up this string light every time there's a hint of rain coming. 

The solar panel itself has IP65 rating and the string comes with an IP44 waterproof rating. 

I also like that it comes with a remote to adjust the lighting modes and even dim the bulbs as needed to get the right atmosphere. 

However, these solar string lights have heavily criticized as sometimes water enters the bulbs!

Bomcosy Solar String Lights

Pros

  • These outdoor string lights are shatterproof
  • Remote control allows for choosing lighting modes and dimming
  • Comes with a photosensitive system that turns the bulbs off during the day and on at night.
  • A large solar panel speeds up the charging time during the day

Cons

  • Replacing bulbs can be a bit tricky

Why Do I Like It?

These are an excellent choice if you need to set up a large area with string lights and you also want to be able to set the light intensity. 

Solar String Lights Buyers' Guide

Things To Consider When Buying Solar String Lights

Here are the most important things to keep in mind when you're trying to pick the right string lights for your garden or Christmas decorations. 

Waterproof

If you need outdoor solar string lights, then you have to look at the IP rating. This indicates whether the string lights are just splashproof or whether they'll stand up to sustained rain and snow. 

For outdoor solar string lights, I would generally recommend going for IP65 or higher as one of the key features to look for. 

Buying Solar String Lights
Shape And Size

Another one of the key features is the size and shape of the bulbs. You can find anything from fairy lights to star and bee shapes. And the sizes can be anything from 1/10 to 2 inches in size. 

Think about when and where you're going to use them. A Christmas-themed string light will look out of place at a summer BBQ. I personally prefer the neutral and larger bulbs to get more use out of them. 

Flexible Copper Wire

You should also only consider those lights that have a very flexible wire to make attaching them easier. This is particularly helpful for illuminating an outdoor space where you might wrap the wire around a patio fence or other furniture. 

Warm White Light

Unless you have a very specific color choice, I would suggest sticking with warm white lights. These create a nice atmosphere and don't appear blinding, especially if you intend to use them in an outdoor space at night. 

Solar Panel

The size of the solar panel is also important as that will tell you how fast and effectively it will charge the battery. 

More on that shortly. 

It's also important to look at how long the cable is between the solar panel and the first lights as that restricts where you can place the panel for optimum sun exposure. 

Lighting Modes

Most basic string lights will just turn on or off. But one of the key features to look out for is different modes that cause nice effects from a single light source. It's a great way to make garden decorations stand out a lot more at Christmas time. 

Length

The overall length of the light string is also an important feature to focus on. You won't need 100 feet for a small Christmas tree. And a 20 feet long set will be way too short for a large patio area where you might be hosting a party. 

Understanding Average Battery Life And Charging Time

All solar lights will come with an indication of how long it takes to charge the battery and how long the battery will last on a full charge. 

Let's start with the solar panel. 

When you see specifications that it will fully charge the battery in six hours, then that's an indication of it being placed in the sunniest location and having direct sun exposure for six hours. If it's not so sunny, that time could double or triple. 

That's why you might want to choose a product with a larger panel that works more effectively on cloudy days. 

The amount of energy you get from the battery is also largely dependent on whether the panel was able to fully charge it and how large the battery is. 

That means, when you see a runtime of eight hours, it means that the battery will have to fully charge during the day. If it's a particularly cloudy or dark day, then you might struggle to get the full runtime during the night. 

One option to look for is if you can also charge the lights with a USB connection, but that could reduce the eco-friendliness. 

How Do Solar String Lights Work?

If you're a bit of a technology nerd like me, then looking at how solar-powered string lights work is actually surprisingly simple. 

The Solar Panels

It all starts with the solar panels that convert light energy from the sun into electricity. This happens in photovoltaic cells, and they can achieve efficiencies up to 19%. 

They do require some careful placing in your outdoor space as you want to maximize how much sun exposure they get. Also, keep in mind that bad weather will limit how much electricity the panel will produce. 

The Battery

All solar-powered lights will also have a rechargeable battery to store the electricity produced during the day. Different lights come with different size batteries, and the larger the batter, the more charging they will need during the day. 

The advantage of a larger battery pack is that the lights can work for a longer time and, in some cases, long enough to light up for more than one night. 

The Lights

And finally, all the products we recommend above have LED lights as these are the most energy-efficient and longest-lasting bulbs. They come in different shapes and sizes, and some will also give you a choice of color. 

In most cases, the standard is a warm white light that is less severe on the eyes. 

What's also clever about these solar-powered lights is that the solar panel also functions as an on/off switch. Once it detects that there is no sunlight, it turns on the lights automatically. 

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Solar String Lights?

OK, so we've covered how they work; now it's time to look at advantages and disadvantages. 

Advantages

The greatest advantage I have found is that you can buy indoor and outdoor string lights. With a waterproof rating of IP65 or higher, the lights will withstand heavy rain without getting damaged. 

The other thing I like about them is that you don't end up relying on throwaway batteries or an electric mains connection. It's a green way to light up your house and garden even for many hours during the night. You've produced the energy from the sun with no reliance on the grid. 

Disadvantages

The main disadvantage is that for most lights, you'll be entirely relying on the sun to charge up the batteries. Unfortunately, there are many places where the winter months bring dark days where there is hardly enough sunlight to activate the solar panels. 

That means that you could end up with barely any runtime for your lights for several days or weeks. 

One way around that is to look for a model that also allows for USB charging. 

Why Should You Go For Solar String Lights?

Here are the main reasons why you should always opt for solar-powered string lights. 

Environmentally Friendly

If you like to light up your house or garden for several hours every night, then it's going to have quite an impact on your energy usage and carbon footprint. Solar lights make this possible in a green and eco-friendly way. 

Cost-Effective

Because you don't have to connect to an electrical outlet, you only have the upfront investment cost. Once they are set up in an ideal location, you can illuminate large areas with completely free energy. 

Easy To Set Up

These types of lights are so easy to set up, especially outdoors. You don't have to worry about safe electrical connection points that you might need an electrician to install. 

Simply find an ideal spot for the panel in the ground, and then wrap the lights around plants, fences, or any kind of furniture. 

Long-Lasting Bulbs

Whether you go for small fairy lights or large globe bulbs, they usually use LED bulbs. These warm white lights can last for years even when they are in use for many hours each day, and that means you don't have to replace them on a regular basis. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar String Lights

Can you leave solar string lights on all night?

Yes, you can leave solar string lights on all night. Some of them might not have enough battery power to last all night, but if you pick fairy lights with a good battery pack, then you should get more than 8 hours of runtime.

How long do solar string lights last?

Solar string lights usually last between 6 and 12 hours on one full battery charge. There are some with larger panels and battery packs that can last for up to 15 hours.

Is it OK to leave solar lights out in the winter?

Yes, it is OK to leave solar lights out in the winter as long as they are waterproof. They need to be at least IP65 rated to withstand rain and other weather conditions.

How Long Does It Take For Solar String Lights To Charge?

It usually takes 5 to 8 hours for solar string lights to charge. This estimate is based on direct sunlight for that time, which might not always be possible in the winter months.

Can Solar Lights Be Charged Indoors?

Yes, solar lights can be charged indoors as long as you leave the solar panel near a window with plenty of sunshine. You could also place the panel outside and run the cables through a door or window frame.

Are solar string lights worth it?

Yes, solar string lights are worth it. They might cost a little bit more upfront, but with the right fairy lights, you can illuminate large outdoor areas with free sun energy.

Do solar lights need direct sunlight?

Yes, solar lights need direct sunlight to efficiently charge the battery. They will have a reduced charging capacity in shade or on very cloudy days.

Do solar lights need batteries?

Yes, solar lights need rechargeable batteries. But these are generally included in the solar panel package and should last for several years.

Final Thoughts

Whether you're preparing for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a summer garden party, solar-powered string lights are by far the best way to illuminate indoor and outdoor spaces.

The best lights I have found are the Brightown Solar String Lights, as you can use them throughout the year for different kinds of events. They create great warm light and provide a nice atmosphere. 

Order yours today and see how it might transform your home for all seasons. 


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