The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (2024)

The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (1)

When you need to add lighting to your driveway, pathway, front door, or other outdoor space, solar pathway lights are aneco-friendly and affordable alternative to wired lighting. Instead of needing electricity, the bulbs are powered by solar energy, sunlight absorbed through the attached solar panels.

Although installing solar pathway lights may be as simple as pushing in a plastic stake, some prep work may be required, advises Matt Kunkle, an exterior lighting merchant for The Home Depot, whom we consulted for this story. “Before installing solar pathway lights, be sure to edge your walkway if you are planning for pathway lights, or trim back foliage in other areas where you may be planning to add solar landscape lighting,” he advises.

We've tested 47 different styles of outdoor solar lights in The Lab and in our own yards across the country. For this article, in addition to gathering Kunkle's insights, we included the top solar pathway lights we've tested as well as conducted research on additional options. In all cases, we evaluated the lights on setup, features, design, brightness, and value. Based on all of our testing and research, here are the best solar pathway lights to keep your outdoor spaces bright.

In This Article

  • Our Picks

  • Other Options We Tested

  • How We Tested

  • What to Look For

  • FAQ

  • Why Trust The Spruce

Best Overall

Hampton Bay Solar Landscape Path Lights

The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (2)

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Setup


  • Design


  • Brightness


  • Value


  • Features


What We Like

  • Classic lantern design

  • Bright, warm light

  • Durable housing materials

  • 10 lights per pack

What We Don't Like

  • Some people may not like the crackle glass

After putting them through the test in our lab, the Hampton Bay Solar Warm White Solar Landscape Path Lights are our best overall pick because they’re reliable, affordable, and classically designed. The durable, weather-resistant metal should withstand the changing seasons, as it easily held up to a large dousing of water, golf balls meant to imitate hail, and being stuck in a freezer for an hour during testing. The light's design is also maintenance-free, with integrated LED bulbs and rechargeable batteries.

Standing 18.1 inches tall, these solar path lights make a statement without being too bold or obstructive. They provide warm white light, ample to navigate your landscaping in the evening, and safely traverse a footpath or steps. For example, we were able to read a book easily directly under the light, but it was a bit more difficult with added distance to the light. We also appreciate that these lights feature an automatic dusk-to-dawn feature, so they turn on and off each day without having to do it manually.

Although the crackle lights project a pretty light pattern, we do want to point out that not everyone will love the crackle glass appearance (as some of us noted during testing). Despite this minor design concern, these lights impressed us overall. Compared with other light sets, which generally consist of six or eight lamps, theHampton Bay No Voltage Solar Landscape Path Lights are an affordable option, with 10. The set also comes with a two-year warranty for faulty materials or workmanship to be replaced or repaired.

Dimensions: 18.1 x 4.92 x 4.92 inches | Material: Aluminum, Glass | Lumens: 10 | Power Source: Solar | Charging Time: 10-12 hours | Operating Time: 8 hours | Lights in Set: 10

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Best Splurge

Frontgate Pro Series VI Solar Path Light

The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (6)

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Setup


  • Design


  • Brightness


  • Value


  • Features


What We Like

  • High-efficiency, 60-lumen lights

  • Sturdy aluminum stakes

  • Large solar panel

What We Don't Like

  • Only two lights per set

  • Not freeze-resistant

If you are willing to pay more for a durable, effective, and sturdy pair of pathway lights that should last season after season, we recommend the Frontgate Pro Series VI Path Light set. These lights feature a weather-proof, cast-aluminum housing that protects the lithium-phosphate battery and lights, and fares better than plastic housing. The aluminum stakes also prevent breakage during installation. While testing in our lab, this light easily passed our “rain” and “hail” tests. However, they did not re-illuminate after being in a freezer for an hour (so they may need to warm up and recharge before they light up again after a freezing cold day). However, the tops of these lights measure 7.25 inches in diameter, making the solar panel (larger than other models) better for cloudy days, winter performance, and shaded areas.

These lights only come in a set of two, making them an investment to line a full pathway. Despite the limited quantity, these solar lights are a reliable, quality pick, with 60 lumens per light, enough tolight up your yard if spread apart and have a longer lifetime with an advanced lithium-phosphate battery.

Dimensions: 20.5 x 7.25 inches | Material: Aluminum | Lumens: 60 | Power Source: Lithium-phosphate Solar Battery | Charging Time: 8 hours | Operating Time: Up to 8 hours | Lights in Set: 2

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Best for Winter

Urpower Outdoor Solar Lights

The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (12)

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Setup


  • Design


  • Brightness


  • Value


  • Features


What We Like

  • Weather-resistant

  • Adjustable solar panel

  • Two brightness settings

What We Don't Like

  • Spotlight appearance

This URPOWER Solar Lights Outdoor set was designed with wet weather and water exposure in mind, making it a great option if you want lights you can leave outside all year without worry. In fact, the durable plastic casing protects these solar pathway lights from all weather conditions. During our tests, water, golf balls, and freezing were no match for this light’s performance—and the adjustable solar panel allows you to switch the panel’s angle on overcast days. While testing, they stayed illuminated for a full eight-hour period overnight. Keep in mind that these lights have a screw that supports the solar panel, but it can be difficult to maneuver to change the angle of the panel when needed.

Simply designed, each light in this set has a power switch and two different brightness settings. We found both to be pretty bright: While it was possible to read a book under the lower setting, we read easily under the higher light setting. We also love that these lights can also be mounted on a wall, rather than a pathway, which makes them a great option for a variety of outdoor lighting needs. Overall, we appreciated the value of these lights, even if their spotlight design may not be suited for everyone.

Dimensions: 10.55 X 4.76 inches | Material: Metal | Lumens: 200 | Power Source: Solar | Charging Time: 4-6 hours | Operating Time: Up to 6 hours | Lights in Set: 2

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Best Small

Rayolon Solar Ground Lights

The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (16)

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Setup


  • Design


  • Brightness


  • Value


  • Features


What We Like

  • Low profile

  • 8 bulbs in each unit

  • Waterproof

What We Don't Like

  • Fragile and can easily be covered by dirt and snow

  • 3-day-long initial charging time

The Rayolon Solar Ground Lights are a modern, minimally designed set that can line a pathway, driveway, or pool deck. While testing these lights, they provided a warm white light, with eight LED bulbs in each of the 12 units. However, they were not bright enough to read under independently, so you would want to line them up next to each other for enough light to illuminate a path. We found that they held up during our water and golf ball tests. Just note that they did not stand up well to being frozen (they wouldn't stay lit for long), so you may want to store them if your area experiences a frigid winter.

We do want to point out a few other small issues to keep in mind: To ensure they reach their maximum brightness, allow three days of charging before installing them in the ground. When installing each light, dig a shallow hole for the stake to prevent breakage.Also, since they are small and low to the ground, avoid stepping on them once installed. Dirt and debris can easily cover them, preventing the solar panels from charging—check on them occasionally, and clean the solar panels if they become covered. Despite these few drawbacks, we think these are a great low-profile choice.

Dimensions: 4.72 x 4.92 x 5.2 inches | Material: Stainless Steel | Lumens: Not Listed | Power Source: Solar | Charging Time: 8 hours | Operating Time: 6-8 hours | Lights in Set: 12

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Best Budget

Hampton Bay 20 Lumens LED Outdoor Solar Path Light

The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (21)

What We Like

  • Unique and Stylish

  • Available in different colors and finishes

  • Taller than other options

What We Don't Like

  • Taller lights may be harder to keep upright

If you just need one light but want it to stand out, we love this stylish option from the Brookhaven collection from Hampton Bay. At over 24 inches, this is the largest light on our list, and it has a vintage look, with seeded glass (little bubbles in the glass) and an Edison-style LED lightbulb. While this path light is black and grey, you can also find it in eight other colors and finishes to add a pop of color to your landscape, including red, gold, and navy. And if you have a larger space, you can purchase these lights in a 4-pack.

Although it doesn't offer a ton of features, this path light is simple to install and use, comes with rechargeable batteries, and automatically stays on from dusk to dawn (at a maximum of 8 hours). The stake is plastic, but the light fixture itself is metal, so it's more durable than all plastic options. It's also weather-resistant and waterproof, although it may not withstand extreme rain storms. Keep in mind that taller lights tend to be harder to keep upright, especially when the ground is wet, so they may need to be adjusted occasionally.

Dimensions: 24.7 x 6.42 inches | Material: Metal and Glass | Lumens: 20 | Power Source: Solar | Charging Time: Not listed | Operating Time: 8 hours | Lights in Set: 1

Best Spotlights

Lerekam Solar Landscape Spotlights

The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (22)

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Setup


  • Design


  • Brightness


  • Durability


  • Value


What We Like

  • Can be used in-ground or wall-mounted

  • Three color options

  • Different lighting modes

What We Don't Like

    Are you looking for a light that can be installed on a wall or used as a ground stake while also acting as a spotlight? If yes, you might be interested in the LEREKAM Solar Spot Lights. We recently tested these solar lights in our home and were blown away by how well they illuminated the designated locations. We installed the solar light near the side of our house, facing our gate, and discovered that it provided an impressive 10 feet by 10 feet of lighted area. At 1000 lumens (the highest on our list), we found that the light's maximum range was roughly 25 feet, which is rather good for a solar-powered light.

    Setting up the lights was also a breeze. We spent more time deciding where to put the lights than we did putting them together—there are only four basic steps to set up. Even though we only tested the lights on the ground, they may also be screwed to the wall, making it a versatile alternative for your outdoor lighting needs.

    While the lights have three brightness levels (high, medium, and low), we found that the high option provided the greatest light in our intended area. Keep in mind, however, that these lights are not motion-censored. Instead, the lights switch on around nightfall, providing a continuous supply of light all night. Overall, we thought these lights were a simple and efficient method to add outside lighting to your property.

    Dimensions: ‎4.3 x 5.7 x 2.4 inches | Material: ABS Plastic, High Efficiency Monocrystalline Silicon | Lumens: 1000 | Power Source: Solar | Charging Time: Not listed| Operating Time: 8-25 hours | Lights in Set: 2

    Best Decorative

    UMICKOO Solar Outdoor Lights

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    What We Like

    • Multicolor light settings

    • Long illumination time

    • Durable

    What We Don't Like

    • Confusing instructions

    For a multicolored set of solar lights that can add cheer on even the gloomiest winter days, check out UMICKOO Solar Outdoor Lights. Made of weather-resistant materials, this set lights up the darkest night with a colorful display. Choose between two settings on each light: warm, white light, and multicolored lights that gently transition among seven colors. These lights operate after six to eight hours of charging and last eight to 10 hours. But let them sit out in direct sunlight for at least five hours before their first use. When installing them, gently press the stake into the ground with the pole rather than pressing your hand on the solar panel.

    One drawback: The settings and operating instructions can be confusing. For example, the “On” switch turns on the warm white light, while the “Fade” switch gently blinks the multicolored lights. Also, you can't choose which colors to display (which would be nice during certain holidays). It's either all white or all different colors.

    Dimensions: 18.5 x 4.9 inches | Material: Glass and Plastic | Lumens: 25 | Power Source: Solar | Charging Time: 6-8 hours | Operating Time: 8-10 hours | Lights in Set: 8

    Best for Shade

    T-SUNNUS Solar-Powered LED Spotlight

    The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (24)

    What We Like

    • Two brightness settings

    • Solar panel separate from spotlight

    • Adjustable solar panel & light head

    What We Don't Like

    • Short cord to solar panels

    Want to illuminate an area at night that doesn't get much sunlight during the day? Each of the two T-SUNNUS Solar-Powered LED Spotlights in this set comes with a separate, corded solar panel, so you can easily install them in a shaded area and guarantee a full charge every day. You can adjust the angle of the solar panels and the light heads to aim them in the desired directions. Two brightness settings offer up to 200 lumens each, enough brightness to see the details of your yard. You can switch between a bright spotlight and a dimmer pathway light.

    While they can be placed in the shade during the day, avoid placing the solar panels under any porch or security lights that come on at night (the spotlight won't turn on if light is detected). Also note that the cords between each light and solar panel are about 10 feet long, which can limit your placement options, especially when covering a particularly large pathway. Despite these few placement concerns, we think these lights are an excellent option for shady areas, especially if you don't mind the traditional spotlight shape.

    Dimensions: Not Listed | Material: Plastic | Lumens: 200 | Power Source: Rechargeable Solar Battery | Charging Time: 8-10 hours | Operating Time: 8-10 hours on high light mode; 14-18 hours on low light mode | Lights in Set: 2

    Best Large

    GIGALUMI Solar Pathway Lights 6 Pack

    The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (25)

    What We Like

    • 19 inches tall

    • Larger solar panels

    • Reflects a stylish light pattern

    • Fast charging

    What We Don't Like

    • Dimmer than other options

    Large solar pathway lights can be especially helpful if you have a long footpath and want each light to cover more area. The GIGALUMI Solar Pathway Lights aren’t as bright as other models (only 5 lumens, the lowest on this list), but their height and larger structure make them a strong pick for anyone hoping to brighten a large area with fewer lights.

    The pack includes six 19-inch-tall lights (including the stakes)—it's the second larger pick on our list, and the largest that comes in a set. Their traditional lantern design casts a crystalline pattern that beautifully lines any walkway or garden area. We also appreciate the large solar panels that allow for a fast charge, and the path light's waterproof- and rust-resistant design.

    Dimensions: 19 x 5.3 inches | Material: Metal and Glass | Lumens: 5 | Power Source: Solar | Charging Time: Not listed | Operating Time: 8 hours | Lights in Set: 6

    Final Verdict

    After testing in our lab in Des Moines, Iowa, our best overall pick for solar pathway lights is the Hampton Bay Warm White Solar Landscape Path Lights because they are durable, stylish, and bright. We also think this 10-pack is a great value, especially if you want to illuminate a longer walkway or outdoor space. If you want a pair of bright lights that will hold up to the elements all winter long, we also love the URPOWER Solar Lights Outdoor set, our best winter pick. They held up well to all of our durability tests during testing and offer two brightness settings, as well as two placement options (wall-mounted or staked into the ground).

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    Other Options We Tested

    These products are ones we tested and found impressive. Though they fell a bit short of our standards, we think they’re still worth considering.

    BeauJardin 8 Pack Solar Pathway Lights

    The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (27)

    We had high hopes for this highly-rated, and stylish eight-pack. However, after testing in our lab, we found that the ground spikes felt loose, and they came apart during our water tests. They also emitted a very dim light that we couldn't read under. Although they would be nice as accent, or more decorative lighting in a garden, we feel that there are brighter, more durable options out there for lighting up a path.

    SUNNEST Solar Lights

    The Best Solar Pathway Lights to Brighten Your Walkways (28)

    We liked that this set of 12 was available in various colors, including multicolored, cool white, and warm white. While testing these lights, we found them to be easy to put together, lightweight, and stylish. However, we felt that the stakes were too flimsy to be put into the ground easily, and we were concerned that they would fall apart altogether and need to be replaced. We also felt that the light wasn't as bright as we had hoped. Again, if you don't need to put them in a high-traffic area that needs a lot of lighting and you place them carefully, they would be a good decorative option.

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    How We Tested the Solar Pathway Lights

    After researching the top outdoor solar lights, including mounted, pathway, string lights, and spotlights, we put 27 options to the test in our Lab in Des Moines, Iowa. We also tested 18 wall-mounted options and two additional models at our own homes across the country. To compile this list, we included the best solar pathway lights we tested and rounded out the list with a few highly-rated options that we researched. All of the pathway lights that were tested in our lab were evaluated on ease of assembly and installation, features, design, and overall value.

    For the path lights we tested in our lab, we started by putting them together and letting them charge according to the time specified in the instructions. We ran through all of the light’s features in a dark room, including any motion sensors, on/off switches, and light settings, and took note of how easy they were to use. To test the brightness, we attempted to read a book under the light. Next, we tested the durability by sprinkling water on them with a watering can (to simulate rain), dropping a golf ball from 6 feet onto the fixture, and 4 feet onto the solar panel (to simulate hail), and froze them for an hour. After those tests, we noted any changes in appearance and checked to make sure the lights were working properly.

    We then set the lights up outside and evaluated how easy they were to install. Finally, we made sure they were on the right setting (dusk-to-dawn mode, turned on, or left alone if automatic) and set up a video camera to record them overnight. After reviewing the recording, we noted when each light turned on and off, to make sure they worked as expected.

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    What to Look for in a Solar Pathway Light


    Solar pathway lights are available in a variety of styles, but the most common are in-ground, low-profile lights, and lantern lights. The former is a minimalist option for areas you may not want to obstruct, such as a pool deck or the outline of a patio. While these lights maintain a certain aesthetic, they have design drawbacks because dirt, leaves, snow, and ice can easily cover their solar panels. They can also be broken if stepped on. Lantern-style lights stick out of the ground on a pole and blend into a more traditional aesthetic. Typically, they have larger solar panels for better charging capabilities and don’t need cleaning as often as low-profile lights. Our best overall pick, the Hampton Bay Warm White Solar Landscape Path Lights, is an example of the classic lantern design that not only performs well but also emits an attractive crystalline light at night.


    Most solar light product descriptions note brightness in lumens, from 5 to 200; the greater the number, the brighter the light. A lower brightness, such as 5 lumens, is enough to make out your landscaping. To see more details and colors in the evening, select a higher-lumen product. Some solar lights will feature adjustable light settings including a power switch and low- or high-brightness levels. During testing, our best for winter pick, the URPOWER Solar Lights Outdoor, stood out for their adjustable solar panel and dual-level light options, which automatically turn on and also feature a power switch to save battery power when you’re out of town.


    Some solar lights don't require constant bright sun exposure, Kunkle, but all require a location where they can receive six to eight hours of sun per day. Also, a longer initial exposure may be required. “Expose the solar lights to full sun for 12 to 14 hours before starting installation,” Kunkle says. “This will allow the battery to fully charge and uncover any lights that may be defective before you install them.” Afterward, you can expect around six hours as a low charge time and from eight to 12 hours for higher-luminosity products. If solar lights show signs of low brightness or a short run time, you may need to relocate them or clean off the panels.


    • How do solar pathway lights work?

      Solar lights absorb sunlight through solar panels that store electricity, which powers the bulbs. Some solar lights operate on rechargeable batteries. Others have batteries that can last as long as four years before needing to be replaced.

    • How do you install solar pathway lights?

      While each style of our recommended solar pathway light has different assembly instructions, all install in the ground via stakes. If your purchased lights’ stakes seem fragile, we recommend digging shallow holes before pressing them into the ground to prevent breakage. Be sure to install solar pathway lights in an area that enjoys direct sunlight and isn’t covered by other lights in the evening; panels don’t activate if they’re exposed to other light.

    • How do you clean and maintain solar pathway lights?

      Solar lights don’t absorb sunlight if the solar panel is dirty or covered with ice or snow. “Prior to cleaning your solar pathway lights, review your manufacturer’s instructions,” Kunkle says. “However, most solar pathway lights can be cleaned with a soft dryclothwithout any cleaners that have chemicals, solvents or harsh abrasives.” Keep in mind that low-profile lights need more frequent checking.

    Why Trust The Spruce?

    This article was written by Emma Phelps, an associate commerce editor who has been with The Spruce since 2022. She has personally tested and written about a variety of products for The Spruce including home decor items, air quality products, vacuum cleaners, and home storage solutions.

    Our Experts:

    • Matt Kunkle, an exterior lighting merchant for The Home Depot
    • Jenica Currie, an editor for The Spruce, updated this article with new selections and insights using testing results from the Lab.
    • Daniela Galvez, senior editor at The Spruce

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