Best Outdoor Solar String Lights

Last Updated March 19, 2021 By Bella Zinti

A set of decorative string lights brings the perfect ambiance to your outdoor space during long summer nights. String them along the railing of your deck or balcony, criss-cross them overhead on your patio, or trail them along a garden footpath to light the way to your backyard party. No matter how you choose to hang your strand, the convenient outdoor lighting solution offers a cozy, inviting feel that can't b-e beat. 

To help you find the perfect lighting for your backyard space, we've rounded up the best solar outdoor string lights available in 2021. Plus, to ensure you get a set of solar string lights that fits your needs, we're highlighting what to look for when shopping for outdoor solar string lights. 

What to Look for in Solar Outdoor String Lights

When shopping for solar string lights, there are a few key factors you'll need to consider:


If you don't have outdoor outlets on your deck, patio, or balcony, you can still enjoy outdoor lighting with solar-powered string lights. Unlike plug-in and battery-powered strands, solar-powered outdoor string lights are incredibly energy-efficient (won't affect your electricity bill), eco-friendly, and easy-to-use. No tangled power cords or expensive batteries are required! 

As the name suggests, solar string lights harness their power source from a small solar panel at one end of the strand with a number of lights attached. During the day, the solar panel converts sunlight into a power source that charges a battery through a rechargeable battery or converter. Once the sun goes down, the battery lights up the strand without needing to be plugged in. Typically, solar-powered lights require 4-6 hours of sunlight to hold enough charge for 4-8 hours of use, depending on the strand. 

The only downside of solar energy string lights is their dependence on the sun as a power source. Without enough sunlight during the day, they won't harness enough solar power sources to sufficiently light your space at night. If you live in a cloudy climate, you may have difficulty adequately charging your strand. Be sure to place the solar panel in an area that receives maximum sunlight and doesn't receive extended periods of shade. 

Bulb Type & Wattage

While outdoor string lights come in a number of lights and a variety of bulb types, it's best to stick to LED bulbs. LED bulbs have the longest life span and are the most energy-efficient type of bulb. For safety reasons, it's also important to double-check that the bulbs are weatherproof and shatter-resistant. 

You'll also need to determine what wattage you need. While higher wattages offer stronger light, they'll use up the battery's charge faster than softer lighting options. In general, 80 watts or lower is suitable for outdoor lighting, while 40 watts and lower are ideal for led lights or lighting pathways. 

Strand Length

When choosing a set of string lights, you'll need to consider how long you want the strand to be. Too long, and you'll have an overly-lit space and tangled cords. Too short, and you'll need to purchase more than one set of lights to light the area adequately. The easiest way to avoid the hassle is to measure your space to know exactly what length to look for. 

Added Lighting Effects 

These days, many LED string lights come with additional lighting effects that change your outdoor space's mood. In addition to a steady glow, many have dimmers, fairy lights, strobe light settings, soft white light, and twinkling effects. Some even offer color-changing settings perfect for lively outdoor parties and kids' bedrooms. 

Durable Design

After taking the time and effort to hang your string lights overhead carefully, you want to be sure they last for many nights to come. When shopping for string lights, you'll notice there are both indoor and outdoor varieties. Be sure to double-check that the set is suitable for outdoor spaces and can withstand year-round use in any weather.  

The Best Solar String Lights

Sol 72 Outdoor Oleana LED Mini String Lights

Best Overall 

Sol 72 Outdoor Oleana LED Mini String Lights

When it comes to affordable solar string lights, you can't beat Sol 72 Outdoor's Oleana String Lights. Each 34-feet long strand is equipped with 100 miniature LED lights that provide the right amount of lighting for outdoor dinners, barbeques, and parties. Choose from classic white lighting, warm white, or blue bulbs to create your ideal outdoor ambiance. 

The eco-friendly string lights harness their power from a small solar panel that can be mounted in the ground or on a wall using the detachable wall mount. After a full day of sun, the powerful battery holds enough charge to last eight hours. 

Number Of Lights: 100 LED Lights

Length: 34'

Battery Life: 8 Hours

Brighttech Ambience Pro Solar-Powered Outdoor LED String Lights

Best Edison Style Bulb Solar String Lights 

Brighttech Ambience Pro Solar-Powered Outdoor LED String Lights

If you're looking for string solar lights with a vintage feel, look no further than Brighttech's Ambiance Pro Solar-Powered Outdoor String Lights. Perfect for summer parties and everyday dinners alike, twelve Edison-style light bulbs bring the charm of a quaint Italian cafe right to your back deck, garden, patio, porch, or gazebo. Fully charged (which requires roughly six hours of sun), they offer six hours of continuous lighting.

These commercial-grade LED bulbs deck string s olar lights are built using Brighttech's WeatherTite Technology and feature weatherproof, shatter-resistant plastic shells that are heat resistant up to 122 degrees F. They're powered by a small solar panel that can easily be clipped to your siding or staked in your lawn for maximum sun exposure. The extra-long 27-feet long strand is easy to install thanks to the clips and stake included with the set. 

Number Of Lights: 12

Length: 27'

Battery Life: 5-6 hours

West Elm Soji Lantern Solar String Lights

Best Paper Lantern String Lights

West Elm Soji Lantern Solar String Lights

West Elm's Soji LED String Lights instantly add a festive touch to your outdoor space. In Chinese culture, traditional paper lanterns are a source of light and a symbol of vitality, good luck, and hope for the future. While they're traditionally made using thin paper, the miniature paper lanterns on these solar string lights are made using weather-resistant, UV-treated nylon that's built to last. 

The ten-feet long string light features ten individual lanterns with LED lightbulbs that create a warm glow. Throughout the day, the solar panel charges in the sunlight before activating when the sun goes down. They're suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. 

Number Of Lights: NA

Length: 10'

Battery Life: NA

Pottery Barn Solar-Powered Color-Changing LED String Lights

If you're looking for a versatile lighting solution for outdoor parties and holiday gatherings, go with Pottery Barn's Solar-Powered Color-Changing LED String Lights. With fourteen color-changing modes (which can be selected and timed using the attached controller), you can create a variety of different moods. Choose from a 12-feet long string light strand with 12 bulbs or a 24-foot strand with 24 bulbs.

In addition to versatility and style, the color-changing solar string lights offer functionality and durability. The impact-resistant LED bulbs are strung on a weather-resistant cord that can withstand year-round use. Charge them using the included Enbrightened USB Solar Panel for an eco-friendly outdoor lighting solution, or power them with any standard USB-A port for indoor use.

Number Of Lights: 12

Length: 12'

Battery Life: NA

Brighttown Solar-Powered Copper Wire Fairy Lights

The warm, soft glow of fairy lights bright a magical quality to any backyard garden space. This affordable two-pack of Solar-Powered Copper Wire Fairy Lights for Brighttown comes with two 33-feet long strands, each with 100 bulbs. Enough to light any outdoor space with ease! 

The fairy light's flexible copper wire can easily be twisted and shaped to wrap around deck railing, shrubbery, and even bedroom and living room spaces indoors. Choose from eight lighting modes, including waves, fade-outs, firefly effects, twinkling, and more, to create your desired ambiance. The waterproof, weather-resistant strands work for 8-10 hours after a full charge from the attached monocrystalline silicon solar panel. 

Number Of Lights: 100 LED Lights

Length: 33'

Battery Life: 8-10 Hours

House of Hampton Seamus Disco Ball Novelty String Lights

House of Hampton's Seamus Novelty String Lights brings the energy and excitement of disco to your very own backyard, patio, or apartment balcony. Use them for a 70s themed birthday party, a glittery New Year's Eve soiree, or just to bring an eclectic feel to everyday dinners outside. Installation is easy thanks to the included ground stake and mounting clips. 

The 20-feet long solar lights strand features ten miniature mirrored disco ball ornaments that provide either a steady glow or a pulsating flash. A built-in day/night sensor automatically turns your lights on when the sun goes down, providing up to 8 hours of lighting on a full charge. With a weather-resistant, eco-friendly design, they're well-suited for daily use, rain or shine. 

Number Of Lights: 10

Length: 20'

Battery Life: 8 Hours

Pottery Barn White Diamond Solar String Lights

If you're looking to elevate your space with a decorative set of outdoor solar string lights, you'll love Pottery Barn's White Diamond Solar String Lights. Each 25-feet long strand features six decorative glass globes that bring an elegant feel to your patio, balcony, or back deck. Or bring them inside to add soft lighting to a romantic dinner or relaxing bath. The eye-catching white diamond-shaped globes have all the sophistication of high-end hand-blown glass ornaments. 

The eco-friendly strand harnesses its power from an attached solar unit that soaks up sunlight throughout the day to provide ambient lighting all night long. While they come equipped with a traditional On/Off switch, they're also fitted with sensors to automatically light up once the sun goes down.

Number Of Lights: 6 glass bulbs

Length: 25'

Battery Life: NA

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About the author

Bella has a Bachelors degree in interior design, is a master gardener. She designs nourishing outdoor & indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui.


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