Solar lanterns are one of the most stylish, practical, and eco-friendly options out there when it comes to outdoor lighting ideas. Unlike a traditional flashlight or portable lantern, you won't ever need to plug your solar-powered lantern in or replace its batteries. Instead, all you need to do is place your solar light in direct sunlight during the day to charge fully, and it'll stay lit late into the night.
To help you find the perfect solar-powered lanterns for your outdoor space, we've rounded up the best outdoor solar lanterns below. Plus, we're offering tips on how to use your new lights.
How do you use outdoor solar lanterns?
Because of their portable size and attractive design, solar-powered lanterns are the perfect way to light your patio, deck, or front porch after dark. Many rely on a bright LED light that's strong enough to be used as a primary light source during a camping trip, barbeque, or nighttime get-together on the back porch. Some are designed with multiple light settings so you can create a warm, ambient glow at a party, wedding, or outdoor gathering or illuminate a walkway or garden path.
Most solar lanterns come equipped with a rechargeable battery connected to a compact solar panel. To charge your solar lanterns, leave them outside in the sun for at least five to eight hours to ensure the battery is fully charged and ready to release solar energy by the time the sun goes down. Most outdoor solar lanterns provide between six to eight hours of light on a full charge and lights automatically.
Unlike many outdoor lighting options, solar lights are incredibly stylish, versatile, and easy to use. Here are a few of the most popular ways to use outdoor light that is operated by solar power:
- Table decorations at a party, barbecue, wedding, or other outdoor gatherings
- Accent light on a side table or outdoor ottoman
- Pathway lights along a garden path, wedding aisle, or entryway with stairs
- A portable light source for nights at the lake or beach
- A stylish alternative to a flashlight in tents, campers, and RVs
- Lawn or garden decor during the day
What are the best stylish solar lantern lights for your back yard and solar camping lanterns?
Terrain Balcony Solar LED Lantern
These colorful Terrain balconies Solar LED Lanterns instantly add a beachy feel to your front porch, deck, or patio. The unique lampshade is made from durable outdoor-friendly materials and comes in three summery colors: teal blue, yellow, and coral. When fully charged, the six interior LED light bulbs offer eight hours of continuous lighting. The compact hanging lanterns measure 6 in h x 6 in dia and come equipped with a velcro strap for easy hanging.
Bring an elegant boho feel to your patio, walking path, or tabletop with these Chunky Rattan Outdoor Solar Lanterns from Smith & Hawken. The rounded shape and weather-resistant rattan weave are versatile enough to compliment any outdoor setting. Plus, the sleek metal top handle makes it easy to transport or hang from a shepherd's hook. The lantern comes in two sizes, and while both look great on their own, they look even better paired together.
This eclectic Rust and White Stripes Ceramic Solar LED Lantern from World Market offers the perfect balance of style and functionality. The portable lantern is crafted from ceramic with white stripe detailing, geometric cutouts, and a black metal handle for easy hanging. This summer, try creating a stunning tabletop display by pairing the lantern with a few of World Market's other unique Ceramic Solar LED Lanterns.
The tabletop lantern comes equipped with a small solar panel and an LED light that offers approximately eight hours of operation after a full seven-hour charge in the sun. It measures 7.5 in h x 4.8 in dia. Due to its ceramic materials, you'll want to bring the lantern inside during inclement weather to keep the lantern looking its best and functioning properly.
This Tall Outdoor Solar-Powered Nautical Metal Lantern with Flickering LED Lights makes for stylish lawn decor during the day and a practical outdoor lighting solution when the sun goes down. While the candle lantern looks great in almost every backyard, its nautical-inspired design compliments boho and coastal decor styles particularly well.
Though it may look like an antique store upcycle, it's made from durable iron and weather-resistant plastic that is designed to last through year after year of backyard use. Thanks to its solar panels, LED lights, and rechargeable battery, it can operate for up to eight hours on a full charge. The lightweight lantern measures 8 in dia x 10 in high (19 with rope handle).
While the Anthropologie Small Geometric Lace Solar Powered Lantern may look delicate, it's designed to last through season after season of outdoor use. The boho decorative lanterns are made from synthetic all-weather fabric and are available in two color options: an off-white pearl and medium blue. The built-in battery provides five to seven hours of light after a full day's charge. It measures 7 in h x 7 in dia. with a 6.5 in lightweight stainless steel hanging hoop.
The beautiful pattern and soft glow of the LED lights make it the perfect lantern for creating a laid-back ambiance at backyard dinner parties, campfires, and summer get-togethers. Try creating a unique solar lantern display by stringing this small-sized lantern alongside Anthropologie's Large Geometric Lace Solar Lantern and Lace Drop Solar Lantern.
TomCare's Flickering Flame Metal Hanging Solar Lights are some of the most durable, versatile, and water-resistant lights on the market in 2021. The sleek rectangular exterior is made from a lightweight metal frame with a rust-proof, weather-resistant feature finish and panels of durable poly-plastic with an orange-tinted stained glass effect.
Their warm yellow glow and vintage-inspired design create a welcoming ambiance when used to illuminate a walkway, garden path, or entryway steps. Additionally, the outdoor lanterns can be used as an alternative to candles for tabletop displays or hung from your balcony by the convenient top handle.
Bring a touch of elegance and luxury to your backyard space with this sophisticated Teak LED Solar Lantern from Terrain. While the minimalist teak wood frame, frosted side panels, and five interior LEDs can withstand outdoor use, the lantern is so stylish you'll want to use it indoors too.
The best part is, the Terrain Teak Solar Lantern comes equipped with two brightness settings: a bright light that lasts up to four hours and a dimmer that provides a warm glow for up to 150 hours. Place one on your tabletop, next to your front door, or to light up your garden pathway. The lantern measures 15 in h x 7 in w x 7 in l.
This dazzling Teardrop Glass Solar Lantern from Exhart adds a touch of whimsy to your garden, patio, or deck. And it makes the perfect gift for the gardeners and yard party hosts in your life!
The translucent glass ceiling lantern is designed with a teardrop-shaped metal frame in a leaf-like pattern and an interior of glowing solar-powered firefly lights. Its glass panels come in four color choices: clear, amber, blue, and green. The blackened metal cage measures 7 in dia x 24 in h and hangs from long metal chains.
Looking for budget-friendly solar lights for a wedding or large outdoor gathering? These Small Bamboo Solar Lanterns from Bee & Willow Home offer a stylish design and practical light source at an affordable price point that's hard to beat. They operate using a 14-watt LED integrated bulb, a rechargeable battery attached to a small solar panel, and a simple on/off switch at the base.
The hanging solar lights have a rounded shape, a wooden basket-like frame, and a rustic grey color that adds a chic boho feel to your outdoor space. While the lamps can be hung alongside an aisle or walkway using the hemp rope included, their flat bottom can also rest on the ground, a tabletop, or just about any other flat surface. Each lamp measures 8.85 in dia x 9 in h.
This Ceramic Solar LED Lantern with White Dashes from World Market adds an elegant touch to any space. Its smooth ceramic exterior is finished in sleek white with strips of bold metallic dotted throughout. While it can hang from the skinny metal top handle, it can also sit freestanding on flat surfaces like tables, stairs, and picnic tables. Because of the artisan-inspired ceramic material, you'll want to bring the lamp inside in between uses, especially during inclement weather like super high heat or summer rainstorms.
Before use, you'll want to leave the solar panels out in direct sunlight for at least seven hours during the day. On a full charge, the lamp provides roughly eight hours of electricity when the sun goes down. It measures 7 in dia and 9 in h, making it portable enough to bring to the beach or on a camping trip too!