The 9 Best Outdoor Mounted Solar Lights of 2022, According to Our Tests

The Maxsa Motion-Activated Dual Head Solar Security Light impressed our tester with its easy installation.

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Kemeco-LED-Solar-Post-Light-(1)-Abigail-Wetzler

Real Simple / Abigail Wetzler

Whether you want to add a gentle ambiance to your patio or strong illumination to dark areas around your home, mounted solar lights can transform your outdoor space. Solar lights require no outlets or electricity, so you can rely on something as routine as the sunrise to brighten your yard. 

To find the best outdoor mounted solar lights, we sent 19 models to our real world testers, who installed the lights and evaluated them over two weeks. Testers took note of qualities such as ease of setup, brightness, bonus features (like smart capabilities and motion sensing), and more. For expert advice, we spoke to Amber Freda, a garden and landscape designer, and Sheva Knopfler, co-founder and creative director of Lights.com, to get their tips on selecting mounted solar lights to suit your outdoor space. 

“When shopping for your mounted solar lights, make sure to consider placement and purpose of the lights,” says Knopfler. “How bright do you need the space illuminated? Are you buying the lights for safety or convenience? Consider how the light will look and function in your space.”

Our best overall pick is the Maxsa Motion-Activated Dual Head Solar Security Light because it has a variety of settings and features that you can tailor to your liking, plus a high brightness level that makes it effective as a security light for your home. 

Here are the best outdoor mounted solar lights.

Our Top Picks
Best Budget Outdoor Mounted Solar Light:
Better Homes & Gardens Beckon Solar Lamp at Walmart
Best Traditional Outdoor Mounted Solar Light:
Alcott Hill Rasberry Wall Light at Wayfair
Best Smart Outdoor Mounted Solar Light:
Ring Solar Floodlight at Amazon
Best Heavy-Duty Outdoor Mounted Solar Light:
Aootek Outdoor Solar Lights at Amazon
Best Hanging Outdoor Mounted Solar Light:
Derynome Solar Wall Lantern Lights at Amazon
Best Outdoor Mounted Solar Post Light:
Kemeco Solar Post Light at Amazon
Best Outdoor Mounted Solar Lantern Light:
Cyhkee Solar Wall Lantern at Amazon

Best Overall Outdoor Mounted Solar Light: Maxsa Motion-Activated Dual Head Solar Security Light

4.9
Maxsa Solar Motion Activated Dual Head Light

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want to add a bit more security and brightness to their outdoor space. 

Who it isn't for: People who want ambient outdoor lighting.

The Maxsa Motion-Activated Dual Head Solar Security Light had a near-perfect performance during our testing process. While this pick is relatively low profile (our tester describes it as “small but powerful”), it boasts 220 lumens with adjustable brightness, motion sensors, and customizable light durations that allow you to modify how long the lights stay on after detecting motion—anywhere from 10 seconds to four minutes. You can also set the motion sensor’s range to as close as 10 feet or as far as 40 feet away.

Installation was a breeze, with our tester noting that nothing else but a power drill was required to set up this light. (All the mounting hardware comes included in the box.) We also appreciate how durable this mounted solar light is. Even after a heavy storm, there was no damage to the light fixture. “[It’s] pretty accurate and quick when it comes to motion sensing,” our tester says. “I live on a busy street with cars constantly passing by. With that said, I love that you can adjust how sensitive the motion sensor is.” 

While this pick only comes with one unit per package, the light has two adjustable heads that can swivel to cover a larger space or two separate areas. It can illuminate any backyard, large patio, or driveway, making it versatile enough for most outdoor spaces. However, keep in mind that the spotlight may be too bright and harsh for people looking strictly for ambient lighting. 

Product Details: 

  • Brightness: 220 lumens
  • Motion Sensor: Yes
  • Weather-Resistance Rating: IP44
  • Weight: 2.13 pounds

Price at time of publish: $48

Maxsa Solar-Powered Dual-Head LED Security Spotlight

Real Simple / Patricia Huffstead

Best Budget Outdoor Mounted Solar Light: Better Homes & Gardens Beckon Outdoor Sconce Solar Lamp

4.8
Better Homes & Gardens Satin Solar Lamp

Walmart

Who it's for: People who want affordable ambient lighting in their outdoor space. 

Who it isn't for: People who want a motion sensor light for security.

Illuminating your outdoor space doesn’t need to be an expensive endeavor—especially with the Better Homes & Gardens Beckon Outdoor Sconce Aluminum Solar Lamp (Better Homes & Gardens is owned by Real Simple’s parent company, Dotdash Meredith). Our tester was impressed with this sconce’s performance, noting its modern design, weather resistance, and ease of installation. At 20 lumens, this mounted outdoor solar light is ideal for gently brightening your entryway, porch, or deck. 

It’s made with weather-resistant and waterproof materials that can endure year-round use, but it still flaunts a stylish, contemporary design that makes them well-suited to any outdoor space. The Edison tube bulb is enclosed in an industrial metal cage, while the discreet solar panel atop the light charges up for all-night use. 

While this pick doesn’t offer an extensive array of bonus features like motion sensing or smart capabilities, our tester noted its dusk-to-dawn mode as a standout feature that makes daily use convenient and hands-off. “This solar light provides all you need and more,” says our tester. “You can turn it on or off whenever you choose thanks to the handy on/off switch. When night falls, the light turns on without any assistance from you.” 

Product Details:

  • Brightness: 20 lumens
  • Motion Sensor: No 
  • Weather-Resistance Rating: IPX4
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds

Price at time of publish: $20

Better Homes & Gardens Satin Black Outdoor Sconce Solar Lamp

Real Simple / Daniela Galvez

Best Traditional Outdoor Mounted Solar Light: Alcott Hill Rasberry Wall Light

4.7
Rasberry Wall Light

Courtesy of Wayfair

Who it's for: People who want to add a large, ornate light to their outdoor space. 

Who it isn't for: People who want a dimmable light fixture.

Our tester noted that the Alcott Hill Rasberry Wall Light looks similar to a hard-wired light—the size, weight, and detail of design make it a statement piece to add to your outdoor area. “If you want to splurge on an ornate, vintage wall lantern with tons of details (and not that many lighting features), that looks hard-wired, it may be worth it to you,” says our tester. 

It has a brightness of 120 lumens and an impressive 10-hour runtime on a full charge. And like the other lights on our list, this one requires ample sunlight—so be sure to place it in an area with plenty of daytime exposure. Unlike some of our other selections, this light doesn’t offer many bonus features, like adjustable brightness or motion sensitivity, but it has an effective dusk-to-dawn mode. “What it lacks in features it makes up for in design details,” says our tester, who also notes that this pick is rather large and heavy, so it may not be suitable for smaller homes or spaces. 

Product Details:

  • Brightness: 120 lumens
  • Motion Sensor: No
  • Weather-Resistance Rating: Not listed
  • Weight: 7.4 pounds

Price at time of publish: $250

Best Traditional Outdoor Mounted Solar Light

Jenica Currie

Best Smart Outdoor Mounted Solar Light: Ring Solar Floodlight

4.7
Ring Solar Floodlight

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want to integrate solar lights into their smart home system. 

Who it isn't for: People who are looking for ambient lighting for a patio or deck.

For the tech-savvy shopper, the Ring Solar Floodlight can be integrated into your existing smart home setup. It offers all the customizable smart controls and compatibility you could want. You’ll need a Ring Bridge (which is an additional cost) or a compatible Echo device for the full functionality of this light. But once it’s set up and synced to the Bridge, you can customize the brightness, motion sensitivity, and schedules—plus connect with other devices like Ring doorbells, cameras, and Alexa-enabled devices. 

During our testing, we found that it was easy to toggle between all the settings on a smartphone. “This light comes with so many options...all changeable via the Ring app,” our tester says. “I can turn the lights on manually via the app as well as set up motion alerts. I can also change the brightness, settings for daylight activation, the motion sensitivity, as well as light scheduling!” 

This motion-sensing floodlight has an impressive brightness of 1200 lumens, which can illuminate any driveway or backyard—but it may be too bright for those who are looking for decorative ambient lighting. We also appreciate that it comes in two colors—black and white—so you can choose the option that best matches your outdoor decor.

Product Details:

  • Brightness: 1200 lumens
  • Motion Sensor: Yes
  • Weather-Resistance Rating: IP66
  • Weight: 0.5 pounds

Price at time of publish: $90

Best Smart Outdoor Mounted Solar Light

Dera Burreson

Best Heavy-Duty Outdoor Mounted Solar Light: Aootek Outdoor Solar Lights

4.7
Aootek Solar Lights

Courtesy of Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a high-powered outdoor mounted solar light to brighten a large area. 

Who it isn't for: People who want stylish lighting for a small outdoor space.

With an impressive brightness of 2500 lumens, these mounted solar lights from Aootek are the most powerful on our list. Our tester praised these heavy-duty lights—which come in sets of four—for their value, reliability, and variety of light settings. The lights are designed with three modes: security, which utilizes the automatic motion sensor to activate the light, “smart brightness control” that keeps the light on all night with increased brightness when there is detected motion, and an all-night option that automatically turns on at dusk. 

“I tested the longevity of the solar power while checking them throughout the night and early morning,” says our tester. “The dim setting runs the entire time, and the motion detection works perfectly.” 

These solar lights come fully assembled, and our tester noted that installation only took five minutes. While these outdoor mounted solar lights are one of the best options for security and durability, their design is tech-forward and simple. So if you want a stylish option for subtle, ambient lighting, you may want to look elsewhere. 

Product Details: 

  • Brightness: 2500 lumens
  • Motion Sensor: Yes
  • Weather-Resistance Rating: IP65
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds

Price at time of publish: $36 for 4-pack

Best Heavy-Duty Outdoor Mounted Solar Lights

Derek Pruden

Best Hanging Outdoor Mounted Solar Light: Derynome Solar Wall Lantern Lights

Derynome Solar Lantern Outdoor Lights With Wall Mount Kit

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want soft, stylish, and ambient lighting for their outdoor space. 

Who it isn't for: People who frequently experience high winds and severe storms.

These lightweight lanterns add a soft, warm ambiance to any outdoor space, and our tester loves how versatile they are. They have a hook so you “can take them off and carry them as a lantern if you want,” or hang them anywhere else in your yard with a hook. While these lanterns don’t have an array of bonus features, they are a great choice for people who want a simple yet elegant outdoor lighting solution. “They are priced right for a set, and have a nice modern look that would go almost anywhere,” says our tester. 

As for installation, no assembly is required other than attaching the brackets to the wall with a drill. The stainless steel and glass construction is durable enough for long-term use and has a waterproof rating of IP65, which means they can withstand rain. That said, the tester and manufacturer both note that these lanterns could become damaged in high winds or severe storms, as the hook design makes them more susceptible to swinging. 

Product Details: 

  • Brightness: 15 lumens
  • Motion Sensor: No
  • Weather-Resistance Rating: IP65
  • Weight: 3 pounds

Price at time of publish: $50 for 2-pack

Best Hanging Outdoor Mounted Solar Lights

Jenica Currie

Best Outdoor Mounted Solar Pendant Light: Better Homes & Gardens Natural Woven Pendant

4.4
Better Homes & Gardens 12.8-Inch Natural Woven Pendant

Walmart

Who it's for: People who want a decorative outdoor lighting element. 

Who it isn't for: People who want a bright light that’s quick and easy to assemble.

For those who want to add unique, decorative lighting to their outdoor space, the woven rattan structure of this pendant light is sure to add a sophisticated ambiance. “If you're looking for a soft glow that adds a decorative element to your outdoor space, and not looking to spend a ton, this is a perfect light for you,” says our tester. 

Keep in mind that the highlight of this pendant solar light is its appearance. It doesn’t have the brightness options of some other mounted solar lights on our list, and it lacks some of the other features that would be nice to have. Our tester appreciated that the light came with a remote, which allowed them to power it on and off, dim the light to four settings, and set a timer. While the dimming function worked as expected, the timer wasn't fully functional, according to our tester—this could be because the manufacturer didn’t provide instructions for use. The lack of instructions also made this pick slightly challenging to assemble and install—it took our tester 25 minutes to set up, which is longer than the other products on our list. 

Product Details:

  • Brightness: Not listed
  • Motion Sensor: No
  • Weather-Resistance Rating: Not listed
  • Weight: 1.7 pounds

Price at time of publish: $50

better-homes-garden-natural-woven-pendant-walmartmaria-bouselli-04

Real Simple / Maria Bouselli

Best Outdoor Mounted Solar Post Light: Kemeco Solar Post Light

4.8
Kemeco LED Cast Aluminum Solar Post Light

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a classic light post look with easy installation. 

Who it isn't for: People who want to hang or affix their solar lights to a wall or their home.

Our testers gave the Kemeco Solar Post Light a perfect score for its ease of installation, design, brightness, and durability. If you want the look of a traditional light post with the addition of solar energy, this pick can enhance your garden, yard, entryway, or driveway—no wiring required. 

If your yard has an existing round pole, installation can take just six minutes, according to our tester, who also noted that the solar light can be mounted on a square pole with the fixtures and screws included in the kit. For anyone without a post (or those who would prefer to set up the light elsewhere), you can affix this solar light onto any flat surface with the included mounting base. 

With a vintage cross-frame design and ripple glass construction, this durable aluminum light gives off an attractive glow. “It adds a great warm light to add a welcoming touch to the front,” says our tester, who also notes that “the materials are high-quality and seem sturdy.” While these outdoor mounted solar lights have a superb brightness of 135 lumens, they don't have motion-sensing capabilities, so this pick probably isn’t ideal for security purposes.

Product Details

  • Brightness: 135 lumens
  • Motion Sensor: No
  • Weather-Resistance Rating: Not listed
  • Weight: 6.4 pounds

Price at time of publish: $100

Best Outdoor Mounted Solar Post Light

Abigail Wetzler

Best Outdoor Mounted Solar Lantern Light: Cyhkee Solar Wall Lantern

4.8
Cyhkee Solar Wall Lanterns

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want lantern-style outdoor lighting with various settings. 

Who it isn't for: People who are looking for a bright light for added security.

These solar wall lanterns strike the balance between security lights and purely ambient lighting, making them a great choice for someone who wants a bit of both in their outdoor space. “I love that these are Edison-type bulbs,” says our tester. “It makes the lighting more decorative, but when the sensor goes off, the light is bright enough to get someone's attention.” 

There are three modes to choose from, which can be adjusted with the click of a button. The motion-sensor mode can detect movement at a 120-degree angle with a 19-foot range, which will trigger the lights to turn on for 15 seconds. Another mode offers a muted light throughout the night, which is kicked into high gear when the motion sensors are activated. The final setting is at half brightness with no motion sensing, which is ideal for people who want these lights purely for ambiance. 

Our tester was impressed with the value and quality of these lanterns, as they come in packs of two. “I think this is for someone that is looking to update their front or back porch with a little bit of lighting and doesn’t want to spend a lot of money but still wants a quality-looking product,” says our tester. 

These lights have a weather-resistance rating of IP65 and are constructed with a durable ABS plastic material that is weatherproof, fade-proof, and anti-corrosion, so you can be sure these outdoor solar lights will last for years to come. 

Product Details: 

  • Lumens: 200 lumens
  • Motion Sensor: Yes
  • Weather-Resistance Rating: IP65
  • Weight: 13.6 ounces

Price at time of publish: $78 for 2-pack

Best Outdoor Mounted Solar Lantern

Jennifer May

Final Verdict

Overall, we recommend the Maxsa Motion-Activated Dual Head Solar Security Light for its 160 lumens of brightness, motion sensor capabilities, and light activity time, which allows you to tailor the light’s functionality depending on your needs. This pick is also easy to install and made with durable materials, making it a reliable option for any outdoor space. 

Our Testing Process

We sent out 19 mounted solar lights to our testers, who assessed each model based on ease of installation, features, design, brightness, durability, and value over two weeks. First, our testers unpacked the lights and noted whether any assembly was required, then evaluated the quality of the parts and how easily they connected during the process. Testers also timed the assembly process from start to finish. 

After assembling the lights, we followed the manufacturer’s instructions for installation—observing how challenging the instructions were, whether the light included the required mounting hardware, and the duration of the entire installation process, again using a timer from start to finish. 

Once our testers installed the lights, they spent the following two weeks reviewing the functionality of each model. We took note of whether the light dimmed or faded, recharged reliably, and if testers had to make adjustments to properly recharge the solar panels. While the brightness of solar lights depends partially on the type of fixture and whether they’re ambient or security lights, our testers considered whether the illumination was in alignment with each type. 

Our Testing Process

Lizz Leonard

Many of the outdoor mounted solar lights reviewed by our testers have unique features, like multiple settings and colors, motion sensors, dusk-to-dawn modes, and smart capabilities. Testers utilized each of these additional functions (when applicable) and noted their ease of use and effectiveness. If there were any significant weather events or adverse conditions during the testing period, testers evaluated each product’s durability—like whether the lights were damaged or became less effective over time. 

After evaluating the mounted solar lights for two weeks, testers received the price of each product and scored its overall value, factoring in its performance in the above tests. 

How to Shop for Mounted Solar Lights Like a Pro 

Brightness

Before selecting mounted solar lights for your yard, consider how bright you want your outdoor space to be. Brightness is typically measured in lumens, and the higher the number, the brighter the light will be. If you’re adding solar lights for ambient or accent lighting, opt for a product with a maximum of 100 to 200 lumens. But for those who are in search of a security light, we recommend significantly bumping up the brightness to between 700 and 1300 lumens. 

Space

You’ll need to consider the size of the outdoor space you want to illuminate. The larger the space, the more lights (or brighter lights) you will typically need. While lighting up a pathway or steps won’t require as much light, areas like a large patio could benefit from more light, depending on your desired effect.  

“Lighting can really help make an outdoor space come alive at night,” says Freda. “It adds soft ambient lighting that can turn beautiful plants or trees into interesting focal points in the garden.” 

You should also think about how your solar lights will mesh with your existing decor and color palette. “I would look for a color that goes with the trim or furniture that’s usually in the space already,” Freda adds. “The most common colors are black or brown, so take a look at the space ahead of time and make sure you find a good match that makes sense with the aesthetic.”

Sun Exposure 

How well your mounted solar lights function greatly depends on the amount of sunlight they get every day, so the more sun exposure, the better. For lights to stay on for eight hours, they’ll need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight during the day. That said, solar lights can still charge with indirect sunlight or even in shade, though their output will decrease. If you plan on using your solar lights daily, we recommend installing them in places with as much direct sunlight as possible. 

Weather-Resistance Rating

Most outdoor mounted solar lighting is designed with materials that can withstand inclement weather, low temperatures, water, and direct sunlight. But if durability and quality are high on your list of considerations, look for products with high weather-resistance ratings. This is often listed on product listings as an Ingress Protection (IP) rating, like IP65. The first number is how well it can stand up to dust and debris, while the second number refers to how airtight it is. The higher the number, the more durable the light. And if you see an X in the IP rating, keep in mind that the light does not offer any protection in that category. 

Special Features

While these features aren’t a must on outdoor mounted solar lights, they can add functionality and enhance your user experience.  

Multiple Modes: Creating a dreamy outdoor landscape can be as simple as installing outdoor solar lights with various patterns and/or color modes. This feature can transform the ambiance of your patio, garden, or deck by simply pressing a button. "It can also be used to highlight other features, such as a fountain or statue," says Freda. 

Smart Capabilities: For those who want to seamlessly set timers and adjust brightness from their phone, mounted solar lights with smart capabilities can allow you to remotely toggle between settings. The Ring Solar Floodlight stood out in our testing for its smart capabilities that can be integrated into your existing smart home setup, with either a Bridge (sold separately) or a compatible Echo device.

Special Features

Dera Burreson

Motion Sensors: Whether you’re lighting a pitch-black pathway or integrating an outdoor security light, a motion sensor will come in handy. Rather than burning through the charge, motion sensor solar lights turn on only when necessary, ensuring they don’t run out of battery. Most solar lights with motion sensors can be toggled to a traditional mode, so you can opt for either function depending on the occasion. 

Dusk-to-Dawn Modes: Rather than turning on your solar-powered lights every night, some options come with a convenient dusk-to-dawn mode that will automatically turn on the lights around sunset and turn them off around sunrise. This is especially helpful for people who would rather “set and forget” their solar lights.

More Mounted Solar Lights to Consider

Gama Sonic Solar Barn Light: These mounted solar lights were very easy to install, however we found that they were lacking in terms of features and brightness settings. Our tester also wished that there was a way to hide the unsightly 7-foot cord.

HMCity Outdoor Solar Lights: In our testing, we found that these mounted solar lights were practically identical to the Aootek lights (our favorite heavy-duty lights) except for the brand name on the label. If our original recommendation isn’t available, the HMCity lights are a good alternative since they performed the same in our tests.

Questions You Might Ask

What are the brightest outdoor solar lights? 

The brightness of most lights is communicated in lumens, which measure how much light is emitted per second. The brightest lights on this list are the Aootek Mounted Outdoor Solar Lights, with 2500 lumens, according to the manufacturer. 

Are mounted outdoor solar lights worth it?

Since mounted outdoor solar lights don’t use electricity, they might help you save money in the long run—especially since they don’t require an electrician or expert assembly. “Solar lights are usually pretty reasonably priced compared to electric lights, and they are also better for the environment, two factors which make them worth the investment,” says Freda. 

Plus, there are plenty of benefits to using solar lights outside your home. “Lights can deter home invaders and pests like raccoons,” adds Knopfler. “Outdoor lighting is great when you come home late and need to find your keys, or safely make your way up pathways and stairs.” 

Questions You Might Ask

Ashleigh Morley

How long do solar lights last?

Once installed, outdoor solar lights can function for years to come with very little maintenance, making them an ideal choice for any backyard, garden, patio, or path. The batteries can last for two to three years before they need replacement, while the LED bulbs used in solar lights can last for 10 years or more. 

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Quinn Gawronski, associate commerce editor for Real Simple, who has three years of experience writing and editing product reviews and roundups. To compile this list, we sent 19 outdoor mounted solar lights to real-world testers who evaluated them on setup, brightness, bonus features, durability, and overall value. The testers observed the functionality of these outdoor mounted solar lights for two weeks before providing feedback based on their experience. For expert tips, we consulted with Amber Freda, a New York City-based landscape designer, and Sheva Knopfler, co-founder and creative director of Lights.com, for their tips for selecting the best outdoor mounted solar lights for your space. 

What Is Real Simple Selects?

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn't an option. If that's the case, we test the product just like we test anything we buy, but we also disclose that we received it for free to be as transparent with you as possible. 

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums. 

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