The 9 Best Mounted Solar Lights of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

After two weeks of real-world testing, these are our favorites.

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Kemeco LED Solar Post Light

Real Simple / Abigail Wetzler

Whether you want to add 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. 

“When shopping for your mounted solar lights, make sure to consider placement and purpose of the lights,” says Sheva Knopfler, co-founder and creative director of Lights.com. “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.”

To find the best mounted solar lights, we tested 19 models in real-world conditions for two weeks. We noted 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, in addition to Knopfler, to get their tips on selecting mounted solar lights to suit your outdoor space.

Best Overall Mounted Solar Light

Maxsa Motion-Activated Dual Head Solar Security Light

4.9
Maxsa Motion-Activated Dual Head Solar Security Light

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Features
    5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Brightness
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
What Stands Out
  • It can weather heavy storms without any damage or impact on its accuracy and speed at detecting motion.

What Could Be Improved
  • There's only one unit per package.

The Maxsa Solar-Powered Dual-Head LED Security Spotlight had a near-perfect performance throughout our testing. While this pick is relatively low profile, 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, though you will need a power drill 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. The light was accurate and quick when sensing motion—it detected cars on a busy street, but we could also adjust it to only detect nearby movement.

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. 

Price at time of publish: $80

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

Best Budget Mounted Solar Light

Better Homes & Gardens Beckon Outdoor Sconce Solar Lamp

4.8
Better Homes & Gardens Beckon Outdoor Sconce Solar Lamp

Walmart

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4/5
  • Features
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Brightness
    4/5
  • Durability
    5/5
What Stands Out
  • Weather-resistant and waterproof materials allow for year-round use, while the stylish, contemporary design makes them well-suited to any outdoor space. 

What Could Be Improved
  • At 20 lumens, some might find the lighting too gentle.

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). We were 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, its dusk-to-dawn mode is a standout feature that makes daily use convenient and hands-off. When night falls, the light turns on without any assistance.

Price at time of publish: $24

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

Better Homes & Gardens Satin Black Outdoor Sconce Solar Lamp

Real Simple / Daniela Galvez

Best Traditional Mounted Solar Light

Alcott Hill Rasberry Wall Light

4.7
Alcott Hill Rasberry Wall Light

Wayfair

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4.5/5
  • Features
    4/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Brightness
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
What Stands Out
  • It boasts details that make it look hardwired and an impressive 10-hour runtime on a full charge.

What Could Be Improved
  • This light doesn’t have adjustable brightness or motion sensitivity.

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 that look hard-wired, this pick might be for you. 

It has a brightness of 120 lumens and an impressive 10-hour runtime on a full charge. And like the other lights we tested, 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. Even so, what it lacks in features it makes up for in design details. It’s worth noting that during our testing, we found that this pick is rather large and heavy, so it may not be suitable for smaller homes or spaces. 

Price at time of publish: $240

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

Best Smart Mounted Solar Light

Ring Solar Floodlight

4.7
Ring Smart Lighting Solar Floodlight

Ring

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Features
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Brightness
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    4/5
What Stands Out
  • All the settings are simple to use via the mobile app, like setting up motion alerts and light schedules and adjusting brightness and motion sensitivity.

What Could Be Improved
  • At 1,200 lumens, it may be too bright for those looking for more decorative ambient lighting.

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. Via the app, you can turn the lights on, set up motion alerts, change the brightness, adjust the motion sensitivity, and even create 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.

Price at time of publish: $140

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

Ring Solar Smart Floodlight

Real Simple / Dera Burreson

Best Heavy-Duty Mounted Solar Light

Aootek Outdoor Solar Lights

4.7
Aootek Outdoor Solar Lights

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Features
    4/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Brightness
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
What Stands Out
  • They are designed with three distinct lighting modes and come fully assembled, so installation is quick.

What Could Be Improved
  • This lighting is not as stylish as some of our other selections.

With an impressive brightness of 2500 lumens, these mounted solar lights from Aootek are the most powerful on our list. We loved 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. 

We tested the longevity of the solar power by checking the lights throughout the night and early morning and found that the dim setting ran smoothly throughout. These solar lights come fully assembled, and 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. 

Price at time of publish: $36

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

mounting Aootek Outdoor Solar Lights

Real Simple / Derek Pruden

Best Hanging Mounted Solar Light

Derynome Solar Lantern Outdoor Lights with Wall Mount Kit

4.7
Derynome Solar Lantern Outdoor Lights with Wall Mount Kit

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Features
    4/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Brightness
    4/5
  • Durability
    4/5
What Stands Out
  • They can be hung for elegant, soft ambient lighting and carried as a lantern.

What Could Be Improved
  • They're more susceptible to damage in high winds or severe storms.

These lightweight lanterns add a soft, warm ambiance to any outdoor space, and we loved how versatile they are. They have a hook so you can carry them as a lantern or hang them anywhere 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. Plus, they have a minimalistic design that looks sleek anywhere. 

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 manufacturer notes that these lanterns could become damaged in high winds or severe storms, as the hook design makes them more susceptible to swinging. 

Price at time of publish: $50

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

Derynome Solar Lantern Outdoor Lights with Wall Mount Kit

Real Simple / Jenica Currie

Best Spotlight Mounted Solar Lights

Ameritop Outdoor Mounting Solar Lights

4.7
Ameritop Outdoor Mounting Solar Light

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Features
    4/5
  • Design
    2.9/5
  • Brightness
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
What Stands Out
  • The lights are highly durable and can detect motion up to 26 feet away.

What Could Be Improved
  • There aren't a lot of settings to choose from.

If you want added security to your home at an affordable price, opt for the Ameritop Outdoor Mounting Solar Lights. The smart motion sensor can detect movement up to 26 feet away and will stay illuminated until there is no active motion within the sensor’s field—the lights will automatically turn off after 15 seconds of stillness. The two lights produce a beaming 800 lumens, which you can angle by moving the adjustable heads. 

With an IP65 rating and a durable ABS construction, this light is also durable enough to endure inclement weather and outdoor elements. During our testing, these lights survived a massive storm and worked seamlessly the next morning. 

We also loved how easy it was to install and set up these lights—it took about five minutes, though you may need additional mounting brackets if you plan to hang these on siding. While these mounted solar lights are ideal for those who want added security in their outdoor space, we wish they had more settings to choose from. 

Price at time of publish: $40

Brightness: 800 lumens | Motion Sensor: Yes | Weather-Resistance Rating: IP65 | Weight: 2.33 pounds

Best Mounted Solar Post Light

Kemeco Solar Post Light

4.8
Kemeco Solar Post Light

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Features
    4/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Brightness
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
What Stands Out
  • The light is easy to install on an existing square pole or affix onto any flat surface with the included mounting base. 

What Could Be Improved
  • It lacks motion-sensing capabilities, so not ideal for security purposes.

We 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 testing. We 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, adding warm light and a welcoming touch to your outdoor space. 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.

Price at time of publish: $100

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

Best Mounted Solar Lantern Light

Cyhkee Solar Wall Lantern

4.8
Cyhkee Solar Wall Lanterns

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Features
    5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Brightness
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
What Stands Out
  • The quality two-pack set is an impressive value and offers three lighting modes adjustable with the click of a button.

What Could Be Improved
  • The 200-lumen bulb isn't quite bright enough for security lighting.

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. The Edison-style bulbs make 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. 

We were impressed with the value and quality of these lanterns, as they come in packs of two. 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. 

Price at time of publish: $78

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

mounting Cyhkee Outdoor Solar Wall Lanterns

Real Simple / 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 tested 19 outdoor mounted solar lights and assessed each model based on ease of installation, features, design, brightness, durability, and value over two weeks. First, we 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. We 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 we installed the lights, we 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 we 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, we also considered whether the illumination was in alignment with each type.

Many of the outdoor mounted solar lights we reviewed have unique features, like multiple settings and colors, motion sensors, dusk-to-dawn modes, and smart capabilities. We 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, we 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, we reviewed 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 Amber Freda, a New York City-based landscape designer. “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.

Kemeco Solar Post Light

Real Simple / Abigail Wetzler

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. We also wished that there was a way to hide the unsightly 7-foot cord.

Tuffenough Outdoor Solar Lights With Wall Mount and Motion Sensor: These motion sensor lights have multiple modes and an impressive brightness of 2,500 lumens. While they are a quality option for those who want solar lights for security purposes, they don't have any additional standout features.

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 Sheva Knopfler, co-founder and creative director of Lights.com. “Outdoor lighting is great when you come home late and need to find your keys, or safely make your way up pathways and stairs.”

testing outdoor mounted solar lights

Real Simple / 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 tested 19 outdoor mounted solar lights and evaluated them on setup, brightness, bonus features, durability, and overall value. We 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. All products go through the same rigorous process, whether they are purchased or sent by the company.

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

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