If you want to keep your driveway lit at night, without driving up your energy bill, what you need is the very best set of solar powered driveway lights. The best lights out there will be easy to install, lightweight and affordable, and hold their charge long enough to light a driveway of any length all night long.
This post will talk about some of the most important features of solar powered driveway lights, and then show you three of the top products on the market right now.
A versatile and affordable set of driveway lights in a 2 pack or 4 pack, mount in the ground and durable for long term outdoor use.
Durable, long-lasting solar powered lights with motion sensors. Mount on a wall or high pole.
Affordable outdoor lights that can be mounted in the ground or on a wall. Great for all-night lighting of small spaces.
How to Choose the Best Solar Powered Driveway Lights
Before you take a look at some of the best driveway lights or solar parking lot lights on the market right now, lets talk about all of the features that make a set of solar powered driveway lights great. The best lights for you will depend on your individual needs and priorities, but these are a few important features that you will want to look out for.
One of the most crucial features of any outdoor light is how bright it is. The brightness of outdoor lights is measured in lumens, a count of visible light particles. The higher the number of lumens a light has, the brighter it will be. As a reference point, the average lightbulb for a kitchen or bathroom will have around 800 lumens. Most outdoor lights range from as low as 200 lumens, to as high as 5,000 lumens.
For driveway lights or solar street lights, you will not need to look for the same brightness as with an outdoor floodlight or security light. Driveway lights are generally meant to guide you through your driveway, not to light your way. So for lights that are just going to serve as solar powered driveway markers, a lower brightness of 200-300 lumens will work just fine. A lower lumen count also means that the light will be able to hold its charge for longer.
That said, if you are interested in a brighter light with a farther reach, you should look for lights with a higher lumen count – just remember that they may not hold their charge as long.
Weatherproofing and Durability
You can’t just place any old lightbulb outside to line your driveway. The best solar driveway lights will be able to withstand any weather conditions outdoors, and last for a long time without needing replacement.
For the best weatherproofing, you should look for LED driveway lighting with a high IP rating. IP, or Ingress Protection, ratings are used to define how well-sealed a container is. An IP rating over 65 will mean that the casing around the light is not just waterproof, but dustproof as well. Anything higher than that will be secure even when submerged in deep water. The higher the IP rating of your lights, the longer they will be able to withstand rainy or stormy weather conditions.
On top of that, you should look for lights that are made with a tough, corrosion-resistant metal. Rust can kill an outdoor light faster than anything – make sure your lights either have a corrosion resistant coating or are made out of a metal like aluminum or stainless steel that prevents rust naturally.
Mounting and Placement
There are a few different ways to mount outdoor lights. Many floodlights or motion sensor lights, for security purposes, are designed to be mounted on the side of a building. For most driveways, the best light placement will be lights with stakes that can be stuck into the ground lining your driveway.
However, for clearer, brighter lighting, it might help to have lights mounted higher up. Some solar powered LED street lights are made to be mounted on high poles or fences, like parking lot pole lighting. If you have a fence lining your driveway, you may want to go with the higher light placement, to give your driveway a brighter illumination and a clearer view for the driver.
Charge and Runtime
One of the most important features of solar powered driveway lighting is how long the lights can hold their charge. Solar powered lights will charge themselves during the day – they usually need around 7 hours of direct sunlight to get a full charge.
To get the best use out of your solar driveway lights, make sure you choose a model that will shine for 8 hours or longer on a full charge. This can be tricky with brighter lights – some lights have a motion sensor to turn their brightness up when a person or car goes by, allowing them to conserve energy the rest of the time.
For driveway lights, we recommend valuing a long runtime over brightness. It is more important that your lights will stay on all night, then that they are extra bright.
The range of your solar lights determines how much space one light will be able to illuminate. Most lower-powered LED driveway lights have a range of 2-3 feet. Brighter lights will have a range of up to 10 feet.
For a longer driveway, you will probably want to look for lights with a bigger range, so that they can be placed further apart and cover a greater distance. For a shorter driveway, you should have no problem with a 2 foot light range or even smaller. Remember that the brightness of your lights might affect their runtime, as well as the cost. Lights with a longer range and long runtime will be pricier than those with a shorter range.
Special Features: Dimming, Motion Sensor and Dusk-to-Dawn Lighting
The simplest LED outdoor lights out there will function just like any regular light – able to be turned on and off with the press of a button, usually by a remote control. There are some special features of outdoor lights, though, that can make them more effective.
Motion sensors can be really helpful for lighting your way when you are walking or driving by at night. Lights with motion sensors will generally revert to a dimmer setting, or just turn off completely, until motion triggers the sensor, and then they will shine a bright spotlight over a certain area. These lights can be helpful if you often have to walk up and down your driveway while it is dark out.
Another great feature that you might want to look out for is dusk-to-dawn lighting. Lights equipped with dusk-to-dawn sensors will automatically turn themselves on or off when the light outside changes. They will turn on when the sun goes down, and off again when it comes up. That way, you don’t have to worry about remembering to switch the driveway lights on and off manually every day. This can be a great feature for a parking lot light fixture.
Best Solar Powered Driveway Lights Reviews
These lights from Nekteck have made their way to the top of our list for their affordability, versatility and long term durability. With these lights mounted around your driveway, you should have consistent, all night lighting for years.
The lights are mounted on stakes that can be planted into the ground. Each light has a solar panel mounted on a swivel, so that it can be angled to catch the most sunlight during the daytime. They have two brightness modes and dusk-to-dawn sensors to automatically switch themselves on and off when the light outside changes. On a full charge, they are guaranteed to run for 6-10 hours, depending on the brightness setting.
One of the best things about these lights is that they are so low maintenance. Once they have been placed in the ground, they will hold up to all kinds of weather, and automatically turn themselves on and off according to the daylight. There is nothing you need to do until the battery eventually wears down.
The lights are sold in a warm, yellow light or bright white light option. They come in a two pack or a four pack. They would be great for a driveway, but work just as well to light a walkway, garden, swimming pool or any outdoor space.
These Urpower lights look a little different from other options on our list, and they are a little pricier, but they come with plenty of special features and are bright enough to illuminate your whole driveway all night long.
The lights, available in either a 4 pack or 2 pack, are designed to be mounted on a wall or fence. They have a solar panel on top, angled to catch as much sunlight as possible during the day, and sit at a downward slant to light up the space below them. These are motion sensor lights, which means they will turn on when they detect motion. If you are using them to light your driveway, they will switch on as soon as you turn onto the driveway. The motion sensing feature helps to preserve the lights’ charge, but it means that it will not be able to provide continuous, all night driveway lighting.
One of the best things about these outdoor lights is that they are super durable. Each light has an IP64 rating, which makes it safe during even the worst rainstorms. The solar panel is guaranteed to last for up to 5 years of continuous use. They are also easy to mount, with a single screw hold.
Last on our list is a powerful little driveway light for a super affordable price. This light could be great if you just need a marker at your drive or in your garden. It is mounted on a stake and can be easily place in the ground anywhere, or mounted on a wall or fence with screw-in mountings.
The light is topped with a solar panel on a swivel, that can be angled to catch the most sunlight. The LED bulb itself can be angled to, to increase the range wherever you mount the light. It is 200 lumens, which is not quite bright enough to illuminate a large space, but plenty to light a pathway or part of a driveway. Best of all, this light has an automatic dusk-to-dawn sensor and will turn itself off and on with changes in the daylight. On a full charge, it can run for up to 16 hours.
The one downside to this affordable little light is that it is sold as a single. To light a full driveway, you will need to buy several, which will drive the price up.
All three of these products are great solar powered driveway lights, but in our opinion, there is one clear winner. The Nekteck 2 pack or 4 pack of outdoor spotlights is the best choice for lighting up your whole driveway at a low energy cost. These lights will automatically turn themselves on and off, and they will last for years, through any kind of weather options.
If you are looking for a little more brightness, a motion sensor or different mounting options, you might want to try one of the other products on our list.
We hope this review has been helpful in getting you to pick the very best solar powered driveway lights for you!