String lights bring vibrancy to backyards during summer nights, but outlets and extension cords make setting up the ambiance a logistical nightmare. Choose a set of the best solar string lights to avoid clunky wirings and bring a pop of natural light wherever you need it.
String lights are having a moment, and I always love the aesthetic it brings to evening parties!
How to Choose the Best Solar String Lights?
The string light fad is the year-round version of the Christmas light craze, which started in 1882 (source). The #stringlights has over 130,000 content posts on Instagram, from backyard parties to bedrooms with photo clips (source).
Solar LED string lights are the perfect way to tap into the trend without burning your electricity bill. When considering solar powered outdoor string lights, there are a few things and features you might want to consider:
No matter how cheap they are, it isn’t worth it to buy an item or products that you don’t like. You’re buying string lights to set a mood. If you want a more romantic mood complement it with the best solar tea lights!
Remember that every professional product photo uses the perfect angles and filters to make the lights have a nice glow, and fit the target items, so read the reviews (like this one!) to get a sense of how it actually looks.
The best solar string lights are the ones that have lighting modes, like “twinkle” or “steady on.” And while you’re at it, make sure to pick a string with clear wires, not a green one – it’ll be less visible against porch, railings, fences, and door frames.
In general, you’ll want lights that have a good amount of space between them and give off a warm white or yellowish light. Sunlitec Solar String Lights and Brightech Ambience Pro have a great classic feel to them, while the Solar String Crystal Globes will look a bit harsher. But then again, you know your backyard!
A harsher light might not be so bad if it’s at a distance. For the lawn, patios, and sitting areas, you’ll probably want to go for the warmer yellow. Installing professional looking string lights with solar panels will also go a long way to getting that young and fresh look–check out this video for some tips (source).
It doesn’t matter how great your string lights looked in the box, you will want string lights that look good above like stars.
There are so many string lights on the market, and you’ll probably tolerate a little price fluctuation to get the ones that really look great. Both the Sunlitec Solar String Lights and Brightech Ambience Pro give you about 25 feet of light strand for around 50 bucks a pop.
The Solar String Crystal Globes are significantly cheaper, running for almost a hundred feet for less than 100 bucks. While not quite the bulbed string lights, the Magictec Solar String Lights run 72 feet for only around $20. The huge price discrepancies here should remind you that the quality and aesthetics of string lights can vary greatly.
I think that the Sunlitec and Brightech lights are gorgeous in a way that the other 2 brands, while nice, can’t really compete with. Investing a bit more to get the string lights that last for 5 years and look the best might well be worth your money.
Durability, Safety, Warranty
Outdoor LED string lights can have durability and safety problems, depending on where they are placed. The Solar String Crystal Globes don’t provide you a warranty, and the plastic is harder to clean but safer than the glass alternatives.
The Magictec Solar String Lights and Sunlitec Solar String Lights both give you a one-year warranty for their strands, which is encouraging. But the Brightech Ambience Pro is the real winner here. It’s my upgrade pick because it offers the peace of mind that comes with a full three-year warranty.
The company believes in its product! When I’m looking for lighting electronics or devices, a warranty is a key sign of durability and sets it apart from the others on the piling lists in stores and online. Companies can’t make profits if they sort of go around fulfilling a huge number of warranty claims than orders, and so a three-year warranty means that most people don’t use it. Most people have a positive, durable, three-year experience with the Brightech Ambience Pro.
Strand Length and Panel Position
Most solar power string lights outdoors cannot be linked to each other like indoor string lights. A single panel powers a single strand, and there’s no connector on the end of it. When you’re mapping out your ideal string light scenario, consider the length of the string lights and the runway you get from panel to light. Some strands offer only afoot, others give you 5 feet.
The panel position is essential to gather sunlight. Because the lights are solar paneled and need a good 5-8 hours of peak sun, you’ll have to position the panel in the sun while running the lights to where you want them. This can get tricky if you’re running lights under shaded pool areas or patio spaces. Measure before you invest!
Best Solar String Lights Reviews
The Sunlitec are the brightest bulbs on the list, helping you see your guests’ faces at night while sitting around the patio or even as a home improvement! Warm and natural light complements the backyard without casting spotlights.
Though it doesn’t come with an IP65 rating, its high quality LED balls are designed to protect the light from anything like water, rain, and breakage. On cloudy days I’ve found that the USB charger spot works great! It charges in just a few hours.
No rechargeable battery to store power is required. Having an extra power source is super helpful because you aren’t relying exclusively on solar on cloudy days.
Your lights won’t be dim at a party ever again! The only drawbacks are a poor warranty and a high price tag.
- The brightest lights on this list. Helps you see your guests’ faces at night!
- 25 bulbs over 27 feet for a high bulb density.
- Warm and natural lighting
- USB charger for emergency party-saving power
- Holds a charge really well, can make it most of the night with some light.
- Glass bulbs can pose a safety hazard for kids and pets if the lights are installed low to the ground.
- The one-year warranty specifically excludes bulbs. You’ll probably get a couple of burnouts in the first year. Nothing major, but replaceability is an issue here.
- More expensive than you’re probably going to want to pay, at around $40 for the strand.
- The glass is fairly thin and can shatter easily.
This strand is easier on the eyes than the other three! The Brightech has my favorite natural lighting, with beautiful Edison bulbs that impress guests with their ambiance. The high price means you’ll pay for quality.
These string lights are gorgeous but will definitely put a gash in your wallet on the way to perfect summer night aesthetics. On the other hand, the great warranty ensures that you get the quality.
- Warranty: A lifespan of around 20,000 hours will probably last you years, and the full three-year warranty ensures that they will at least last you that long!
- Beautiful Edison bulbs give off a nice warm glow.
- Photocell directly in the box means you don’t have to worry about turning on and off, the lights automatically adjust when it darkens.
- Three feet of runway from the solar panel allows you to position the panel without sacrificing light near the ground.
- Frosted plastic gives off a whiter, light delivery is less natural light.
- No warranty.
- 20 bulbs placed over 16 feet makes the strand feel a little crowded at times.
The Solar String Crystal Globes fairy lights are simply the most cost-effective way to deliver strings of solar LED bulbs to your backyard in high quantities. The frosted plastic and complete lack of warranty aren’t exactly encouraging, but they will certainly light up your backyard without destroying your bank account.
The charge time is great as well! Another drawback is that the solar panel is a bit finicky, and sometimes the lights don’t come on until it’s well dark in its location(you can place a cover over the panel to force them to come on as the sun is setting though!).
- The company also sells a variety of other colours than plain white.
- Even brightness and glow.
- Smaller and lighter strands than the other three varieties for easy installation.
- Longer run time than the other lights can last 10 hours when fully charged. The 10 hours will take you all through the night for those unforgettable moments!
- Circular bubble design and farther bubble spacing mean you get the least air pockets on this model as compared to the other ones.
- No UV protection against sun damage.
One of the best hanging solar lights and the safest, cheapest, longest strand of lights is the Magictec. They’re like a garland, mostly suited for outlining and not entertaining.
The Magictec lights are a strand of 100 tiny-sized bulbs that glow without really illuminating or merely serving as a night lamp. It comes in 4mm thick copper wire, making these solar lights bent into any shape of your choice.
They’re easy to tack up and cheap enough to cover a lot of ground. You can use this to light up the whole city on a holiday or you might want to consider these if you’re looking to line planters or make a gazebo really pop.
- Safe for kids and pets! Strand and solar boxes don’t add glass or sharp plastic to your yard or around the fence.
- If you want to light a lot of area in your space cheaply, 72 feet for 20 bucks is as good as you’re going to get.
- Perfect for outlining your tree, deck, patios, and planters at night.
- The warm glow and not harsh white light.
- It’s a light rope and not bulbs, so it won’t illuminate with the kind of power that the other string lights on this list do. Each strand has 100 individual lights, but they are very small.
- You have to be careful when uncoiling the product and wire not to damage the lights and tangle them up.
The Brightech Ambience Pro is my clear frontrunner. They look beautiful in the backyard and come with a great warranty. The Edison bulbs are the perfect retro-chic vibe, and the warm light compliments the warm light coming from the house.
Yes, they are the most expensive selection per foot, but if you want quality string lights you’ll probably have to pay for them. Investing in quality string lights that you LOVE is ultimately cheaper than replacing mediocre string lights every couple of years and buying a new set when you move.
Alternatively, I also love the Magictec Solar String Lights, because the bulbs are nicely aligned in a single strand and easy to tack up as an outline. The price can’t be beaten, and the warm light matches the Brightech Ambience Pro with great style!