A Caveat and Affiliates

First off, a little caveat: within my articles you will find affiliate links, meaning if you buy them, I get a small commission. Your cost is not affected. In addition, I am an Amazon Associate and I earn from qualifying purchases on Amazon.

And yes, if I say that I recommend a product here, it means I truly believe it is a good product. I refuse to recommend any product that I have not researched and believe to be a good value.

Even better, I provide you with a very clear picture of the product, it’s use, and the probable value.

Earning your trust is important to me. I run this website myself and the commissions and donations help support the site.

Sound reasonable and fair enough? Let’s continue to the article.


Solar patio lights are great innovations in harnessing the power of solar energy. Patio lights can enhance your home exterior in a quick and easy way. But how much do we really know about solar patio lights? The answer to this question will help us consider important factors before purchasing. 

So, what are solar patio lights, anyway? And how do they work?

 Solar patio lights are off-grid devices. This means they are wireless lights or lights with no electrical power source—other than the sun. By this, the lights are dependent on the solar energy given off by the sun. This causes the lights to have a low chance of overheating. Additionally, having no external lights reduces or even cuts out the risk of accidents like strangulation or electrocution.

Thanks to PV (photovoltaic) panels, the lights can store as much energy throughout the daytime. PV panels are either mounted on the top of the lighting structure or connected to the pole. These panels come with a rechargeable battery which provides power to LED lamps during the entire night. 

While most patio lights are raised, there are other numerous forms available, from the standard walkway lights and floodlights to the more unique solar string lights. Whatever the forms are, they mostly have automatic light sensors. These sensors allow solar lights to give off light at night and absorb the sun’s energy automatically during the day. 

Unlike conventional lighting, these patio lights require lesser maintenance, as well as cut off utility bills thanks to their renewable source of energy. No wonder why many users are switching to solar patio lights nowadays. But being cost-effective is just one of the many reasons why you should choose solar patio lights. And like most things, patio lighting comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s discuss a few more.


Major Advantages of Solar Patio Lights




Value is the main advantage of using solar patio lights. Aside from being cost-effective, patio lights will also save you from spending additional cash just to operate. As you already know, solar lights don’t need to be attached to an electricity source. Additionally, the batteries in solar lights are expected to last up to 5 years, not to mention LED bulbs which can last ten years or more. All in all, this can save you money in the long run. Though you still have to invest a decent amount to have a quality solar landscape fixture, over time, the money can be recouped quickly as you pay nothing in your electric bills.


Sustainability of Solar Patio Lights


Your solar patio lights will have a free source of energy as long as they can charge in direct sunlight. They can automatically work to give off light on nights and will turn off after dusk. Many of these patio lights are built to be resilient to harsh weather conditions. There are even those that can still operate on consecutive nights even with partial sunlight due to overcast skies or rain.


Quick and Easy Installation


A single solar light unit has it all to run smoothly, even without attachable cables. All you need to do is to stake the attached spike into the ground and ensure that they are in an area that gets enough sunlight to charge the battery. Although there are other patio lights that are designed for walls and poles. You may sometimes also need to attach small fixtures to the main body manually. For example, a solar panel should be at the top of the light, while the battery is in the body. 

Solar Patio Lights Maintenance


Solar patio lighting does not need that much maintenance. LED solar bulbs, for instance, can serve over 20,000 hours. And because the systems are built in, they only need a quick wipe to clean off dirt, moisture, or debris. Though occasional changing of batteries may also be necessary.




Average solar pathway light can emit as much light as a 40-watt light bulb. This is bright enough to allow people to see the difference between the path and other areas without blinding anyone at night. The ambient lighting of solar patio lights is also great for enhancing pathways and garden space. Whereas brighter solar patio lights that illuminate wider spaces are ideal for security lighting. 


Some Drawbacks



Like most solar-powered devices, the initial investment for this type of light tends to be pricy compared to regular lights. That is why some individuals think twice before switching off-grid. Also, people seem to be hesitant because they think that non-wired devices can easily be stolen. Meaning, the risk of theft can be relatively higher due to the device’s higher monetary value. For this reason, many overlook the long-term savings and the longer life cycle of patio lights. 



Foreign elements like snow, dust, and moisture can easily accumulate on horizontal PV panels. This can result in a decrease or obstruction of solar energy absorption. That is why occasional cleaning is important, especially if the lights are placed in areas susceptible to extreme weather conditions. Speaking of extreme weather conditions, long-term exposure to harsh elements can damage or shorten the life cycle of your solar patio lights. 


Solar Patio Lights with Replaceable Batteries


Replacing rechargeable batteries a few times within the lifetime of the fixtures is necessary. Just like any components, the batteries of solar patio lights also get exhausted. This is why you must include battery replacement as part of your maintenance cost and the total lifetime cost of your solar-powered lighting system. 


Lighting Inconsistency


The strength of solar-powered patio lights can also be its biggest catch. Since solar lighting solely relies on sunlight to work, lighting consistency can only be achieved if lights are placed in areas where they receive direct sunlight. That also means light can be dimmer on stormy days or on days with shorter daylight hours as there is not much time to have an adequate charge. And compared to wired lights, solar patio lights generally aren’t that bright; once the light is out, you’ll need to wait until it charges up again the next day.



How long do solar patio lights last?


The lifespan of solar patio lights relies on various factors, including the quality of the product, the amount of sunlight it gets, and the frequency of usage. However, on average, solar lights can survive for several years before they need to be replaced. Manufacturers can give you the exact idea of how long the product can last under normal use. 

And as mentioned, the amount of sunlight that a solar device received can affect its lifespan. Generally speaking, solar-powered patio lights that receive abundant sunlight tend to last longer than those that receive less sunlight. Another mentioned factor is the amount of use a solar light receives. Batteries and other components of lights that are used frequently will quickly wear out, thus shortening the lifespan of the solar lights.


How long do they stay lit?

 In general, solar patio lights that receive enough sunlight can stay lit for up to eight hours. This is enough to illuminate throughout the evening, starting from sunset. In some cases, lights will stay on longer or shorter, depending on how well the panels are able to absorb the light. Again, seeing that lights are in the optimum spot—in direct sunlight, away from obstructing objects—can ensure that your lights are operating at their best performance.


Take away

Now that we covered both the pros and cons of using solar patio lights, it’s your turn to weigh them in. Are they worthwhile? As you could see, more and more people are switching to solar lights, so what’s stopping you?