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With soaring electricity costs and the looming climate change emergency only picking up speed, greening your home may be a top priority. Solar is leading the way in many areas — in particular, when it comes to money-saving, eco-friendly, and energy-efficient solar-powered lights.
Outdoor lights are perfectly positioned to make the most of the sun’s power, catching plenty of rays throughout the day. However, there are various types of outdoor lights to choose from, including mood lighting, everyday garden lights, decorative lights, and security lighting. Unlike typical garden lights, security lights need to be a bit brighter, and pick up motion. Luckily, there are many solar-powered options on the market.
Featuring multiple powerful LED bulbs, wide-angle illumination, advanced motion detection, and more, the selection is anything but disappointing. Because solar lights don’t require access to power outlets, they’re also super easy to install — or move, if need be.
Our Top Solar Security Light Picks
If you’re thinking about leveling up your security, here are the five best solar security lights to consider.
1. LEPOWER 1600LM LED Solar Security Lights
Modes: 3 | Lumens: 1600 | Mounting options: Wall | Battery Life: Up to 50 mins (“on” mode) | All-Weather Resistant: IP65 Waterproof
Read our hand-on review of the LEPOWER Solar Motion Sensor Security Light
Available in trendy black, brown, and white, these ultra-powerful LEPOWER 1600LM LED security lights are a firm favorite. Unlike many other solar lights, each set comes with an external solar panel, increasing charging speed, but not sacrificing on looks.
The light itself very much resembles a regular outdoor floodlight, as it’s panel-free. You can move the external solar panel around during the day to ensure optimal charge. Its 15-foot cable gives you enough clearance to mount the light on your roof, a sun-facing eave, or a ledge. Being made from monocrystalline silicon — one of the most energy-efficient types — the panel can even charge sufficiently on overcast days.
You can customize the lights’ sensing difference between 0 and 72 feet, and choose from three lighting modes — auto, on, or test. Featuring three heads that produce up to 1,600 lumens at 5,500K, this is an ultra-bright option. The three lamps can also be adjusted to various angles, allowing you to optimize your lit areas.
2. intelamp Solar Motion Sensor Outdoor Lights
Modes: 3 | Lumens: 1200 | Mounting options: Wall | Battery Life: Up to 3 nights | All-Weather Resistant: IP65 Waterproof
If you’re looking for an affordable solar security light, the intelamp 1200LM outdoor security light may fit your budget. These lights come in a value-for-money two-light pack, so you can save yourself a bit of cash — especially if you need to light bigger space or multiple areas.
The intelamp’s ultra-wide 40” sq solar panel offers plenty of charge, and you can choose from three lighting modes, depending on your needs. In mode 1, the light stays on permanently at a low brightness, but lights up brightly when motion is detected. In mode 2, the light stays off, only lighting up brightly when motion is detected. And in mode 3, the light stays on permanently at low brightness with no motion detection illumination.
With this large-capacity 6,000 mAh battery, you can expect to get up to three nights of operation, on sensing, mode from one charge. Another bonus is the 180° dual-sensor, which senses a broader range of movement, improving your security. With two sensors instead of one, there is little risk of it not picking up movement.
3. Tuffenough 2500LM Solar Outdoor Lights
Modes: 3 | Lumens: 2500 | Mounting options: Wall | Battery Life: 4 hrs+ continuously | All-Weather Resistant: IP65 Waterproof
Fiddling with manual controls isn’t everyone’s thing, which is why this Tuffenough solar outdoor light is pretty handy. It comes with a remote control that allows you to switch it on, off, and from mode to mode. Choose from three lighting modes that can adapt to your needs, and save battery life so your yard is never in the dark.
Mode 1 is motion-only, with the light switching on brightly only when movement is detected. Mode 2 is continuous + motion, dimly illuminating the area continuously, then brightly lighting up when motion is detected. Mode 3 is continuous only, which illuminates the area dimly at all times and doesn’t change when motion is detected.
With a maximum brightness of 2,500 lumens at 6,500K, this light is perfect for floodlighting outdoor spaces. You can also adjust its three heads at angles of up to 270° to maximize illumination in your yard. With a 26’ sensing distance, the Tuffenough is ideal for driveways and gardens. You can buy this light in packs of one, two, or three to save money.
4. Ring Solar Outdoor Motion-Sensor Security Light
Modes: app-controlled | Lumens: 1200 | Mounting options: Wall | Battery Life: Unknown | All-Weather Resistant: IP66 Waterproof
Ring devices — particularly the Ring Solar Floodlight — are ideal if you’re looking to up your outdoor smart home security. Available in classic black or white, this light perfectly fits the Ring doorbell and camera aesthetic. Plus, it features an external 2W solar panel with a micro-USB charging cable and mounting bracket for a clean look. Buy it on its own if you’re on a budget, or get it with a 4th-gen Echo or Ring Bridge device to save money.
When the floodlight is connected to the Echo or Ring Bridge, you can access all its smart features, including notifications, app controls, and scheduling. Since most controls are accessible via the Ring app, all you need to do is place the light wherever you want it. Setting it up and configuring it can be done from the app. Afterwards, you can arm it, change modes, and switch it on and off from the app, as well.
You can set the light to turn off automatically, anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes after motion is detected. With a maximum brightness of 1200 lumens at 3500K, it offers enough illumination for security. Its sensor also reaches up to 45’, ensuring coverage for most standard driveways and front yards.
5. AmeriTop Solar Motion Sensor Lights
Brightness Modes: 1 | Lumens: 2200 | Mounting options: Wall | Battery Life: Unknown | All-Weather Resistant: IP65 Waterproof
Most traditional floodlights only illuminate up to 180° of an area. Featuring five adjustable heads instead of the standard three, the wide-angle AmeriTop solar motion light illuminates up to 360°. Each of the four side lights can be angled flush or curved, making it ideal to mount on pillars and posts. You can also turn the heads upwards and downwards to improve visibility in blind spots.
That said, this light only features one lighting mode. It switches off during the day, and only comes on when it detects movement at night. It will turn itself off again after 30 seconds, but unlike some other security lights, this one does stay on when intruders stay active in its sensor range. Ideal for standard driveways, it can detect movement from up to 26 feet away, and with 180° vision.
With ultra-bright 1100-lumen illumination at 7000K, it offers ample light, making it easy for you to scan the area when it comes on. It features upgraded polycrystalline silicon solar panels, which increase photocell efficiency, even on cloudier days. Get yours as is, or in a pack of two to save money.
What To Know Before Buying a Solar Security Light
When choosing to buy outdoor solar lights, it’s important that you do your research first. Though they offer many of the same features as regular motion-detection lights, solar options do operate quite differently.
Similar to traditional floodlights, solar security lights are brighter than your average garden light. When choosing one, look at the number of LED bulbs and heads it features. The more there are, the brighter the output will be. Also, consider each option’s actual brightness, which will likely range between 1,000 and 2,500 lumens. Another thing to consider is the Kelvins, which are the measurement of the light’s warmth or coldness. 5,000K and above are cooler, and below 5,000K are warmer light temperatures.
Do you have a long driveway or need to see flush against the wall where your lights are installed? Each solar light can reach a specific distance, depending on its design. However, its brightness will affect this figure, as will the number of heads it features. The more heads, the wider a light’s angle will likely be. If the heads can be adjusted up, down, or sideways, the light will also have a shorter or longer range, depending on your placement of them.
Sensor Type & Range
The majority of motion-detection lights have a sensor installed to detect movement. Some may feature multiple sensors or an advanced design. Consider the sensor’s angle and distance to determine whether or not a specific light is the one for you. Generally, motion-detection lights can detect movement for distances between 26 and 72 feet away, and at an angle of between 90° and 180°.
Looking for an outdoor solar floodlight that does more than simply switch on and off? Additional features to look out for in a solar security light include smart home integration, multiple lighting modes, and remote or app control.
While some security lights only feature one mode – motion detection – others may feature more. Some of the best solar security lights can be rotated between multiple lighting modes. Most often, continuous illumination mode, motion-detection mode, or a combination of the two.
Battery Type, Capacity, & Life
Solar lights charge via solar panels during the day, and store the energy in a battery, making the battery type of a light important. Consider both the capacity of the battery (measured in mAh — the higher, the better) and its estimated run time on a single charge. Besides how long the battery lasts after each charge, it will also have a limited battery lifespan. You will need to replace the battery every 1-5 years (depending on the battery design) for maximum efficacy.
The solar panel of a solar security light is one of its key parts, and its size, type, and the number of panels connected to the light must all be taken into consideration. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are best, as they absorb more light, even in winter or under cloudy conditions. In contrast, thin film panels can be cheaper, but are slightly less effective at absorbing energy.
Because these are outdoor lights, it’s necessary for each model to be weather-resistant. Look at the Ingress Protection (IP) rating to see how resistant a light is to water and dust ingress. This rating should end with two numerical digits; the first is for dust, with 6 being dust tight, and the second is for water, with anywhere from 5 to 9 being the most protected against water splashes and jets. If either digit reads X, that means the light isn’t protected against either dust or water. Generally, the best outdoor solar security lights should be rated IP65 or above.
A warranty is always a plus for electronics, and solar lights are no different. Look for a limited lifetime or longer multi-year warranty. Most solar lights require replacement after around 5 to 10 years, and select parts may need to be replaced more often. Batteries, in particular, need to be replaced quite regularly, but even the solar panels may need to be watched. If the light you buy comes with a separate solar panel that charges the light via a cable, it’ll be easier to replace or upgrade it without binning the whole light.
Solar electronics can help fight expensive electricity bills and mitigate climate change. Your outdoor lighting setup is a great place to start. Though most solar garden lights are dim, solar security lights are built to be brighter and pick up motion effectively. You can find a number of reliable, stylish, and multi-functional models on the market, including our best solar security light picks.