12 Best Solar Lanterns

In this article, we showcase the 12 best solar lanterns for your outdoor lighting, and solar system projects.

There are tons of products on the market, and we have listed the ones people are buying the most based on quality, unique features and price!

Let's get started!


12 Best Solar Lanterns

Okay, let’s get right to the point! Here are the 12 best solar lanterns for any situation that requires an outdoor solar lighting solution.

Why did we choose this one?

To start, we have chosen a solar lantern from a reputable brand that delivers some of the most aesthetically pleasing light from the energy of the sun.

The TomCare Metal Flickering Flame Solar Lantern is a durable and well-designed product that adds an enormous amount of light and character to an outdoor space.
Right now, you can purchase a 2 pack of these solar lanterns at an incredibly reasonable price.

What are users saying about this product?

Material - TomCare’s Metal Flickering Frame Solar Lanterns are made of durable metal material that is extremely waterproof against rain and snow. It is rust-resistant, and is sure to last for many years without having to sink more money into replacements.

Style - In this product, TomCare has designed a beautiful, real looking flame that lasts for hours using efficient LED lights. As a bonus, the bronze encasing adds an unbeatable vintage feel to this outdoor solar lantern.

12 Month Warranty - TomCare’s 12 month warranty is a large advantage for this product, as smaller solar lights rarely come with a full year of use guaranteed. With that in mind, this solar lantern can be used worry-free.


Why did we choose this one?

For some people, finding the best solar lantern is all about brightness and portability. The LuminAID solar inflatable lantern is just that: very bright and very easy to transport from one location to another.

If this product looks familiar to you, you may have seen it featured on the popular entrepreneurial television show, Shark Tank. LuminAID is a woman-owned small business that has created this product for aid workers, backpackers, and refugees alike.

What are users saying about this product?

Durability - Although these solar lanterns are inflatable, they are also incredibly durable. In fact, they are waterproof, dustproof, and shatterproof. The strong materials and attention to detail that create this lantern allow for long product lifespans and continuous active use.

Brightness and Settings - With the LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lantern, there are a variety of settings that can deliver between 12 and 75 lumens of light.

So, not only can this lantern deliver a lot of light to help with seeing in the darkness, but it can also be used to add a soft light to an outdoor living area.

Charging and Performance - The battery of this lantern can be charged via the built-in solar panels, or by using a USB input (the cord is included).

Not only does this make it easy to charge, but a full battery capacity delivers up to 24 hours of light. With this in mind, LuminAID has created one the easiest to use outdoor solar lanterns.


Why did we choose this one?

Next on our list, we’ve chosen another vintage style solar lantern that creates a cool vibe with bright and practical solar lighting. The Pearlstar Vintage Solar Lamp is a unique lighting solution that is sure to get a lot of when in use.

Of course, beyond its aesthetics, the fact that this product is solar powered makes it one of the best solar lanterns for easy hanging around the yard, porch, deck, or outdoor living space.

What are users saying about this product?

Variety of Colors - If you’ve fallen in love with the “Edison” style design of this product, then you will probably be pleased to know that it comes in both black and copper.
With this in mind, your choice of color can help optimize your exterior design and create the most attractive solar lighting possible for your space.

Automatic Illumination - This vintage solar lamp has a light sensor to automatically turn the unit on when darkness falls. With his lantern, a romantic, warm light shines every evening, without having to physically activate the device.

Easy Installation - Although it does not produce a large amount of light, this solar lantern is extremely easy to install and use. The smart design hook and lightweight materials make transporting this device easy to charge and use wherever it is needed.


Why did we choose this one?

Next on our list, we’ve chosen another one of the best solar lanterns for automatically creating a warm and inviting atmosphere throughout the evening.

The MAGGIFT Retro Solar Lights are encompassed in a unique iron and plastic material that disperses the light around an elegant pattern design.

If you’re looking to illuminate the holidays with the power of the sun, these retro solar lights from MAGGIFT may just be the perfect gift for the winter.

What are users saying about this product?

White or Brown Design - To start, these beautiful lights come in both a brown and white option to best match their intended surroundings. The subtle colors of these solar lanterns simply enhance their “ancient” design look and feel.

Easy to Transport and Use - MAGGIFT’s lights each weigh roughly 10 ounces, making them easy to transport and hang from a tree, porch, fence, umbrella or more. As a bonus, the bottom of these lanterns is flat, so it can also simply be placed on the ground.

Automatic Illumination -For the holidays or all year round, these solar lanterns are great for automatically lighting up in the evening. No longer will you have to think about turning your exterior lights on and off with these retro solar lanterns.


Why did we choose this one?

Unlike most of the other products on this list, we’ve chosen the Grand Patio Outdoor Solar Powered Resin Wicker Floor Lamp beauce it is both large and unique.

Coming in three different sizes and styles, these tall outdoor solar lanterns are perfect for putting in the corner of a deck, patio, or outdoor living space.

Whereas you may think of this large floor lamp as a traditional solar lantern, one of these products is a great way to light up an area for a large group of people.

What are users saying about this product?

Brightness - Grand Patio’s Resin Wicker Floor Lamp shines 25 lumens of light into the night sky. At 25 lumens, this lantern offers the perfect balance of bright functional light next to the unit and soft ambient light in a complete circle around the device.

Size and Shape - When set-up, this solar lantern is nearly three feet tall, but only takes up a small footprint of space. The slender column of light is perfect for placing between or around tables and chairs during camping trips, tailgates, bonfires, and mre.

Strong Material - Most importantly, this product is built to be outdoors with a strong, sturdy wicker material. This material is non-toxic, weatherproof, and resistant to fades in color due to ordinary wear and tear.


Why did we choose this one?

Circiling back to TomCare, one of our favorite and most trust worthy brands, we’ve chosen the Flickering Flame Solar Stump Lights as one of the best solar lanterns on the market today.

Due to its unique design, one look at this product is likely to either cause an overwhelmingly positive or negative reaction on whether or not it will work for you.
Available as a two pack, these “stump lights” are sure to turn heads when they are illuminated each night.

What are users saying about this product?

Unparalleled Aesthetics - Depending on your style, you may either love or hate these solar stump lights. As one of the most unique solar lanterns on the market today, these bright tree bits can bring the feeling of the great outdoors to your exterior living spaces.

High-Quality Solar Panel -The solar panel that is included on these tree stumps has an efficiency of over 20%. This superior performance revivals that of rooftop solar panels, which means shorter charging times and better overall performance.

Long Lasting Products - Unsurprisingly Tomcare covers their Flickering Flame Solar Stump lights under their one-year product warranty. Beyond this, the durable and waterproof materials in these lights nearly guarantees years of quality usage.


Why did we choose this one?

Next, we’ve chosen the TANSOREN 4 Pack of rechargeable camping lanterns as one of the best portable, outdoor solar lighting solutions.

Although they are not as durable or aesthetically pleasing as some of the other options on this list, this pack of camping lanterns is one of the best ways to guarantee illumination when you need it most.

What are users saying about this product?

3 Ways of Charging - Most importantly, TANSOREN’s camping lanterns can be charged via solar, DC power, or by replacing the 3 AA batteries. This makes it extremely convenient to charge the device during periods of low sunlight or while on the go.

Backup Android Charger - If you have an Android smartphone, then you will be grateful to have a TANSOREN rechargeable camping lantern. This product can be connected to your cell phone via a charging cable in order to transfer the battery in emergency situations.

However, it should be noted that Apple phones cannot be charged using these LED camping lanterns.

Adjustable Design - A cool and unique feature of this affordable four-pack is the adjustable design. Each solar lantern can be conveniently collapsed into a few adjustable heights in order to maintain the brightness level and adhere to any sizing restrictions during use or transportation.


Why did we choose this one?

Here, we have chosen the ExcMark Decorative Garden Outdoor Solar Lanterns as one of the best solar lanterns for subtle light and pleasing design.

Perfectly suited for the garden or sunroom, these special solar powered lanterns can automatically create a warm light atmosphere in the evening in a variety of settings.

What are users saying about this product?

Two Unique Designs - More than anything the unique dragonfly and hummingbird pattern designs on these solar lanterns add a great element to any outdoor living space. For nature lovers and green thumbs alike, the playful patterns are perfect for adding light to gardens, backyards, and more.

Versatility - Not only can this lightweight solar garden lantern be placed on flat surfaces such as the table or the ground, but it can also be hung from the metal loop attached to the top of the light. It can be easily placed in a tree, under an umbrella, or hung from a hook anywhere that receives sunlight.

Long Working Time - ExcMark’s efficient systems and long-lasting LED lights allow for these solar lanterns to stay lit up to 8 hours each night. Beyond this, the waterproof material and structure guarantee a long-lasting lifetime.


Why did we choose this one?

While we’re on the subject of hummingbirds, we’d like to recommend another solar lantern that incorporates these picturesque creatures into the design.

The SteadyDoggie Store Hummingbird Outdoor Solar Lantern combines a few of the other styles of solar lanterns on this list to create a truly unique sustainable lighting aesthetic.

With an LED candle tucked behind a supremely unique metal pattern, Steady Doggie has created one of the best solar lanterns for gardens, backyards, and more.

What are users saying about this product?

Two Ways to Power - In addition to its solar charging capabilities, this device can also be powered by two ordinary AA batteries. With this in mind, you will always be able to power this device, both indoors and out.

One of A Kind Look and Feel - This product combines the look of a natural candle with the unique, vintage feel of metal working to deliver a one of a kind design. With the hummingbird pattern, children and adults of all ages are sure to enjoy this outdoor solar lantern.


Why did we choose this one?

Last but not least on this list, we’d like to feature some of the quirkiest solar lights on the market today. With the Mlambert Store Mason Jar Solar lights, customers are provided with warm, solar powered lights straight from the jar!

These lights are bright, durable, and sure to get the attention of visitors throughout the night. With a unique design suited for the vintage outdoor enthusiast in all of us, these solar jar lights are great for backyards, pathways, and decks as well lighting events such as weddings, graduation parties, or camping trips.

What are users saying about this product?

Surprisingly Bright - With 30 LED lights packed into a mason jar and lid, these solar lanterns are surprisingly bright when they automatically illuminate each evening.

Two Ways to Charge - For both indoor and outdoor use, these jar lanterns can be charged via solar power or traditional AAA batteries.

Quality Materials - As real glass, these solar lights are naturally waterproof. Plus, the added hanging hook is rust proof and weatherproof, giving these lanterns a long life expectancy.


How Does a Solar Lantern Work?

A solar lantern is usually a very simple device. On most products, solar lanterns are made up of the following components:

  • Small Solar Panel
  • Battery (Generally Lithium Ion, Alkaline, or Other)
  • Tough, Waterproof Exterior
  • Internal Lights (Usually LED in Modern Products)
  • Hanging or Mounting Parts and Components
  • To simplify things, solar panels exposed to sunlight will charge the product’s battery, which is then used to power the lights within the protected lantern shell.

In some instances, solar lighting lanterns can be considered solar dusk to dawn lights, because they have smart features and settings to automatically illuminate in the evening.

Solar lanterns are designed to be customer friendly and extremely to use. In fact, most solar outdoor lanterns have few, if any buttons to operate the lights.

Whereas solar hanging lanterns can be easily transported from one location to another, some products may require a more permanent mounting solution.


Types of Solar Lanterns

All encompassingly, the term “solar lanterns” can be used to describe any sun-powered lights designed for outdoor applications. This includes:

  • Hanging Solar Lanterns
  • Pole-Mounted Solar Lights
  • Lawn and Garden Solar Powered Lights
  • Solar Umbrella Lights
  • Some Wall and Fence Solar Lights
  • Solar Powered String Lights
  • And More

In truth, lantern style solar lights have been around for decades as new technological advances continue to make their way into new and exciting products.


What To Look For

Of course, solar lanterns are not a “one size fits all” solution. There are many different models and styles on the market that may be better suited for your needs and budget than others.

Below, we will explore what to look for when comparing the best solar lighting lanterns for your outdoor, evening illumination.

Looks & Size Design

Many people say that “looks aren’t everything.” Whereas this may be true in the dating world, it is certainly going to be one of the most important factors in choosing the best lantern style of solar light.

Because so many products on the market have very similar capabilities and functions, the size and look of a solar light is ultimately the biggest factor in matching your outdoor space’s aesthetic.

Carry Weight

Whether or not you plan to permanently install your solar lantern, the product's weight should be taken into consideration.

For mobile lanterns, having a lightweight option is extremely convenient for taking your outdoor light camping or simply to your backyard.

If you’re shopping for solar hanging lights or solar tree lanterns, then you must make sure that the installation location is suitable for the weight load of your device. In general, solar hanging lights are designed to be very lightweight.

Power Efficiency & Power Endurance

Once you’ve nailed down the size, weight, and style of your ideal solar lantern, then it is time to start considering the technological aspects of your device.

Most importantly, the mark of a good outdoor solar lantern is power efficiency and endurance. In most cases, optimal conditions are met with a high quality solar panel and highly efficient LED lights.

Battery Life & Length of Charge

With premium components, high-quality solar lanterns may offer both long battery life and am efficient charging speed when exposed to sunlight.

If a battery is only rated to last a few hours, then your solar lantern may underperform when you need it most.

In a similar vein, solar powered lanterns that require extended periods of direct sunlight to charge may never reach full battery capacity. With this in mind, a large battery with a short charge window is almost always ideal.

Battery Type

As we alluded to earlier, there are a few different types of batteries that are commonly used in modern solar lanterns. The quality of the battery material will not only affect the device’s performance, but also its longevity.

Most commonly, solar lanterns are run by rechargeable batteries that can be replaced at the end of their lifecycle. Most commonly, batteries are made up of one of the following technologies:

  • NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride)
  • NiCad (Nickel Cadmium)
  • Li-ion (Lithium Ion)
  • LiFePO4 (Lithium Phosphate)

Although nickel based batteries have been used for decades, today, lithium ion and lithium ion phosphate are generally seen as the premium option.

Lumens & Color

As you probably know, lumens are a unit of measurement, used to express the brightness of a source of light from a bulb or lantern.

As a rule of thumb, more lumens are almost always better or outdoor solar lighting. Even if you may fear that the lights may be too bright, high quality products usually have different, dimmer operating modes.

Beyond the brightness, color is also crucial when thinking about a solar lantern’s performance. Whereas white light may be too harsh in some environments, colorful or muted displays may be more attractive.

Attachment Points

If you are planning on permanently installing your solar outdoor lanterns, then knowing how your device attaches to different surfaces is crucial in picking the best product.

Most commonly, solar lanterns are attached at either the top or bottom of the device. Knowing this, your choice is essentially narrowed to hanging or mounted options.

Furthermore, some solar lanterns are made to stick straight into the ground, while others are portable or come with their own mounting materials.

Waterproof

For most people, waterproofing is an absolute necessity when it comes to purchasing the best solar lantern for their outdoor space. A waterproof unit is built to withstand the elements and deliver a long lifetime of performance.

With that said, lights that are designed to be under an umbrella or roof may not necessarily require a waterproof product. However, waterproof implies weatherproof, and high quality items are more likely to outperform unprotected products.


Common FAQ

What are the best conditions for charging a solar lantern?

For the best conditions, solar lanterns require direct sunlight to charge their internal batteries. In order to maintain a consistent charge, solar lanterns should be placed in a position that receives direct sunlight for most of the day (6-8 hours).

Will my solar lantern lose its charge if stored (and unused) for a long period?

In most cases, solar lanterns will lose their charge if they are stored away from sunlight or unused for long periods of time.

In order to estimate how long a lantern will keep its charge, these products have what is known as a “shelf life.” Depending on the product, this could be anywhere between a few months and several years.

Where to place a solar lantern to receive maximum direct sunlight?

In order to receive the most direct sunlight, solar lanterns should be placed in an area that is free from shade throughout the day.

In order to determine the best spot, analyze your outdoor living space by finding a location without tree coverage or overhanging building components.

What can I do about the hanging mechanism blocking the sunlight?

If the hanging mechanism on your solar lantern is blocking the sunlight, some repositioning and troubleshooting must take place.

Whereas this problem reflects poor product design, some modifications to your hanging apparatus may need to be made in order to efficiently charge your solar lantern.

Can solar lights be left outside in winter?

Yes, in many cases solar lights can be left outside in the winter. Heavy-duty, premium products are meant to withstand even the harshest of weather conditions.

With that in mind, if you are interested in prolonging your solar lanterns lifespan to enjoy on many warm summer nights, then you may want to consider storing your devices for the winter.

Do solar lights charge on cloudy days?

Yes, solar lights can still charge their batteries on cloudy days. Although the efficiency and speed of the charge decreases significantly, solar panels can still be charged on cloudy days.