Solar lanterns are eco-friendly and versatile lighting tools you can use to light up your space. There are perfect substitutes for battery-powered flashlights, cellphone lights, spotlights, and other light sources. You can use them for different purposes. From a camping trip with friends to an indoor get-together, hallway lighting, and backyard lighting.
Opting for solar lanterns helps you save energy and also cut down on electricity bills. Furthermore, you'll find solar lanterns great options when outdoors or somewhere without a place to plug in.
Read on as we explore all you need to know about outdoor lanterns powered by the sun you can shop for today.
A solar lantern, also known as solar light or solar lamp, is a portable lighting component that contains a solar panel, battery, inverter, charger controller, and LED lamp. Solar lanterns make use of electricity from batteries charged by the solar panel.
A solar-powered lantern can replace other light sources like kerosene lamps, electric bulbs, and candles. They are also more cost-effective as they function using solar energy.
Some years back, harnessing solar energy was nearly an impossible task. However, today, we see rooftops with solar panels and homes with solar-powered lanterns. But have you ever wondered how solar lanterns work?
Well, it all starts with the most essential solar cell component. The solar cell converts direct sunlight into electric current. It consists of various layers of crystalline silicon and chemicals, which create negatively charged electrons and positively charged spaces.
When direct sunlight strikes the solar cell, it goes through the negatively charged electrons and drives the energy into the positively charged spaces. The positively charged areas then move the electron stream as a primary current of electricity through wires in the solar panel and into the battery.
Lanterns store the electricity in the battery until when needed. The battery charges as the sun hits the solar panel, converting sunlight to electricity.
At night, the solar cells stop converting sunlight. Typically, a photoreceptor detects that it is dark and turns on the light. The charged battery supplies electricity to the solar light throughout the night, continuing the cycle.
During winter, there might not be enough solar energy to charge the battery significantly, resulting in fewer charging hours.
Related: For further reading, check out our article on how solar energy is produced, and you might be interested in renewable energy non-profits helping people light and heat their homes with solar energy. And if you're specifically looking for outdoor lights for your driveway, click on for our rundown of the best solar driveway lights.
If you are looking for a suitable solar lantern, here are a few things you should look out for:
Are you looking out for the best outdoor solar lanterns for an outdoor event? Perhaps you want to host a garden party or a picnic. It is important to consider the Lumen depending on what you will be using your solar lanterns for.
The Lumen represents the brightness intensity of the solar lantern. The greater the Lumen count, the greater the brightness. Average solar lanterns come with around 40 lumens. For outdoor activities like camping or cooking, you might want to consider going for a lumen output of 50-100. For more intense outdoor activities like hiking, where you may want the light to cast further, you might consider a lumen output of 150-200.
If you want solar lanterns that last through the night, consider the battery life. Some solar lantern models may have an average battery life of 6 to 8 hours. Others may go as long as 10 to 12 hours. Look out for a battery capacity that is suitable for your needs.
Solar lanterns may come in LED lights or conventional lights. Consider solar lanterns with a LED bulb. LED bulbs are environmentally friendly and more cost-effective than conventional bulbs. Solar LED lanterns make use of the sun's energy, and because they use less energy, most will still provide light after a low charge, even on cloudy days. They are also wireless and provide better illumination.
Most solar lanterns are used outdoors and should withstand harsh environmental conditions like snow and rain. Make sure you look out for models that with water resistance and weatherproof qualities.
Are you looking for decorative lanterns for your outdoor space? Perhaps for your next camping trip or hiking adventure? Below are some of the best solar lanterns to light up your space.
Related: If you're looking for a lantern for outdoor adventures, you might also like to check out our list of eco-friendly camping products for sustainable options for tents through sleeping bags and other camping essentials.
Source: Solar-powered, battery-powered
Special features: Rechargeable 1000mAh lithium-ion battery
They build these portable solar lanterns with a rechargeable battery and 75 lumens that keep them lit for up to 24 hours with one single charge. With 75 lumens of power via white LEDs, not getting enough light on a camping trip or adventure won't be part of your worry. It has a built-in solar panel entirely powered by solar energy, so you won't need to worry about changing batteries.
They come in a portable size that makes them very handy for your next travel adventure. It also has an adjustable base strap and a fixed strap at the top, which you can easily attach to your backpack.
It has an IP67 waterproof rating and can withstand any weather condition, even on the most intrepid adventures. Lastly, they are multifunctional, coming in different light intensities. From low to medium, high and flashing ensure you never get lost in the dark.
MPOWERD is a certified B corporation on a mission to empower three billion people all over the world who cannot access clean and affordable energy. The brand claims to work with over 700 nonprofits and NGOs, contributing a portion of its profits to provide and distribute various energy options in the most eco-friendly way.
Source: Solar-powered, battery-powered, USB rechargeable
Special features: Collapsible, water-resistant, USB charging port
These solar-powered lanterns come with a 3-way power supply. It has a built-in 18650 battery which you can charge using a USB cable or solar panel. This means you never have to worry about running out of batteries. It has a powerful COB LED design that offers 360-degree bright illumination that is considered brighter than your standard lantern.
Containing 600 Lumens, these lanterns can light up an entire room going as long as over 12 hours.
They are built to handle harsh weather conditions, being shock-resistant, water-resistant, heatproof, and crash-proof. What's more, it has a collapsible design that helps you save up space in your backpack or travel kit.
These collapsible solar lights are the perfect emergency lights for both indoor and outdoor use. You don't need to worry about power outages, camping in the woods, or even a hurricane. These lanterns are built for emergencies outdoors. The brand also provides a 60-day replacement or risk-free refund warranty.
Source: solar-powered, battery-powered
Special features: LED light, USB port
With these solar rechargeable lanterns, you don't need to worry about changing batteries frequently as they come with a 2000mAh rechargeable lithium battery that is both safe and environmentally friendly. Its light is ultra-bright, having 500 lumens, which is 50% brighter than the standard lantern. It also gives you 360-degree illumination.
You can fold the lantern, use it as a flashlight, or hang it as a lamp on a wall. You can charge these solar lights using solar power or with a USB port. These solar lanterns are water-resistant and can withstand harsh weather conditions. In addition, its polycarbonate material absorbs shock, heat, and abrasion.
Thanks to its foldable steering wheel and design, you can carry these lanterns anywhere you wish. You can use it as a flashlight when camping with friends or hang them on a wall when having a family dinner. The brand offers a 12-month warranty and after-sales service if your lantern ever breaks down.
Source: Solar-powered, battery-powered
Special features: LED light, solar panel, USB port
This solar-powered lantern is made of high-quality plastic and is great for outdoor lighting, from camping to family get-togethers at your patio, fishing, and other activities. It has a durable handle and string holes to hang it and hold it in place.
Designed with 36 LEDs, this power-saving lantern has a battery life of up to 100,000 hours. It also comes with solar panels that make them much brighter than the standard camping light. Using the USB charging port, you can use it as a power bank for your mobile phone and other devices.
You don't have to worry about your solar lantern running out of battery. This lantern comes with five charging options. You can charge them using solar power, a car charging adaptor, a USB charging cable, 3'AAA batteries, and a crank dynamo.
The brightness setting comes with two lighting modes. The "Bright mode" and "Super Bright mode." The Bright mode can work for routine activities like reading, while the Super Bright mode can work for outdoor activities like camping.
Source: Solar-powered, battery-powered
Special features: Waterproof, multi-color lights, Bluetooth speaker
You can light up the night with your loved ones using these solar camping lights. It comes with white and 7 RGB light modes to create a warm and colorful atmosphere. These camping lanterns work well for outdoor activities like camping in the woods, a family get-together in your backyard, or even hiking. They are lightweight and equally foldable. They can work as the perfect backpacking lantern without taking up so much space.
These camping lights are also 100% waterproof, made of durable PVC that can withstand harsh weather conditions and provide dust protection.
This camping lantern also comes with a 2000mAh battery making it an ideal power bank for your phones and tablets during an emergency. You can also charge these camping lanterns using a USB cable.
These camping lanterns come with a Bluetooth speaker that lets you enjoy music anywhere and at any time. All you need to do is pair it with your smartphone and enjoy the light modes changing with the tempo of the music.
Special features: waterproof, LED bulb
Do you need an effective yet decorative solar lantern to light up your backyard, driveways, and gardens? These outdoor solar lanterns provide enough illumination while casting a fanciful pattern of auspicious clouds.
You don't need any wires or cords. You only need to install this solar lantern in a sunny spot. The light turns on automatically when it's dusk and goes off at dawn. It comes with an ON/OFF switch on the lamp cover, which you need to switch on the first time you use them.
All you need to do with these solar lights is let the solar panels soak in the sunny light for up to 8 hours. Once at full charge, you get a luminous flux of 8lm to light up your space, providing up to eight hours of continuous illumination.
This unique solar lantern is powered by LED candlelight. It also comes with a convenient hook that makes it easy to hang them on a tree or lamp post, giving your patio or garden a decorative touch. Given the appealing gentle glow these lanterns emit, you might find them either a replacement or perhaps an addition to fairy light for the perfect scene of outdoor serenity.
This lantern comes in high-quality metal that is both water-resistant and rustproof. This means you can keep your lights glowing in the rain or shine.
Special features: Built-in solar panels, automatic switch style, LED lights.
These eye-catching solar lanterns are perfect for indoor and outdoor decoration. They provide a beautiful and sustainable way to light up your courtyard, lawns, and tables, creating a warm and relaxing atmosphere. These solar lights come with an in-built solar panel powered by solar energy.
The lantern absorbs solar energy during the day and lights up beautifully at night. These solar lights come in tough glass with cross grids, making them easy to hang on walls or lay flat on stairs and tables.
You will need to keep these lanterns charged for up to 6-8 hours. Once charged, these lanterns can stay lit for as long as 8-10 hours which means they can illuminate your space all night long. The brand offers an 18-month warranty and after-sales customer service.
The brand claims to use solar panels that come in polysilicon, making them more durable than other lanterns. They also claim that these solar lights have a plug-in battery capacity that is twice as good, providing illumination for up to 8 hours.
It is also water-resistant and dustproof, meaning you don't have to worry about rain, snow, or frost. They have no wires and are very handy. All you need to do is put them under the sun.
Special features: LED lights, automatic switch style, waterproof
These beautiful vintage lanterns are perfect for outdoor decoration. It can also be hung indoors or placed on stairs or floors. It has a warm, bright light that shines through a strong metal lantern design. It is IP44 waterproof and works well even on rainy or snowy days. These lanterns charge with a solar panel powered only by the sun. It automatically comes on at night and goes out at dawn.
To use, simply turn on the lantern using the switch and keep it out to soak in the sun.
Looking for portable lanterns? These lanterns are very mobile and come with a hook that makes them easy to carry and hang on walls or trees.
They also come with LED lights for a warm and energy-saving atmosphere. Lastly, they are made of strong metal, making them durable and also easy to assemble.
Source: Solar power
Special features: Waterproof, LED lights, cordless.
Want a touch of vintage lighting in your yard or garden? This outdoor tabletop lantern is a decorative piece suitable for any outdoor activity. Its waterproof IP44 rating makes it ideal for any weather condition.
Whether it's a cold or rainy morning, they have built these solar lights to resist harsh weather conditions. To charge, all you need to do is put these outdoor solar lanterns under direct sunlight for a charging time of 8 hours. Make sure the switch is in the "ON" position. Once charged, the battery life goes as long as 8 hours.
Special features: LED bulbs, waterproof
These solar lanterns are known for their attractive flickering flames design that simulates a real flame, creating a warm atmosphere. Its monocrystalline silicon solar panel converts a high rate of sunlight up to 10.5% more than other lanterns made with polycrystalline. This makes it long-lasting and energy-saving. Its in-built rechargeable battery also ensures good working performance.
After charging this lantern under direct sunlight, it can light up your space for up to twelve hours during summer and five hours during winter. It also resists harsh weather conditions like snow, rain, and extreme heat, so you can keep it outside all year long. It glows in the dark and comes with sturdy, durable material.
The brand offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you have any problems with your lantern. It also has a 12-month limited warranty for lifetime tech support and manufacturer defect.
You can install these solar lanterns in three ways. Equipped with a durable hook, you can keep these solar lanterns hanging anywhere you want. You can also insert these solar lights into the ground as path lights or place them on a table.
Special features: waterproof, auto-charging, rechargeable battery
Want a warm and romantic atmosphere in your garden or patio? These decorative lights simulate the effect of a candle lamp for mood lighting. Its warm white lighting color flickers through a durable and portable material made of plastic and metal. You can install these lanterns in three ways. You can hang it using its hook and handle, insert it or clamp it into the ground.
Once installed, turn them on to automatically charge and store solar energy during the day and light up at night. When fully charged, these lanterns can stay up to 8 hours.
For maximum performance, install your solar light where it can get maximum sunlight. Also, avoid installing your solar light very close to another light source as this could prevent them. from lighting up at night.
These lanterns can work anywhere and for any activity. You can hang them in your tent or tree or use them as path lights during camping or partying. You also don't need to worry about the weather as these outdoor solar lanterns can withstand any weather. It also comes with a risk-free refund warranty and a 90-days replacement.
Source: solar power, battery-powered
Special features: automatic switch style, LED lights, waterproof.
These solar lights in a glass jar might be the perfect ambient light for indoor and outdoor use. Using these solar lights, you can create ambient lighting for your patio or walkway. The thick glass jar comes with a metal handle. It contains 20 warm white micro LEDs, giving your environment a fairy and romantic feel. It also comes with a solar panel at the top of the jar.
All you need to do is expose the glass jar to sunlight to recharge. Its built-in sensors mean it will automatically turn on at dusk and goes off at dawn. On a cloudy or rainy day, you can use a one-piece AAA rechargeable battery as backup.
This mason jar comes with string lights that light up your space beautifully. These solar lights can work indoors and outdoors. They can go in your bathroom, dining room, courtyard, and camping site. You can hang them on a wall, or tree or place them on a table or shelf. In summary, you can get creative and add some distinct personal touch to it.
Source: Solar-powered, battery-powered
Special features: Waterproof, energy-saving, automatic switch style
These unique outdoor solar lanterns might just be what you need to switch up your garden. Made with warm white LEDs, these outdoor solar lights can illuminate your space, casting off a flower light pattern. It also comes with an IP44 waterproof rating and is corrosion-resistant, meaning this lantern is suitable for any outdoor environment. It comes with a 600mAh battery to store energy for use. To charge, simply switch on the lantern and leave it out in the sun to charge. To sustain light, ensure it is left to charge in full bright light.
You can use these solar lanterns in any outdoor environment. You can use it as a tree light or garden light. You can also place it on your front porch or a table. The beautiful warm light will cast a flower pattern that gives your space a dreamy look and feel. You can also be sure of excellent performance even on rainy days.
Special features: LED lights, waterproof, corrosion-resistant
These beautiful outdoor solar lanterns come in a durable, bright copper metal color. The decorative lights are soft, bringing beauty to your surroundings. It has an anti-rust coating, waterproof grade, and corrosion resistance that makes this lantern stand the test of time. It comes with a handle to hang on your tabletop, tree, or any platform.
These solar lanterns come with a 600mAh battery and can last for up to 8 hours or more at night. When you first receive it, you need to put on the switch button and leave it to charge under sunlight.
Once charged, the lantern will automatically come on at dusk and go off at dawn. It also has three light modes that you can use for different activities: the high, low, and flashing mode. Lastly, you can contact the brand for a free replacement if you have any issues with your solar lantern.
There's a reason solar lights are becoming mainstream. They are safe, eco-friendly, cost-effective, and easy to carry. Here's why opting for solar lanterns is a good investment:
Solar is a renewable and eco-friendly power source. You can install solar lights in your home and office, knowing there will be an unlimited source of energy to light up your space. This means you don't need to worry about running out of energy. The best part is minimizing your carbon footprint and saving the planet.
You don't need to worry about wires getting in the way or causing a tripping hazard with solar lanterns. You can carry your solar lights and place them in whatever position you desire. You can easily reposition them in your yard to get them to receive enough sunlight. Equally, you can carry them around in your vehicle when going on a trip.
It might be a bit costly to buy and install solar lights. However, the initial investment can save you tons on electricity bills. The sun can simply power your solar lanterns free of charge. Solar lights also use rechargeable batteries which charge as soon as the sun hits the small panel on your solar lantern. Some solar lanterns not only use solar as their primary charging option but also come with USB ports which can also serve as a power bank for your mobile devices during an emergency.
When you install your solar lanterns properly, it will require little to no maintenance. You will only clean out dirty components when the need arises or change batteries which can last for a few years before going out.
As we mentioned above, solar lanterns are cordless, meaning you don't have to worry about anyone getting electrocuted or tripping over a cord. They also pose no threat of overheating. You can place these solar lanterns anywhere you wish.
When it comes to protecting the environment and saving up on electricity bills, solar lanterns are one of the best options for lighting up your space. You can use solar lanterns to light up your yard, or home or carry them about when traveling or camping. You can also use them to beautify and add some color to a venue.
Whatever your need, you can go through some of the best solar lanterns listed above to shop.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.