Try these powerful solar lights to illuminate your backyard

Lindsay Tigar, CNN Underscored
Tue May 14, 2019

Story highlights

  • Solar lights preserve energy and lower your electricity bill
  • How do you choose? You don't have to! Stock up on these top-rated solar lights

There's nothing quite like that first summer day when the weather is just right for dinner and drinks al fresco. With the sunset glowing, the fireflies blinking and your favorite feast roasting on the grill, there's only one missing piece to complete your backyard: solar lights.

With no plug required (hello, lower electricity bill!), the right set of outdoor lights uses the sun's power to illuminate your outdoor space. Especially as consumers become better educated on preserving energy, solar lights offer an alternative that's eye-catching — and good news for Mother Nature.

From decorative bulbs that upgrade your aesthetic to bright bulbs that light up treacherous pathways, there are plenty of options available.

How do you choose? You don't have to! Stock up on these top-rated finds this year:

Moonrays 91381 Payton Solar LED Plastic Path ($20.65, originally $43.99; amazon.com)

In the world of outdoor lighting, Moonrays are high on the list. With an impressive following and tons of 5-star reviews, the brand's LED lights are known for their brightness. During the summer, when the lights get at least six to eight hours of sun, they'll keep glowing all night long. They're waterproof and offer 360 degrees of illumination. If you're not exactly handy, don't sweat it — all you need is soft soil and a bit of elbow grease, and you're ready to light. Rechargeable batteries are included, too.

Brightech Ambience Pro — Waterproof LED Outdoor String Lights ($44.99; amazon.com)

Sure, the flowers blooming are gorgeous. The green hills rolling behind your home are beautiful. But that brick wall? It needs these cute string lights to make it truly Instagram-worthy. Designed with an Italian bistro in mind, these string lights from trusted brand Brightech allow you to go modern and classic, all in one. They give off a warmer light to provide a soft glow, after they're charged by sunlight for six hours. They're also built with Brightech's WeatherTite technology, so they can handle a torrential downpour, high winds and double-digit heat. For dining under the stars, these are a must!

Baxia Technology BX-SL Solar Lights ($29.99; amazon.com)

When you arrive home past sunset, you need a light to guide you into the garage. In the summer, you can save on an already-higher electric bill by installing these motion-sensitive solar lights. More heavy-duty than cutesy, these bulbs are waterproof, powerful and very bright, making them ideal for a driveaway. When the lights sense motion within 3 to 5 yards, they'll automatically turn on, providing 120 degrees of light. All they need is eight hours to bask in the sun, and they'll shine whenever activated.

XMCosy Solar Garden Lights — Pathway Lights Outdoor ($64.99; amazon.com)

If one of your favorite features of your home is the stone path you laid yourself, you will fall in light (get it?) with this find from XMCosy, made for walkways and nighttime garden adventures. You can grab a glass of vino and walk through your backyard, no matter the time of night, because the lights provide 360 degrees of radial light, and automatically turn on as they sense your arrival. Featuring glass lids, rather than plastic, it's a classier upgrade to the traditional solar light. You can control the level of brightness, from white to warm, to complete your outdoor ambiance.

TomCare Solar Lights Upgraded, Waterproof Flickering Flames Torches Lights Outdoor Solar Spotlights ($79.99; amazon.com)

Though your ideal summer would be spent on some beach in Hawaii, sipping from a fresh coconut, most folks still have to head in to work when the sun's out. You can try to recreate some of the tiki vibes by installing these finds from TomCare. As one of the highest rated on Amazon, the lights' "dancing flames" add dimension and character to your backyard oasis. It's a soft, warm light, ideal for parties but not parking, and will light up for 12 hours when fully charged. Bottoms up!