One of the oldest, free, renewable, and nature-friendly energy sources, solar power is growing in popularity because of its energy efficiency, low maintenance, and cost savings. (1) Are you looking for the best solar lantern for your yard, emergency kit, or next camping trip?
We can help. Not only will we list our top picks of 2021, but we’ll try to answer any questions you might have about buying a solar lantern and what to look for before you buy–ensuring you get the top fit for you and your next camping trip or outdoor gathering.
Superdanny Outdoor Solar Lantern 8-Pack – Best Overall
An attractive lantern with excellent run time, functionality, and romantic design that can hang or be set on a hard surface—best for people who want a balance between function and aesthetic.
Now that you’ve seen our top thirteen solar lanterns for outdoors at a glance, let’s examine them closer, shall we? Check out our comprehensive solar lantern reviews to further aid your search, and find the perfect one for you. Without further ado, here’s our top overall choice of the year, the Superdanny 8-Pack.
The Superdanny Outdoor Solar Lantern 8-Pack is the best solar lantern and our best overall pick for excellent run time, functionality, and romantic design. If you want a gorgeous lantern that can hang or sit on the ground or table, then you’ll love the Superdanny Outdoor Solar Lantern.
Using warm light LED bulbs, this solar lantern’s run time is tough to beat. It fully charges after four to five hours of direct sunlight. And will run for six to nine hours depending on the season, giving you dusk to dawn capability if needed. It also has a switch to turn on an automatic sensor.
This lantern is designed to be multi-functional for any weather condition. Made for all-weather outdoor use, the lantern is made from high-quality, waterproof plastic and metal.
It also comes with a nineteen-foot rope for stringing the lanterns to illuminate an outdoor gathering.
Its modern design lends itself to creating ambient light on a table, hanging above a patio for late-night activities, or lighting a pathway to your home. And the swirl of fairy lights creates a romantic, whimsical environment, giving it an air of sophistication for your next outdoor party.
The Ollivage Dancing Flame Outdoor Solar Lights wins our budget pick because it has the most affordable price for the quality, unique design, and solar run time. The solar lantern uses a flickering LED light that mimics the look of a real flame.
The antique flame effect elevates the atmosphere for parties, gatherings, barbecues, and camping trips. The lanterns use warm yellow light to set the mood. The lanterns can hang, be clipped, or placed on a level surface to provide adequate lighting.
Made from high quality, durable plastic, the Ollivage Dancing Flame Outdoor Solar Lights are waterproof and can be used during any weather condition. It also comes with a one year warranty and excellent customer service. For what you get, you can’t beat the price.
The lanterns can charge using solar or USB power. When fully charged, the solar lanterns can run for up to twelve hours and have automatic sensors that will turn on the lights when it gets dark. The USB charger is a nice touch to help out in a pinch when sunlight is scarce.
Our pick for the best solar camping lantern, the LuminAID’s 2-in-1 Solar Lanterns, are practically designed to be multi-functional, efficient, and reliable for long camping trips or unforeseen disasters. This is a great solar lantern to pack with your tent or keep in your emergency kit.
Designed for disaster relief, the lantern is collapsible, waterproof, and lightweight. This lantern also has an added feature of floating on water, making it ideal for river trips or camping by the lake. And the collapsible, lightweight design makes it easy to stash in your pack for a long hiking trip.
The lantern has the 2-in-1 function of being a light and a phone charger. It can recharge your phone or tablet with a 2.1 Amp output port. When you’re out in the middle of nowhere, having a phone charger is a bonus.
And these lanterns can be charged by solar or USB power. The solar panels need ten hours of direct sunlight to charge fully. If you don’t have time, you can also charge it quickly using the USB cord. When fully charged, it provides up to 24 hours of light. Set to its low mode setting, it can run for up to 50 hours.
The TomCare Classic Flickering Flame Solar Lanterns are our pick for best multi-finish because of their old-world style, affordability, and high quality that comes in three finishes. These attractive solar lanterns come in antique silver, bronze, or white.
Made from durable, rust-resistant metal, these solar lanterns are surprisingly affordable. Other solar lanterns at this price point are generally made of plastic. And coupled with the flickering flame LED lights that create a real flame simulation, these lanterns easily create old-world ambiance.
Made to endure all weather conditions, these waterproof solar lanterns have a white light that can fully charge in direct sunlight after eight hours. The lanterns will run for up to ten hours and give off a fair amount of light.
The manufacturer does point out that the lanterns won’t work if the two lights are installed too close together. That being said, it does come with a one-year warranty and quality customer service to address any issue you may have.
Very similar to the TomCare Flicker Flame Solar Lanterns, these retro-style solar lanterns are our pick for most stylish design because of their distinctive traditional lantern design, affordability, and high quality that comes in two finishes. These stylish solar lanterns come in bronze or white.
These solar lanterns are very affordable and are made from durable, rust-resistant metal. The flickering flame LED lights create a real flame simulation, which really adds to the vintage-inspired look. These lanterns will create an old-world ambiance for your next gathering.
Made to endure all weather conditions, these waterproof solar lanterns have warm light that can fully charge in direct sunlight after eight hours. The lanterns will run for up to ten hours and are fairly bright. However, they’re better for setting the mood rather than lighting up the basketball court.
The manufacturer does point out that the lanterns won’t work if the two lights are installed too close together. That being said, it does come with a one-year warranty and quality customer service to address any issue you may have.
Working Time: 6-9 Hours (battery fully charged)
A clean, modern design, the Jian Ya Na Solar Lanterns, will impress your guests at your next gathering. Easy to hang using the large ring or clip can attach to many surfaces. These lanterns also have a flickering flame LED light that mimics a real flame without the fire hazard.
Made from all-weather, rust-resistant plastic and metal, these lanterns are entirely waterproof. It’s warm white light is very bright, making these lanterns a solid pick for lighting a patio or outdoor entertainment area.
When in direct sunlight, the solar lantern only needs four to six hours to charge depending on the season. Using an automatic sensor, the lanterns will turn on when it gets dark and shine brightly for up to nine hours.
Incredibly easy to install, the Jian Ya Na Solar Lanterns only requires two steps for operation. Turn the sensor to automatic and peel away the protective film from the solar panel before hanging it in sunlight to charge.
Another dancing flame solar lantern that imitates a realistic flame, the YoungPower Hanging Solar Lantern, is an affordable, no fuss, easy-to-hang lantern. These warm light lanterns create a welcoming atmosphere for relaxing around the campground or patio lounging.
The YoungPower Hanging Solar Lantern is built to last and made from durable, waterproof ABS plastic for all-weather outdoor use. It comes with a metal hanging ring and clips for easy set-up. Lightweight and easy to use, this is a great camping accessory.
These solar lanterns provide excellent light and long run time. You can charge them using solar or USB power for times when the sun isn’t optimal. The lantern charges within four to five hours and will run for up to twelve hours for dusk-to-dawn illumination.
The YoungPower Hanging Solar Lantern provides quality lighting and looks like a real flame. They’re very durable for everyday outdoor use, and they come with a one-year warranty to ensure you’re satisfied with the quality. Truly, a fantastic all-purpose lantern.
The LampLust Solar Candle Lantern has a unique, sophisticated design. Standing at eighteen inches tall, this is the tallest lantern on our list. Perfect for setting along a pathway or as a centerpiece on a table, the solar lantern creates an intimate atmosphere for your next gathering.
Made from durable, rust-resistant metal and glass, this attractive lantern also comes in a fourteen-inch model to create a complementary pairing for extra table light. The LampLust Solar Candle Lantern is high quality and beautiful, garnering the envy of neighbors.
The solar lantern is built to run. As long as the lantern gets adequate sunlight, it can illuminate any yard or patio for six to eight hours. And the candle’s flicking warm light creates an inviting ambiance and decent brightness.
A unique hexagon shape with a black finish gives it a touch of elegance while still providing practical, energy-saving illumination. Known for quality products, LampLust offers a 90-day warranty to ensure complete customer satisfaction.
The EOYIZW Hanging Solar Lanterns cast a yellow firelight using flicker flame LEDs to create a mesmerizing atmosphere. While these lanterns can sit on a table, hanging them around your patio, porch, yard, or pathway would be a good choice.
Relatively inexpensive, the EOYIZW Hanging Solar Lanterns have an upgraded, thick ABS plastic shell. So they are great for all weather conditions in any season. In a black finish, the lantern has a more masculine style, reminiscent of a barbeque grill.
The EOYIZW Hanging Solar Lanterns have an upgraded solar panel making them more efficient. They only need six to eight hours to charge in full sunlight for a run time of ten hours. This unique designed solar lantern also comes in purple or blue flame to create a party atmosphere.
The clip makes them easy to hang, giving your yard torch light ambiance. And because they are solar, they are easy to maintain and very energy efficient. The solar lantern comes with a one-year warranty.
Going high tech, the LuminAID Bloomio Twist Solar Lantern with Bluetooth can connect and be controlled from an app on your phone. This is an ideal lantern for on the go, whether you’re headed camping or to the beach, just collapse and put it in your bag.
The app has many features, allowing you to change colors, adjust brightness, check the battery, and set light timers to a specific time. You can customize the lantern’s light to any color. Built for functionality over decorative design, the LuminAID Bloomio Twist Solar Lantern is collapsable, lightweight, and easy to carry.
The LuminAID Bloomio Twist Solar Lantern can run all night. It does take longer than other solar lamps to charge completely at around twelve to sixteen hours. But it also comes with a USB port for charging in a pinch. And you can adjust the brightness for longer run time.
It has an origami design and can fold up flat for easy storage and portability. It’s also waterproof so it can hang by the pool. And it’s dustproof, so it’s the perfect lantern for overnight hiking.
The TomCare Vintage-Stump Solar Lantern is the most unique design on our list. Designed to look like a tree stump, it’s definitely a conversation piece. And when the flickering flame LEDs illuminate, it almost has a volcanic feel.
Meant to blend into the landscape of your yard or garden, the solar lantern stumps are quite large and provide a warm, firelike ambient lighting. They come in two sizes of seven-inch or eight-inch height.
It is made from quality, durable resin for all weather conditions. The lantern stumps are waterproof, heat resistant, frost resistant. It also comes with a one-year warranty and quality customer service.
Make a statement with the Smart Garden Solar Damasque Morrocan Lantern Light. High quality, durable, and unique, the lantern will spark conversation. These round solar lanterns are very stylish and will create the atmosphere of a Morrocan festival.
The lantern produces cool blue illumination that casts a fun pattern on the ground. Fully charged, the Smart Garden Solar Damasque Morrocan Lantern Light can last up to six hours. Energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, this lamp will beautify any patio or garden.
It is made from durable metal made for all-season use. And despite the thick metal pattern, the light still gives off quite a bit of light. Be careful if you set this lantern on a table instead of hanging because the base can rust in high humidity environments.
The Greenlight Planet Sun King Pro Portable Solar Lantern is a very functional pick. Not intended for decorative purposes, this solar lantern is all business. A lightweight, multi-functional, portable light that’s great for camping or doing projects around the house.
Meant for everyday use, the portable lantern offers adequate light when your project calls for it. Whether you’re working on your car, have an emergency, or just want to read in the dark, this lamp has got your back. It has three light modes so you can customize brightness based on your needs.
A handheld solar lantern that also comes with a stand when you need both hands. It has 120 lumens and can provide up to forty-five hours of light. It also has a USB port for faster charging or charging your phone or tablet using solar power.
Ranked by MIT as the best solar light, this is an essential light to throw in your tool or emergency kit. It’s also very compact and lightweight, making it ideal for taking on hiking trips. It’s also very affordable for the high quality and excellent run time.
Want some useful buying tips for finding the right model for you? We’ve got you covered. Here we’ll list our top five tips, so you can feel confident buying a solar-powered lantern.
While solar lanterns are revolutionizing light for third-world countries (2), they’re also convenient to have around the house and in the yard. Because of their energy efficiency and cost savings, solar lanterns have many uses.
As solar technology advances, the design and cost of these lanterns are transitioning from functional to decorative. Many companies have capitalized on solar panel technology to create stylish, elegant lanterns that people want to buy as decorative accents.
Solar lanterns are an attractive way to provide sustainable, cost-effective lighting while still creating an elegant ambiance for your next gathering.
No longer just for the environmentally conscious, these lanterns are an affordable and stylish alternative for outdoor lighting.
If you’re buying a model for decorative reasons, this will come down to personal preference. There is no wrong answer at the end of the day. If the design appeals to you, it appeals to you. Don’t be afraid to be unique, and stand out.
According to the Climate Technology Centre & Network, solar lanterns are a cheap alternative for providing four to five hours of high-quality light.
Most solar lanterns use LED lights like most outdoor solar equipment you’ll see today including solar gutter lights, because their ability to produce high-intensity lighting, and their bulbs can last for up to twenty-seven years. (3) This makes them an ideal solution for practical lighting, considering how long LED lights last and their efficiency.
Since solar lanterns can produce high-intensity light, you can use them for many practical situations such as lighting a home, yard, parks, streets, and even schools. A Stanford University study found that solar lamps can even improve education in off-grid regions. (4)
When you go off-grid or for long backpacking trips, these lanterns are essential. As a renewable source of light when electricity isn’t available, solar lanterns are a smart choice. Not only are they safer than kerosene lamps, but they are also brighter and more environmentally friendly than kerosene lamps. (5)
Solar lanterns are practical, lightweight, and compact, making them ideal for stuffing into a backpack, or even a solar backpack to double up on your clean energy. And many solar lanterns designed for camping have multiple functions like allowing you to charge small electronics like your phone. Which is handy, that is, if you can get a phone signal.
Probably one of the best uses of a solar lantern is for emergencies. Often the first thing to fail in an emergency or natural disaster is the electricity. Having a solar lantern is an essential part of an emergency kit, according to New York Magazine. (6)
Solar Lanterns designed for emergencies are often multi-functional, durable, and compact, making them easy to store in a kit or your car. When buying a solar lantern for emergency purposes, you should look for functionality over aesthetics.
If the intended use for your lanterns is outdoors, you’ll want to find ones that are waterproof and/or snowproof. This is critical for the durability and longevity of your units.
Most manufacturers love to tout their lanterns’ durability, so finding the information about whether the light is weather resistant should be relatively easy to find. But, to help make your life easier almost all of our picks on our list are all-weather, waterproof outdoor models.
Depending on where you’ll use your unit, it will affect which material is best for your outdoor use. Most lanterns that are all-weather are either metal or ABS plastic. Both of these materials are very durable and can last a long time outdoors.
The best metals for outdoor solar lanterns are iron, aluminum, and stainless steel. Most solar-powered lanterns are made from rust-resistant aluminum because of its affordability and lightweight composite. The Aluminum Association states that aluminum is:
And aluminum can be recycled, making it a sustainable choice. (7)
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic is the most common plastic used to make products. The total global production of ABS plastic was 11.2 million metric tons in 2018. (8) ABS is incredibly strong and non-corrosive. ABS plastic doesn’t degrade under heat or cold, and it’s waterproof, making it an all-weather material.
Because it’s also relatively inexpensive, it makes solar technology more affordable. ABS plastic is very easy to clean and is dust resistant. When camping, you’ll probably want an ABS plastic model.
Several solar lanterns come with lots of bonus features. Here’s our list of the top ones to look for.
Lumens measure how much light you get from a LED bulb. The more Lumens the light has, the brighter the light. A typical model will have five to forty Lumens. (9) Solar-powered lanterns that have more than 40 Lumen are much brighter.
Although, if the light has more Lumens, you may want to look for brightness control settings. Some have app-based brightness control settings, while others may have a switch to dim or brighten.
Dancing flames is a popular feature because the LED flickers to mimic realistic flame. This gives a torch-lit illumination that is both romantic and mesmerizing—all the benefits of candlelight without the fire hazard.
Another popular feature, the 2-in-1 phone charger feature, is nice to have for emergencies and camping. Because many of the solar-powered lanterns have a USB port for electrical charging in a pinch, this port also doubles as a way to solar charge your phone or tablet.
Many lanterns differentiate themselves by offering more LEDs than others. This is typical in dancing flame lanterns to achieve the firelight effect. The more LEDs the lantern has, typically, the better light it produces.
One of the biggest differentiators between lanterns is the design or style. While many models have classic or modern designs, you’ll notice a few will have one-of-a-kind designs that stand out from the pack.
If you’re looking for a decorative model, you may want to buy a one-of-a-kind design as a conversation piece among friends. Some designs also follow more cultural styles for a more sophisticated ambiance. Whether you buy a tree stump model or a Morrocan model, this comes down to personal taste.
To find the top deal on solar-powered lanterns, we have a few tips that may help.
When shopping for a solar-powered lantern, check for free or minimal shipping costs to get the top deal for your money. Instead of going into the store, searching for a unit, and buying it then hoping you like it – you can find a model you love online, with free shipping, and get it delivered straight to your home. Isn’t the future great?
Sometimes the big retailers or manufacturers offer limited-time deals that you can find on their websites. Usually in the spring and at the end of summer is the best time to find these deals.
The last factor you should consider is, of course, the final price. This is the price when all these factors are rolled into one. When you find these deals, snap them up quickly.
Do you still have a few questions about solar-powered lanterns? Here are the most common questions:
A standard model will have 5 to 40 Lumens. Five Lumen is a very dim candlelight brightness. But some models have upwards of 120 to 150 Lumen. These are very bright lanterns.
If you decide to get a model with 120 or more Lumen, make sure it comes with a brightness control setting. Not everyone enjoys being blinded by the light, you’ll want the option to turn it down. And remember, the higher the Lumen, the faster it will drain the battery, so your run time will be shorter.
In our opinion, the best rated outdoor solar lights are the LITOM 12 LEDs Solar Landscape Spotlights. These waterproof solar spotlights easily stake into soft surfaces like grass or dirt. They are designed to highlight gardens, driveways, porches, walkways, pools, and patios.
While these aren’t your typical lanterns, per se, they are high-quality solar lighting. Keep in mind, you will not be able to stake the spotlights into hard surfaces like cement or wood.
The best solar lantern will vary from person to person and by need, but in short, we recommend the SUPERDANNY 8-Pack for those looking for the top overall option. Then, for those on a tight budget, we recommend the Ollivage Dancing Flame 4-Pack. However, if you stick to any of our top picks, you’re likely in really good shape.
Hopefully, if you’ve made it this far, you found a solar lantern that will best fit your needs. Or least, maybe now, you know exactly what to look for before you buy one.
But, if you’re still on the fence and not sure which model is right for you, we highly-recommend our top overall choice the SUPERDANNY Outdoor Solar Lantern 8-Pack. It has excellent run time, functionality, and a romantic design. If you want a set of gorgeous lanterns that can hang or be set on the ground for a fantastic price, then this is the one to buy.
Want more top-rated solar equipment to help illuminate your home like the SUPERDANNY Outdoor Solar Lantern 8-Pack? If so, I recommend checking out our best outdoor solar post lights of the year, or our homepage, to see our full list of highly-reviewed solar gear.
Dara Brant is the Managing Editor at Green Building Elements. Prior to joining us she covered alternative energy news and local developments at Your Energy Blog. Dara has a passion for sustainable living and wants to do more than her fair share to help build a better tomorrow for future generations. You can connect with Dara on LinkedIn.
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