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The Best Garden Lights to Brighten Up Your Patio

Every outdoor space is warmer and more inviting with the right lighting. Here are our picks for the best garden lights.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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Outdoor Garden LightsJakub Mazur/Getty Images

What To Look for When Buying Garden Lights

As the warmer weather approaches, it’s time to light up your backyard for outdoor evening fun. Summer outdoor lighting trends for 2022 suggest creating an atmosphere that’s an extension of the indoors. Basically, the right lighting can turn your backyard into an outdoor living room.

When deciding on garden lights, think about investing in and prioritizing the overall look of the lights, as well as their function. The right lighting can turn a backyard barbecue into an at-home fine dining experience.

Along with aesthetics, other garden light factors to consider are safety and security, energy consumption, size of the area to light, and cost for the fixtures and installation.

Evaluation Criteria

Garden light basics:

  • IP safety rating (IP44 or higher for outdoors);
  • Brightness (ranges from 12 to 1300 lumens);
  • Color temperature (Kelvin); from warm or cool;
  • Wet (unprotected) and damp (covered) rating.

Tips on Hanging Garden Lights

Installing low-voltage landscape, pathway and string lights are a DIY weekend project you can do with a little know-how and the right tools. If you’ve never done electrical work, we suggest hiring a qualified electrician or asking someone with experience in basic wiring to help.

Keep reading for the best garden lights of 2022 to help you create the perfect summer backyard mood.

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Best Overall Garden Lights

Powered by the daytime sun, Ring Solar Pathlights let you stroll along walkways and garden paths at night with a sense of security. They shine 80 lumens of light when motion is detected. These smart lights connect to a Ring Bridge (included) so you can customized settings, turn lights on and off remotely, and receiving notifications from mobile device using the Ring app.

Pros:

  • Works with Amazon Alexa.
  • Group and connect with other Ring products in your home.

Cons:

  • WiFi connectivity issues
  • Small animals trigger the motion sensor.

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Best Garden Lights for Less Than $60

Approaching 4,000 mostly five-star reviews on Amazon, the Brightown Outdoor Globe String Lights (100 count sockets) may not be the cheapest. But given their charming Edison-style bulb design and energy efficiency, the value for the money is hard to beat. Not to mention, they’re especially lovely stretched across patios, decks and balconies to create a European bistro-inspired aura.

Pros:

  • Dimmable;
  • 1000 hour life span per bulb;
  • Cool Edison-style design.

Cons:

  • Not connectable.
  • Delicate bulbs can break easily

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Best Twinkling Garden Lights

Magically converting sunlight into electricity, the Dimut Fairy Lights collect and store power in a high-efficiency solar panel. These solar outdoor lights continuously illuminate your yard for up to eight hours on one charge. Each pack of festive garland has 200 tiny LED lights that use waterproof IP65 technology to withstand rain, snow or deep freezes for an entire season without a glitch.

Pros:

  • Automatically light up when sun goes down;
  • Bendable copper wire makes wrapping lights around structures easy.

Cons:

  • Recharges with daylight only, which can be an issue in low-light areas;
  • Lasts three to four hours in low-light areas.

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Best Decorative & Energy-Saving Garden Lights

For the eco- and style-conscious, the Tomshine Hanging Solar Lantern brings the best of both worlds. Not only does this lantern offer an olive-shaped design that casts a pretty pattern on the ground, but it’s also solar-powered for optimal energy savings. Each beautiful lamp comes with a waterproof stand. It can be hung from a tree branch or under the eaves of a gazebo.

Pros:

  • Energy-efficient LED bulb;
  • Beautiful floral design.

Cons:

  • Cord is unsightly and gets in the way.
  • On the small side — may need two for impact.

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Best Garden Lights with a Timer

Another standout from Ring, the Wired Floodlight is always on duty whether you’re at home or away. It’s a must for high-traffic areas like front doors, driveways and backyard entrances. Set the customized timer using the Ring app on your mobile device, or opt for motion-activation to beam 2000 lumens of visibility to you and your house guests.

Pros:

Cons:

  • Ring Bridge required (sold with starter kit or separately);
  • Hard-wired installation only.

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Best Solar Spotlights

These solar landscape spotlights are our top pick for their extra-wide directional beam that lets you highlight architectural details or cast a warm glow in dark corners. Place them in the ground using the sturdy stakes or mount them on a wall or fence (screws included). The even have adjustable brightness settings.

Pros:

  • Pivot and angle in any direction;
  • Easy installation.

Cons:

  • Won’t recharge fully in shady areas;
  • More suitable for small yards.

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Best Solar Post Cap Light

The Hampton Bay Solar Post Cap Light in a Mediterranean-inspired bronze casing adds a gentle and sophisticated vibe to your outdoor patio, porch or deck. It’s a top seller at The Home Depot with a rating of 4.5 stars. Bringing this baby home upgrades your outdoor space and opens new doors for living and entertaining.

Pros:

  • Rust-, water- and weather-resistant;
  • Dusk-to-dawn eight-hour run time

Cons:

  • The base won’t fit all sizes of posts;
  • Cap may blow off in strong winds.

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Best Outdoor Lantern

The solar-powered outdoor lantern by August Grove features a set of 10 LED lights on a string enclosed in a beautiful window frame style that will give your patio a magic glow. This lantern is waterproof too, so it’s wonderful for bordering the pool as well.

Pros:

  • Powered by a solar-charged battery;
  • Sits on surface or can be hung from the integrated loop.

Cons:

  • Better suited for atmospheric lighting;
  • Lightweight so not suited for high-wind areas.

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Toni DeBella
Toni DeBella is a culture and lifestyle writer, reviews expert and DIY enthusiast covering everything from pests to painting to pool cabanas. Based in a medieval hill town in central Italy, when Toni isn’t documenting her travels around Europe, she’s tending her garden or honing her clay-court tennis game.