Best Garden Lights of 2021
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.
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 2021 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.
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.
Keep reading for the best garden lights of 2021 to help you create the perfect summer backyard mood.
Overall Winner: Ring Solar Pathlights Kit
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.
- Works with Amazon Alexa.
- Group and connect with other Ring products in your home.
- WiFi connectivity issues
- Small animals trigger the motion sensor.
Best for Less Than $60: Brightown Outdoor Globe String Lights
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.
- 1000 hour life span per bulb;
- Cool Edison-style design.
- Not connectable.
- Delicate bulbs can break easily
Best Twinkling: Dimut Fairy Lights
Magically converting sunlight into electricity, the Dimut Fairy Lights collect and store power in a high-efficiency solar panel. They continuously illuminating 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.
- Automatically light up when sun goes down;
- Bendable copper wire makes wrapping lights around structures easy.
- Recharges with daylight only, which can be an issue in low-light areas;
- Lasts three to four hours in low-light areas.
Best Decorative Energy-Saver: Tomshine Hanging Solar Lantern
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.
- Energy-efficient LED bulb;
- Beautiful floral design.
- Cord is unsightly and gets in the way.
- On the small side — may need two for impact.
Best With Timer: Ring Wired Floodlight
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.
- Ring Bridge required (sold with starter kit or separately);
- Hard-wired installation only.
Best on Amazon: LITOM 12 LED Solar Landscape Spotlights
The LITOM 12 LED 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). They automatically detect changes in the environment and adjust the brightness accordingly.
- Pivot and angle in any direction;
- Easy installation.
- Won’t recharge fully in shady areas;
- More suitable for small yards.
Best on Home Depot: Hampton Bay 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.
- Rust-, water- and weather-resistant;
- Dusk-to-dawn eight-hour run time
- The base won’t fit all sizes of posts;
- Cap may blow off in strong winds.
Best on Wayfair: Breakwater Bay Gillock Bronze Outdoor Lantern
Wayfair customers are downright clamoring for the solar-powered Breakwater Bay Gillock Bronze Outdoor Lantern. With a realistic electric candle illuminated by two high-performance warm white LEDs, there’s no risk from fires. This hurricane-style lantern is wonderful for bordering the pool or patio at night.
- Powered by a mono-crystalline panel;
- Sits on surface or can be hung from the integrated loop.
- Battery can be difficult to change;
- Lightweight so not suited for high-wind areas.
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.