The Best Solar Pathway Lights

The Best Solar Path Lights

I’ve been looking for the brightest and best solar path lights for several years. I’ve installed low-voltage landscape lights before, but they require an electrical outlet nearby. I didn’t want to install additional electrical outlets for low voltage landscape lights, so I wanted to stick with solar lights for now. Lowe’s Home Improvement, Home Depot, Walmart, At Home, and other retailers all sell solar pathway lights, but they are all very dim at night. At most, I think I saw a set of solar pathway lights somewhere that were about 20 lumens each. A typical indoor LED lamp light is about 800 lumens, so even the brightest solar lights were super dim. I wanted solar lights that were bright enough to make sure I didn’t step on any snakes or frogs at night when we take the dogs out! Most solar pathway lights are shaped like lamps/torches, so they often blind you at night because the bulbs are visible from all directions. I want direct, focused light downward on the path so I won’t be blinded at night.

The Search

I started researching online: I combed through all options on the Lowe’s Home Improvement website. Then I combed through all options on the Home Depot website. I even checked all the solar lights at my local Walmart. I found some possible options. Lowe’s sold a pair of Portfolio solar pathway lights — the lights stay at a dim 10 lumens, but suddenly brighten to 100 lumens temporarily while detecting motion. I bought them, and I tried them. They worked great, but they were blinding and dispersed light outward instead of downward on the pathway. Next, I saw a set from the Frontgate catalog that were 60 lumens each: the Pro Series VI Solar Path Light (Set of Two). However, these lights do not fit my budget (over $100 for 2 lights), and do not shine light downward. I didn’t bother buying them because I knew I needed 8-10 lights total, and I wasn’t willing to spend several hundred dollars on solar pathway lights.

Next, I discovered VOLT Lighting. VOLT sells solar light kits that look very similar to low-voltage landscape lighting kits. Wire connects everything together to a single solar panel. They seem promising — each path light claims 330 lumens output. Wow! But at $450 for a single kit that contained 2 path lights, it was not an option for my budget.

Next, I checked into solar offerings from Ring. Ring offers a Solar Pathlight: each light shines up to 80 lumens of light with adjustable brightness. The built-in motion detector temporarily brightens the light upon detecting motion. Since Ring offers many smart products, the motion sensor also sends alerts to your mobile phone after detecting motiion. I bought one to try at the front porch. I found the motion alert notifications helpful, but the brightness was still not what I wanted. For about $35 each and only 80 lumens each, I kept searching for a solution for my pathway.

The Winner: Sunco LED Solar Sidewalk Lights

Finally, I turned to Google to search what options were available. After skimming through pages of results, I found a viable option to try: Sunco LED Solar Sidewalk Lights. These lights claim 150 lumens output each and retail for about $65-70 for a pack of 6 lights. That was much, much more affordable than the dimmer alternatives from other retailers. As an added bonus, these lights allow you to choose what color temperature the lights will output: warm (3000K temperature), daylight (5000K temperature), or cool (7000K temperature). I decided to buy a set of 6. But why were these so much cheaper if they claimed to be so much brighter? Initially, I expected the 150 lumens claim to be a stretch. I did notice that the construction materials are plastic feeling, so that does raise concerns about durability.

However, once they arrived, I assembled them and placed them around the backyard to charge. Each light is about 30 inches tall (including the stake to anchor them in the ground). I chose warm light output (3000K temperature). That night, these lights exceeded my expectations — yes, they really are bright! Plus they don’t blind you since the light shines down on the pathway, not outward like a lamp/torch. I don’t have a way to measure the brightness of these, but I estimate 150 lumens is a pretty accurate estimate. (I know some products can have outrageous claims about brightness on Amazon, but I can confirm that the brightness of these lights are not an exaggeration). Because of the price and brightness, I bought a second set of 6 lights to complete my pathway project.

I’m hoping these lights last for at least a year, and that the manufacturer continues to improve them and add additional solar lighting options.

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