Best Solar Powered Lanterns: Brightest solar Outdoor Decorative Lanterns for garden

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Whether you’re an avid outdoor trekker or a doomsday prepper, you may be in the market for one of the best solar lanterns. As a versatile, eco-friendly tool, solar lanterns are great alternatives to traditional battery-powered lights. In fact, solar lanterns can easily be used in lieu of flashlights, spotlights or last-resort cellphone lights.

In terms of emergency preparedness, there’s no better product. These handy tools only require some direct sunlight and very light maintenance, and often last for years. Many buyers stick them in go-packs in case of a natural disaster or place them in an easy-to-reach spot in a car for breakdowns. Others use them to brighten up a summer barbecue or dim hallway.

Whatever your purpose, choosing the right model can be a mammoth task; there are tons of different options on the market. From collapsible or inflatable lanterns, to 100% waterproof models, to portable charging ports, there’s truly something for everyone. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the very best solar lanterns for you to take a look at below.

6 Best Solar Lanterns

RankingNameBattery LifeDesign FeaturesLumensPurposeReviewPrice
#1luminaid solar inflatable lanternsLuminAID Solar Inflatable Lanterns24 hoursInflatable, portable, waterproof, 5 brightness settings75Multi-use: camping, emergencies, swimming Read ReviewSee Price on Amazon
#2tomcare solar lights solar lanterns dancing flameTomCare Solar Lights Solar Lanterns Dancing Flame10 hoursFlickering flame, hanging ring and clamp, waterproof, auto on/off40Decorative: indoor, outdoorRead ReviewSee Price on Amazon
#3eachpole 3 pack outdoor camping led lanternEACHPOLE, 3-Pack, Outdoor Camping LED Lantern 12 hoursSolar or battery charge, functions as a USB power bank, all-terrain, collapsible, portable146Multi-use: camping, emergenciesRead ReviewSee Price on Amazon
#4solar mason jar lights 4 pack 20 ledsSolar Mason Jar Lights, 4 Pack 20 Leds8-12 hoursCreative design, can work with any mason jar, waterproof, auto timer43Decorative: indoor, outdoorRead ReviewSee Price on Amazon
#5bolt lite solar rechargeable led lanternBolt Lite, Solar Rechargeable LED Lantern 10 hoursPortable, collapsible, solar or USB charging, functions as USB power bank, 3 light modes65Multi-use: camping, emergencies, outdoor patioRead ReviewSee Price on Amazon
#6outdoor solar edison bulbsOutdoor Solar Lanterns Lamps - 2 Pack Tabletop Filament LED Edison Bulbs7 hoursVintage design, top hook, waterproof, dustproof6Decorative: indoor, outdoorRead ReviewSee Price on Amazon

Finding A Solar-Powered Lantern That Fits Your Needs

Each buyer has a host of unique needs. Someone who’s in the market for a product that they can take on an RV trip will have a different set of standards than someone who’s looking to take their lantern on a rock-climbing expedition. That’s why it’s important for you to carefully consider your taste, environment, and need for using a solar lantern before investing in a top-quality product.

What will you be using it for?

One of the primary determining factors when choosing the right solar-powered lantern is the expected use. Basically, you’ll need to decide how and where you’ll be using your lantern.

Types of purposes:

  • Decoration (indoor or outdoor)
  • Camping
  • Practical lighting for patios or gardens
  • Emergencies

For those who are planning on using their lantern for rugged outdoor activities like camping, trekking or extreme sports, a model that’s lightweight, long-lasting, waterproof and sturdy is the right choice.

On the other hand, some may be planning on storing their lantern for future emergencies. In the case of natural disasters or power outages, a long-lasting, collapsible lantern with extra features is ideal.

These features can include power bank USB ports for charging cellphones, alternate charging options to prepare for storage or when sunlight is low and carrying straps or clips that make it easy to tow and use as a pseudo flashlight.

If you’re just looking for a solar lantern that can add a touch of light to a garden area, then a decorative option is all you need. Not all lanterns are suited for hands-on activities- some are just purely accent features.

When shopping for a decorative lantern, keep an eye out for a model that’s well-built and won’t break during the first rain or backyard fiesta. Preferably, your lantern should have auto on/off functions so you can save energy, hassle and time.

What type of environment will it be exposed to?

Depending on your projected use, your lantern could be exposed to a variety of environments, including water, wind, dust, or frost. These elements will have different effects on a lantern and may cause significant damage if you’re not careful.

Most lanterns are equipped to handle regular wear and tear in the outdoors. This includes small amounts of rain and dirt or dust, but not necessarily flooding or frequent tumbles.

For those who are planning on using their lanterns during camping trips, hiking excursions, emergency situations or any other extreme climate, they should look to purchase a lantern that is certified waterproof and is made with hard plastic or vinyl rather than glass.

If you’re just looking to place your lantern in the garden for summer barbecuing, it’s unlikely that you’ll need anything more than water-resistance. However, if you live in a cold climate that experiences regular frosts and plan on keeping your lanterns out full-time, then it should be noted that not all solar lanterns can withstand these temperatures. The actual solar panels are very sensitive, so it’s imperative that you purchase a model that won’t crack or malfunction during below-freezing weather.

Selection Criteria: How We Ranked the Best Solar Lanterns

Battery Life

When it comes to solar-powered battery life, longer is, of course, better. Because most lanterns can’t be plugged into a wall socket and charged at any time, you’re reliant on the sun’s natural energy as a power source. This means that several days of cloudy weather could spell a dead battery if your solar lantern can only run a few hours on a full charge.

The average battery life of a solar lantern is realistically around 8-10 hours, although many brands advertise much longer. There are several reliable options that can illuminate for up to 24 hours straight, but those are a rarity. At the average rate, a decent lantern should be able to stay on all night long, and then charge up fully the following day.

Design Features

Solar lanterns have developed to a point of ingenuity: many models now have a host of extra features, such as solar power banks, waterproof casings and different light modes. And depending on your needs, these could be incredibly useful.

Of course, design is also related to aesthetics. Although you may be looking for something practical to use in case of emergencies, there’s no reason it can’t be attractive as well. The perfect solar lantern has a healthy balance of functionalism and attractiveness, making it a versatile option for those seeking to light up a garden area or prepare for power outages.


In laymen’s terms, lumens are the scientific measurement of brightness. Most solar lanterns are made with LED bulbs, which naturally emit a bright white light.

However, those seeking a warm decorative accent for atmosphere may not want a super bright light that’s blinding guests at a dinner party. In this way, the ideal lumen output is entirely dependent on the buyer’s interests. Generally speaking, the best solar lanterns have a minimum of 5 lumens for decorative use, and 40 for practical use.

Here’s a quick way to convert lumens to watts:

  • 5 lm = .08 W
  • 15 lm = .25 W
  • 30 lm = .5 W
  • 50 lm = .8 w


For practicality ratings, all other factors are combined to create one distinctive category. The battery life, charging time, lumen output, design, accessories and material are all taken into consideration when reviewing a new model.

As to be expected, the most practical option for a camper is vastly different from that of a homeowner looking to light up their swimming pool. In this way, practicality is dependent on use, as outlined in the paragraphs above.


As with other reasonably priced outdoor home goods, solar lanterns are generally made with plastic. This is a great material to use for solar lanterns as they are often placed in wet or dusty areas. The plastic is resistant to such environments and can often withstand weather fluctuations and regular transportation.

However, cheap plastic materials are susceptible to damage and may cause the sensitive solar panel or delicate wiring to be exposed to the elements. Once this happens, the lantern will surely break beyond repair.

For decorative lanterns that are to be installed in a backyard, a glass option may be a good fit. These are classier, less likely to be damaged by erosion or decay and can withstand a good deal of environmental damage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the average lifespan of a solar lantern?

As long as the construction of the body is sturdy, the light should function well for several years. Generally, most solar panels have an average life of 2 years. The life of a panel can be extended with proper patience, like cleaning and storage indoors during inclement weather.

On the other hand, the LED bulbs inside the lantern can last up to 30 years. Luckily, several top models offer warranties, with some lasting up to 3 years, so you can replace your lantern if it begins to malfunction.

Can the lanterns use regular batteries as well?

By their very nature, solar lanterns are designed to be powered by the sun. Lanterns with solar panels fixed to their roof are simply placed in a sunny spot until the battery is fully charge. Basically, this eco-friendly way of producing electric power doesn’t require an external power source.

Some newer models circumvent this traditional approach by providing alternative charging options, such as AC adapters, USB ports or regular battery packs. By giving consumers a choice, product manufactures can meet a variety of needs.

It should be noted that these options are an exception, rather than a rule. We’ve listed a few models that offer such alternatives, like the Solar Mason Jar Lights and the Bolt Lite.

What happens to a solar lantern if you get it wet?

Since solar lanterns are meant to be used as outdoor lights, most models are certified waterproof, or at the very least, water resistant. Light rain, morning dew, pool splashes and garden watering won’t damage your solar lantern.

However, not all lanterns are equipped to handle heavier water exposure, such as flooding, storms or submersion. As a general rule, if you live in a tropical area with regular heavy rains (monsoon scale), then it’s important that you bring your lights indoors when they’re not in use.

Will the lantern charge in cloudy weather or under shade?

Solar lanterns rely on the sun to charge their batteries, so a low UV index isn’t an ideal situation. Some lanterns will still charge in a shady area, like under a tree, as long as there are still a few rays coming through.

The charging time will be much longer though, so you should expect for it to take a full day or more to fully charge. Lanterns with large solar panels situated on top are better equipped to handle cloudy climates and shady locations as the wide surface area can soak up more solar energy.

Rankings & Reviews

Considering the vast array of solar lanterns available on the market, it’s tough to narrow down the top choices. To select the best, we’ve sorted through the most highly reviewed products and ranked them based on a set of criteria, including battery life, brightness (lumens), design features, practicality and materials.

Based on these carefully chosen criteria, we’ve gathered the best 6 solar lanterns for you to chose from. Whether you’re an avid camper or décor enthusiast, there’s something for everyone on our list.

Our #1 Pick: LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lanterns

luminaid solar inflatable lanterns

  • Battery life: 24 hours
  • Design features: Inflatable, portable, waterproof, 5 brightness settings
  • Lumens: 75
  • Practicality: Can use for camping, emergencies or swimming
  • Material: Plastic canvas
  • The high points: Sturdy waterproof construction combined with a unique design makes this an ideal, multi-purpose choice.
  • The low points: This option is not great for those needing decorative lighting for installation as it’s primarily a portable, use-as-you-go product.

From the pool to disaster zones, this solar lantern can service it all. With a cool inflatable design, the LuminAid is ideal for those who need light in a pinch.

The product has one of the highest lumen ratings, and the longest battery life by far. The waterproof plastic outer-coating can withstand a variety of environments and doesn’t take long to charge. The lantern also comes with 5 different brightness settings, including an SOS function.

Overall, the LuminAid is our top choice of well-designed solar lanterns that can meet a variety of uses. Its high-quality construction and unique functionality easily surpasses other similar models.

What do reviewers say?

The reviews are overwhelmingly positive for the LuminAid solar lantern, with most reviewers claiming they’ve purchased the lantern after major natural disasters to light their homes.

While some have complained that the charging function failed them after several uses, most have found the product to be reliable. They also comment that the light output is incredibly high, and the several light settings are helpful.

Features & Considerations

With an inflatable body, the lantern can be packed flat and transported in luggage or emergency bags. The waterproof material means the light can also withstand inclement weather, pools, beaches or a host of other wet environments that other lights may not be able to handle.

The size is fairly small and will not be able to light up an entire room by itself, but the lumen output is considerable. The warm LEDs produce a soft white light that is enough to light a small area, such as a tent, or provide a flashlight-like effect in case of emergencies.

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The Next Best: TomCare Solar Lights Solar Lanterns Dancing Flame

tomcare solar lights solar lanterns dancing flame

  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Design features: Flickering flame, hanging ring and clamp, waterproof, auto on/off
  • Lumens: 40
  • Practicality: Can use for decorative purposes in gardens or patios
  • Material: Plastic
  • The high points: Beautiful, ambient lighting with waterproof design makes this a great product for outdoor entertainment areas.
  • The low points: This option is not ideal for those seeking to light large swaths of areas, or for emergencies.

The TomCare solar lantern combines luxurious aesthetics with affordability. The fake flickering flames effect is both quirky and attractive, with an added benefit of being rather practical for hosting dinner parties or other events in the backyard.

The lantern can even be placed indoors to add a bit of ambiance to a room or area, such as a hallway. However, it will need to be charged regularly outside under the sun.

This solar lantern is a top contender on our list based on its lumen and battery capacity, and beautiful box design. The TomCare is a great choice for those seeking decorative elements over safety, especially considering there are two lanterns per pack.

What do reviewers say?

Recent buyers have claimed that these are great for lighting backyards, pools, hot tubs and gardens. The light emits a romantic warm glow that’s perfect for setting the mood, although it doesn’t provide enough practical light.

Many have purchased additional lanterns after their first buy and love the effect that it provides in an entertaining space. While some appear to prefer the larger tiki torch style lamps from the same company, these are great for small spaces and hanging solar lights in trees.

Features & Considerations

The best feature of this solar lantern is the auto on/off function. The built-in light sensor will automatically operate at dusk and dawn, making it a real hands-off product for homeowners. The auto function also saves energy as it conserves power during daylight hours while it’s charging.

The lantern is made of ABS plastic and is completely waterproof, meaning it can be used during rainy seasons. According to the company, the lantern can also withstand frost and dust. With the large solar panels placed on top of the box, the lantern will charge quickly and easily in direct sunlight.

With a simulated flickering flame effect, the solar lantern emulates a real fire without the inherent danger associated with burn pits and torches. The alligator clip and ring make for easy installation in areas that fire wouldn’t be acceptable, such as in trees, bushes, or around children.

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Our Next Favorite: EACHPOLE, 3-Pack, Outdoor Camping LED Lantern

eachpole 3 pack outdoor camping led lantern

  • Battery life: 12 hours
  • Design features: Solar or battery charge, functions as a USB power bank, all-terrain, collapsible, portable
  • Lumens: 146
  • Practicality: Can use for emergencies or other rugged outdoor activities
  • Material: Plastic
  • The high points: With a very high lumen rating, this solar lantern is the most practical for any use.
  • The low points: The lantern isn’t the most attractive option and isn’t ideal for decorating outdoor spaces.

As the lantern with the highest lumen rating, this solar-powered device is incredibly bright. Combined with the added functionality of charging ports and a collapsible design, the Eachpole lantern is perfect for campers and those preparing for potential emergencies.

The simple black casing isn’t the most attractive on the list, but it does the job and functions more as a tool than a decorative feature.

The lanterns are sold in packs of three, so homeowners can stash extras around their property in case the power goes out. It’s also a great option for families who are camping, planning a road trip or preparing for an outdoor event, such as a late-night game.

What do reviewers say?

The majority of reviewers are very happy with the multiple charging options. The lantern can take AA batteries or you can charge it via a DC adapter. This feature has come in handy during sunless days or during storms.

Others particularly appreciate the affordable price per unit. They also appreciate the the brightness of the light. However, some believe it should be even brighter.

For the most part, people have used the lanterns for camping trips and in disaster zones. They have used them for charging phones and lighting up tents during power outages.

Features & Considerations

The lantern comes with a host of features, including a compact design. That allows for the metal handles to hold down and hide the glass light casing.

This makes it ideal for traveling and transportation. It also makes it ideal for flat packing in tight spaces. That includes emergency boxes.

With the USB charging port, users can charge small devices like cell phones directly with the lantern. In terms of preparing for emergencies, this is an all-in-one product. It is helpful for homeowners who worry about potential tornadoes. It is also helpful for hurricanes or wildfires cutting their power or damaging their infrastructure.

The black plastic body is also waterproof. You can use it during rains or storms without worry. And the 360 light casing holds six LED lights that can illuminate even the darkest of spaces.

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4. Solar Mason Jar Lights, 4 Pack 20 LEDs

solar mason jar lights 4 pack 20 leds

  • Battery life: 8-12 hours
  • Design features: Creative design, can work with any mason jar, waterproof, auto timer
  • Lumens: 43
  • Practicality: Can use it for decorative purposes, either indoor or outdoor
  • Material: Glass and plastic
  • The high points: With a unique and trendy design, these lanterns are great for outdoor decoration or children’s rooms.
  • The low points: The lantern isn’t for practical applications, like solar lighting for a dark path or garden sitting area.

For those who are in the market for something particularly charming and endearing, these solar mason jar lights will do the trick. The quirky design is perfect for garden parties, birthdays, children’s rooms or play areas.

The lanterns consist of classic glass mason jars. They have solar-powered lids. Inside the jar is a jumble of LED string lights that emits a soft, warm glow.

Mason jar lanterns are a lovely accent feature, but aren’t great for lighting large areas, such as an entire garden. However, the lanterns come with four per pack, meaning their combined lumen output is enough to light up a small space.

What do reviewers say?

Reviewers love to use these lanterns on outdoor dining tables, around flower gardens and patios. They also claim that the light stays on all night long and is surprisingly bright.

The beautiful and soothing effect creates inviting spaces that purchasers rave about. Among the few complaints, one user found their lids to rust easily and another had issues with the wiring connection between the lid and lights.

Features & Considerations

The glass mason jars create an airtight seal for the lantern, making it 100% waterproof. The glass body and tin lids are also replaceable. You can easily replace them at any home goods store.

Another great feature of this quirky lantern is the auto function. It turns the lights on at sunset and off at sunrise. You don’t need to do any installation or mess with hidden switches all the time. So these nifty little lanterns are the ultimate hassle-free product.

In case the solar function isn’t viable, you can power the mason jar lanterns with AAA rechargeable batteries. Although the lantern only takes 6 to 8 hours to charge fully, the backup power source is helpful when there’s a cloudy day, or you forget to put it outside in the afternoon to recharge.

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5. Bolt Lite, Solar Rechargeable LED Lantern

bolt lite solar rechargeable led lantern

  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Design features: Portable, collapsible, solar or USB charging, functions as USB power bank, 3 light modes
  • Lumens: 65
  • Practicality: Can be use it for emergencies, camping, or on outdoor patios
  • Material: Plastic
  • The high points: This portable lantern functions as both a power bank and a light source.
  • The low points: The construction is more flimsy and is not for decorative purposes.

The Bolt Lite is pricier than other models. However, it more than makes up for it in features.

This solar lantern includes many helpful functions. Those include multiple charging forms and a USB power bank. They also have a solar flashlight effect, and collapsible body.

The Bolt Lite has an accordion-shaped body that works as a lantern when you fully extend it. It has a flashlight when you collapse it. This 2-in-1 model is perfect for avid campers. It is also perfect for those stocking up on supplies for natural disasters or other potential emergency situations.

What do reviewers say?

Product users have nothing but great things to say about the Bolt Lite’s compact body and high lumen output. The lantern compresses into a small disc that most claim is easy to slip into bags and other small storage spaces compared to bulky non-portable models.

On the other hand, some have taken the lantern camping. They have had issues with the accordion section trapping small bugs. The lantern also won’t hang flat with the included carabiner, but that shouldn’t be a problem for those who are setting it on the ground or using a cord to string it up in a tent.

Features & Considerations

In terms of features, the Bolt Lite has quite a few. The most notable function is the built-in power bank that can charge phones using a USB cable. This is great for emergencies, or during hiking trips in rural areas.

The light also hosts three different light modes, including a low, high and flash setting. When collapsed, the lantern functions more as a flashlight. Once on high mode, the lantern-turned-flashlight has a very bright high beam that’s perfect for navigating dark paths.

With an 800 mAh battery, the internal charge will last up to 10 hours. Besides using solar power, you can also charge the lantern using a USB adapter. You can hook it to an external power source.

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6. Outdoor Solar Lanterns Lamps – 2 Pack Tabletop Filament LED Edison Bulbs

outdoor solar lanterns lamps 2 pack tabletop filament led edison bulbs

  • Battery life: 7 hours
  • Design features: Vintage design, top hook, waterproof, dustproof
  • Lumens: 6
  • Practicality: Purely decorative for indoor or outdoor areas
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • The high points: The unique vintage design and functional hook installation makes this a great accent feature.
  • The low points: With a very low lumen output, the lantern is not practical for lighting and is instead purely for decorative purposes.

With a classic Edison bulb and gorgeous black iron cage, this one-of-a-kind solar lantern rounds out our list of top models. Although it’s one of our favorites in terms of design, the low lumen puts a damper on an otherwise stellar product.

Beyond being uncommonly attractive for an eco-friendly product, the outdoor solar lantern provides a warm, ambient glow. And while the brightness isn’t particularly high, the old-fashioned aesthetic is enough of a reason to feature it prominently in an outdoor entertaining area or dining room.

In terms of practicality, the LED light is amazingly easy to install and can hold a good amount of charge. With two per pack, the lanterns are a great buy for homeowners looking to add a touch of energy-saving luxury to their indoor or outdoor space.

What do reviewers say?

Many reviewers were happy with the lanterns solid and lightweight construction. They claim that delicate glow creates a warm atmosphere for relaxing events and family time.

Some product owners have installed them on walls, while others have sat them on tables and benches for added décor. However, most agree that the lights are not bright enough for practical use, such as reading at night or walking safely on a dim path.

Features & Considerations

One bright feature of the outdoor solar lantern is its multi-form installation: hook the lantern on a branch or peg, stand it up on a tabletop or mount it to the wall. This flexibility makes it the ultimate addition to a number of spaces and environments.

That is especially true considering the light does not get as hot as traditional bulbs. You can place it in more confined spaces.

The lanterns also come equipped with an auto on/off feature that responds to changes in daylight. At dusk, the lantern will automatically turn on and illuminate for up to 7 hours. Once the sun rises, the lantern will turn off and start charging.

In terms of practicality, the lantern is certified waterproof and dustproof, and can be used for extended periods of time outside. With no chance of the iron body rusting, the lantern is suitable for tropical climates and stormy weather patterns.

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