5 BEST Solar Tubes Tested (Must-Haves For 2022)

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Solar tubes use a continuous mirror to bring more natural light into your home. Sun tunnels are energy efficient and costs are quickly offset by reduced electricity bills.

Solar tubes are made with a flexible metallic tube that goes from the ceiling through the roof and is capped by an acrylic dome. The reflective tube distributes indirect sunlight throughout the building.

Before you choose your solar tube lighting, check out all the testing we’ve done with the best solar tubes to narrow down the factors that may affect your decision in the long run.

Our Top Picks

  Product Details    
01 VELUX 10 Best Overall: Velux 10″ Super bright natural light, the ability to be used at varying angles, budget-friendly, and superb quality. Check Price
02 Natural Light 10 Runner Up: Natural Light 10″ The perfect solar tube for flat roofs. Cost-effective, good quality, and easy to install. Check Price
03 Velux TMF Sun Tunnel Best For Flexibility: Velux TMF Sun Tunnel We found the Velux TMF to be the best solar tube for shedding more light where other solar tubes won’t work. Check Price
04 Natural Light 13 Best For Asphalt Roofs: Natural Light 13″ We’ve compared and tested many solar tubes and found this one to be the easiest and best for installing in an asphalt roof. Check Price
05 Solar Light Blaster Best For Metal Sheds: Solar Light Blaster Extremely budget-friendly, easy to install, gives a bright natural light, and is weatherproof. Check Price

How We Chose The Best Solar Tubes

solar tube
Solar tubes are a cost-effective way to bring natural light into otherwise dark areas of a building or home.

Many solar tubes are available on the market, but not all are the best or even get the job done right.

So we’ve taken the time to test each solar tube and narrow down which solar tubes could be the best fit for us and you.

We started by looking for different types of solar tubes and roofs we would need to test. We found angled roofs, flat roofs, shingled roofs, metal roofs, asphalt roofs, and shed roofs.

After we narrowed this down, we tested each solar tube that best fit their category and picked the best one. All solar tubes went through extensive weather situations, seeing as how these would be on top of a roof wherever they may end up. 

All solar tubes went through quality testing, as well. We wanted to know just how well these would stand up through the years so that you had the best solar tubes to choose from.

We also tested the installation process several times to know just how smoothly the solar tubes can be installed.

We like to anticipate any problems that may arise and give you the best option to keep you less frustrated when installing your solar tubes.

The Best Solar Tubes Reviewed

1. Best Overall: Velux 10″ 

VELUX 10

Product Ratings

Affordability5/5
Installation5/5
Effectiveness5/5
Quality5/5

Item Weight: 16.73 Pounds | Material: Anodized Aluminum | Product Dimensions: ‎30.1 x 27.3 x 11.1 Inches | Cutting Diameter: 12 Inches | Outside Diameter: 10 Inches

What We Liked

  • Made with quality anodized aluminum
  • Resistant to corrosion
  • Easy to install
  • Energy Star qualified
  • Provides natural light
  • Doesn’t leak
  • Cost-effective model with a good warranty

What We Didn’t Like

  • Doesn’t come with a diffuser to soften the light

We tested this solar tube kit under various situations and installations.

We found that along with a solid build, easy installation, and a modern design, this solar tube didn’t cost a lot and provided an energy-efficient alternative to electric lights.

With solar tubes, you can replace a lot of artificial lighting in your house and get more light that saves energy, money, and helps avoid associated health risks.

Effectiveness and Quality

We like that this solar tube has a 99.99% effective reflective tube, ensuring bright light output from incoming natural sunlight.

The Velux 10” solar tube brought an abundance of natural light to each room we installed it above. As one reviewer pointed out, we found it also lights up an adjoining hallway.

This solar tube is made with anodized aluminum, so it won’t rust or corrode as easily. Standard aluminum, as well as anodized aluminum, can’t rust, but they can corrode.

Anodized aluminum, though, is more resistant to corrosion because it has a thicker oxide layer. 

We put this solar tube skylight through some very tough testing, and it stood up well. It didn’t corrode, leak, fog, or break.

We love that it’s a premium quality solar tube at a good price. It comes with a 20-year tunnel warranty, which is a great warranty in our opinion.

Although we don’t really see it as a bad thing, the only issue we could find with these solar tubes is that the light is very bright that comes through, even on overcast days.

The light tube almost seems to concentrate the light into a strong light output for our areas, and there are no added pieces to soften the light coming from the solar tubes for areas we wanted to be dimmer. 

Installation

The Velux 10-inch tubular skylight is made to work on roofs with a 15 to 60-degree pitch, which we found true through each degree.

Installation of these solar tubes was not so difficult, and we didn’t need to hire professional help to install. 

We did see that one reviewer had an unusual issue with her attic, and in these circumstances, a professional installation may help. However, installing the solar tube wasn’t difficult for us and took just about 2 hours.

Velux provided instructions that were easy to understand and helped us each step of the way.

The 10-inch tubular skylight kit came with everything we needed, so we didn’t need to buy additional hardware and supplies. 

We were very pleased with how the solar tube looked on the roof. The light collection dome location didn’t stick out too much and scream, “Hey, notice me!”

It has a nice sleek design to it once installed that we appreciate on our roof.

See Price on Amazon

2. Runner Up: Natural Light 10″

Natural Light 10

Product Ratings

Affordability5/5
Installation5/5
Effectiveness5/5
Quality4/5

Item Weight: 15 Pounds | Material: Aluminum | Product Dimensions: ‎48 x 33.5 x 11 Inches | Cutting Diameter: 10 Inches | Outside Diameter: 10 Inches

What We Liked

  • Can withstand hurricanes, perfect defense against a blackout or power outage
  • The best solar tube skylight with an included diffuser
  • Solar tubes are made with aluminum
  • Natural bright light tubes

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not designed for metal or angled roofs 

We love Natural Light solar tubes 10” as our runner-up. It did a fantastic job throughout our tests and proved to be a great quality sun tunnel without breaking the bank.

The best thing about this solar tube model is its excellent quality material which ensures 100% energy efficiency. 

These solar tubes can stand up against some tough weather and are super budget-friendly, making them a great choice for just about everyone who wants to increase the viability of renewable energy.

Effectiveness And Quality

Natural Light 10” solar tube was a great budget-friendly choice for us. We packed in tons of testing, and this solar tube stood up well for us.

It’s made of aluminum, which is long-lasting and won’t rust, a top-notch quality. 

We found that this high-efficiency solar tube illuminates up to the advertised 150 square feet of area with bright natural sunlight during our testing.

If needed, these solar tubes can also be fitted with additional diffusers and filters for UV ray protection and a not-so-bright light. 

We like that if we placed it over a room that didn’t need so much light, we could diffuse the tube light while still letting in natural light.

Not all solar tubes can be diffused, so this is our favorite feature of this Natural Light tubular skylight.

Natural Light advertises that these light tubes were tested for hurricanes and are up to code on Florida requirements, so naturally, we just had to test this out.

We honestly can’t complain! It was a fun test and experiment, and this solar tube held up! We recommend it for areas with hurricanes and severe weather.

Installation

Installing solar tubes is never a huge project, but we were able to install this Natural Light tubular skylight with just one person.

The solar tube kit came with all the necessary items and even included the sealant for the transition piece.

This solar tube light isn’t made for metal roofs and is made for flat roofs only. So we could only test this sun tunnel on flat wooden roofs and not any metal surfaces.

We would still recommend these solar tubes for homes with flat roofs. 

We found the included 4-foot metallic tube to be enough during each install test. If we needed any more than that, it was available.

The assembled diameter of 10 inches was true to the advertisement, giving us no problem during installation. 

See Price on Amazon

3. Best For Flexibility: Velux TMF Sun Tunnel

Velux TMF Sun Tunnel

Product Ratings

Affordability5/5
Installation5/5
Effectiveness5/5
Quality4/5

Item Weight: 26.5 Pounds | Material: Aluminum | Product Dimensions: 30.1 x 27.3 x 11.1 Inches  | Cutting Diameter: 14.5 Inches | Outside Diameter: 14 Inches

What We Liked

  • Flexible tube to work around obstructions
  • Easy to install compared to most solar tubes
  • Good quality materials

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not as bright as expected

Most solar tube kits are not flexible, and a straight sun tunnel doesn’t always do the trick with some attics, so we needed flexible tubing for several attic installs.

This flexible tubing is a bit pricey, but we found it is one of the best solar tubes for indirect mounting.

It lights up the house generously with more natural light while cutting electric bills. We expect it will last quite a few good years!

Effectiveness And Quality

We love the quality of this flexible sun tunnel, and really love that it reflects the sunlight so well, even with the odd angles in the tube as it snaked down through the attic.

We put some obstacles in place to see if this sun tunnel would be flexible enough to pass the test, and it was!

It held up well and still produced a bright light with no need for electric light. 

While it did not seem as bright as a normal straight solar tube, it did the job and brightened up each area we installed it in.

It also held up to our simulated hurricane testing! This is a great energy-efficient sun tunnel for people in severe weather areas.

Installation

Wanting to install our solar tubes in a place such as an attic, we ran into quite a few assembly problems and barriers.

With the Velux TM4 flexible solar tube, we were able to easily assemble it and flex the sun tunnel around attic barriers to deliver bright, energy-efficient, natural light into the home. 

We discovered the acrylic dome on the sun tunnel, and a flexible solar tube makes it the best option for low-profile roofs and ceilings.

See Price on Amazon

4. Best For Asphalt Roofs: Natural Light 13″

Natural Light 13

Product Ratings

Affordability4/5
Installation5/5
Effectiveness5/5
Quality5/5

Item Weight: 16 Pounds | Material: Aluminum | Product Dimensions: 48 x 33.5 x 11 Inches | Cutting Diameter: 14 Inches | Outside Diameter: 13 Inches

What We Liked

  • Nice and bright natural light
  • Comes with caulking for leak-free installation
  • Useful for high ceilings
  • Light tube dome is high efficiency and impact-resistant acrylic
  • Diffusers to dim brightness included
  • Good warranty

What We Didn’t Like

  • A bit pricey, but worth it

This flexible tubular skylight can be a very attractive addition to any house that needs a boost in energy efficiency.

Backed with a 25-year warranty, we get the idea that this company stands behind its high-quality solar light tubes. 

We recommend this solar tube light kit for larger rooms and higher ceilings (9 feet and above).

We love that this solar light tube can radiate ample lighting and play its part in keeping our environment clean and healthy while helping us save energy and lowering our electricity bills. 

Effectiveness And Quality

This solar tube did its job impressively well, and we love it! We tested the Natural Light 13” and found it’s just as bright as 500-watt electric lighting.

We kept thinking we needed to turn the lights off, forgetting it was natural sunlight coming in!

We stretched the areas and found that it reaches and illuminates about 300 square feet, making this the best solar tube light for large spaces.

We wanted to see if this solar tube would hold up outside to a hurricane and severe weather conditions, and it passed with flying colors.

We recommend this tubular skylight for areas where the weather can get quite strong.

Installation

We installed this solar tube on flat, asphalt roofs without any issues. It was installed easily and could have been done with one person, but we preferred it be done with two.

We appreciated that the kit came with everything we needed, including caulking.

We took the advice of one reviewer and started on the interior first, then moved to the exterior. We did find this to be very helpful.

Also mentioned, the outside cut did not need to be perfect because the solar tube light base will cover it well.

See Price on Amazon

5. Best For Metal Sheds: Solar Light Blaster

Solar Light Blaster

Product Ratings

Affordability5/5
Installation5/5
Effectiveness4/5
Quality5/5

Item Weight: 3.31 Pounds | Material: Spun Aluminum | Package Dimensions: 14.29 x 14.21 x 8.94 Inches | Cutting Diameter: 7 3/8 Inches | Outside Diameter: 8 Inches

What We Liked

  • Easy to install compared to other solar tube lights
  • DIY solar tube kit that works great on metal sheds
  • Gives perfect natural light for a small space
  • Weatherproof and energy efficient

What We Didn’t Like

  • Gives a smaller radius of light than other solar light tubes

We spent quite a bit of time testing our solar tubes for homes and thought about how helpful it would be to have solar tube lighting in our dark shed!

So we set out testing the best sun tunnels for a shed and found this solar tube is the best and held up to all of our tests.

It’s super affordable, energy-efficient, good quality, easy to install, weatherproof, and has a great design. We liked this sun tunnel so much we want to buy more!

This solar tube didn’t give us any grief but gave us plenty of natural light.

Effectiveness And Quality

Like all of the other solar tube lighting, we put this solar tube through pretty extensive testing, which passed easily.

We really couldn’t find anything negative about this solar tube at all, except that it gives off a smaller radius of light, but that’s fine for a shed.

It gave plenty of bright natural light for our oversized shed. Two of these sun tunnels could be installed to light every corner of a shed.

Like the other solar tubes, this one is also made of aluminum, giving us a great product that won’t rust.

The aluminum and the solar tube as a whole passed all of our tests, and we are confident it will hold up for many years. 

Installation

Installing this solar tube on a shed was simpler than installing it in a house. We didn’t need professional help, which we liked.

Installation was quick and easy enough for one person to handle, and the solar light tube instructions were very clear.

We installed these solar light tubes on the south and west-facing slopes to ensure we soaked in the maximum amount of sunlight.

However, they consistently gave us surprisingly good lighting on the east and north-facing slopes, which is nice for those who need natural light on a non-sunlit side of a shed.

We didn’t have any issues installing this solar tube and highly recommend this as one of the best solar tubes for use in sheds.

See Price on Amazon

Comparison Chart

ProductsBest OverallRunner UpBest For FlexibilityBest For Asphalt RoofsBest For Metal Sheds
Overall Rating5/54.75/54.75/54.75/54.75/5
Installation5/54/54/55/55/5
Effectiveness5/55/55/55/54/5
Quality5/55/55/55/55/5
Affordability5/55/55/54/55/5

The Winner

The Velux 10” solar tube was an easy winner for us, with a perfect 5/5 rating. It withstood all of our testings and came out above all the rest.

We love the versatility it provides, affordability, great quality, weather resistance, effectiveness, and an easy installation. 

How To Choose The Best Solar Tube

Which solar tube will work best for you depends mostly on what you will be using it for, as well as what type of roof where you will install the solar tube lighting.

Different types of solar tubes are made for different types of roofs. 

So when choosing the right solar tube, check to see if you have a flat roof, metal roof, shingle roof, asphalt roof, or angled roof. You’ll then know what type of solar tube lighting you will need.

You’ll also want to consider how easy an install will be or if you will need professional installation.

Many solar tube manufacturing companies only honor the warranty if a professional install is done to ensure the solar tubes are correctly installed for the best results.

Depending on how much natural light you are looking for in your area will be equally important.

If you would like less light, you would want to make sure your solar tube comes with a diffuser to lessen the natural light and keep out UV rays.

We completely break down the pros and cons of solar tubing in our related article.

Knowing all of this information can better prepare you for making the best decision possible.

This will help you choose the best solar tubes to get the energy-efficient natural light you want in your home.

Always keep in mind to check the solar tube lighting reviews.

We always get a real clear idea of the solar tube pros and cons, as well as handy tips for installation and other fun facts.

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