Let’s talk outdoor solar-powered sconces!
Before you get a pack of these lights, here are a few tips to understanding what they can (and can’t) do:
• Direct sun is best. These lights work best when they can recharge in DIRECT sunlight. You’ll be disappointed if you place them under an eave or other shaded spot—they simply won’t charge (and work) as well.
• The rechargeable batteries in these lights only work for so many cycles. After a few months, they may stop holding a charge. But there is good news: some of the lights reviewed in this article have REPLACEABLE batteries—yes, this is an extra expense, but it will extend the life of the lights beyond one or two seasons.
• Set your expectations lower for use in winter months. Since the sun is typically more filtered (or at a lower angle) in the winter, these lights won’t perform as well as they’d do summer.
• Consider what these lights do best: provide a few hours of ambient light after sunset next to a shed, playhouse or deck . . . somewhere it may be difficult to add a hardwired light. We would not recommend these lights for security purposes. Why? They just aren’t that bright. And they won’t work for more than a few hours after sunset (that is, not all night).
Ok, now that the tips are done, let’s talk best picks. For the best budget-friendly solar outdoor sconces, we’d recommend a favorite among our readers: Maggift 2-Pack Solar Wall Lantern. We like that these lanterns come with a mounting kit and the light is a warm, white color.
What We Liked
• Nice pattern of light. These lamps cast a rather artsy-looking light pattern to the side and ground . . . very impressive, in our opinion.
• Easy to install.
• Look expensive, especially from a distance. Some of the solar lights we researched for this article had a cheap, plastic look—these lights are much nicer.
• Warm, white light.
• Auto turn on at dusk, off at dawn.
• About 5-6 hours of actual light time, based on real-world tests. The maker claims 8-10 hours.
What Needs Work
• Small overall size.
• Light doesn’t last all night. However, that is true for nearly all the outdoor solar sconces we researched for this article—so adjust your expectations accordingly!
• Must charge in the full sunlight for six to eight hours. Like many of these lights, you’ll get less light if they aren’t in direct sun for that length of time.