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Portable lamps that make outdoor dining so cozy

Creative lighting to give your porch, patio or deck a summer glow up




Portable lamps can be used to dramatically change the ambiance and vibe of outdoor dining spaces. Soft, warm lighting can create the perfect atmosphere for winding down and enjoying a family meal after a long summer day. Lamps that let you change their color can be tailored to celebrate a football victory with the home team colors, or just give your gathering a holiday-hued theme. 

Best of all, portable lamps don’t require any electrical work or modifications to your existing space. After dinner is over, you can bring them indoors or simply leave them out until the next occasion.

Battery-powered lamps vs. solar-powered lamps

The biggest difference you'll find from one portable lamp to the next is whether it runs on solar power or batteries. While either can deliver mood-setting illumination, one type of patio lighting may be more appropriate for your intended purposes than the other.

  • Battery-powered lamps are the most common type of portable light. Depending on the one you select, they can be powered by rechargeable or disposable batteries. These kinds of lamps often include features like brightness and color settings. Lamps that use rechargeable batteries can usually also run on USB power if you leave them plugged in. While battery-powered lamps are easy to take anywhere, not all of them are resistant to water and sunshine, so choose carefully if you intend to leave them outside all season long.
  • Solar-powered lamps have panels on them that absorb the sun’s energy throughout the day and glow at night. The benefit of using solar-powered lamps is that you can generally leave them out all day and they’ll start to glow just in time for the evening's activities. However, overcast days might leave you in the dark. Most solar-powered portable lamps lack on/off switches and brightness settings as well, although there are some exceptions. Because solar-powered lamps are built specifically for outdoor use, they're usually more resistant to the elements than those with batteries.


Best portable lamps

Pure Garden LED Outdoor Floor Lamp

These lamps look great placed on deck railings, tabletops, patio floors and even hung like lanterns from their rope handles. Their weather-resistant plastic and rope construction is neutral in color and designed to fit almost any theme, from nautical lakeside dining to Asian-inspired garden picnics. A flickering LED candle provides a warm, natural-looking glow and it can be run on solar power or a AA battery.

Sold by Wayfair

O’Bright Portable LED Table Lamp

This metal lamp’s battery can run for up to 48 hours on a charge. Three touch-selectable brightness settings and a frosted shade keep the lighting gentle and warm. Available in five finishes and reasonably priced, you can use a number of these lamps to create an outdoor wonderland without going over budget.

Sold by Amazon

Solar-Powered LED Outdoor Lantern with Electric Candle

This solar-powered lamp makes a great outdoor centerpiece. It's waterproof and resistant to the elements, so you can leave it outdoors no matter the weather. At 20 inches tall on a thin stem, the lamp provides enough clearance below it to still leave room on the table for decorations and won’t become an obstacle while passing dishes or toasting the end of another productive day.

Sold by AllModern 

Spirit Outdoor LED Rechargeable Lamp

For those who can’t resist bringing a little technology outdoors, this lamp features a battery that can run its LED light for 6-12 hours on a single charge. It includes a charging cable and features two brightness settings so you can customize the intimacy of your space. 

Sold by Saks Fifth Avenue

Cordless Table Lamp Pair

These modern-looking table lamps let you select from three color temperatures and adjust their brightness to suit your mood. Available in nine colors with a satin aluminum finish, these rechargeable, battery-powered lamps offer gentle illumination and bring a sleek, minimal design to your porch or patio.

Sold by Amazon 

Elo Baby Battery-Powered LED Outdoor Table Lamp

Offered in six soothing colors, this bottle-shaped lamp can be placed on surfaces around your space or hung like a lantern using its built-in removable ring handle. Dimmable, weatherproof and rechargeable via USB-C, the lamp can also be held like a flashlight, which can come in handy when it's time to bring in the dishes. 

Sold by Wayfair

Ballard Designs Solar LED Lantern

This beehive-shaped lantern is available in two generous sizes and looks great sitting beside outdoor furniture or on a tabletop. They can be charged via solar power or a USB charging cable and glow warmly for 6-8 hours. Faux leather carrying handles make them easy to move around with you.

Sold by Ballard Designs

Battery-Powered RGB Touch Lamp

This USB-chargeable lamp lets you adjust its brightness and select its color with a touch. A faux wood base keeps the lamp classy, but its low price and small size make it easy to purchase as many of them as you need to fulfill your vision of the perfect outdoor dining space.

Sold by Amazon

Tubicen Portable LED Table Lamp

With its generous carrying handle and four stages of customizable brightness, this minimalist lamp offers a rustic glow in an otherwise modern design. Its USB-chargeable battery can last for an amazing 110 hours on its dimmest setting, while its brightest gives off enough light for reading and table games.

Sold by Amazon

Zafferano Pina Pro LED Table Lamp

Those after a sophisticated look will find that this elegantly designed lamp brings a touch of class to any outdoor occasion. It provides nine hours of light after being set on its USB charging base and comes in three understated colors. It has touch-controlled dimming and remembers your last setting.

Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out 

  • This Thausdas Touch Lamp can be used outdoors and then brought inside to work just as well as a night light.
  • Bring a splash of color to the outdoors with this Rootro RGB Table Lamp.
  • The Philips Hue Go lamp features a unique, bowl-shaped design and includes smart features.
  • This Moon Lamp brings our planet's nearest neighbor to the picnic table, craters and all.
  • This battery-powered Star Lamp is perfect for late-night Fourth of July porch parties.


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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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