Plastic LED bulbs are drop- and water-resistant. The output of 40 lumens provides great mood lighting. Edison-bulb shape is popular among consumers.
Won't light up an outdoor space to some people's expectations; they're better for mood-setting.
Comes in a choice of several different colored cables. Very durable once you get them hung. Attractive lights that give off a lot of warm light. Come at a good price.
The bulbs are very fragile and should be removed during installation. Some buyers also note that the bulbs tend to burn out quickly.
Warm LED lights provide a subtle glow. Select from multiple effects like twinkling and fading. Also has a memory function so your chosen settings won’t reset each time you turn the lights on.
Not tangle-free, so they shouldn’t be used in a doorway.
We love how these lights have a high-end industrial look and feel, including the heavy-duty cable. Very highly rated. Gives off a soft, bright light. Comes with a spare bulb.
Fragile bulbs. We recommend that you remove them from the string before installation, then screw them back in afterwards.
Available in multicolored, cold white, or warm white lights. Very bright, especially for solar. Settings for medium or high brightness. Come on at sunset and last well into the night.
Some buyers report issues with quality, both in terms of lights failing and the durability of the fixtures themselves.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
When the sun goes down, candles can offer mood lighting to an outdoor space but don’t truly illuminate it. The right patio lights, on the other hand, can brighten an area as well as add a decorative touch.
Indeed, there are countless options for your outdoor lighting needs. Do you enjoy entertaining on your back deck? Then, string lights will liven up your décor. Do you mostly find yourself outside reading in your favorite comfy chair before bed? A bright outdoor-rated table lamp may be preferable to other options. If your biggest concern is to deter burglars, a combination of different lighting options may fit your requirements.
Want to learn more? Our guide will help you narrow down your patio light choices for your backyard oasis in addition to offering tips on topics such as maintenance and safety. If you’re ready to buy, consider one of our top picks.
When it comes to patio lights, the choices are vast, which leads to tough decisions. Here are a few popular outdoor lighting options to consider:
Add flair to your outdoor space with string lights. They come in a variety of styles, from retro Edison bulb sets to dainty fairy lights. For convenience, pick string lights with easy-to-replace bulbs. Novelty options (e.g., pineapple- or palm tree–shaped bulbs) are cute but hard to replace should they burn out. String lights typically require an outlet, but you may be able to find battery-powered LEDs that don’t need to be plugged in. Battery-powered options should not be left out in the rain, however.
Umbrella lights are an excellent way to provide overhead lighting for dinnertime gatherings. Usually solar- or battery-powered, they typically feature small bulbs and are designed to be wrapped around the spokes of a patio umbrella. A few options have lights actually built into the umbrella.
If you have a gazebo, awning, or pergola, create a veritable outdoor living space with the help of hanging outdoor lights. Plug-in options are easy to install, but an involved setup may require a call to an electrician.
Post lights vary from basic to decorative and are placed atop fence posts or decking posts. They’re typically solar powered, but wired options also exist. Simple caps are easy to install, but if you live in an area where earwigs are common, the inside area of the caps is an excellent hiding place for these pests.
These lights are usually intended for illuminating garden spaces. They’re not particularly bright but are perfect for lighting vegetation, pool areas, and pathways. If your outdoor living area is located at ground-level (as opposed to an elevated deck) place stake lights, which are usually solar powered, around for an extra glow. Be sure to avoid cheap dollar-store stake lights, as they often don’t last more than a single season.
Choose from sconces to heavy-duty floodlights to add lighting to your outdoor space. The type you choose depends on your needs. Wall-mounted units are usually wired, and you’ll need an electrician if there’s not already built-in wiring in the spot where you want it.
They’re not just perfect for adding a decorative touch to a bare patio. Solar-powered lanterns are useful for adding extra light to tabletop areas. Lanterns are available in various sizes, from miniature to extra-large models.
Different styles of patio lights call for different power sources:
There are two main types of bulbs: incandescent and LED. The big difference is that incandescent bulbs use more electricity while LED lights don’t, making them good for the environment and wallet friendly, too.
When buying string lights, there are plenty of bulb shapes to choose from. Larger bulbs give off more light, while tiny fairy lights are usually more decorative than anything else.
When it comes to string lights, correctly measuring your patio space is the key to choosing the right string length; add about five feet to your measurement to be sure you have enough leeway when placing your lights.
For other types of lighting, opt for sizes that complement your space and décor. For instance, don’t stick a giant lantern on your compact patio table or choose a tiny wall sconce to light a large yard.
If colorful lighting fits your décor, there are plenty of options, from multicolor string lights to different-colored bulbs for sconces. Don’t forget that the bulb finish affects the lighting as well: a clear bulb provides bright, direct light, while opaque filtered bulbs add a gentle glow to your patio space.
Whether you choose a hanging pendant for your pergola or a set of string lights, selecting the correct wire color can make or break your outdoor design scheme. Standard wire colors include white, brown, black, and green. It’s best to choose one that blends in with the surroundings.
Inexpensive: Under $30, you’ll find solar-powered plastic lanterns and garden stake lights in addition to 25-foot plug-in string lights. Small battery-powered LED string lights also fall into this price bracket as do low-cost solar post lights.
Mid-range: For $30 to $100, expect to find longer string lights between 50 to 100 feet. Patio umbrellas with built-in lighting can also be purchased at this price point.
Expensive: For more than $100, patio lighting options include durable wired fixtures, like high-quality wall-mounted sconces and pendants, as well as outdoor floor lamps. Don’t forget to consider the cost of an electrician should wiring need to be installed. If you have a large area to light, you’ll also need multiple fixtures, units, or string lights for adequate coverage.
Q. Which type of patio light has the lowest power requirements?
A. Solar-powered lighting is the cheapest because it requires no electricity. LED is another economical and eco-friendly option. Incandescent bulbs, on the other hand, require the most power.
Q. I plugged in my string lights to find that they weren’t working. Could it be because a single bulb has burned out?
A. No, it’s not likely. It’s more likely that you have a defective set on your hands. String lights usually run on parallel circuits, so if one bulb has burned out, the rest will remain lit. If you plug your lights in and find them all dead, contact the manufacturer.
Q. Is it wasteful to leave my patio lights on 24-7?
A. If you’re running battery-powered lights 24-7, the batteries will quickly run out of juice. For wired and plug-in lights, you’ll eat up less energy using LED bulbs, but it’s still not ideal to leave them on all day and all night. Consider a timer for your lights or purchasing bulbs with built-in photo-cell technology, which detects sunlight and shuts bulbs off when it’s bright outside. Motion sensors are useful for spaces where you require occasional lighting and want to deter burglars.