Best Solar Hanging Lanterns for Subtle Illumination

Improving the appeal of an outdoor space is easy with a final touch that blends beauty and functionality – like a solar hanging lantern. Overall, solar lighting fixtures provide the most eco-friendly way of illuminating gardens, patios, driveways and more.

With the best solar hanging lanterns, you can add some warm, subtle accent illumination to your space. In this article, we’ve recommended top-rated hanging solar fixtures and provided a guide to help you find one that meets your needs.

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…

Features to Consider When Buying Solar Hanging Lanterns

Purpose

Every buyer will have specific needs. If you’re purchasing this fixture to take to a camping trip, then you’ll have different requirements from someone who’s purchasing it to decorate their patio.

Generally, the applications for solar hanging lanterns are:

  • Decorating
  • Camping
  • Illuminating areas like patios and gardens
  • Emergencies

If you’re planning to hang it in your camping tent or use it for extreme sports like climbing, then you should look for one that’s durable but also light enough to carry around.

Nonetheless, if you intend to use it only for emergency situations, you may want to find a solar lantern that has unique features. These include capabilities like power bank, USB ports or backup batteries that can be used as a source of power when there’s little sunshine.

Environment

In addition to considering the intended purpose, you also need to think about the kind of conditions it will be subjected to – these include wind, dust, water, snow or frost. Each of these elements will have a different impact on your hanging lantern and could affect its performance.

Good news is: a good number of hanging lanterns are designed for the rugged conditions of outdoor settings. By this we mean they can handle small splashes of water, rain, and dust. That said, this doesn’t necessarily imply that they can survive a flood or frequent tumbles.

So if you’re planning to take your solar hanging lanterns outdoors, ensure it’s certified waterproof. Also, a hard plastic/vinyl construction is better suited to tolerate extreme climatic conditions compared to glass.

On the other hand, if you’ll only use it in your backyard for summer barbecuing, you’ll probably not need the water-resistance capability. Thus, you can save a few bucks by choosing a non-waterproof model.

Battery Life

With the exception of a few models, the majority of solar hanging lanterns rely solely on solar energy. This is not the kind of lighting fixture that you can plug into a wall socket and charge whenever it runs low.

While this saves you money on utility bills, it also leaves you in a bit of a pickle. If the weather is cloudy for an entire week or even a couple of days, your solar-powered battery may run out of juice.

The batteries of most solar hanging lanterns are designed to last for 8 to 10 hours. Only a few fixtures are advertised as being able to illuminate for up to 24 hours. Overall, a quality fixture should be capable of staying on for one whole night and then charge to the maximum the following day.

Lumens

Lumens are a measurement of how bright the solar hanging lanterns are. The majority of these fixtures come equipped with LED bulbs, which naturally illuminate brightly.

Nonetheless, you could be looking for a soft decorative accent to use in a setting that doesn’t require the overly bright light. If you look through our options, you’ll find several lanterns that provide either white light or warm light.

As a rule of thumb, opt for lanterns with at least 5 lumens for decorative applications and 40 lumens for the main lighting. Here’s a simple guide that compares lumens relative to the bulbs’ wattage:

5 lumens = 0.08 watts

15 lumens = 0.25 watts

30 lumens = 0.5 watts

50 lumens = 0.8 watts

Top 10 Solar Hanging Lanterns

1. Maggift Retro Star Hanging Solar Landscape Lantern: Best All-Round

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Manufactured using iron, the 2-Pack Retro Solar Hanging Lantern offers a good balance of features and pricing.

The dimensions of each lantern are 6.3 x 6.3 x 6.9 inches, and it uses a white LED bulb that churns out about 5 lumens. Thus, it’s bright enough to illuminate a standard outdoor space.

Another pleasant feature of the Maggift lantern is its energy efficiency. This fixture is designed to automatically switch itself off at dawn and then back on at dusk. This is a handy mechanism for those homeowners who forget to turn the lights off in the morning.

While it’s advertised as a hanging lantern, the Retro Star offers a great deal of versatility when it comes to mounting. You can suspend it from trees, porches, and pergolas as well as place it on a flat surface like a tabletop or ledge.

Every lantern comes with 1 solar-driven AA 400mAh NI-MH battery. When this gets enough sunlight, it can operate for 8 hours straight.

Pros:

  • Backed by a 3-month warranty
  • Flexible mounting: can be hung or rested on a horizontal surface
  • When fully charged, it can last for 8 hours
  • Automatic on/off system to save on energy

Cons:

  • Not weatherproof

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


2. Hanging Solar Lanterns by SHANNA: Runner-Up

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If you’re looking for a brighter option, the Hanging Solar Lanterns by Shanna are a great choice. These produce at least 7 lumens, making them suitable for decorating holiday parties, weddings, camps and more.

This particular set consists of 2 lanterns, each of which measures 5.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches. But if you want more illumination or lanterns to use in different rooms, these are also available in a 6-pack and 8-pack.

The key highlight of the Hanging Solar Lanterns is their long run time. While other fixtures work for a maximum of 8 hours, this one boasts a 10-hour run time. As long as they’re fully charged – and this takes about 6 hours – they will remain lit throughout the night.

Another aspect that sets this hanging lantern unit apart is the versatility of installing. The fixtures use a clip-based hanging mechanism, giving you many options for mounting. You can connect them to a string of lights to increase illumination or you can use them on their own by hanging on a tree.

Pros:

  • Waterproof construction
  • Comes with auto on/off
  • 10-hour long run time
  • Two ways of mounting
  • 45-day money-back guarantee and 1-year warranty

Cons:

  • Not bright enough for some people’s liking

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3. CHBKT 4-Pack Mason Jar Solar Hanging Lantern: Best Mason Jar Lanterns

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Perfect for enhancing the mood or improving illumination in a space, CHBKT Mason Jars will add a touch of homemade, natural-looking charm to any setting.

They come as a set of 4 mason jars, all of which are filled with 20 LED warm white fairy lights. The fact that the manufacturer has opted for LED lighting confers several benefits. For one, you don’t have to worry about the bulbs emitting heat. Secondly, these bulbs are long-lasting and safe to handle even if they’ve been on for a long time.

Another thing we love about this mason jar hanging lantern set is their waterproof capability. According to the manufacturer, the whole kit features a waterproof rating of IP65. This means you can comfortably leave it outdoors even when it’s raining.

The mason jar fixtures operate for between 8 and 12 hours when they’re fully charged, after a minimum of 5 hours in direct sunlight.

What’s unique about this set is that even if they’re not charged, perhaps because of insufficient sunlight, they can still function. The lights come with one piece AAA rechargeable battery for these situations.

Pros:

  • IP65 waterproof construction
  • The mason jars lighting design is chic
  • Built-in light sensor to automatically turn on/off
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • 1 AAA rechargeable battery included for backup
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty

Cons:

  • Perfect for ambiance but not that good for illumination purposes

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4. ANDEFINE Solar Hanging Lanterns: Best Value

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At first glance, it may seem like this lantern set is pricier than our top pick. But the fact that you’ll be getting 4 solar lanterns, makes the ANDEFINE Lights Set one of the most economical options.

Each of the lights is LED and measures 3.46 x 3.46 x 5.5 inches. Plus, they each come with a metal clamp and ring for a quick and easy installation. The umbrella lanterns can be hung anywhere; be it trees, tents or driveways.

The good thing about these lights is that they’re weatherproof. Constructed using premium-quality ABS and metal, they’re able to withstand extreme heat and downpours, making them suitable for outdoor applications.

Better yet, these fixtures use replaceable batteries. This means you can substitute with another set of batteries without having to purchase the entire lantern set.

ANDEFINE provides a 90-day guarantee for this product. So if any of them has a defect or malfunctions before this period elapses, you can ask for a refund or get it replaced free of charge.

Pros:

  • Sturdy, weatherproof construction
  • Replaceable battery design for maximum durability
  • Includes 4 quality solar lanterns
  • Stylish umbrella design makes them suitable for decorating

Cons:

  • Too small for some applications

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5. Yard Island Solar Hanging Cage Lantern: Best Design

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If you don’t mind splurging on a beautifully-crafted light fixture, this Solar Lantern by Yard Island is a fantastic option.

Made up of 1 Edison bulb wrapped in a geometric cage of wiring, this lantern looks exquisite and very artistic. This is the kind of fixture that you’d only expect to find in high-end establishments.

Looks aside, this solar hanging lantern delivers a superb performance. The lithium-ion battery is 100% solar-powered, enabling it to produce warm white LEDs. But what makes this unit unique is the large 1500mAh battery capacity. Thanks to this feature, the lantern can illuminate for up to 8 hours.

However, it should be left to charge for at least a full day. This means that you should strategically position the fixture in an area where it receives direct sunlight.

That said, the Yard Island lantern is completely weatherproof. It also comes with an automatic setting that switches it on at dusk and turns it off at dawn to conserve energy.

Pros:

  • Perfect for decorative purposes
  • Fully automatic
  • Reliable 3.7V 1500mAh battery
  • Weatherproof construction

Cons:

  • Expensive

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6. Homeimpro Solar Big Hanging Lantern: Ideal for Larger Spaces

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Metal lanterns are made in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the Homeimpro Solar Big is our favorite pick if you’re looking for a large-sized unit. Measuring 7.9 x 7.9 x 7 inches, this is certainly the biggest hanging lantern in our review. Even better, the fixture has such an intricate globe design with unique perforations. This enables it to cast beautiful beams of light on the surrounding area.

The lantern is moderately bright, producing at least 7 lumens. Thus, it provides a decent amount of illumination for large spaces like pathways, courtyards, and gardens. Another noteworthy feature of the lantern is that it’s available in white or blue. It also has an automatic on/off feature for seamless use.

This lantern features a waterproof rating of IP44, meaning it can withstand water splashing. However, this is not a very high level of protection so you might want to store it indoors when it’s not in use.

Additionally, Homeimpro offers excellent customer support in case you experience any issues with the fixture. If you want to replace the light or get a refund, be sure to contact them within 180 days of your purchase.

Pros:

  • Beautiful design
  • Big enough to install in large spaces
  • Auto turn on/off for energy efficiency
  • Comes with battery
  • Weather-resistant; IP44 protection level

Cons:

  • Not the most durable

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7. Obell 2 Pack Retro Solar Hanging Lanterns: For a Vintage Look

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A warm lighting fixture is one that provides that traditional yellow color light. Not only does this feel natural but it also helps you to relax. If you’re looking to install such fixtures in areas like your bedroom, the Obell Retro Lanterns are a great choice.

Relying exclusively on solar energy, these lanterns emit warm lights which help to set an airy mood in your home.

Each lantern measures 3.5 x 3.5 x 5.5 inches and is bright enough to illuminate dark spaces at night. However, if you don’t want the soft light, the lanterns are also available in a white light version.

Like the majority of the products in our review, this set comes with an automatic switch on/off setting. Also, the lanterns have a highly-durable build that consists of hard iron and plastic with a copper finish.

Every lantern uses 1 AA 600mAh NI-MH battery, which upon charging fully, lasts for 8 hours or more.

Also worth noting is that this lantern set comes with a lifetime warranty. Thus, if you experience any issue when using the fixtures, you can contact the manufacturer through the Amazon platform.

Pros:

  • Multifunctional: can be used in a variety of places ranging from patios to gardens and porches
  • Decent run time of 8 hours
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Not bright enough for some applications

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8. TomCare Dancing Flame Hanging Lanterns: Best for Decoration

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This solar hanging fixture blends stylish design with fair pricing. The TomCare 2-Pack Lantern appears to be producing flickering flames, which though a bit peculiar, gives it an attractive look. Plus, they offer the benefit of being practical when you’re hosting parties in your backyard.

These solar-powered lanterns are versatile enough to be used both outdoors and indoors to add ambiance. That said, you’ll still need to find a way of charging them under direct sunlight.

Another feature that makes this fixture unit stand out is its long working time. With enough juice, the lantern can work for about 10 hours. It takes at least 6 hours for this unit to charge fully. However, both the charge and run time depend on the weather conditions and season.

When it comes to installation, you have two options to pick from: you can either hang or clip it on anything you want.

Dancing Flame solar lights are also waterproof thanks to the ABS plastic build. As a result, they don’t get damaged by rain, snow or frost. Besides, the manufacturer provides a 1-year warranty along with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

  • They emit a warm glow which is great for setting a relaxing mood
  • Comes with a built-in sensor for automatic operation
  • ABS plastic build is completely waterproof
  • Comes with an alligator clip for easy installation
  • Includes a user-manual

Cons:

  • Does not come with a battery

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9. GIGALUMI 4 Pack Hanging Solar Lanterns: A Budget-Friendly Option

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For homeowners who are on a tight budget but would still love to give solar hanging lanterns a try, this 4 Pack Globe Set by GIGALUMI is an economical option.

These fixtures cast a bright white light from the interior of a grey-transparent “cracked” glass case. Take note that the glass housing isn’t really cracked. The manufacturer uses this term lightly to refer to the light’s glass patterns that produce unique shadows once it’s switched on.

Most people would assume that the glass housing is fragile. Contrary to this belief, the glass is pretty thick and tough, which makes for durable construction.

We also like how user-friendly this solar lantern is. All you need to do is turn the “on” switch located near the top. Once you do this, the fixture will automatically activate in the evening and disable in the morning.

The only area where GIGALUMI Lanterns fall short is their running time. While most of the fixtures we’ve reviewed provide a solid 8 hour run time, this set averages between 6 and 8 hours.

Pros:

  • Sturdy glass and stainless steel build
  • Simple installation
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Running time can be improved

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10. SUNWIND Hanging Solar Lanterns: Most Colorful

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If you’ve gone through all the products in our review and thought, “Are there any lanterns that come in vibrant colors?” Well, these Decorative Solar Lanterns by SUNWIND are the ultimate solution.

They actually come in two color variations: white and multi-color; hence suitable for different consumer tastes.

This set of lighting fixtures also offers excellent value. You’ll be getting 8 solar-powered lanterns for the same price that you’d pay for a package of one or two similar fixtures.

Also important to note is that the lights are easy to use. You don’t need to have any tech expertise or knowledge to operate them. Simply rotate the switch to “ON” and mount them in your preferred location. Advisably, this should be an area with direct access to sunlight.

Depending on the amount of sunlight they’re exposed to during the day, these lanterns can last anywhere between 6 and 10 hours.

Pros:

  • Weatherproof construction
  • Hassle-free installation
  • Multi-color design which is perfect for decorating yards, patios, gardens and more

Cons:

  • No warranty provided

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FAQs

Q: What is the standard lifespan of a solar hanging lantern?

A: If the case or housing of the fixture is solid, then it should be able to work for a couple of years. On average, these lights last for at least 2 years. If you’re looking to extend the life of the solar panel, the secret is to clean it properly and store it indoors whenever there’s inclement weather.

Even better is the fact that most of these lanterns use LED bulbs, which have an even longer lifespan of at least 30 years. What this means is that you’ll only need to replace your hanging lanterns if they become defective.

Q: Can the lanterns run on regular batteries too?

A: Ideally, every solar lantern ought to be powered using solar energy. These fixtures almost always come with solar panels attached to their roofs, which serve to absorb sunlight and convert it into electrical energy.

Owing to this environmentally-friendly way of producing electrical energy, there’s no need for any external power sources.

However, a few advanced models go a notch higher by providing alternate charging options like backup batteries, AC adapters and USB ports. With these alternatives, companies are able to meet a variety of needs.

Q: What happens if a solar hanging lantern gets wet?

A: The benefit of most solar hanging lanterns is that they’re designed for indoor and outdoor applications. Thus, they’ll often come with a weatherproof or waterproof rating.

The majority of these fixtures cannot get damaged by light rain, pool splashes, garden watering or morning dew. Still, very few of these can withstand heavy water exposure like a flood, submersion or a storm.

Unless your lanterns are completely waterproof, you should always bring your lanterns indoors when the weather takes a turn for the worst.

Q: Can the lanterns charge when it’s cloudy or when they’re under a shade?

A: Solar hanging lanterns rely primarily on sunlight to charge. This means that whenever there’s a low UV index, they won’t charge adequately.

If you live in an area that receives little sunshine, you’ll want to choose models that are capable of charging even if there are only a few rays coming through. The one thing you’ll need to do is charge these lanterns for a longer period.

Keep in mind that the size of the solar panels on these fixtures also matters. The bigger the panel, the more capable it is to tackle cloudy weather or shady conditions.

Conclusion

The best solar hanging lanterns offer a versatile lighting mechanism. Not only can they be mounted in a variety of places but they’re also energy-efficient and cost-effective since they operate on an unlimited supply of free, clean energy.

If you’re looking to buy one of these lights, we recommend the Maggift Retro Star Hanging Solar Landscape Lantern.

The 2-Pack Lanterns are reasonably big, enabling them to illuminate a sizeable area. Also, they have an automatic on/off switch, which saves you time while also helping to conserve energy. Lastly, they give you a variety of installation options.