The Best Indoor Solar Lights
A great step toward going solar without committing to a solar installation.
If you're thinking of going solar, powering small household items -- particularly your lights -- can be a great first step. Lights are an indispensable tool we use daily, and can easily be powered by the sun. You don't even need to hire a company to install panels on your roof to do it!
Today,we'll figure out what exactly are indoor solar lights, their pros and cons, and then offer you a range of bestsellers to get you started.
What is an indoor solar light?
Before we move forward, let's answer a very basic question that most of us are probably confused by: what exactly is an indoor solar light?
It's actually exactly what it sounds like! It's a pre-made system that includes a small solar panel connected to an LED lightbulb (or two) that has an integrated battery to store the electricity. To use the solar light, just install the solar panel outside or next to the window to charge the battery and your new solar light will go for a few hours to all night, depending on the size of the battery.
Indoor solar lights range from $10 for a small, simple system to $60 for a more complex system or brighter lights.
Of course, we all have lights preinstalled in our homes, so what's the point of an indoor solar light? Good question! Homeowners frequently use these to light up anywhere that doesn't have electricity already run: a garage or shed, chicken coops, porches, camping tents, and even a dark side of the house.
Instead of paying an electrician to run wires all the way to your shed, why not just buy a little kit, mount the solar panel outside (many even comes with an adhesive back) and hang the light? You can't get easier - or cheaper - than that!
Benefits of using indoor solar lights
Easier than running electricity
First off, running electricity to a shed, garage, or porch that isn't already wired for lighting is expensive and time-consuming. Depending on the complexity, you might even need to hire an electrician to do the job, adding even greater expense. Solar lights though are cheap and easy to install. Just buy the kit and stick the solar panel outside.
On top of that, you'll never have to buy electricity to fuel your new light, though to be honest electricity is pretty cheap. Just for comparison's sake, let's say you installed a grid-connected 10 watt LED light and you use it 3 hours a day everyday. At the national average electricity price of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour, that's only $1.42 per year for all that electricity - pretty cheap indeed!
You're not saving that much money in electricity costs, but that's not the point. Instead, you're easily bringing light to an area that would otherwise be dark. And you're certainly avoiding all the time and cost of installing all the wiring, breakers, switches, and fixtures if you didn't go solar!
We don't need to tell you that most of our electricity in the US comes from coal and natural gas. With 30% coming from coal and 34% coming from natural gas, replacing even your little LED lightbulb in our example above with a solar equivalent saves about 12 pounds of CO2 each year, depending on your state's exact generation mix.
Shifting even some of your electricity generation to a cleaner source will lower your personal impact on the environment and help to drive down the prices of similar eco-friendly products. Supporting green technology with your wallet can make a difference in more ways than one!
Useful in emergency situations
Around the world we've been rocked by natural disasters in 2017, highlighting the importance of always being prepared.
Unlike our normal house lights, solar lights don't need the utility or grid to work. As long as you have sunlight, your solar light will work! This can come in very handy when you least expect it. You certainly don't want to use it in this manor, but it's critical to have that backup when you do need it!
Solar lights are versatile
Because indoor solar lights charge while they are connected to their respective solar panels, you can put them just about anywhere to shine cord free. This means you can take them outside for a dinner al fresco or set them up as decor for your garden.
Of course, every solar lamp comes with solar panels of some sort, but how they're connected to the lamp depends on the model. As you'll see below, some light fixtures are small, so their panels are small and permanently built into the light. Larger lights may come with a detachable solar panel that can be hung outside or against a window for maximum sunshine absorption.
These solar lights are great, but there is one drawback. If you ever decide you want to add a few new lights, you'll need to buy an entire separate set-up. These indoor solar light kits simply aren't very scalable.
The solar panels are sized to provide just enough power for the included light. If you have a large space to brighten up, you'll need several kits, which quickly becomes overly complicated. In this situation, instead of buying 10 kits, it's probably better to just buy a larger solar panel and battery storage, then connect multiple lights to that system.
With that being said, no one is really using these lights to light up their entire home. If you're just looking to brighten up a small shed, these kits are absolutely perfect. They're cheap, easy to install, and provide good lighting with the LEDs.
Best indoor solar lights
Now that we've gone through all the benefits and drawbacks of indoor solar lights, let's look at a few great options. The following five products are all competitively priced, see great reviews, and are available on Amazon.
PRODELI Dimmable Solar Bulb
This dimmable solar-powered bulb by PRODELI boasts a lumen count of 150 (about as much as a typical flashlight). It is a simple device, but with added bonuses like three brightness levels and a remote controller it's quite useful.
Users note that the solar panel is strong enough to withstand the outdoor elements and requires about 5-8 hours to be fully charged, providing 4 hours of continuous light. The lamp includes a hanging hook and is fully mobile. Weighing in at less than 2 ounces, it is the perfect tent light for a weekend camping trip.
The PRODELI Dimmable Solar Bulb enjoys 4.3/5 stars from nearly 250 reviews. Check the link above for current pricing.
ROXY-G2 Solar Light
This solar light by ROXY-G2 offers 150 lumens of brightness with 9 high-powered LED lights. The wire connecting the solar panel to the light is a very-long 15 feet long, allowing you to place the panel and light in the perfect place.
Ten hours of sun exposure will fully charge this light, which weighs in at just over one pound. It works great for both indoor and outdoor use, and has a mode to prevent rain water accumulation/water seepage when left outside. It is powered by a lithium-ion battery which is included.
The lamp comes with a sensor to automatically turn on in darkness and turn off in daylight. This makes an ideal product for a garage, shed, porch, or balcony. If you don't like the automatic sensors, there's also an option to turn it off to keep it charged for emergency situations.
This lamp has 4/5 stars based on 64 reviews. Current pricing can be found at the link above.
Microsolar Dual Solar Lamps
This solar lamp pair by Microsolar offers 2 2watt LED lights, each with a cable of more than 16 feet. The lamps come with an aluminum 5-watt solar panel with adjustable angels for maximum sun exposure. The lamps offer a lumen count of 330 - much higher than others on our list - and can be turned on and off with a pull-string.
This lamp earned a spot on our list by including a USB plug on its charging station for a little extra usability. This can be a great addition in emergencies, or even on normal days when you need an extra power source for your phone.
It has more than 120 reviews and maintains a 4.5/5 star rating. Its price is a bit higher than others on this list but comes highly recommended.
Anpress Gooseneck Lamp
This flexible gooseneck style solar-powered table lamp from Anpress is an eco-friendly addition to any study corner or table. The solar panel is permanently attached to the base of the light, which needs 12 hours of sun exposure to become fully charged. It can also be charged in under 4 hours by USB as an alternative. Both methods offer up to 8 hours of steady light. It weighs in at just 6 ounces and has 4 LED bulbs.
Whether you are staying indoors and need extra lighting or enjoying the after-hours outside, this is a well-reviewed, portable solar light with a touch of elegance.
This desk lamp enjoys 4 out of 5 stars based on 70 reviews and sees a very reasonable price.
LUCKLED Holiday Lights
We’ll end the list with a somewhat more festive choice. It’s always fun to hang up lights for the holidays, whether you are celebrating wintertime festivities or summertime vacations. These solar-powered dragonfly string lights by LUCKLED are very popular on Amazon for holiday decorations.
They offer an auto-on and auto-off function, which automatically turns the lights on at dusk and off at daylight. A full solar charge can offer 8 hours of continuous light from these 20 LED lights. The solar panel comes with a ground stake and nearly 16 feet of chord for charging. What’s more, both the lights and solar panel are waterproof.
The LUCKLED dragonfly string lights enjoy a 4.5/5 star rating with more than 125 reviews, and these darling lights are actually pretty cheap!
If you’re interested in taking other steps toward solar
Now that you have a quick understanding of indoor solar lights and some options to choose from, why not branch out a bit more? Start with indoor solar lights and see how easily the sun’s energy can power your most basic needs. Want to use some solar lights outside your house as well? Check out our post on the best solar lights for outdoor use.
If you’re ready to make an even bigger solar commitment, talk to some installers and get quotes to see how much more you can save!