I spent weeks testing 5 of the best solar shed lights available.
I installed them in my dad’s shed, checked their brightness at night, left them out in the sun and rain for over 2 weeks, and tested their battery life.
Here are my reviews and recommendations.
Quick Recommendations: Best Solar Shed Lights
Here’s the TLDR version of this list. Keep reading for my full solar shed light reviews.
- Top Pick: Woods Designer’s Edge L-949 Solar Shed Light
- Upgrade Pick: Kyson Solar Edison Barn Light
- Outdoor Pick: Hmcity Solar Outdoor Light
- Aootek Solar Outdoor Light
- Kyson Solar LED Shed Light
Pros: Bright, good value, long lasting from a full charge, two ways to mount the solar panel
Cons: Included screws are easy to strip, my solar panel had fewer solar cells than the product page and box led me to believe
Best for: Both small and large sheds
Review: The Woods Designers Edge light is a great value. Despite being the cheapest indoor light I tested, it was able to light up all of my dad’s large shed.
It also has an impressive battery life. During my testing, it lasted for over 24 hours from a full charge. That was the longest of any light.
It’s easy to install and the light mounts directly to the wall rather than hanging down from the ceiling. And there are two ways to mount the solar panel — with screws or with an included L-shaped piece of metal to mount it without hardware to doors and other square edges. Once mounted, you can adjust the panel to the best solar tilt angle for your location.
The 16-foot extension cord gives you plenty of freedom to mount the solar panel wherever you want, such as on the side of your shed that receives the most light. Once you connect the panel to the light, a red LED indicator turns on to let you know the battery is charging properly. It’s a helpful reassurance.
The main downside is the solar panel I got came with only two rows of solar cells, while the box and product page on Amazon showed a panel with four rows. That was disappointing, but the light still performed and charged well.
The light operates via a pull cord, making it best to put close to your shed door. It doesn’t come with a remote control, which I didn’t mind.
Overall, the light is bright and long lasting from a full charge. It’s also a great value, and my favorite of all the solar lights I tested.
Note: On Amazon this light’s brand is listed as “Designers Edge,” but on the box I received the brand is “Woods.” To limit your confusion when you visit Amazon, I’ve included both brands in the product name.
Upgrade Pick: Kyson Solar Edison Barn Light
Pros: Bright, well-built, good design, turns on via pull cord or included remote control
Cons: Pricey, short battery life
Best for: Sheds or barns with high ceilings or crossbeams to hang it from
Review: The Kyson Edison light (which is advertised as a “barn light” but works great for sheds) is another good option because of its build quality and brightness.
Its Edison bulb casts 360 degrees of warm light that doesn’t strain the eyes at night and was enough to light up my dad’s shed.
It installs easily and includes all the mounting hardware you need. It’s a hanging light, so I recommend mounting it to the ceiling or a crossbeam.
The light is pricey, though, and is best for sheds or barns with higher ceilings. But — if you do have low ceilings — you can always take up slack with a zip tie.
It also didn’t last as long as the other lights. The product listing says it uses a tungsten bulb, a type of incandescent lightbulb. Incandescent bulbs look good but use a lot more energy than LED bulbs, so this light was doomed from the beginning to have the shortest battery life.
But, for occasional use, its battery life will be no issue. It lasted for 8 hours from a full charge and about an hour from a single day of sun, which I imagine is plenty for most people.
You can turn it on using its pull cord or the included remote control. The remote is handy if you mount the light far from the entrance, or high up in some rafters. It worked consistently from around 15 feet away when I tried it out.
The solar panel included with it was one of my favorites. The panel looked to my eye to be a monocrystalline solar panel — the most efficient solar panel type — and was encased in a sturdy, waterproof housing. The pull cord also had a nice, snappy feel to it.
All around it’s a good light. The price is a bit high in my opinion, so I’ve listed it as an “upgrade pick” for those willing to spend a bit more.
Outdoor Pick: Hmcity Solar Outdoor Light
Pros: Bright, good value, long lasting, good motion sensor, small enough to mount to a 2×4 or 4×4
Cons: Not as bright as Aootek light
Best for: Outdoor motion sensor/security light
Review: This outdoor solar light was my favorite blend of size, value, and brightness.
It’s small enough to be mounted to a 2×4 or 4×4, and though it’s smaller than the Aootek light, I didn’t notice that much difference in brightness.
It’s also a decent bit cheaper than other outdoor solar lights.
This is very much a “set it and forget it” solar light. The light has 3 modes that you toggle between by pressing a button on the back.
Be sure to pick the mode you want before mounting — once mounted the button is covered and you’ll need to take the light down to change the mode again. (The button placement is inconvenient but prevents would-be burglars from just turning off the light themselves.)
Other than that, it’s a solar light whose design is littered across Amazon. When I received this light and the Aootek light, they looked so similar the first question that popped into my mind was “who copied who?”
I’d imagine all of these solar lights work about the same, so I encourage price shopping for the best deal.
Mounting is easy and the hardware to do so comes included with the light. You simply select the mode you want, screw a couple screws into your shed, and you’re done.
I’ve been impressed with the light’s durability. My girlfriend has been using this exact light outside her garage for over a year, and it still lights up reliably every time I walk or drive by it.
It’s baked in our Georgia summers, sweltered in our humidity, and chilled in our mild winters. The whole time it’s continued working without fail. Not bad.
Pros: Brighter than the Hmcity light, long lasting, good motion sensor
Cons: Pricier, too big to be mounted to a 2×4 or 4×4
Best for: Outdoor motion sensor/security light
Review: The Aootek light is another great outdoor shed light. It wasn’t my favorite simply because it’s pricier and because its size limits your mounting options just a tad.
Beyond the size difference, it’s a little brighter than the Hmcity light. Though I didn’t notice much of a difference during testing. They’re both very bright lights.
The motion sensor works well and the light has the same 3 modes as the Hmcity light. The button on this one is once again on the back of the light and will be inaccessible once mounted.
If you want the brightest outdoor shed light, this is the one to go with. Don’t mount these lights indoors — the solar panel is built in to the light and wouldn’t receive enough light to charge.
Pros: Well-built, diffuse light that doesn’t strain the eyes, turns on via pull cord or remote control
Cons: Very dim
Best for: Small sheds with high ceilings or crossbeams to hang it from
Review: This Kyson LED shed light suffers from a major flaw:
It’s so dim that I’d only recommend it for small sheds. And even then, I’d recommend the other indoor lights on this list ahead of it.
That’s a shame, because the light is otherwise well-built. In fact, the solar panel and switch are nearly identical to those of my upgrade pick, the Kyson Solar Edison Barn Light. Both lights come from the same company, after all.
This light was — at first — my dad’s favorite. He liked how the bulb diffused the light, making it softer on the eyes.
However, when he saw just how dim it was he changed his mind. “It’s kinda weak,” he said after a few minutes of use. “It’s just not bright enough.”
How to Choose the Best Solar Shed Light for Your Needs
Types of Solar Shed Lights
Indoor lights: An indoor solar shed light is mounted inside the shed while its solar panel is mounted outside. The lights are turned on and off with a switch, pull cord, and/or remote. The lights can be turned on during the day and night.
Outdoor lights: An outdoor solar shed light usually has the solar panel and motion sensor built into the top of the light’s housing, so it all comes in one piece. Outdoor shed lights tend to have different light modes, including some that make the light turn on or get brighter when it senses motion. They only turn on at night.
Small sheds: I recommend 1 indoor shed light.
Big sheds: I recommend 1 indoor shed light if you only need enough light for occasionally going in at night to store or retrieve your belongings. I recommend 2 or more indoor lights if you need enough light to read and work at night. (You should also look at my DIY solar shed lights, which were bright enough to light up my dad’s entire shed.)
Indoor lights: Most indoor solar shed lights are able to recharge their batteries enough on a sunny day for a few hours of nighttime use. LED lights last much longer than incandescent lights.
Outdoor lights: Most outdoor solar shed lights are able to recharge their batteries enough to last a few hours of nighttime use.
Mounting & Installation
Indoor lights: Some indoor shed lights mount directly to the wall, while others are hanging lights that mount to the ceiling or a rafter and hang down.
Outdoor lights: Outdoor shed lights typically mount directly to the outside of the shed, on either the wall or door frame.
Note: All the shed lights I tested came with mounting hardware.
Types of Switches
Indoor lights: Indoor shed lights can usually be turned on with a pull cord and/or a remote control. The remote controls I tested had a max range of about 15 feet.
Outdoor lights: The outdoor shed lights I tested didn’t have switches. Instead, they had a button on the back which you use to toggle between light modes. In some modes, the light turns on once it gets dark and stays on until sunrise, or until it runs out of battery. In other modes, the light turns on at night only when the light detects motion and remains on for around 15 seconds before automatically turning off.