The best outdoor lights 2018: Get stylish exterior illumination for your home

Illuminate and add character to your garden or home exterior with a range of practical and unique outdoor lights

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The best outdoor lights will transform your garden into a stylish and unique personal space that makes your home stand out from the crowd. 

Whether you’re looking to add extra lighting for better visibility after dark, or something purely decorative; there are a range of options available to suit all styles and budgets, but the choice can feel overwhelming... that's where our round-up comes in.

How to buy the best outdoor lights

When picking the best outdoor lights for your garden or home exterior, it's important to think about the power source you intend to use. If you are thinking about lighting up the bottom of the garden, you'll likely want to opt for solar powered lights to avoid trailing cables up the side of the fence boundaries. 

However, if you are considering fitting lighting to the external walls of your home, you may well be able to consider mains powered lighting, just be sure to get an electrician to help wire your lights in to avoid any DIY disasters. 

Once you know your power source, it's pretty much a case of working out the best light for your needs. If you are looking for a light or lamp that will illuminate a dark driveway upon your arrival home, a wall mounted lantern or freestanding post lamp will provide a wide and strong glow. 

If it's something more decorative you're after to brighten up the garden for a party or event, white fairy lights or string lights are a great addition and can be kept up all year around. 

Spike lights are also a great choice for pitching in the garden to illuminate ponds, statues or to highlight pathways, although, many of these lights are solar powered so you'll need to ensure your garden gets at least some sunlight during the day in order to put a full charge in these lights to see you through the night.

Before purchasing any kind of outdoor lights, be sure to check they are suitably weatherproof and waterproof according to the area you plan to use them and remember that pond lighting requires very different waterproofing to decorative garden lighting.

We’ve rounded up our pick of the best outdoor lights that will look great in any garden. There’s a mixture of lighting types to suit all styles and prices to suit all budgets. Which ones will be your favourite? 

These are the 10 best outdoor lights

1. HOME Set of 2 Solar Bay Tree Lights- White

Subtle yet stylish tree lights to add sparkle to your garden

Specifications
Best for: Framing an entrance or path
Dimensions: H66xW20cm
Number of bulbs: 30
Power supply: Solar Batteries (AA)
Colour when lit: Warm white
Reasons to buy
+Look natural+Easy to set up
Reasons to avoid
-Best placed in plant pots

This pair of bay trees with little white lights are a great way to keep your garden looking decorative all year round. If you’re not a big fan of too much sparkle, these trees are subtly lit adding just the right amount of light to small patio spaces. If you invest in more than 2 of these trees, they make the ideal set of lights to frame a walkway or garden path and come with the added bonus of being artificial, meaning no pruning required. The solar packs that power these bay trees need to be placed in a well-lit area and some users have noted that they are better off in plant pots as this will keep the trees and the power packs more secure; especially if you’ve got kids running around! 

2. Nordlux Vejers Outdoor Wall Lantern

A warm bright light for welcoming you home at night

Specifications
Best for: Front door lighting
Dimensions: H23x W22cm
Number of bulbs: 1
Power supply: Mains
Colour when lit: Warm white
Reasons to buy
+Smart looking+Bright 
Reasons to avoid
- Tricky to install 

This swish looking outdoor wall lantern from John Lewis will save you fumbling for your keys in the dark of an evening. It aims to provides a warm but bright light which is ideal for placing by the front or back door or a gated entrance for better visibility as well as style. The industrial-style, black casing of this outdoor wall light make it ideal for modern homes and with its galvanised steel anti-rust coating, it promises to stand the test of time (and British weather). You may wish to get an electrician to fit this light as it is mains powered.

3. Partaj – 500cm Long String lights

Classic string lights for outdoor parties and BBQs

Specifications
Best for: Outdoor events
Dimensions: L500cm
Number of bulbs: 16
Power supply: Mains
Colour when lit: Warm white
Reasons to buy
+Great for hanging+Long cable
Reasons to avoid
-More for decoration

To create an ambient vibe in your garden, these classic string bulb lights are an ideal decorative lighting option. Ideally strung up between trees or hung along a fence, these bulb lights are the best outdoor lights on our list for garden parties. They connect to the mains so you may need an extension lead near your back door, but they have a long cable which makes them easy to place anywhere in the garden.

4. Wickes LED White Deck Lights

Modern spot lights for outdoor decking

Specifications
Best for: Decking
Dimensions: W4.5xL4.5cm
Number of bulbs: 8
Power supply: Mains
Colour when lit: White
Reasons to buy
+Weatherproof+Bright 
Reasons to avoid
-DIY required

Dull decking can make a garden look pretty drab. These white deck lights from Wickes aim to provide powerful spots of light in any decking type. The bright white glow emanates a strong and power amount of light per bulb and they come prepped with a fully sealed casing making them water jet proof. They do require some tools to install so if you’re not a dab hand at DIY you may want to get a professional to fit them, but they are relatively cheap to buy and add an air of luxury to your garden.

5. Coast Bianca Tall Post Lantern Black

A luxury feature light for your garden

Specifications
Best for: Statement piece
Dimensions: H220xW58cm
Number of bulbs: 3
Power supply: Mains
Colour when lit: Soft white
Reasons to buy
+Traditional style lamp+Garden feature
Reasons to avoid
-It’s huge 

If you have a small garden this lamp may seem a bit ridiculous, but if you are a lover of all things traditional and have the space for it, this outdoor lighting option could be a great statement piece in your front or back garden. Despite its size, customers find it pretty easy to assemble and set up, and the lighting provides a warm yellow glow which is highly rated for looking very Victorian-esque. An impressive street lamp style option for a grand entrance.

6. John Lewis Sabrebeam Outdoor Double Wall Light

A minimalist copper light for your outdoor walls

Specifications
Best for: Copper lovers
Dimensions: H16.4xW8.5xD9.3cm
Number of bulbs: 2
Power supply: Mains
Colour when lit: Soft white
Reasons to buy
+Chrome finish+Robust
Reasons to avoid
-Weather over time

This copper outdoor wall light is tapping into the current copper trend, enabling your home exterior to look bang up to date. These lights do naturally weather over time which can be a positive or a negative point, depending on your taste. Most reviewers really love the look achieved over time, claiming it provides a rustic, weathered look, perfect for more classic-looking homes. They aim to provide a soft white light as opposed to the harsher, bright lights of many exterior lighting choices around.

7. Smart Solar Heron Light and Deterrent

A spike solar powered light with heron design ideal for keeping birds away

Specifications
Best for: Deterring birds
Dimensions: H81cm
Number of bulbs: 2
Power supply: Solar
Colour when lit: White/multi
Reasons to buy
+Keeps birds away+Decorative 
Reasons to avoid
-Not much light

This solar powered Heron light aims to be both a functional and decorative outdoor light. Whether used as a table top display, or pitched in the grass near your flower beds to deter other birds from eating your plants, this Heron light is a subtle pest controller and garden accessory in one. The lighting element of this decoration is not super-bright, but the bulbs can be set to colour changing or white depending on your preference. It is also solar powered so it requires no energy supply which is a bonus as it can be placed anywhere in the garden.  

8. Searchlight 1641 Genoa Outdoor Hanging Porch Lantern

Vintage looking hanging light that is perfect for porches

Specifications
Best for: Lovers of all things vintage
Dimensions: H29cmx D15cm
Number of bulbs: 1
Power supply: Mains
Colour when lit: White
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Vintage design
Reasons to avoid
-Not very bright

If you want a traditional light for your porch, then this hanging porch lantern is a great find. It’s not too expensive but looks traditional and vintage and would fit in well with cottages and other country homes. You can hang it anywhere so it also works well in the back garden on conservatories or summer houses. Another mains powered outdoor lighting option, so you will need to consider your power source before hanging this lantern up, but if you are looking for a traditional outdoor light, this lantern is a classic piece.

9. HOME Set of 18 LED Solar Colour Changing Lights

Add a splash of colour to your pathway with these multi-coloured spike lights

Specifications
Best for: Grass
Dimensions: H36xD6.2cm
Number of bulbs: 18
Power supply: Solar/batteries
Colour when lit: Multi
Reasons to buy
+Look cool+Subtle
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best solar lights 

These multi-colour changing outdoor spike lights are great value for money with a whopping 18 lights in a pack. In spite of the bright colour ways, these solar lights are reportedly still rather subtle with primary and pastel colour options blending together to form a soft rainbow of lights across your garden. With a modern looking cone shaped casing on each light, these outdoor lights are probably slightly better suited to modern gardens. If you are looking to spruce up your outdoor space, these spike lights give you plenty of scope for decoration.

10. Elise LED Black Spike Light Modern- 6W

Spike lights to illuminate your front or back garden

Specifications
Best for: Spotlights
Dimensions: H39xD9.5xW15.5cm
Number of bulbs: 1
Power supply: Mains
Colour when lit: White
Reasons to buy
+Light up your home+Pitch them anywhere
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey per light 

These modern, angled spot lights are the best outdoor lights on our list for shedding light on a garden centrepiece or water feature. The adjustable head of these spike lights mean that you can manipulate them to point at the perfect spot in your entrance way or garden space. Realistically, to create a really good lighting effect with these lights, you’d need to buy more than one, which could mean it becomes an expensive purchase. 

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