Lighting up a typical two car driveway is fairly simple, but a long driveway presents a challenge. You could bring in an electrician, but the bill for this can easily exceed $2000. Solution? Solar lights can be a great solution for your long driveway. There is no wiring to worry about and installation is usually pretty fast and simple.
So what are the best solar lights for a long driveway? In this article, we’ll introduce some excellent solar options. We’re going to break these down into three sections:
- “Inground” solar lights, commonly used on docks and decks but also an excellent and economical choice for a long driveway.
- Path lights that rest on stakes in the ground.
- Wall mounted lights that will serve beautifully, provided you’ve got a fence or 4 x 4 post to attach them to.
- Best solar lights for a long driveway
- Option 1: Use deck or dock lights for a long driveway
- Option 2: Path lights for a long driveway
- Option 3: Wall or post mounted lights for a long driveway
Best solar lights for a long driveway
This table highlights some key products that might solve your long driveway lighting issues. Check them out on Amazon for more details, or keep reading for in-depth reviews.
|Best inground solar light for a long driveway||Volisun 12 pack, driveway / deck / dock lights||Check price on Amazon|
|Best solar lights for a long driveway with some parts in shade||Aponuo 4 pack. solar spot lights with remote solar panel||Check price on Amazon|
|Best wall or post mounted solar lights for a long driveway||Sezac wall mounted solar lights with motion detection||Check price on Amazon|
The benefits of inground lights:
Inground lights typically come in a pack of 8 or 12, and the average cost per light tends to fall between $7 and $10 USD. This makes them a great choice for a long driveway because you’re going to need more than a few, and perhaps quite a few depending on the length of your driveway. The low cost per light also takes the pain out of replacing any lights that fail as the years go by.
They don’t get in the way
Most of us drive well enough that we wouldn’t bump into any staked lights or lamp posts lining our driveway. But backing up can be a challenge. And there can be special circumstances like backing up a boat trailer or RV. In ground lights give you the visibility you need without creating any obstacles. And these lights are generally designed to handle the weight of a vehicle passing over them. Another benefit of inground lights is that they make it easy to cut any grass around the light. But do be careful with the height of lawnmower blades.
Inground lights create a visually appealing runway-like effect. Blue light models are also available if that is your preference.
On the other hand…
There are some possible disadvantages. Whether or not these are disadvantages for you will depend on the specifics of your situation.
- These should be used as accent lighting that lets you and guests see where the edges of the driveway are. Resting against the ground, these are not going to provide much illumination for objects waist high or above.
- Because they rest on the ground, these lights may – depending on specifics of the location – become submerged during heavy rain. Look for an inground light with an IP67 or IP68 rating. This indicates that the light is designed to handle submersion in water.
One more thing:
Looking for a 12-pack of inground solar lights for your long driveway that will last for 5 years or more with a zero percent failure rate at a cost of $8 to $10 USD per light? So are we. A word to the wise: such lights don’t exist. We’ve poured over the write-ups and reviews and user experience of people who are using these lights. There are many very satisfied buyers, but we’ve yet to find a product with a 0% failure rate. In a 12 pack from a reputable maker, expect that one or two are not going to last as long as you’d like. But let’s keep this in perspective, because the alternative is to pay an electrician to wire a more permanent solution in place, and that is going to cost some serious coin on a long driveway.
Option 1: Use deck or dock lights for a long driveway
|Brand||IP rating (water resistance)||Battery capacity||Price|
|Volisun 12 pack||IP67||600 mAh||Check price on Amazon|
|Siedinlar 4 pack||IP68||500 mAh|
|Check price on Amazon|
|JACKYLED 8 pack (also available in packs of 4 and 16)||IP68||1200 mAh|
|Check price on Amazon|
Volisun drieway / deck / dock lights
These lights come in a 12 pack with your choice of three color options: white, warm white, or blue. They are made to withstand the weight of a vehicle and have an IP67 rating, indicating good protection against water. They are the most highly rated product that we have found and their reputation for durability is why we have them in position #1.
Product research and user experience:
These solar driveway lights cast light in a clear north-south pattern, as opposed to some others that cast light in more of a 4-way or 360 degree pattern. Some users will find that this is simply a matter of personal preference. Some other users, however, will find real benefit in a north-south light pattern since the lights, arranged in a line, or better able provide continuous illumination along that line.
Users recommend using a sharply pointed object when pushing the power button, mounted on the back of the light. It seems that pushing the button with only your finger can give the impression that the light has been turned on when in fact it hasn’t.
Volusin describes the material as cast aluminum. They have an average weight of roughly 0.62 pounds per light, heavier than most others, making them feel more substantial.
Overall, the failure rate for this product seems to be quite low. Some users report a failure rate of about 5% after two years of use. Considering the cost per light, and the exposure that these lights face, we think that’s not bad. And other users find that all units are still working without problems.
These lights can be secured in place using a few different methods. You can bolt them in place. This makes it easy to remove the light when needed, but you’ll need an impact driver if creating a hole in asphalt. Another option is to glue them in place using something like 3M stone and glue adhesive. No drill needed, but it will be difficult to remove the light later. Some users report simply leaving them in place with no attachment of any kind, finding that the light itself is heavy enough to hold it in position. Note: Do not leave them in place without attachment if you plan to be going over them with a lawnmower, for obvious reasons!
Siedinlar solar deck / driveway / dock lights
Another fan favorite, with almost 2000 reviews at Amazon, close to 90% of which are 4 or 5 star.
That said, user experience indicates that the Volisun solar lights tend to be more durable, and that is the main reason why we give the Volisun a higher rating.
They are made with an aluminum alloy, but users report that they have a plastic-like appearance, and this is a frequent comment. The Volisun solar driveway lights, above, are almost 1.5 times as heavy, giving them a substantial feel in the hand that many users seem to like.
They are available in a blue light version if that is more to your liking.
An aesthetic point: the aluminum housing and LEDs are arranged in a somewhat oval pattern. It’s a minor point but some will prefer this to simple 2 and 4 way patterns.
Although the cost per light is about the same as the Volisun lights, the Siedinlar lights come in a 4-pack. This makes it easier for you to purchase the number of lights that you need, without wasting any money. Need 16 lights for your long driveway? 4 sets of these, or 5 if you want to have some spares on hand, will have you covered. If you’re buying Volisun, then you’ll have to buy in multiples of 12. If you’ve got some use for the extras, great, otherwise it could be seen as a waste of money.
As with the Volisun lights, you can screw them to your driveway if desired (allowing for easy removal) or use a silicon adhesive. (Easier to attach, not so east to remove.)There is not a lot of variation available in this type of product. One of the main things that we like about the two products listed above is the high percentage of satisfied customers.
JACKYLED Road Marker
Another product worth drawing attention to for its higher specs and classy appearance: the JACKYLED road marker, also sold as a dock light. The specs are impressive compared to other driveway lights: a 1200 mAh battery with 12 LEDs (6 is more common). It also has a larger, more refined looking housing. The body is square, casting light in four directions. If the light is turned 45 degrees, the simple square pattern transforms to a diamond-like pattern. As is pretty much standard with driveway lights, it is designed to bear the weight of a vehicle, up to 20 tons. Note that the battery is not replaceable. JACKLED claims that this is one of the tradeoffs in producing a light with an IP68 rating.
Option 2: Path lights for a long driveway
Benefits of going with this set up: The lights are unlikely to become submerged, and IP65 should offer plenty of protection; The aesthetics will appeal to some – a personal choice. Another benefit is that lights in this position are better able to illuminate objects above ground level – an animal or person standing to the side of the driveway, for example.
On the other hand: Stakes can be a weak point. Plastic stakes can be easily damaged while driving them into the ground. It often helps to prepare the hole using steel rebar or a suitably sized metal pipe. Lights on stakes beside a driveway are also going to be vulnerable to damage from any cars that stray from the path. Probably not an issue for your average sober driver, but could easily be an issue if you’re backing up a boat trailer, for example, in which case inground lights may be the most forgiving option.
If you decide to go with staked lights, here are a two choices that have proven themselves, each with well over a thousand reviews posted on Amazon, and the vast majority of these very positive.
Urpower landscape spotlights. A tried and tested product with over 1500 reviews on Amazon, most at 5 stars. 2200 mAh battery powering 4 LEDs in each light. Two brightness levels. Adjustable solar panel. IP64. 4 pack for $50.
Balhvit solar path lights
The Balhvit solar lights are what we would usually think of as a path light, but, as many users have found, they have features that make them suitable as driveway lights too.
Stainless steel lamp housing won’t rust. ABS stakes (balance cost control with strength), 8 pack at $60. 600 mAh . IP65.
We like the design choices that have been made here – an intelligent use of materials to make these solar lights as robust as possible while also keeping costs down. The quality of these lights is one of the things that users refer to over and over again.
The Balhvit solar lights are available in a 2 pack or an 8 pack at a per light cost that is about the same as the dock lights/driveway lights reviewed above. This is great news for owners looking to light up a long driveway since it helps keep the costs down.
Importantly, these lights come with a 600 mAh battery. With many competing path lights being only 300 mAh or even less, this is good news and will enable the light to stay on longer each night.
At 10 lumens per light, these lights are better able than most path lights to light up a driveway.
The patterning of the glass (glass – not plastic!) causes the light to fall in attractive patterns across the ground. Many users comment on how much they enjoy the pattern of light that is emitted from these.
Aponuo spot lights (Best option in shade !)
What can you do when you want to use solar lights but part of the driveway lies in the shade of a tree or other obstacle? One way around this is to use a light that employs a remote solar panel. This allows you to position the panel where the sun is and the lights somewhere else.
If this sounds like a solution for your situation, consider the Aponuo remote panel and set of four lights.
What do we like about it?
For a long driveway, you need more than one light. The Aponuo lights come as a set of 4, all connected to the same panel.
In this set of 4, the per light cost is about the same as the inground driveway / deck / dock lights reviewed above.
The lights have an IP65 rating, meaning they will stand up to rain and windblown dust.
On the downside, some customers have found that they don’t stay on as long as they would like. The lights do have two settings, so you can choose the low light mode to get longer life. Customer experience appears to be somewhat variable. Based on customer reports, it’s probably best not to count on more than about 4 hours of light. Some customers report achieving a much longer time, but there are enough reports of “about 4 hours” to conclude that this is common. Still, if 4 hours would be enough for your needs and shade is a factor, then these are worth considering.
Option 3: Wall or post mounted lights for a long driveway
A final category of solar lights that may be the solution for your long driveway is to go with something mounted on a fence running along the driveway, or 4 x 4 posts that you can easily drive into the ground.
Sezac Solar Security Lights
If your driveway has a fence that runs the length of the driveway, or if installing 4 x 4 posts is a step you would consider, then the Sezac wall mounted solar lights could be the solution you’re looking for. These are a well established product with more than 12000 reviewers having given a rating at Amazon – the vast majority of which are at the 5 or 4 star level.
Because the body of these lights is larger than that of a path light or inground dock/deck/driveway light, Sezac is able to provide a higher capacity battery (2000 mAh) and more LEDs for more brightness. And the fact that the light comes out in a 150 degree cone means that you don’t waste precious battery energy by shining light where it’s not needed.
More than 12000 reviews, and over 85 percent at 4 or 5 stars. 6 pack for $35. Easily mounts on a wall or fence. Could also be attached to a tree (careful with shade) or 4×4 posts that you drive into the ground. IP 65. 2000 mAh battery. 3 lighting modes (dim for long light with no motion sense, dim + boost to strong with motion, strong triggered by motion). 150 degree wide angle (not wasting light like 360 degree models.) About 4″ wide and 6″ tall.
Thank you for reading our review of the best solar lights for a long driveway. If you’re interested in solar lights for other purposes around the home, please click through to our review of other excellent solar lights in 2022.