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Will Outdoor Solar Lanterns Work in a Shed?

If you spend much time in your shed or work on projects in your shed, such as potting plants, woodworking or just fixing stuff, you may find that you could use more light than what comes in through the door or window.

Maybe you just want to have something larger than a flashlight if you need to get something out of the shed after dark. You’d love to have some lighting in your shed.

A great option is outdoor solar lanterns, they provide a good amount of light and are powered by batteries that are charged during the day by the sun.

The first solution you might think of is regular electric lighting. However, running electricity to your shed can turn into a fairly big job. You will either have to run the wiring overhead or through a conduit in the ground, and either of these may require hiring a professional.

You’ll need to figure out how many amps to run for your lighting needs. In addition, you’ll need a permit to run the electricity to the shed, complete with an inspection and a sign-off on the finished job from building code enforcement.

There are battery-operated lights, but these can be a pain. Lights that run on household batteries never seem to last as long as we would like before new batteries are needed. If they are rechargeable lights, you will need to bring them back to the house to charge them. You’ll inevitably run into a situation in which you find that you forgot to bring the lights in for recharging the last time you went to the shed, and you’re sorry now.

There is another solution: Outdoor solar lanterns. You’ve probably seen homes that have lights on the ground that illuminate a walkway, or those around the garage that soak in the energy from the sun by day and automatically come on after dark. Can they be used in your shed? How well will this work?

Ryans Shed Plans

The types of solar lights that come with the solar panel attached to the light assembly itself, such as those lights that are inserted into the ground and illuminate walkways and such, obviously won’t work for your shed needs. Fortunately, there are solar lights that have the solar panel attached to a cord to allow the light itself to be placed at a distance from the panel. This is the type that you’ll need for your shed.

Which Outdoor Solar Lanterns Are Best?

Number 1] The Tera Light Solar LED Shed Light. This light is very versatile. It can be hung by its side brackets. The brackets are also long enough to serve as a stand if needed, and the light itself can be tilted on the bracket hinges. This light will produce up to 1,000 Lumens, making it bright enough for most sheds.

It’s operated by remote control, so you won’t have to fish around in the dark to turn it on. It comes with a 12-foot cable to enable easy placement of the solar panel outside. Tera Light is considered a top brand of lighting. The light will operate for five hours on a charge. It’s made with tough materials and is known for its long life.

The drawbacks include the price, as it’s not inexpensive compared to some other offerings. It also offers a relatively short warranty period, but with its sturdy construction and materials, this should not be a problem. Check out Amazons Solar Lanterns Here.

Number 2] The Kyson Solar Powered LED Shed Light. This light usually gets placed on a list of best solar-powered shed lights. It features bright white LED lights, and installation is simple and quick. It comes with a long extension cord to make situating the solar panel easier.

It’s formed light a regular industrial hanging light with a wide shade. It has both a pull cord and remote control. Kyson is also considered to be a reliable brand for shed lighting. It can run up to 12 hours on a charge, with charging time taking up to eight hours.

The drawbacks are the price, as it’s certainly not the cheapest model around. You may also need more than one if you have a large shed.

Number 3] The Lixada Solar Pendant Shed Light. This indoor/outdoor light is another featuring a metal lampshade, giving it a bit of an industrial look. It also features both a pull cord and remote control. It has a cord over three yards long, giving you enough length to easily situate the solar panel. It features a charging time that’s not excessively long, giving you up to 12 hours of operation on a single charge. It’s known to run about 30,000 hours before it needs to be replaced.

One drawback is that the cable included is shorter than that included with other models, but it still has enough length to be convenient. It also has a lower resistance to water than some other models, but since you’ll be using it inside your shed, you won’t need to worry about that.

Number 4] The Solar Light Mart Industrial Light. This light looks a bit different than many other models do. It features an oval dome-shaped light lens, giving you light in several directions. The light is known to cover a relatively large space as well. It’s equipped with a lithium battery, giving you long life. Since it is brighter than many other models, it may be just the thing for a larger shed. While it has a power button, you can also use it with the built-in sensor that will turn it on when it gets dark.

Ryans Shed Plans

The drawbacks include a relatively short cable compared to some other models, so that should be taken into consideration. The solar panel also should be kept clean when charging to better enhance the charging process. Check out Amazons Solar Lanterns Here.

Are Outdoor Solar Lanterns Worth It?

Solar lighting obviously going to cost more initially than a traditional light fixture. However, you won’t have the cost of running electricity to your shed. Once you have the light installed, your initial cost is all you have to worry about.

You won’t be drawing electricity you need to pay for monthly. Most feature LED bulbs, which need replacing far less frequently than most other kinds. For your shed, you’ll want to take into account the size of your shed and try to get a more powerful light for a larger shed, or perhaps get two.

In addition, you may consider solar lights to illuminate the outside of your shed all night. These provide security for your shed and home. Those with sensors will come on automatically after dark, so you won’t have to think about them. Potential burglars aren’t as likely to target a place that has outdoor lighting.

Sheds do get broken into, either to steal your riding mower or see what kind of power tools they can run off with to take to the pawn shop later. An outdoor light that brightens up the area will not only keep these miscreants at bay but will make it much easier for you to open the door lock at night without trying to balance a flashlight as well.

You’ll need to be sure to get a light made for outdoor use. Those using glass lenses may crack if the glass gets rained on directly. Fortunately, there are many models made for outdoor use, with varying degrees of brightness. The brightness is something that should be checked for each model you look at as well. You may be interested in a sky light in your shed, check out my article How to Install a Skylight in a Shed for all the details.

How Long Does a Solar Powered Light Last?

The LED bulbs in most models will last a good ten years or more before they need to be replaced. The batteries inside the lights will usually last three or four years. Battery life usually depends on how often the light is used and needs recharging. The more often it requires recharging, it shorter its lifespan will be, much like the battery in a cell phone.

If you find that your light doesn’t run as long as it used to, it may be time to replace the battery. Expected battery life is something you may want to consider when choosing a model.

As far as the length of time that the light will work on a charge, that is definitely something to be considered before a purchase. This time can vary greatly among models, as will the time it takes for a full charge.

Ryans Shed Plans

If you only intend to use the lights when you are in the shed, turning them on and off yourself, you’ll probably have plenty of lighting time on a charge. If you want an outside light that stays on all night, you’ll want one that gets enough juice from a charge to stay on.

Do Outdoor Solar Lights Need Direct Sunlight?

It is possible to charge solar-powered lights without direct sunlight. However, you’ll need some sort of light in order to charge them. Some people that have solar panels placed in spots that don’t get a lot of direct sunlight use mirrors to direct sunlight to the panels. You will need a mirror twice the size of the panel to direct adequate light to the panel.

You can use another kind of light to charge the solar lights, but this defeats the purpose. When it’s cloudy outside, the panels can still charge somewhat, although certainly not as quickly as on a bright, sunny day.

Keeping the panels clean can help a lot. Panels are usually tilted to face the sun at the most efficient angle, and they can get dust and debris on them. Bird droppings can soil them, and pollen or dust from a dirt or gravel road can form a coating that blocks some of the sun’s power. When cleaning, don’t use any detergent or other cleaning agent, as it can leave streaks that interfere with the charging. Clean water is all you really need. If you are considering a solar shed light check out my article 4 Tips for Choosing a Solar Shed Light.

Do Outdoor Solar Lanterns Charge in the Shade?

Any solar-powered device really needs direct sun to charge sufficiently. While a solar-powered light can charge on a cloudy day, the charging is not nearly as good as it would have been if the sun had been shining all day. Charging can be reduced by as much as 30 to 50 percent by clouds.

If your solar panel is placed in a position that is actually shaded, you certainly can’t expect to get much life from your light. This is one good reason to plan out where you want to place both the light and the solar panel before making a purchase.

Different models feature different length cords that run between the light fixture and the solar panel. You want to make sure that you’ll have a long enough cord so that you don’t have to put your solar panel in a less than efficient place.

How Bright are Outdoor Solar Lanterns?

They generally are less powerful than those run by electricity, putting out fewer lumens. There are those made for indoor or indoor or outdoor use that can put out as much as 1000 lumens. A light that bright will light a distance of over 30 feet.

Those models made to illuminate walkways or landscaping will naturally be weaker than those made to be used as security lighting or spotlights. Many outdoor spotlights will put out up to 350 lumens. It would be a good idea to ask your supplier about the best light model for your intended use.

Ryans Shed Plans

Using solar-powered lights for your shed is an economical way to add both exterior and interior lighting to your shed. They are usually fairly easy to install. Unless your shed is completed shaded by trees, you should be able to find a good place to install the solar panels.

While the initial cost is more than that of lights run by household electricity, your initial cost will be all you have to pay. In addition, they are good for the environment by virtue of letting you use less electricity.


Unless you already have electricity run to your shed, they are a good choice to add lighting to your shed, or anywhere you need a little extra security outside. You won’t have to try to move things around in your shed to find something while trying to hold a flashlight or bring somebody else to hold the light.

If you get a model that runs by remote control, you can turn on the light inside before you even get in the door, keeping you from tripping over something you can’t see so well. They really come in handy for any shed owner.