The 10 Best Outdoor Lights of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Our winner was the LEONLITE COB LED Security Light

Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product reviewer specializing in home, kitchen, and pet products. In her 6+ years of experience as a product tester, she's reviewed hundreds of items firsthand, and her work appears in publications such as PEOPLE, The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, and more. Camryn is also the proud owner of a small homestead in Rhode Island, where she spends her spare time gardening, tending her many animals, and working through a never-ending list of home improvement projects. Outdoor Lighting Star

The 10 Best Outdoor Lights of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

If you’re hoping to brighten up your outdoor living space — quite literally — then outdoor lights are a worthwhile investment for your yard. Many people use outdoor lights for security purposes, helping to scare off animals and improve visibility in the dark, but many lights can also make your outdoor living space more usable at night. 

“Outdoor lighting not only makes outdoor spaces much more functional and safe, extending their use when the sun goes down, but helps to create an inviting and warm atmosphere,” explains Coleman Cosby, construction director at Yardzen. “Whether you're looking to create a welcoming and safe entryway or a fire pit area in the backyard for after-hours enjoyment, balanced and thoughtful outdoor lighting can make a huge difference in setting a mood and creating interesting focal points throughout your yard at night.”

There are many types of outdoor lights to choose from today, including everything from motion-activated floodlights and spotlights to smart LED strips that can flash along to music. We tested 16 top-rated outdoor lights, and, to our surprise, we found that both smart outdoor lights and standard (a.k.a. non-smart) outdoor lighting performed well for practical use. Most illuminated around 10 to 30 feet, and some required a good bit of installation work, but luckily, you only have to do that once.

No matter what kind of light you’re looking for, these are the best outdoor lights that PEOPLE Tested.

The light illuminates around 30 feet and is bright without being overwhelming.

The motion sensor has no problem detecting cars, people, and large animals.

The light’s two heads have a wide range of rotation, making them easy to angle in any direction.

According to the packaging, the lights are not fully waterproof, so they’re best mounted in a sheltered location.

Our top all-around pick for an outdoor light is the Leonlite COB LED Security Light. It’s a floodlight with two adjustable heads, and we loved that they rotate 360 degrees, allowing you to angle the light to anywhere within your yard. We were able to install the light easily within about 15 minutes without any calibration needed, and there are three settings to choose from — motion detection, dusk to dawn, or manual. 

We tested the Leonlite on its motion-detection setting, and it had no problem picking up movement caused by people, large animals like deer, and cars. When it turned on, the light was a warm yellow hue that lit up an area of around 30 feet, and it was just the right level of brightness that we could see around the outdoor space. Our only concern about this floodlight is that the packaging says it's not fully waterproof, so you may want to mount it in a covered location to protect it from direct rain. 

Type: Floodlight | Power Source: Hardwired | Brightness: 1,800 lumens | Smart: No | Motion Activated: Yes | Detection Range: 59-69 feet | Detection Angle: 180 degrees

The motion detection is quite sensitive and can pick up movement 30 feet away.

The light is a good level of brightness that illuminates the area without blinding you.

The mounting hardware included may not be suitable for all surfaces.

If you’re looking for a simple, low-cost spotlight for your yard, we loved this inexpensive model from Beams. The battery-operated design is compact and basic, and when you’re installing it, you can angle it in any direction. Without any obstacles in the way, it was able to detect motion 30 feet away or more, and it lit up an area around 30 feet, providing plenty of visibility without being blinding. It only has one operation setting, and the light automatically turns off after around 20 seconds if no further motion is detected. 

The only thing we didn’t like was the installation process — the hardware included isn’t well-suited for all locations, and we had to swap in larger screws for a secure fit. 

Type: Spotlight | Power Source: Battery | Brightness: 200 lumens | Smart: No | Motion Activated: Yes | Detection Range: 30 feet | Detection Angle: 120 degrees

The smartphone app is very intuitive to use and connects to the light easily.

By adjusting the sensitivity of the motion detector and setting motion-detection zones, you can reduce false alarms.

At its max setting, the floodlight can illuminate an area over 45 feet.

The unit is quite large and needs ample space to be mounted.

The Ring Floodlight Cam Plus is a smart security camera and floodlight in one, and it’s worth the investment if you want a powerful light with the ability to monitor the outside of your home. The unit is on the larger side, so you’ll need plenty of room to mount it, and because we tested the wired model, the installation process was a bit time-consuming, as it needed to be hardwired into the home’s electrical system. However, once it was set up, the Ring app made it quick and easy to sync the camera to our smartphone, and we loved the wide range of settings available within the app. You can put it on a set schedule, adjust the brightness of the light, set up specific motion detection zones, and much more, and the app is very intuitive to navigate. 

We were impressed by the light’s functionality, as well. On its maximum brightness setting, the light easily illuminated an area up to 45 feet away, and the camera captured clear video footage both day and night. We also loved that you can view a live video feed through an Echo Show divide, making it easy to monitor what’s going on outside your house, even if you don’t have your phone handy. 

Type: Floodlight | Power Source: Hardwired | Brightness: 2,000 lumens | Smart: Yes | Motion Activated: Yes | Detection Range: 30 feet | Detection Angle: 140 degrees

At max brightness, the bulb illuminates a large area, but you can turn down the brightness as needed.

It’s easy to set up routines, schedules, or adjust the light’s settings through the Cync app.

The lights didn’t have any connectivity issues over the course of testing.

We couldn’t find any!

If you already have a floodlight on your home, you can turn it into a smart fixture by installing a GE CYNC Smart Bulb. The bulb is a PAR38 shape, which fits most floodlights, and to install it, all you have to do is screw it into your existing light fixture. We were able to sync the bulb with the CYNC app in less than five minutes, and once it was set up, it was easy to adjust the bulb’s brightness, color, and schedule through the app. The light had no problem lighting up a small 10-foot area during testing, and it could likely be used in much larger spaces, thanks to its 1,300 lumen maximum. We didn’t experience any connectivity issues over the course of testing, and overall, it’s a great value if you want a smart light for the exterior of your home. 

Type: Bulb | Power Source: Screw-in | Brightness: 1,300 lumens | Smart: Yes | Motion Activated: No | Detection Range: N/A | Detection Angle: N/A

The fixture was quick and easy to install, as there was no wiring needed.

The light could reliably detect motion within 25 feet of the fixture.

The light isn’t the brightest, as it’s solar-powered, and it can only light up an area of around 10 feet.

There’s just one operation setting, and the brightness isn’t adjustable.

The Better Homes & Gardens Wall-Mounted LED Light is a stylish sconce that you can mount to the outside of your home. It has a built-in solar panel on the top of the fixture, and we were able to install the light in less than 10 minutes, as there’s no wiring required. The sconce has just one operation setting, where it maintains a low brightness at night and becomes brighter when motion is detected, and it proved to be very reliable at detecting any movement within a 25-foot range. The light isn’t the brightest, due to its low lumens and solar-powered design, but it can comfortably illuminate an area of around 10 feet. Plus, the design is much more aesthetically pleasing than other utilitarian lights, helping to improve the curb appeal of your home. 

Type: Sconce | Power Source: Solar | Brightness: 200 lumens | Smart: No | Motion Activated: Yes | Detection Range: 25 feet | Detection Angle: 120 degrees

The light’s special LED bulb realistically replicates the look of a flickering candle.

When it detects motion, the light is able to illuminate an area of around 30 feet.

The fixture held up well in harsh weather, including wind and rain.

You can’t adjust the length of time the security light stays on or its brightness.

The Euri Lighting Flickering Flame Porch Light strikes the perfect balance of aesthetics and functionality. The lantern-style light has an attractive bronze exterior with wavy glass walls, and the special LED bulb inside has a warm orange hue that flickers to mimic a candle flame. We were impressed by how realistic it looked, and we also liked that the lantern gets brighter when it detects motion, switching to a security light setting that illuminates around 30 feet. The motion detection worked well, only responding to large objects like people walking by, and it stayed bright for around three minutes before going back to the standard flickering flame setting. The fixture did take a longer time to install, as it’s meant to be hardwired into your home, but it held up impressively well throughout testing, even after being exposed to wind and rain. 

Type: Lantern | Power Source: Hardwired | Brightness: 1,200 lumens | Smart: No | Motion Activated: Yes | Detection Range: Not listed | Detection Angle: Not listed

The spotlights are small enough that they blend in with the environment and aren’t too obstructive in the yard.

The highest brightness setting illuminates up to 25 feet.

When mounted on stakes, the lights are quick and easy to install.

Because the solar panels are on top of the light, your installation options are somewhat limited.

No power outlet nearby? No problem! These spotlights have integrated solar panels on top of the unit, so they can be installed anywhere, regardless of where there’s a power source nearby. It was a breeze to install the lights: We simply mounted them to their brackets and stuck the stakes into the ground in the desired location. However, we did have to readjust them to ensure the solar panels would receive adequate sunlight during the day — if you put them in a covered location, they won’t work very well. There are three brightness levels to choose from, and on the highest setting, the spotlights could easily illuminate objects up to 25 feet away. Plus, because they’re fairly compact in size, they blended into the yard well and weren’t an eyesore during the day.  

Type: Spotlight | Power Source: Solar | Brightness: Not listed | Smart: No | Motion Activated: No | Detection Range: N/A | Detection Angle: N/A

The floodlight is very powerful and can light up large areas — up to 80 feet or more.

The two arms can be adjusted easily to angle the light in any direction.

The brightness level isn’t adjustable, and there’s no motion detection setting.

For large yards, you can’t beat the sheer illumination power of this floodlight. It’s equipped with six LED bulbs — three on each of the two arms, which can be adjusted to cover up to 320 degrees — and it gives off a total of 6,000 lumens, which is the highest of any light we tested. The fixture must be hardwired during installation, and when it’s on, we found that it easily brightened a 50-by-80-foot area, making it easy to see everything that was happening. 

The downside of this light is that it just offers one brightness setting, and its sole operation mode is dusk-to-dawn. This means the light will stay on all night, unless you manually switch it off. Still, it’s well-priced and highly effective if you’re looking for a light to brighten up a large outdoor space. 

Type: Floodlight | Power Source: Hardwired | Brightness: 6,000 lumens | Smart: No | Motion Activated: No | Detection Range: N/A | Detection Angle: N/A

The LED lights offer a wide range of settings that are easy to adjust from the app.

The light strip was easy to sync up with our smartphone, and the app was intuitive to navigate.

These lights are mostly decorative and don’t do a good job lighting up a significant area.

The strip needs to be located fairly close to your router, otherwise it may lose connection.

For more decorative outdoor lighting, the Govee LED Strip Lights are unmatched in terms of versatility. The light strands come in either 33 or 65-foot lengths, and while they were a bit time-consuming to install, the process is very straightforward and the lights are lightweight enough to hang anywhere around your yard. We were able to pair the lights easily with a smartphone, and the Govee app offers a truly impressive amount of customization. You can put the lights on an automatic schedule, sync them up to music, create custom light patterns, and much more. 

While these lights are colorful and versatile, they’re best used as part of your decor — not to light up large areas. They didn’t give off enough light to illuminate any significant portion of our yard, so they’re not a good choice if you’re looking for security lights. 

Type: Strip lights | Power Source: Plug-in | Brightness: Not listed | Smart: Yes | Motion Activated: No | Detection Range: N/A | Detection Angle: N/A

Each pathway unit can light up approximately 10 feet around it on a white light setting.

It took less than 10 minutes to install the lights and pair them with the Philips Hue app.

While they are brighter than other pathway lights, we thought the price per light seemed high.

You can light up the pathway to your house with the Philips Hue Calla Lights, which are quick and easy to install. All you have to do is stake them into the ground and plug them in — a process that took us less than 10 minutes from start to finish. They’re equally easy to pair with the Philips Hue app, and we loved that we could set them to a schedule, change the color of the lights, adjust the brightness, and more. When they were set to white light, each unit cast a roughly 10-foot circle of illumination, which surpassed our expectations. Their range is a bit smaller on colored settings, only lighting up around 5 feet. Either way, they’re much more powerful than other pathway lights we’ve tested, but the cost per light is higher as a result. 

Type: Path lights | Power Source: Corded | Brightness: 590 lumens | Smart: Yes | Motion Activated: No | Detection Range: N/A | Detection Angle: N/A

Outdoor lights come in a wide range of styles, including spotlights, floodlights, wall-mounted sconces, pathlights, and more. Spotlights and floodlights, like our top-rated LEONLITE COB LED Security Light, tend to be the most popular for security purposes, as they’re generally very bright, but they often have a plain, utilitarian design. If you want something more decorative, you might want to consider lanterns like the Euri Lighting Flickering Flame Porch Light or even LED strips like the Govee WiFi Outdoor LED Strip Lights.

There are four main power sources for outdoor light fixtures. Hardwired lights are designed to be connected directly to your home’s electrical system, which provides them with constant power and generally allows them to be controlled via a light switch. This is the most complex installation process and may require an electrician if you don’t already have a fixture available. 

However, there are also battery-powered or plug-in lights, which are easier to set up, as well as solar-powered lights that draw their power from the sunlight. Solar lights, in particular, have been significantly improved in recent years: “Solar lights have come a long way, and there are better quality options available now than just the plastic box store lights of the past,” says Cosby. “There are systems now that have a separately mounted solar panel that services the lights, as opposed to just the fixture with the panel attached.” However, these lights are at the mercy of the sun — on cloudy days, they’ll be less bright or may not work at all.

If you’re looking for an outdoor light to provide an added layer of security in your yard, a fixture with a motion detector is often beneficial. These lights automatically turn on (or get brighter, in the case of the Better Homes & Gardens Solar Wall-Mount LED Light) when they detect motion, which is often effective for scaring away animals or even people who might come into your yard. 

When comparing different motion-sensing outdoor lights, you’ll want to consider the range and angle of the motion detector. Some units can only sense movement within a 10-foot range, while others are able to detect motion much farther away, making them well-suited for large outdoor spaces. 

Smart outdoor lights have become more popular in recent years, as they provide more flexibility than other fixtures. Products like the Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Plus and GE CYNC Smart Outdoor Floodlight Bulbs can be controlled directly from your smartphone, and you’re able to easily adjust their brightness or put them on a set schedule. The downside, however, is that smart light fixtures are more expensive and must be located near a Wi-Fi router for reliable operation. 

To find the best outdoor lights available today, we tested a total of 16 products, including a mixture of both standard and Wi-Fi connected models. These light fixtures were tested over the course of several weeks at the homes of the PEOPLE Tested team, and we evaluated them on the following factors: 

The outdoor lights we tested varied in brightness from 200 lumens all the way up to 6,000 lumens, and the best option for your needs will depend on how you’re planning to use the light and how big your space is. “Lumens will depend on the purpose of the lighting — decorative lighting will generally require fewer lumens as it is generally more ambient, while safety lighting like floodlights, spotlights, or pool lights will require more,” explains Cosby. 

There are benefits to both solar and LED lights for outdoor use. The main appeal of solar lights is that they don’t use any electricity and can be installed virtually anywhere without worrying about running an extension cord or wiring them into your home. However, they’re typically not as bright as lights that are plugged into a power source, and they won’t work on cloudy or rainy days. LED lights, on the other hand, provide a more consistent supply of light, but they often require more complex installation and may increase your electricity bill in the long run, especially if you leave them on all the time. 

It can be tempting to simply leave your outdoor lights on all night long, but it’s generally better to have them on a motion-sensing setting. “While you may need to leave outdoor lights on a little longer during the short days of winter to cover evening visitors, porch deliveries, etc., it's best to turn your landscape lighting off when you no longer need it,” says Cosby. “Turning outdoor lighting off can help reduce light pollution and minimize effects on local wildlife like migratory birds or important pollinators.” You’ll also want to turn lights off at night to be considerate of nearby neighbors, especially if you have bright spotlights or floodlights that may disturb them.

Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product reviewer specializing in home, kitchen, and pet products. In her more than seven years of experience as a product tester, she's reviewed hundreds of pet products firsthand, and her work appears in publications such as PEOPLE, The Spruce, and Homes & Gardens. 

While putting together this list of the best outdoor lights, she reviewed the firsthand testing notes from the PEOPLE Tested team, who evaluated the performance of each product for several weeks. She also spoke with Coleman Cosby, the construction director at Yardzen, for tips on finding the best outdoor lights for your yard and landscaping.

Coleman Cosby is the construction director at Yardzen, a landscape design service.

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase. 

The 10 Best Outdoor Lights of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Street Post Light By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.