Solar Lights Vs. Traditional Garden Lighting: Pros And Cons

Brad Smith
Written By Brad Smith

Are you sick of tangled wires turning your garden stroll into an Olympic hurdle race? Do your energy bills make you want to scream “Mamma Mia!” Or maybe you crave a lighting setup that’s more you than a box of beige bulbs? An outdoor lighting system does more than enhance the aesthetics and curb appeal of your outdoor space. It is also a safety feature.

When it comes to lighting up your garden, there are two main contenders – solar lighting and traditional lighting. Solar lighting is the new kid on the block: energy-efficient, cost-effective to install, and low-maintenance. But don’t count traditional garden lighting out. It offers more customization options and isn’t affected by the seasons.

Both have strengths and weaknesses. So, let’s examine the pros and cons of solar vs. traditional lighting so you can pass your glow verdict on the best choice for your leafy oasis.

solar lights vs. traditional garden lighting

Solar Lighting

The solar lighting soaks up the sun’s rays all day, then unleashes a light show at night without sucking the green out of your wallet. Plus, installation is a breeze – no need to channel your inner electrician for this one. Think of them as the Beyoncé of garden lighting – fierce, independent, and owning the night.


1. Eco-friendly and Energy Efficient

Solar lights are the greenest options around. They save the planet with every ray of sunshine they catch. There are no electricity bills or worries—just pure, renewable energy keeping your nights bright.

2. Cost-Effective 

Sure, the upfront cost might be a tad higher, but those electricity bills will practically disappear!  Plus, with barely any maintenance needed, solar lights are a total win for your wallet in the long run.  Who needs a fortune-teller when you have savings like this?

3. Safety First, Fun Always  

No electrical cords to trip over, no chance of a zap – solar lights are the perfect pals for homes with little adventurers, both the two-legged and the four-legged kind.

4. Portability and Easy Installation

These lights can light up your world as long as there’s sunshine. Put them in your garden or patio, by the pool, or anywhere you need a touch of nighttime twinkle. Feel free to move them around—they’re practically solar-powered and not tied to any source but the sun.


1. Sunshine Seekers

These lights are solar-powered, so they don’t love cloudy days or hibernation season. If your garden is a bit of a shade haven or it’s winter, they might not be the brightest bunch at night because of their sun dependency.

2. Not-So-Spotlight Stealers 

Garden solar lights are more about setting the mood, not lighting up a football field. If you need a super bright light to chase away the shadows, you might need to look for pricier options with bigger solar panels and batteries.

3. Battery Buddies Get Old Too

The batteries inside these lights will need replacing after a while. But that’s an opportunity for an upgrade to a newer, brighter model!

Traditional Garden Lighting

Now, let’s talk about traditional lighting. These classic sparklers offer tons of flexibility. Want to bathe your garden in a disco ball extravaganza? Done! Need a spotlight for your prize-winning petunias? Easy peasy! They come in a wider range of styles and brightness levels, letting you create a truly customized nightscape.


1. Rain or Shine, Always Up for Shine

Unlike their solar-powered pals who take a nap on cloudy days, traditional lights give the ultimate steady glow. As long as they’re plugged in, they’ll keep your garden glowing no matter what the weather throws your way.

2. Bright Variety  

Need to light up your garden like a disco ball?  Traditional lights offer a wider range of brightness options, from dazzling LEDs to powerful halogen beams. There’s a perfect level of “wow” for any nighttime situation.

3. Customization Options

Want your lights to turn on with a wave of your hand or as your car drives in?  Traditional lights can be hooked up to timers, motion sensors, and even dimmers!  Transform your garden into a light show masterpiece!

4. Built to Last

High-quality traditional lights can last for years. It makes them a durable choice for garden illumination.


1. Higher Energy Costs 

This lighting gobbles up some electricity. If you go overboard with brightness or quantity, you might see your next electricity bill adding more to your expenses. Also, they leave a bigger carbon footprint.

2. Not for the Faint of Wiring! 

Installing traditional lights can be a bit like untangling holiday lights – tricky and sometimes frustrating! If DIY isn’t exactly your forte, you might need to call in a professional to get them all hooked up safely.

3. Safety Concerns 

Water and electricity don’t exactly do a high five. Traditional lights come with a bit more of a safety concern, especially when the weather gets wet. There’s also the risk of tripping over the wires and electrical sparks when the wires are exposed.

The Verdict

If you’re all about sustainability, ease of installation, and a bit of ambiance, solar lights are your choice for a dreamy garden. But if you need powerful, reliable lighting that can brighten up your garden with more versatile options, traditional garden lighting might be your best bet although it comes at a higher energy cost.

smith brad omni

Written by Brad Smith

CEO & Lead Interior Designer

Brad Smith is an experienced interior designer and the founder of With a Master's degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute and a passion for creating safe and healthy living spaces, Brad shares his expert insights and innovative design ideas with our readers. His work is driven by the belief that home is where every story begins.