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Solar boat lights - Which solar powered marine lights are best for your boat?

This article will:

  • Explain the criteria to consider when choosing solar navigation lights
  • Review the top 5 products for marine solar lights
  • Answer FAQs about buying, owning, and repairing solar powered boat lighting.
5
 products reviewed

What we assessed when looking at solar boat lights

Scroll down to see and compare the top solar-powered boat lights.
icon representing a criteria for choosing a solar boat light

Light angle

icon representing a criteria for choosing a solar boat light

Auto on-off switch

icon representing a criteria for choosing a solar boat light

Light range

icon representing a criteria for choosing a solar boat light

Manual on-off switch

icon representing a criteria for choosing a solar boat light

Warranty

icon representing a criteria for choosing a solar boat light

Battery life

icon representing a criteria for choosing a solar boat light

Battery type

icon representing a criteria for choosing a solar boat light

Charging time

icon representing a criteria for choosing a solar boat light

Light source

icon representing a criteria for choosing a solar boat light

Replaceable battery

icon representing a criteria for choosing a solar boat light

Waterproof

Top marine solar lights

Lonako solar boat navigation light

Assisting navigation solar lights
Price: ~$
21
Rating: 
4+
/5
Warranty

1 year

Battery life

12h steady, 150h flashing

Waterproof

IP 67

Manual on-off switch

Yes

Light Range

1 NM

Auto on-off switch
Yes
Charging time
8h
Battery replaceable
No

This boat light comes with an anti-bird thorn and a remote control that enables you to turn the light on and off. It is energy efficient (LED, with lithium ion battery), and made for boats up to 12 meters. It has different angles (360°, 112.5°,135°), and depending on the mode you chose, will light red, green, or white.

You can attach this solar-powered marine light on a pole or round metal bar (follow link below for full instructions). It is advised to clean the light sensor and panels every season. Finally, it is also best to place this product outside for a day, once every 3 months.

APONUO Solar Dock Lights

Dock, Deck solar Light
Price: ~$
7
Rating: 
4+
/5
Warranty

2 year

Battery life

10h

Waterproof

IP 67

Manual on-off switch

Yes

Light Range

Not Applicable

Auto on-off switch
Yes
Charging time
6-8h
Battery Replaceable
No

This boat light comes with a 2 year warranty and can withstand a high weight (as much as a car). This is good if you need to store your dinghy on it. You can buy this product in blue and white. It is LED and the battery is Nickel–metal hydride.

You install this solar boat light with screws (included in the box). Before installing it, make sure to turn on the on-off switch located below. Also, it is advised to regularly clean the solar panels with a soft cloth, so as to keep the charging time low.

Lake Lite Solar Marine Light

Navigation, Mast solar light
Price: ~$
130
Rating: 
4+
/5
Warranty

1 year

Battery life

30 hrs (constant), 40h flashing

Waterproof

IP 68

Manual on-off switch

No

Light Range

.5nm steady, 1nm flashing

Auto on-off switch
Yes
Charging time
6h
Battery Replaceable
Yes

The best features of this light are its battery capacity and charging time (6h charging for 30h of constant light). It is made for small and medium sized boats. The bulb is LED and the battery is Nickel–metal hydride. The type of lens used is Fresnel, which optimizes the distance traveled by the light.

Setting up this solar boat light is done with screws (in the box). Make sure the battery is connected before fixing the system. Inside the sealed compartment is a mode switch so you can change between light modes (navigation, mast, etc). For long term storage, it is best to disconnect the battery.

Doublewise Boat Navigation Light

Stern, Navigation, Starboard, Port, Mast solar lights
Price: ~$
35
Rating: 
?
/5
Warranty

1 year

Battery life

100h

Waterproof

IP67

Manual on-off switch

Yes

Light range

2NM

Auto on-off switch
Yes
Charging time
Not communicated
Battery replaceable
Yes

This solar boat light has the most comprehensive set of modes: Tricolor navigation, Anchor, Port, Starboard, Stern, Masthead, Bicolor navigation, Warning, and SOS Signal. There is a switch to go through them. This is also the only light that complies with COLREGS(1972) - the rules book for international navigation. You also have an amazing battery life.

Minimum order is 6, so either you buy with a buddy, you have a big boat, or you like having replacement parts. The mounting system works with Bolts or Magnets so you can easily change the modes or put the light system away.

WILLED Solar waterproof adhesive lights

All-around boat lights
Price: ~$
9
Rating: 
4+
/5
Warranty

1y

Battery life

8h

Waterproof

IP 68

Manual on-off switch

No

Light range

Not Applicable

Auto on-off switch
Yes
Charging time
4h
Battery replaceable
Yes

This solar boat light is to help you see around your boat, not for navigation. The top feature is its water resistance (IP68). The light is LED (comes in blue or white) and the battery type is Lithium Ion. The battery life is not the best but the product purpose is about cosmetics rather than utility.

Very easy set up: no screws or tools needed, you use a 3M waterproof adhesive tape. Once you know where to put the light, simply use the tape. Also, the battery is easily replaceable.

Deepdive

What to look for when choosing solar boat lights and why it matters

Auto on-off switch

  • When buying solar boat lights, a great added value is having a self-sustaining system. You want to set it and forget it. For this purpose, the light system should turn on and off automatically when the night comes and goes.
  • Another reason to want to have an automatic switch on a solar marine light is that often, boat lights are placed in places that are hard to get to.

Light range

  • Depending on the regulations your boat needs to abide by, the light range might change. 
  • Light range is also a safety feature. The further you can see a boat, the safer that boat is, either to be rescued or to avoid collision.

Light angle

  • Depending on your type of boat and your local rules and regulations, you will need to install lights with a specific angle. 
  • For example, navigation lights' angle are 112.5deg, whereas stern lights are 135deg.

Manual on-off switch

  • With solar marine lights, it can happen that you need to prevent the light from turning on.
  • If you are in a harbor for a night, or you are storing your boat away for the season, a manual switch will be valuable.

Warranty

  • Some of these manufacturers are unknown so we included warranty time in this article as an indicator for product/manufacturing quality.
  • One year at least is what is recommended.

Battery life

  • A long battery life on a solar boat light is important for two reasons.
  • The first is: you need the charge to get you through the night. The better the battery, the longer the night can be.
  • The second is: product life, batteries last much longer when their level does not get under 30% or even 50%. So a battery life of 10h might seem enough for a solar boat light, but something closer to 20h will enable your battery to never fully de-charge.

Battery type

  • Some batteries last much longer than others, meaning they can go through more cycles.
  • Because a solar boat light will go through about one cycle each 24h, you want to pick a type of battery with a long lifespan. Lithium ion and Nickel–metal hydride batteries are great in this case.

Light source

  • Some types of bulbs are more energy hungry than others, or have a longer lifespan than others. 
  • The best as of today is to pick a LED light source when getting a solar boat lighting system.

Charging time

  • This is pretty self explanatory. If the charge time is about or longer than the average daytime in your region, the battery will often not be fully charged. 
  • If you live in an area where sunny days are rare, you might want to consider buying a solar light system that requires even less time to fully charge.

Replaceable battery

  • Batteries are known to fail often, so it is best to buy a solar powered boat light that lets you remove and replace its battery without having to change the whole unit.
  • Being able to replace the battery also means better off-season storage because you will be able to disconnect the battery during the winter.

Waterproof

  • The waterproof level of a product is indicated by its IP standard (ex: IP56). The first number assesses resistance against solids, the second number is for liquids. So IP67 means 6/6 for solids and 7/9 for liquids. 
  • IP66 does not protect against water submersion, so we think IP67 to IP69 are waterproof levels suitable for solar boat lights.

Top questions about solar boat lights

What is the price range for solar powered marine lights?

For dock, deck, and all around light, price can range from $6 to $27 per unit. 

For navigation lights, the price range is higher because quality needs to be better and legal product certifications are required. So the range can be $30 to $125 per unit.

What IP level should I go for when buying marine solar lights?

We recommend IP67, IP 68, or IP 69. The best being the ones with the highest second digit number.

IP 67 means the solar light will be protected against full immersion for up to 30 min at depths of 15 - 100cm. IP 68 means protection against extended immersion under greater depths, and needs to be specified and communicated by the manufacturer. IP 69 means protection against heavy jet sprays, wash-downs or steam-cleaning. This is the real deal and it even has a dedicated ISO standard (ISO 20653:2013).

What are the most important criteria when buying a solar boat light?

After looking at different products across the internet, we have come up with a list of 13 top criterias to assess the quality of a solar boat light. The 5 most important of these are: Warranty, Battery life, Charging time, Range, and Waterproof level. 

It is good to aim for a warranty life of 1 year or more, a battery that can last 2-3 days (so as to have better battery cycle levels), a charging time of half a day or less (in case of poor weather),  a range of 1nm minimum, and a waterproof level of IP 68.

How do I know if a solar navigation light is compatible with my boat?

Your boat manufacturer will be able to tell you what navigation light set up is required for your specific boat. This information will be inside your boat manual, it will specify the range of the light, the color, angle and position on the boat.

Once you know that, you’ll be able to create a specific set of product lights for your boat.

Why is a manual switch a necessary feature on a solar boat lighting system?

Many boats spend extended amounts of time in storage. In this case you will want to turn the system off to save up battery cycles. You can also be in a harbor or somewhere where you don’t need navigation lights at night, in this case, you will want to turn them off.