Both practical and beautiful, patio umbrella lights can transform the way your garden patio looks while making it safe and enjoyable for you and your loved ones to enjoy your garden even after the sun goes down.
How often have you been enjoying a perfect day out in the sunshine only to find yourself having to pack up and head inside once night falls?
Sure, the weather is still warm enough to make the most of your garden, but let’s be honest:
Sitting outside in the dark isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a good time, is it?
If such a scenario sounds even vaguely familiar, now might be an ideal time to consider searching for the best patio umbrella lights to brighten up your outdoor spaces and keep the good times rolling even after the sun goes down.
An attractive, affordable addition to your patio furniture, umbrella lights are an ideal solution for those nights when your existing outdoor lighting simply isn’t cutting it ultimately making it safe and practical to continue enjoying your garden long into the night while at the same time adding a whole new sense of beauty and style to your outdoor space.
Still, let’s face it:
While investing in quality umbrella lights may solve one problem, choosing the right kind of lighting only raises more questions.
How much do patio umbrella lights cost?
How do you install them?
What happens to your brand new lights in winter?
Should you go for lanterns, string lights, or disc lights, and what’s the difference anyway?
Today, we’ll set out to answer all of those questions and more, as well as sharing our top five picks of the very best patio umbrella lights around.
Looking for more inspiration for lighting your patio? Let Martha Stewart Living show you how what a big difference umbrella lights can make to your patio.
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Five Best Patio Lights in Brief
Later in this guide, we’ll share our in-depth reviews of our five favorite umbrella lights, explaining how we chose each brand and why we think they’d make a great addition to your garden.
Don’t have time for that right now?
If you’re in a hurry, here’s our quick overview of the best lights currently on the market.
|Rank||Name||Light type||Power type|
|1.||Totobay Rechargeable Light||Disc||Mains rechargeable|
|2.||Yescom Warm White Lights||String||Solar|
|3.||Sunklly LED Candle Lights||Lantern||Solar|
|4.||Texsens Multi-Colored Light w/ Speaker||Disc||Battery|
|5.||Blue Star Group Brella Lights||String||Mains|
1: Totobay Rechargeable Umbrella Light
Straight off the bat, there’s an awful lot to like about Totobay’s rechargeable umbrella lights.
A breeze to install, this popular disc light clips effortlessly around your umbrella pole, where 28 LED lights emit a bright white glow for up to 54 hours on a single charge.
It’s this kind of longevity that makes Totobay our number one pick. Charge it up for just a few hours and you can easily use it at full intensity for five hours a night, seven days a week without needing to recharge it.
Not only is that longer than most battery-operated models we’ve come across, the lack of unsightly cables or cords means buying a Totobay won’t impact the beautiful design of your patio.
Though the light can be charged using a simple wall plug, there’s also a USB option so you could connect it to your laptop or even your smartphone and get an extra boost of power when needed.
Once switched on, you can move between two different light settings, making use of the full 28 LEDs for full brightness or using just eight LEDs for a more low-level setting.
The best part?
The Totobay Rechargeable Patio Umbrella Light is priced very affordably, making it a great choice for those looking to keep a close eye on their wallet.
Totobay Umbrella Light specifications:
Light type: Disc
Power type: Mains rechargeable
2: Yescom 40 LED Solar String Light Warm White Fit for 9 ft 8 Ribs Outdoor Patio Offset Aluminum Umbrella with Clips
If creating a warm, relaxing atmosphere is more important to you than creating a practical, functional space, then you really can’t go wrong with the Yescom 40 LED string light set up.
The gentle white glow adds a certain sense of serenity to your garden space, perfect for those evenings when you want to do nothing more than kick back, relax, and watch the world go by.
This sense of ease and tranquility begins the moment you go about setting up your lights, as they come with 42 all-weather plastic clips so that you can fix each strand to the umbrella ribs.
String lights like the popular Yescom solar-powered 40 LED set are perfect for creating a calm, relaxing atmosphere.
As standard, this particular lighting set is designed to fit a nine-foot umbrella with eight ribs, though larger versions are available if you happen to have particularly big garden furniture.
One thing working against Yescom is that their lights are solar powered which, as we’ve mentioned, comes with its own set of problems.
However, we’ve found that just a short amount of time using the USB charging port can give you enough energy to power this at full beam for up to eight hours, plenty of time for those late-night garden parties.
Yescom String Light specifications
Light type: String
Power type: Solar
3: Sunklly Outdoor LED Waterproof Candle Lantern Patio Umbrella Lights
The best thing about lantern-style umbrella lights is always that they’re usually the only type of light which enhances the look of your garden even when they’re not switched on.
With their traditional design and authentic-looking candle, these stylish LED lanterns are certainly no exception and work just as well as an addition to your modern garden space as they do in providing a certain traditional, old-school charm.
Yet it’s when the lights come on that your Sunklly Outdoor LED Waterproof Candle Lantern Patio Umbrella Lights truly come into their own.
Once night falls, the faux-candles will give off a soft, gentle yellow glow. Alternatively, you can change the setting so that they flicker throughout the night just like a real candle.
It’s also worth pointing out how easy these lights are to install not just within your umbrella, but anywhere in the garden.
Sunklly provide you with shepherd’s hooks which takes all the hassle out of hanging them on your umbrella ribs, though they do look just as good if you decide to hang them on trees, among your flower beds, or anywhere else.
That being said, as much as we love these gorgeous-looking lights, they’re not without their issues.
First of all, you can only buy them in packs of two, so if you’re planning to attach them all the way around your patio umbrella then you’re going to end up paying quite a lot of money.
Then there’s the charge/power ratio.
According to Sunklly, these solar-powered lights require four to five hours of charging for an average of seven and a half hours’ power.
Honestly, as attractive as these are, Yescom’s solar-powered string lights offer more power for less charge time.
Sunklly LED Candle Lantern specifications:
Light type: Lantern
Power type: Solar
4: Texsens Multi-Colored Patio LED Umbrella Light with Bluetooth Speaker
At first glance, Texsens’s multi-colored umbrella light with built-in Bluetooth speaker might seem like little more than a novelty item, or perhaps the kind of thing you’d buy to keep the kids entertained at Christmas.
Look a little closer, however, and it becomes apparent that, while it might not be for everyone, this unique disc light is the perfect choice for those looking to add a big dose of energy to their big summer party
On a full charge, the Texsens Patio Umbrella light can keep lights shining bright for up to six hours, or three hours if you choose to use the built-in outdoor speaker at the same time.
Planning a big outdoor celebration this summer? The unique Texsens multi-colored patio umbrella light with Bluetooth speaker will keep the party going right through the night.
Talking of which, the speaker comes with full Bluetooth capability so you can stream music directly from Spotify, Apple Music, or whatever kind of music service you have on your smartphone.
Alternatively, you can connect it up to your phone, tablet, or laptop using a USB lead.
Do this, and you’ll find that the lights flash and change color in time with the music, creating a rather spectacular sound and light show.
Of course, if you prefer something a little less frantic, then you can always turn off the color-changing and light-flashing, but really, if you’re going to buy a Texsens Patio Light, it’s exactly these kinds of fun features that you’re buying it for.
Otherwise, you might be better off choosing an option that’s a little less gimmicky as the Texsens doesn’t exactly blend in well with more elegant garden designs.
Texsens Multi-Colored Patio Light specifications
Light type: Disc
Power type: Battery
5. Blue Star Group Brella Lights
The design of these pretty little lights has much more in common with fairy lights or the kind that you’d put around your Christmas tree than they do with the usual LED-style most closely associated with outdoor lighting, but that’s precisely why we like them so much.
Their cute, classic design creates the kind of wonderfully enchanting ambiance in your garden that is perfect for spending a relaxing evening enjoying the night sky with that special someone.
We also like that these adorable string lights are very easy to install, with both eight-rib and six-rib versions available so that you’ll have no problem finding a set to fit your patio umbrella.
On the downside, they are mains-powered, using a unique Blue Star Group Power Pod which plugs into the wall socket. You then plug your lights into the Power Pod, which has additional outlets so that you can plug in your phone, music system or other devices at the same time.
While this is a nice touch, having that power cord running across your patio could make setting the whole thing up a little awkward, not to mention increasing the risk of trips and other injuries.
Attractive to look at, sure, but not exactly the most practical lighting solution out there.
Blue Star Group Brella Lights specifications
Light type: String
Power type: Mains
Choosing the Best Umbrella Lights: Your Complete Buyer’s Guide
So, how exactly did we decide which five umbrella lights made the cut out of all the countless options available?
Below, we’ll look at the different factors we took into consideration when making our choices.
What’s more, since we know that every garden -and every garden owner- is unique, we’ll also offer our top tips and suggestions on how to choose umbrella lights that are best suited for you and your space.
Patio Light Power Sources
Always thought that style was the most important factor to consider when it comes to adding lights to your patio umbrella?
While the look of your lights undoubtedly plays a big role in the type you eventually by, it’s perhaps even more important to decide which kind of power source you want to go for.
After all, you have several options here, each with their own pros and cons to consider.
Solar powered patio umbrella lights absorb and store sunlight throughout the day, converting it into energy which powers your lights once it gets dark.
For the eco-conscious among you, solar lighting makes an ideal choice for your garden.
Solar lights generate their own power by using a special solar panel which soaks up the sunlight and stores it throughout the day.
Then, once the sun sets, the umbrella lights automatically turn themselves on, running on all of that stored up energy to provide a gentle, calming glow for several hours before gradually fading out until they run out of power.
Naturally, this is the most environmentally friendly way to add a beautiful ambiance to your garden patio. However, solar-powered umbrella lights are not without their problems.
For one thing, if you live in an area where you’re likely to get more grey and gloomy days than bright and sunny ones, solar power may not produce the kind of power you need to really enjoy your garden.
Though solar panels still work when it’s cloudy, they typically only produce 25% of the power they’d produce on a sunny day. On really cloudy days, they may even only produce 10%.
The other major disadvantage is that using solar-powered lighting means you have no control over when those lights actually turn on and off.
Yes, they’ll provide a wonderfully warm glow for a couple of hours, but they’ll provide that glow regardless as to whether you’re ready to sit outside or not, and may even fade out long before you’re ready to head indoors for the evening.
With that in mind, if you simply need a little extra lighting for a few hours after sunset, then solar energy is a great way to go. If you’re planning to keep the party going all night long, however, you might want to explore other options.
Mains electricity provides a constant source of power to your patio umbrella lights so that you can enjoy your garden for as long as you like.
If running out of power is a big concern, then this may be the best patio umbrella light solution for you.
Using a simple power chord that permanently connects your lights to your mains power supply, these are typically the cheapest option and guarantee that you’ll always have light whenever you need it.
Yet even this solution has its drawbacks.
For one thing, permanently running a cable from your umbrella to your mains supply can prove to be an unsightly blemish on your otherwise attractive garden design.
For another, that cable can present a real trip hazard, especially later in the evening.
Using rechargeable batteries can often be the most cost-effective and eco-friendly way to power your umbrella lights.
Though standard, throw-away batteries are neither environmentally friendly nor cost-effective, selecting umbrella lights that run on rechargeable batteries can prove to be the most affordable and energy-efficient solution available.
In our opinion, battery-powered lights really do offer the best of all worlds.
Like electric-powered lighting, they provide all the power you need for many hours at a time while simultaneously negating the need for ugly power cables.
Much like solar-powered lighting, they also prevent the increase in energy bills that can come from powering your lights via the mains supply.
Umbrella Light Styles
Umbrella lights come in a wide variety of styles so no matter what kind of garden or patio you have, you’ll always find the right look to match.
Now that you’ve chosen the type of power you’re going to use, it’s time to consider style.
Here, you have several options available so that you can be sure you’ll find a look which best compliments your lawn and garden space.
These options include:
When most people think of patio umbrella lights, it’s usually strand lights that they think of.
Made up from multiple small bulbs, strand lights typically consist of a central trunk line which slots inside your main umbrella pole, with addition strands which attach to each rim of the umbrella frame.
Though it’s possible to buy these as a separate piece of equipment and attach them to your existing umbrella, people opting for strand lights tend to go for products such as the popular EliteShade Solar Sunbrella, which comes with the lights already in-built.
All in all, strand lights are a fantastic option for creating a beautiful ambiance around your patio, but they may not provide enough lighting for more practical purposes such as dining or late-night reading.
As the name implies, disc lights such as our number xx ranked xx are circular devices which latch around the top of your umbrella pole.
When turned on, the disc projects directly downwards, flooding your patio table with soft lighting.
The effect is quite the opposite of the one you get with strand lights, providing ample lighting for late-night al-fresco dining for example, but lacking the kind of aesthetic charm you may get with other styles.
String lights are pretty similar to strand lights in that they contain lots of smaller bulbs which can be fashioned around the main umbrella frame.
However, they’re a much more versatile option. You can use string lights in lots of different ways, such as placing them around the edge of your patio umbrella for a more delicate look.
Beautifully designed, lantern lights can easily be detached from your umbrella to add a rustic charm to other parts of your garden.
An attractive option which works just as well in a contemporary garden space as it does in those areas with a more rustic vibe, lanterns are perhaps the best choice if you’re on the hunt for lights which look just as gorgeous turned off as they do when switched on.
Depending on their size, your lanterns can either hang from the strands of your umbrella frame or be attached around the edges in a similar fashion to string lights, creating an altogether charming appearance.
If there’s one thing we like best about lanterns, it’s that options like these elegantly designed Retro Hanging Solar Lanterns from Maggift look just as beautiful in other parts of your garden too.
If you’re not planning to use your patio at night for a while, you may want to consider detaching your lanterns and placing them among your flower beds, rockery or shrubbery to add that quaint, traditional feel to your outdoor space.
Frequently Asked Questions About Patio Umbrella Lights
By now, you should have all the information you need to make a fully informed purchasing decision about the best patio umbrella lights for your garden.
Yet if there’s still something that’s left you scratching your head, then you may find all the information you need in the answers to these frequently asked umbrella light questions.
How easy is it to install patio umbrella lights?
Need a hand installing string lights in your garden? Here’s Longview Lights to show you how it’s done.
For the most part, installing umbrella lights couldn’t be simpler. That said, the amount of time and energy you’ll need to put into that installation will largely depend on the type of lighting you buy.
Installing Disc Lights
If you opt for a disc light, then this is no more difficult than opening it up, slotting it around your umbrella pole and then tightening everything back up again.
The only challenge involved here is ensuring that you buy a disc light that fits around the diameter of your umbrella pole.
If you’re not sure about the diameter of your pole, it shouldn’t take more than two seconds to figure it out with a decent tape measure.
Alternatively, you can always do a quick online search for your specific brand of garden furniture. The manufacturer’s website, or even the Amazon description, should list the umbrella pole diameter.
Installing String and Strand Lights
If you decide to buy string or strand lights then you may find it a little tricky weaving them around the strands of your umbrella frame.
In our experience, this is generally much easier when you get somebody else to help you. After all, many hands make light work.
What should I do with my lights in the winter months?
If you live in an area with heavy snowfall in the winter months then this guide to protecting your outdoor lights from snow may be helpful.
Most good quality patio umbrella lights are fully weatherproof to withstand the elements in typical winter weather.
However, if you live in an area that’s colder, wetter, or more prone to heavy snow than your average US state, then you might want to take extra steps to keep your lights in good working order.
Apart from breaking out your snow blower and clearing as much snow away from cables and wires as you can, you may find it helpful to bring your umbrella and its lights inside, or at the very least cover them up until spring.
This is especially important if you’re using mains-powered umbrella lights, as we extreme cold and weather conditions could cause your wires to freeze up, permanently damaging your lights.
What’s the difference between a warm and cool glow?
Lights with a warm glow create a soft, welcoming ambiance in your garden.
There’s more to choosing between a warm and cool glow than simply how it looks.
A cool glow gives off a bright white light which is generally better for practical purposes such as outdoor dining and entertaining.
Conversely, a warmer glow gives off a softer light with reddish, orange colors not too dissimilar from an open flame. For the most part, these are generally better if you’re more concerned with aesthetic appeal than day-to-day functionality, creating a warm, welcoming ambiance throughout your garden.