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

This article will:

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

Top marine solar lights

Lonako solar boat navigation light

Top features

This boat light comes with an anti-bird thorn and a remote control that enables you to turn the light on and off. This LED light is good for boats up to 12 meters. It can be set up in different modes and angles (360°, 112.5°,135°), and depending on the setup, will light red, green, or white. The battery is lithium ion.

Set up and maintenance

The set up of this solar powered boat light can only be done on a pole. Follow the link below for instructions. It is important to clean the light sensor every season so that the panels perform the best. Also, it is advised to place this boat light outside for a day, once every 3 months.

APONUO Solar Dock Lights

Top features

This solar power light comes with a 2 year warranty. It can withstand a high weight (as much as a car) so you can store your dinghy on it. This marine grade solar light comes in blue and white light. The bulb is LED and the battery is Nickel–metal hydride,

Set up and maintenance

You install this solar light with screws (included in the box). Before installing it, make sure to turn on the switch below. Remember to regularly clean the solar panel with a soft cloth, this will keep the charging time low. It comes pre-charged.

Lake Lite Solar Marine Light

Top features

This solar powered light’s best features are its battery capacity, charging time, and waterproof level. It is a professional grade marine light for small and medium sized boats. It comes in White, Blue, Green, Amber, and Red. The bulb is LED and the battery is Nickel–metal hydride. The type of lens used is Fresnel, which means the light travels further.

Set up and maintenance

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 light mode switch. For long term storage, it is best to disconnect the battery.

Doublewise Boat Navigation Light

Top features

This solar light has the most comprehensive set of modes: Tricolor navigation, Anchor, Port, Starboard, Stern, Masthead, Bicolor navigation, Warning, 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 a great battery life, which is great in bad weather conditions.

Set up and maintenance

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

WILLED Solar waterproof adhesive lights

Top features

These lights are for helping you see around your boat rather than navigation. The top feature of this solar powered boat light is its easy set up. It comes with a waterproof adhesive tape, so you simply glue the light to your boat.

Set up and maintenance

No screws or tools needed, the solar boat light comes with a 3M waterproof adhesive tape. Once you know where to put the light, simply use the tape. The battery is replaceable, it turns on and off automatically and it has the highest water resistance.

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

Auto on-off switch

For solar boat lights, the major added value is having a self sustain unit, so you want to set it and forget it. It needs to turn on and off automatically when night comes and goes.
Also, it is possible that you install a lamp somewhere on your boat that is hard to access, so you will want to have that auto on-off switch.

Saves power, conserves battery life span.

Light range

Depending on the regulations your boat needs to abide by, the light range is important.
Light range is also a safety feature for solar boat lights. 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 certain types of solar lights with a specific color and angle.

Manual on-off switch

It can also happen that you need to prevent the light from turning on on specific occasions, you are in a harbor, you are storing your boat, etc. in this case, a manual switch is valuable for a solar powered marine light.

Warranty

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

Battery life

Long battery life is important for two reasons. The first is obviously because you need the charge to get you through the night. The other reason is product life span. Batteries will last much longer if their level never gets to under 30% (some even say more).
So a battery life of 10h might seem enough for a solar boat light, but you actually want something closer to 20h so that your battery lasts longer.

Battery type

Some batteries last much longer than others. You want to buy a solar powered boat light that will last a long time, so focus on Lithium ion and Nickel–metal hydride batteries.

Light source

Some types of bulbs are more economical than others. Aim for LED when getting a solar boat lighting system, it lasts forever and is extremely efficient.

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 lighting system that will let you remove and change the battery without having to change the whole thing.

Waterproof

Material matters a lot on a boat, we are looking for UV compatible and corrosion compatible materials like stainless steel, Acrylic, High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Polycarbonate (PC).

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.

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