The Best Backyard Lights In 2021

Is your back yard missing that wow-factor at night? Is your front garden in need of pathway lighting? Well, with the emergence of LED and RGB style outdoor lighting, you can create weather-proof theme lighting for any ambience preference easily and cheaply. Even better, most of the hottest new outdoor lights for the yard are able to be connected to a power outlet instead of hardwiring, and you can control them with your phone. Check out what made our list of our favorite new backyard lights below.

The Best Outdoor Pathway Lights


1. Philips Hue Calla Pathway Light

We picked the Philips Hue Calla Outdoor Bollard as the top outdoor pathway light because they offer the easiest and the best customizable RGB ambience lighting (up to 16 million colors) for your outdoor space money can buy. Set up is a breeze (no need to hire an electrician and landscaper),and once its up and running, you can adjust or dim the bollard light colors with popular smart phone apps like Google home, Amazon Alexa and Apple Home Kit.

We liked the look of the Philips Hue outdoor bollards the best out of a dozen or so outdoor pathway lights we reviewed, which is the other reason we chose them as the leading pathway light for the backyard.

The max light output setting is 600 lumens, which can be quite bright if you are looking for enough light to brighten up your space at night. However, in my opinion, it looks best if you dim the bollards to medium strength, just using them for ambience lighting.

The Calla Outdoor bollard by Philips Hue are plug and play, not hard-wired outdoor lights. All you need is a power outlet somewhere in your backyard to plug into. This makes it cheaper and far easier to setup yourself. Plus, if your backyard power outlet is located somewhere discrete like the corner of a deck, you wont even see the wires with just a little cable management.

The bollards can be screwed onto a deck or placed in the ground using the included spikes, and you can bury the connecting cables if you like).

We liked the 2-year warranty, although this very robust warranty might not even been needed. Philips says their bollards are weatherproof and should last up to 25,000 hours.

Its important to keep in mind, you must buy each individual bollard separately. You connect each separate bollard with each other with the included connecting cable T connectors. Each bollard comes with 16 feet of connecting cable and a T connector. In addition, you must buy the Philipps Hue brand outdoor power supply unit separately, connecting one of you chained bollards to it. The power supply unit connects to your power normal outlet in your backyard. Also note, one Philips Hue power supply unit can only handle five bollards maximum, so you must buy more power supplies and have outlet space if you want more than five bollards. Furthermore, you must also own a Philips Hue Hub to control the light. With regard to sizing up your backyard for the bollards, Philips says:

For best connectivity your first Philips Hue outdoor light should be located within 30 ft from the hub or the closest hue light in your house. You can extend the distance up tp 60 ft from one hue outdoor light to the next one.

Thus, I want to make this clear, to get started, you must buy each bollard separately, and you must buy at least one power supply separately (it can handle 5 bollards), and you must buy one Philips Hue Hub if you don’t already own one.


2. Ring Pathlight

The Ring Pathlight is cheaper than the Phillips Hue Calla, but it lacks the RGB colors. The Ring Pathlight bulb is only available in white.

The Ring Solar Path lights max out at 80 lumens (while the Philips Hue bollards peak at 600 lumens), so these Right lights are only for slight ambience and lighting at feet. Still, in the dark of night, the Rings Pathlights still look cool turned on in your yard or garden.

Nevertheless, the Ring Pathlights are better than Philips Hue Bollards in terms of convenience because the Rings lights do not need a power connection. You buy the Ring Lights in either battery or solar powered options (the solar version costs slightly more).

You can control the Ring lights using Alexa or the Ring App, or you can set them to turn on with motion, and you can choose to receive notifications when each light is activated by motion. The Phips Hue Calla does not offer these security features.

The Ring Pathlight is more economical than the Phillips Hue Calla because each starter kit includes 4 lights and one bridge for just over the price of a single Philips Hue Calla bollard. Note as well, on Amazon you have the choice to buy between 2 and 6 lights in each kit unlike Philips.


The Best Outdoor Wall Lights

1. Bowery Outdoor Wall Sconce

The Bowery Outdoor Wall Scone looks fantastic.  We thought it looked very nice connected above our backdoor.  The big clear glass panes showcased my LED smart Edison bulb beautifully, allowing enough light to brighten up the deck for most evening activities.

The price is very reasonable and you can buy this light in 1 packs, 2 packs and 4 packs (saving money the more you buy).

The Bowery Outdoor Wall Scone goes so well with both modern and traditional architecture. Clean lines and uncontroversial design make them a hit for everyone.

You can make this a “smart outdoor wall light” by choosing, well, a good smart bulb. This way you can control the light going on off with a timer on your phone. I recommend a smart Edison bulb because that looks best (warm or cool). Not only will the bulb look cool when you stare directly at it, but the yellow hue from light will light up you yard very handsomely.

Keep in mind this is a hardwired outdoor wall light. You cannot just plug it in like most of the other lights we chose to highlight in this article.

Recommended bulb from the manufacturer: E26/A19 (warm or cool), 60W or LED bulb.


2. Philips Hue Econic

Philips does it again. Is it any wonder they are the undisputed leader in outdoor lighting?

The Econic outdoor wall light is stunning and would have taken first place in this best-of-list had it not been for its high price tag. Still, if you have chosen Philips Hue for all your other smart lights in and outside the home, you might as well splurge for this bad boy too!

The included bulb is 1150 lumens, so you are getting a good max brightness level, although that can be dimmed using any of the big smart home apps (i.e. Google, Apple and Amazon home apps).

The bulb is RGB, so you can set it at any one of 16 million colors. We liked dark yellow/brown the best most days, but cyberpunk purple looked cool too at a party we hosted in the backyard. Yes, you can just do white if you like (or any warm/cool variation of white).

The Econic smart outdoor wall and ceiling light comes equipped with all the different mounting components you would need for any material attachment (deck, brick, etc.) in your backyard. Set up is a breeze. What’s more, you can install this light on the wall or one the ceiling of your verandah. It looks great either way it is installed.

However, keep in mind however, this is a hard-wired outdoor wall light. You cannot plug it in to an outlet or use a Philips Hue Power Supply. Note as well that you will need a Philips Hue Hub if you don’t already own one.


The Best Outdoor Spot Lights

1. Philips Hue Lily Spot Lights

Philips hue plug and play RGB Lily spotlights add pizazz to your yard, creating a neat ambiance for any setting. Like all Phips Hue color products you can customize the bulbs to display one of 16,000,000 colors and you can even have several colors in yard for a cool theme if you have multiple spot lights.

Have your Philips Hue lights turn on automatically by setting schedules or use the sunset/sunrise routine which are both controlled by all the big smart apps.

However, keep in kind that like all the other Philips Hue outdoor lights, you will need to buy a separate Hue Bridge base kit to operate (if you don’t already have one). But, unlike the Philips bollards (reviewed above), you don’t need to buy a separate power cable as the base unit packs come with all cables you need to plug in.

You can extend the Lily spotlights by buying more 3-packs or individual packs. And you can even connect these Lily spotlights with Philips Hue Ballard Pathlights to make a cool nightscape in your backyard oasis.

Philips Hue outdoor lighting really is a game changer in turning any backyard, garden or patio into something truly special.  At 600 lumens (which can be dimmable), you can do a lot magic with these Lily spotlights in particular. Think of all the cool seasonal ambience you can shine on your house or garden at Christmas or Halloween.


2. Ring Battery-Powered Smart Flood Light

This 600 lumen flood light, without a camera, from Ring adds security and safety lighting to your yard without the need of a power outlet or hardwire. All you need is 4 D batteries and you are good to go. To that end, we loved that this floodlight can be placed anywhere in your backyard,  not just a wall since no power connection is required. It is 100% wireless.

The price is very reasonable for what you get: 600 Lumens of LED lighting, motion sensor and one Ring Bridge to place indoors so you can get notifications, customize settings, turn off/on and connect to other Ring devices.

It is bright, but not very ambient. And there is no color choice. So avoid this light if you are looking for that wow-factor. But if you are looking for something easy that lights up well with motion, this is the one.

Lastly, we don’t like that Ring products don’t work with the Apple Home app and it doesn’t work well with Google Home.

In summary, I would really only recommend this wall light if you are looking for something for motion / security only, not just to spruce up the look of your yard at night. However, it is a great flood flight and I do recommend it for the purpose it serves.


Best Outdoor String Lights

1. Addlon Outdoor String Lights

These fancy looking soft white glow bistro lights will transform your yard into a Savanah in no time.

Addlon is big brand name in lighting, so you can trust this product will be of higher-end quality and build.

Each strand contains 15 incandescent bulbs.

These aren’t LED, and they aren’t’ smart, but they have true “Edison” style beauty and they can be dimmed if you have a dimmer switch. If you are looking for a classy look, not an RGB or cold LED look, go for this splurge (they are expensive). These are the real deal. Beware, they will last less time, but you can change the bulbs whenever you need to (the bulbs are included with the purchase price).


2. Phlips Hue Lightstrip Outdoor

Phlips Hue rounds out another outdoor light product with its very own strip of RGB lighting for the yard.

The Outdoor Lightstrip is WET rated, which means it is fully weatherproof and can withstand all weather conditions. Plus, like all the other Philips Hue outdoor lighting products, the Outdoor Lighstrip comes equipped with 25,000 hours of playtime and a 2 year warranty.

Place it into the ground to highlight your garden or path, or attach it to your deck or exterior with the included clips and screws. Then, simply plug it into a power outlet. The power supply unit is included!

Philips Hue outdoor Lightstrip features a special coating that diffuses the emitted light. As a result, there is no need to hide the light strip, whether you’re using it for direct or indirect lighting ∙ all you see is pure light.

Note, like all Philips Hue outdoor lighting products, you will need a Hue Hub. In addition, if you want to extend it beyond 7 feet, you can buy one more (note: only two 7-metre Lightstrips can be on one power supply). In that regard, this is not a great solution if you need a really long strip (14 feet plus).


Honorable Mention: Govee Outdoor String Lights 

One of the only true smart outdoor “string” lights (i.e. smart LED bulbs that hang on string), the Govee is an affordable, brand name solution for ambient lighting in the sky in your yard.

Yes, they don’t look as nice as legit Edison wire wattage bulbs, and they are made from plastic not glass, but they last 25x longer and they are 7x times brighter on max settings (they are 150 lumens, although this can be dimmed in the app). Not to mention, you can control the brightness and flicker speed to customize your scene.

Still, we didn’t love that you can’t control the lights on an App of your choice. You had to use the included remote control.


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