I’ll tell you something after hours of testing — outdoor flameless candles are better than the real thing. I wasn’t a believer at first, but my wife convinced me to bring a set home. I was simply blown away at how much I ended up liking them. So much so that I went overboard and bought a ton more. Most sets are less than ~$30 or so, so it has actually proven to be one of my less expensive obsessions. But with all of this experience in hand, I decided I’d sit down and make a list of the best outdoor flameless candles.
Why Flameless Candles?
I made a lot of bold statements above. Is it really possible that flameless candles can capture the romantic glow of actual candlelight? Don’t you lose some of the realism by going flameless? Before I dive into specific candles, let me qualify some of those statements. While some of the romance is lost, I ended up loving outdoor flameless candles because they shared the following characteristics.
First things first. The outdoor flameless candles featured are battery operated. This means no dealing with lost lighters, wet matches, or irritating smoke. Most of the lights are LED as well, which means low power consumption (and by extension, reduced battery change frequency).
That’s right. Outdoor flameless candles can be waterproof. This is perfect for exposed outdoor spaces. No one wants an unplanned rainstorm to kill their light source! While there are water-resistant combustible candles, nothing quite comes close to the waterproof candles I tested.
All of the outdoor flameless candles I’ve listed below feature realistic flickering. Some models achieve this better than others, but they all do a fairly good job at mimicking the real thing. I won’t tell you that it’s 100% accurate, but it’s good enough to fool my aunt! She was amazed to learn the candles I had “burning” weren’t actually real.
Many of these flameless candles are able to be remote controlled. This is a great thing, as most sets come with between 9 and 18 units per pack. It would be a huge pain in the rear if you had to manually turn 18 candles on and off! Not to mention, it looks really, really cool. You can press one button on a remote and have a dozen flickering lights fade-in. The effect is both futuristic and rustic at the same time.
On A Timer
Quite a few models also have a timer included, simplifying the turn-off process even further. If you know you’re going to be going to bed in an hour, you simply set a timer for an hour and a half. You can leave your candles unattended with no risk of fire and no worry that the batteries will go dead.
The Best Outdoor Flameless Candles
Without further ado, let’s get down to business. Here are my top picked for the best outdoor flameless candles.
For the best overall flameless candle, I’m not sure you could ask for anything more. They’re moderately realistic, has a remote and a timer, and do everything you’d expect. However, I did end up having better experiences in specific areas with some of the other products I tested. Let’s evaluate the best value flameless candle I tested.
Sometimes price isn’t a major concern in the purchasing decision. When products are as inexpensive as flameless candles, it can make sense to target realism / quality above other aspects. There was one product in particular that caught my eye for realism.
Finally, there’s an honorable mention that I’d like to include here. While this didn’t particularly impress me in any of the criteria, it has a coolness factor far above the other products.
Best LED Lantern
Don’t Forget Batteries
Each of the candles above takes either a AA or AAA battery (except for the lanterns and the Antizer, which require 2 AAs each). You’ll want to stock up if you plan on having the same kind of outdoor flameless candle party that I did. Luckily, I stock up on all types of batteries whenever I see them on sale. However, if you don’t have a stockpile you need to pick up a few packs (regardless of the product you choose).
Luckily, LED lights are fairly energy efficient. You’ll get many, many hours of usage out of a single battery for all of the products I shared.
You might be wondering about the reliability of the candles above. Well, to be honest, so am I. I haven’t had any go dead on me yet (except for one that arrived broken, but the manufacturer sent a new one for no charge). I’ll report back if any of the outdoor flameless candles I bought kick the bucket. To put it in perspective, I’ve used them all for over a dozen nights so far.