Best solar powered water feature for free flow form

Cascading decorative garden features that cost nothing to run.

solar powered water feature

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

The best solar powered water features give you the sight and sound of trickling water with zero drain on your electricity. Garden water features come in all shapes and sizes. If you're looking for a compact, robust and self-contained feature that's easy to install and maintain, these 'plug-in and play' water fountains are an affordable option.

Enjoy the sound of running water even in the tiniest of spaces. There are small water features, starting at 20cm and weighing less than 2kg, which is perfect for a window sill or tabletop. Larger features can be one metre and weigh 100kg. This would be ideal for a quiet corner of the garden. Like a garden water bowl, these gently rippling fountains cast abstract shapes that are mesmerising and deeply relaxing to meditate on.

The best solar powered water feature at a glance:

Best overall solar powered garden water feature: Direct Global Trading Solar Powered Garden Water Feature with LED Lights - view on Amazon UK
Best metallic solar powered water feature: Sphere Modern Metal Solar Water Feature - view on B&Q
Best cascading solar powered water feature: Genoa Cascade - view on Waitrose Garden

Lower stress levels with tranquil running water all year round. Solar powered water features charge an internal lithium battery, so it can be enjoyed in any weather. These decorative water features don't require direct sunlight all the time. They will work in cloudy conditions and in the evenings. The solar cell uses some of the converted electricity to run a water pump, while the rest is stored in the battery. Choose the power source - solar or battery - at the flick of a switch. Additionally, some water features come with a mains adapter. This allows you to charge up the battery indoors when it's dull weather.

Solar powered water features are a safe option around children and pets because the water reservoir is hidden and there are no wires or sockets to poke at. It's essential to position it in a sunny spot, or opt for a product that has a separate solar panel. Place this in full sun and wire it back to the water pump. Some water features come with 10 metres of cabling. Just bear in mind that trees, outdoor buildings and fences all cast shadows. For lots more tips and advice on these fountains of wellbeing, scroll to the FAQs at the end of this article.

Best solar powered water feature

Best overall solar powered garden water feature

Create a zen-like zone at the bottom of the garden with the Direct Global Trading Solar Powered Garden Water Feature with LED Lights. The cascading water creates gently rippling pools that infinitely overspill into each other. The beauty of this particular water feature is that it has a built-in battery so if the sun isn't shining it will still work. A pitted stone effect that realistically resembles charcoal making it appear a lot more expensive than it is. Also, it has five metres of cable to the separate solar panel which gives you more freedom to position the fountain.

Customer review: "On a clear sky sunny day, the solar panel charges the battery so that when the sun goes down it’ll still flow the water and display the lights. As well as charge the battery, it also simultaneously runs the pump in the beautiful sunshine. On a day with broken clouds, it’ll charge (and run) when the sun is out and then rely on charges energy when the sun goes behind the clouds. On a dark cloudy day without any sunshine it’ll only run if you’ve got enough energy stored from when it was previously sunny."

Pros

  • Battery back-up function
  • Lights up
  • Five metre cable gives more scope to position it

Cons

  • Some customers have commented on the battery not lasting very long

Best metallic solar powered water feature

Sphere Modern Metal Solar Water Feature
Price: £147.24

www.diy.com

Enjoy shapely water with the Sphere Modern Metal Solar Water Feature. This striking self-contained water feature has a five metre cable on its solar panel, giving you more scope for positioning it. Additionally, it comes with a battery back up, which is pretty essential given Blighty's changeable weather. With integrated lighting, this gorgeous sphere will make the dullest of days seem serene.

Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Long cable
  • Battery back up
  • Lights up

Cons

  • No customer reviews yet

Best solar fountain for a bird bath

SZMP Solar Fountain Bird Bath Fountain
Price: $16.98

Pop the SZMP Solar Fountain Bird Bath Fountain in a bird bath for an instant water feature. It's made of glass so it won't corrode and it converts sunlight to energy more efficiently. There are seven different nozzle styles to give a variety of fountain effects. As well as a bird bath, you could place it in a pond or a swimming pool for a bit of fun decoration. We think this is superb value and it's available in a range of colours. Also, there are versions with LED lights for a vibrant water and light show.

Customer review: "Bought as a present as my sister wanted a water feature but l didn't want to dig up the patio to install electrical pump. Absolutely spectacular instant fountain. The plume is quite tall so you'll need a fairly large pot to put it in or you'll need to keep refilling the container, especially if it's windy. Ideal for a pond. Solar powered so practically silent. So brilliant I bought one for myself."

Pros

  • Lots of styles available
  • Very effective solar panel

Cons

  • Needs full sun to work well

Best cascading solar powered water feature

The Genoa Cascade has tiered geometric shapes and a rough-hewn stone effect finish give this tumbling feature plenty of impact. The recirculating water brings life and movement to a sunny spot in the garden and attracts wildlife too. It does need positioning in direct sunlight in order to work. Additionally, to protect this water feature from frost damage, empty the water and store the whole unit inside in the winter.

Pros

  • Attracts birds
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • No customer reviews

Best solar powered water feature for a zen garden

These beautiful ceramic pots gently cascade water and recirculates it so there's no need for regular refilling. The Garden Mile Ceramic Charcoal Solar Powered Water Feature creates a peaceful ambience with it's tranquil overflowing bowls. The solar panel is on a three metre wire, so it can be positioned in direct sun, giving you wider freedom to place the water feature where it best suits in your zen garden.

Customer review: "Bought to replace previous water feature. Nice glaze feature and stays cleaner. Birds love to drink from it. Very happy."

Pros

  • Relaxing sound
  • Wider possibilities to position the feature as solar panel on a three metre wire
  • Handcrafted appeal

Cons

  • Only works in direct sunlight

Best light up solar powered water feature

There's something very pleasing about water falling from a height, even more so when it's lit by a warm glow. This Teamson Home Solar Powered Water Feature is a tall stone effect waterfall that can be positioned indoors of outside and it has a battery back up for dull days. Listen to the soothing sound of water all year round thanks to the rechargeable lithium battery. The Grecian design looks like stone, but it's actually polyresin which has the benefit of being lightweight and weather resistant.

Customer review: "It was worth the wait the fountain has been working all day , so tranquil and relaxing just watching the water trickling down the front panel wall, then night time comes and the fountain lights up it just keeps on giving - work every penny."

Pros

  • Weather resistant
  • Battery back-up
  • Lights up

Cons

  • Resin can become brittle and fade with prolonged exposure to sunlight

Best wood effect solar powered garden water feature

Perfect for a sunken patio, this Bubbling Wood Effect Solar Water Feature brings animation to a nook in need of interest. With visual and sound appeal, this resin fountain provides year-round garden decoration as it can run on a rechargeable battery. Also, there's five metre of cable between the solar panel and the water feature, so if you can play with where you position it.

Pros

  • Battery back up
  • LED lighting

Cons

  • No customer reviews yet

Best solar powered Buddha garden water feature

A Buddha statue brings a sense of completeness to a garden and this handmade water feature brings the added serenity of flowing water. This would look stunning elevated on a table or pedestal but do remember it will be heavier when filled with water. The Solar Stone Buddha Fountain Outdoor Garden Water creates a calm ambiance and did you know that moving water acts as a natural humidifier?

Customer review: "It only works when the sun is constantly on it."

Pros

  • Lights up
  • Handmade

Cons

  • Only works in sunlight, not artificial light

Best vertical solar powered water feature

A vertical water feature for your garden retreat. The two-tier Arha Resin Solar Fountain with Light has water dripping from the top that forms gentle streams that are delicately lit by LED lights. Enjoy quiet trickles on sunny days with recirculating water in a durable resin ornamental feature. Because this fountain has a small footprint it's ideal for a balcony or restricted outdoor space.

Pros

  • Lights up
  • Gentle
  • Rust and weather resistant

Cons

  • No customer reviews yet

Best resin solar powered water feature

The South Hadley Resin Solar Spilling Bowls is perfect for a conservatory or a summer house. It has a seven metre cable, giving you great freedom for where you position it. A back-up battery can power it for up to six hours when there's no sun. This will look lovely outside in the summer, but we recommend bringing it indoors for the colder months as a strong wind could send this feature flying.

Customer review: "This product is exactly what I wanted, very nice looking and such good service, received with in a couple of days of ordering."

Pros

  • Long cable
  • Weather resistant resin

Cons

  • A bit delicate for bad weather

What to consider when choosing a solar powered water feature

First of all, consider the aspect of your outdoor space. Notice where the sun falls throughout the day and which areas receive the most amount of direct sunlight. If you have a consistently sunny spot then you can go for a water feature with an integrated solar panel. In contrast, if your garden is shaded opt for one that has a separate solar panel on a long cable. Position the panel in the brightest place which will power the water feature where ever you choose to put it. Also, some solar-powered features convert to main power with an adapter.

Wall-hung water features are ideal if you're short on space. But do bear in mind the weight when it has a full tank of water.

If you're worried that a water feature may be too noisy, go to a garden centre to view demonstration models. You can gauge whether a bubbling peddle pool or a cascade is best for you.

Water features come in a range of materials. Resin and plastic are cheaper, however over time they can fade and become brittle in direct sunlight or a hot conservatory. Natural materials will be long-lasting and age in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Finally, water will evaporate from the feature so be sure to occasionally top it up. Algae can also build up and result in green water, so use a water treatment such as Fountain Fresh once a month to prevent this.

FAQs

What are the pros and cons of solar powered water features?

The beauty of a solar powered water feature is that everything is built into one unit. You simply pop it into position, fill with water and let the sun charge it into action. No need to call the electrician, they are super easy to install and maintain.

Modern Gardens asked Jon Hart, customer services director at Water Gardening Direct Ltd for his advice on solar powered water features.

“The biggest factors when buying a water feature are its appearance and compatibility with your space. But also consider how easy it is to install, what noise it makes and how to look after it,” says Jon Hart. “Solar and battery-powered features are simple to install because you don’t need a mains cable. I call them ‘plug and play’ options. They are supplied with everything you need to get started, just add water.

“The disadvantage is that they do not have continuous power – solar will only operate when the sunlight is strong enough, while batteries will need changing at some point.”

How do I look after my solar powered water feature?

“Water loss can be a result of evaporation, but it can also be caused by the wind catching and dispersing any cascading water in outdoor features,” explains Jon. “If the feature runs out of water the pump will run dry and probably burn out. Check it every few days and top up if necessary.”

Keeping water clean is important, especially if there are children around. “Once the chlorine has evaporated, water starts to build up bacteria,” says Jon Hart. “This isn’t a threat to most people, or to wildlife, but youngsters can suffer upset tummies if they ingest dirty water. Depending on the size of the feature, use a few drops or a capful of Milton Sterilising Fluid to sterilise the water.

In winter, water freezes and expands, which can crack a water feature. Jon says, “Most are frost safe, so won’t be damaged in cold weather, but are not ice proof. When icy weather looms, drain, clean and store your water feature somewhere dry. If you leave it in place, drain, clean and cover it to prevent it from filling up with water.”

You could invest in a protective cover or empty it and bring the water feature inside.

What to read next:

The best zen garden water features for your peaceful oasis

Best small water feature for limited space

Affordable water features under £150 to bring tranquillity

Discover everything you need to know to make your outside space look fantastic, quickly and easily, with hundreds of simple ideas, designer tricks, affordable products and expert advice with a Modern Gardens Membership. Find out more about the benefits of being a Member now.

Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for Modern Gardens, specialising in garden trends. When she's not flexing her mow-how, Natalie is a successful artist and illustrator.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us