Want to bring some sun light into the night time? Having the best outdoor solar lights is a great energy saving way to bring light onto your home. Solar powered lights are now highly sophisticated and efficient, with discreet solar panels that are no longer an eyesore. Let’s find out more about why you should go solar, and how to choose the best solar lighting solution for your home.
Outdoor solar lights vs regular outdoor lights
Why would you choose solar outdoor lights over regular outdoor lights?
Solar lighting has many advantages over regular outdoor lighting. Being solar powered means you can charge them up largely for free, and the recent developments solar technology are now sophisticated enough to hold their charge for long periods with light to regular use. Most modern solar lights have very efficient photo voltaic cells (the cells of a solar battery where power is stored) and improved circuits to help your lights store and use their energy only when they need it.
This is an important factor for outdoor lights which are used all year round, particularly on short winter days when there is less time for your lights to charge up. Another great advantage of solar outdoor lighting – no need to worry about running ugly cables around your backyard or down the side of your house to keep your lights running.
What if you don’t get much direct sun?
Even if you don’t live in the desert or on the equator, you can still benefit from solar lighting. If you have a shady back yard, you can have a solar panel professionally installed for you in another location ( such as your roof) which captures more sunlight during the day.
What are the best outdoor solar lights for me?
There are many different types of solar powered outdoor lighting available – what will you be using yours for?
Driveway lighting, landscape lighting, Christmas lights, fairy lights – all of these can be powered by our favourite star, the Sun.
Your application will dictate many things but most importantly how and where you will position them around your home. Driveway lights may be better installed low to the ground and in multiple locations along your driveway, to create an aeroplane runway effect.
Now you know why solar outdoor lights are a great option, how do you choose the best version for you? Here are 7 great tips for choosing the best solar outdoor lights:
4 Key Tips for choosing the best outdoor solar lights
Tip 1. Function and Light Quality
Are you trying to host a dinner party or catch a burglar? This may seem like a silly question but it’s a important one – choosing the best outdoor lights means knowing exactly what their function will be. If you have a few different needs and have to make tight use of your space or budget, consider lights with multiple settings. Many of the better solar lights will have dimmer light settings, so you can adjust the brightness as you need it without using unnecessary power.
The light quality should be the second most important feature of your solar outdoor setup. The best solar lights can be comparable in the brightness to LED lights, which is great if you are looking to set up a security light or flood light.
You may have noticed streetlights with solar panels are become more and more common. This is because solar lights are now strong and reliable enough for drivers to rely on. Other public monuments such as flagpoles and sculptures can also be fitted with solar lighting. Here a softer or more colorful light to may be more appropriate to create a reflective or respectful mood.
These lights may also feature an automatic timer for when the sun goes down, which is also a handy feature also to have for Christmas lights .Will you need the lights on all the time? A super bright solar security light may be useful with a motion sensor to wake up you when necessary, but you may want to leave your pathway lights on all night for safety, or to create a lush romantic glow across your backyard.
Tip 2: Location
On the ground, off the wall or in a tree, you will be able to find a light to fit any of these spots. Once again knowing how you will use your solar outdoor lights will make your decision for you. The key to good landscape lighting is picking a few elements you wish to draw attention to, for example a water fountain or flower beds, and planning your light layout around them.
Solar string lights when hung from trees or planted in the ground in a random pattern can bring a magical ambiance to any garden. There are so many solutions available for moutning your lights -whether you want to stake them in the ground or hang them on your fence you will be able to find a solar light to achieve this. Some lights like the ones from InnoGear have multi-function mounts – meaning you can move your lights from the lawn up onto the wall without hassle.
The same principle applies to solar security lighting, the only difference is you want to draw attention to vandals creeping across your front yard instead of your bird bath. For this reason security lights are always more effective in high locations, such as roofs, the sides of buildings and on trees. This provides greater visibility and makes it harder for trespassers to reach up and tamper with them.
You will also need to consider the location of the solar panel. Many solar landscape and pathway lights have the solar panel integrated into each individual light, but hanging lights such as solar string lights and solar fairy lights usually have a small external panel. Be wary of mounting your panel below trees or under the eaves of your roof, you need to pick a spot where your panel will get as much direct sunlight as possible.
Tip 3: Climate
Your local weather will play a huge part in how successful your solar lights work. Many solar outdoor lights need at least several hours of sunlight to reach a full charge. If you live in a more tropical climate this may not be an issue, but in areas prone to cloudy overcast days you may find that your battery may not charge efficiently.
Other environmental factors such as rain, wind, snow and even excessive sunlight over a long period of time can also effect the longevity of your solar lights. As it is an electrical appliance, your solar lights should always be waterproof, or at the very least water resistant.
The way to get around this is to pick the toughest most efficient light for your part of the world, and locate them around your home where they will be most protected.
Tip 4: Efficiency and cost savings
Let’s be realistic for a minute – yes outdoor solar lighting may be better for the planet, but you will making the switch to save on your electricity bill. Smaller lights with lower wattage can run for around 6-8 hours straight on a full charge, solar spot lights and security lights may require longer, as they may also need to power a motion sensor. As contrary as it sounds, to get the most savings out of your lights you need to invest in a decent energy efficient circuit.
At this point I would suggest bringing in the professionals – your local solar installer or electrician will be able to make the best recommendation for your solar setup to suit your space, budget and climate. The fewer obstacles, curves and breaks in your circuit the smoother the flow of electricity through your circuit.
It may be more cost effective to invest in a family of products from the one brand which have been designed to work together to run the most efficient circuit, instead of wasting time and money trying to throw a whole lot of cheaper alternative solar lights together and hoping for the best.
Tip 5: Style
This is the real fun begins! Just like regular outdoor lighting, solar lights come in many shapes and sizes, styles and fashions. On Amazon alone you can find beautiful solar string lanterns for hanging on your balcony, or a 19th century street light to sit at the entrance to your home.
What are some good solar light brands?
There are plenty of good solar outdoor lighting brands to choose from, many of which specialize in a particular style or application of lighting.
I have listed some great brands to choose from depending on what type of solar light you are looking for:
Solar Landscape lights:
InnoGear have got some clever landscape light solutions for those on a budget. Versatile and adaptable, InnoGear offer 2 in 1 lights which can be mounted on the wall or stuck into the ground with a stake. Available in packs of 2, InnoGear lights also come with an auto timer for sunrise and sunset. You can find some of InnoGear’s great lights here on Amazon.
Solar Driveway Lights:
Moonrays offer some really elegant solar solutions for lighting up your driveway or pathway. The Payton Path Lights are activated only at dusk, so that they don’t discharge energy during the day.They come in a more traditional candle or torch shape, which adds an element of sophistication over some of the more industrial looking lights on the market.
The faceted lens creates a welcoming bright light, backed up by an energy efficient 2.4 Lumen long life LED. Available on Amazon in economic packs of 8, these lights are weatherproof and can be easily installed into your lawn or garden bed.
Solar String and Fairy lights:
Ucharge have a beautiful range of simple solar string lights for your home. Their wide range of patterns and finishes make it easy to find a set of gorgeous solar lights to wrap around your christmas tree or along your front fence.
Inst are another great solar light brand specializing in longer light sets with many smaller string lights. These are great if you are trying to create a fairy light effect with your solar lights.
Solar Security and Flood lights:
The Litom range of solar sensor and security lights offer an attractive and subtle light solution, which is fairly unusual in this market. Many solar security lights feature an ugly external solar panel, but Litom have managed to integrate their panel into an elegant package, with a powerful 26 ft range of visibility.
My number one tip – Just remember that you are limited only by your imagination. Outdoor solar technology is now so advanced and affordable, you have almost no excuse but to include some of these great lighting options the next time you need to perk up your home.