Outdoor lighting or Solar Garden Lights come in a variety of forms and material including stainless steel and pvc units. However newer products also allow solar lights to be inserted into rocks and pavers as well. Over the past 4 -5 years the quality and illumination provided by these lights has improved markedly. We review what to look for in solar garden lights and point out some of the best features.
Batteries for outdoor solar lights
Most run on either Ni-Cd, AAA or Ni-Cd, AA batteries however the Ni-MH batteries seems to last longer.
As with all garden lighting solar powered outdoor lighting may be set low to the ground or raised on poles. Solar lighting units will turn on at dusk and provide a guide for pathways and driveways as well as lighting features in the garden. Most units do not provide bright illumination and are more or a guide for pathways.
In terms of price solar lights are a great way to light your driveway, garden path or can even provide illumination for a garden feature or special plant.
Solar garden lights come in Stainless Steel and PVC. Solar garden lighting will probably not be as bright as a 12v mains powered garden lighting system, but it can do the job, and its a breeze to install. Most come with a ‘post’ that is pushed or screwed into the ground and come as individual units.
Solar garden lights for ‘low light’ positions
What about areas that receive little sunlight. How does solar lighting work here ?Some come as sets of lights with a separate solar panel, as the panel can be installed some distance away from the lights this can be an excellent choice for areas in a lot of shade during the day.
Motion Sensing outdoor Solar Lights
Yes you can get them, they usually work by having 1 set of LED lights that provide a low level of light and another set that provide extra light when motion is sensed.
How do solar garden lights work.?
Solar outdoor lights and garden lights work by storing energy from the sun during the day, and turning on automatically at night. The storage capacity of many garden lights is really quite small, however improved models are becoming available.
It is possible to connect solar garden or outdoor lighting to a battery back up so that usage in and power is increased. These systems are more expensive that simple garden solar lighting but may prove to be more efficient and longer lasting.
The most common form of solar lighting for garden use are simple ‘spike solar garden type lights’, often available in packs of 4 – 10 these consist of a spike that is designed to push into the ground and a light with a small solar panel on the top. These are great to provide a guide along a path or driveway.
In ground or ‘recessed outdoor solar lights’ are usually connected to a remote solar panel, they can be used in paths or decking.
Some of the best and brightest solar garden lights we have seen are ‘bollard outdoor solar lights’, lights are lifted from ground level and as these are larger they allow a different technology that can provide longer lasting and brighter lights.The best we have seen is the ‘Brilliant’ LED Motion Sensing Solar Bollard.
The advantages of all of these designs is that they are solar and low voltage, most require no wiring expertise and electrical cost are non existent.
As for solar flood lights, we have yet to see any that are efficient.
How long do solar garden light last?
This depends on a number of factors including the placement of the light, the weather (cloudy days can reduce charging) the batteries and the unit itself, some are better than others. Suppliers are constantly bringing out improved models with longer lasting and brighter lighting properties.