Solar garden lights utilise the suns power to charge a small battery, which powers a light after darkness. These are great for garden areas and other outdoor spaces. Unlike other garden lights, they use no electricity and do not require regular battery changes. This means that they are a great environmentally friendly lighting option for your outside areas. Unfortunately most people have had negative experiences with solar garden lighting, simply because many models on the market are poorly made and have poor quality solar cells. However, a good quality solar light will produce light for many years, is completely safe and costs nothing to run!
Are all cheap solar garden lights poor quality?
Cheap solar garden lights are usually poor quality and do not give off enough light to be useful for safety purposes. This means that you shouldn’t rely on them for things such as lighting a path or an entry area to your home. Despite the fact that they will not light up a large area, they can be used for marking footpaths, garden edges and other obstacles. They are also suitable for decorative uses and can actually work out cheaper than other types of decorative garden lights. They can also be left running indefinitely without impacting significantly on their performance. Most solar lights, even cheap models, will run for at least a few hours into the night. More expensive models have the ability to auto switch on at night and off once the sun rises to begin a charging cycle.
A Choice review of solar lights in 2009 concluded that solar lights are purely decorative.
What are the best solar lights?
If you want a solar light that is capable of lighting up an area after dark you should choose a light with the best light intensity rating possible. Most solar lights use LED’s, which use little power. In addition to this the battery is also an important consideration and it is always best to choose a battery technology that copes well with regular discharge and charge cycles. One of the best type of batteries for this purpose is LiFePO4 (also called LiPo or Lithium Polymer). This type of battery copes well with the constant charge-discharge cycle of a solar light, but the downside is that LiFePO4 batteries are quite expensive. Each solar light is rated for nightly run time, but most cheap lights fail to deliver this because the capacity of the low quality batteries deteriorate quickly. Another great option is the motion sensor solar light because these only work when they are needed. Another important consideration is the quality of the solar cell, because a high quality solar cell is capable of providing enough charge to power your lights for many nights. However, these features do not come cheap and this means that the best solar garden lights cost upwards of $100.
Installation and Maintenance
Solar lights are a simple DIY install and most require screwing or pushing the lantern into the upright post and then simply pushing the unit into the ground until it stands upright. Some solar lights come with mounting brackets and screws so they can be fixed to existing surfaces, but these lights are also relatively simple to install. Some solar light manufacturers have begun to use a separate solar panel, which have a cord running to the lights. Not only does this allow for a larger solar panel to be used, but also allows you to install solar lights in shaded areas. The most important factor when installing any type of solar light is that the solar cell is placed in a position where it receives the most amount of sunlight possible. Your light will usually come with a recommended hours of sunlight rating and it is best to exceed this if possible. Another important consideration for installation is the security of your solar lights. These lights are targets for thieves because they are easily removed, so some kind of permanent anchor is a good idea.This type of light requires very little maintenance. The LED globes will run for many years without needing to be changed. The batteries should last 2-3 years and they are very simple to change when desired. It is also a good idea to clean your lights from time to time. This increases the efficiency of your solar cell and the brightness of your lights.