Solar lights are an easy and affordable way to transform your home’s outdoor space into something magical, while still being energy efficient. Buying these energy solutions can prove to be a bit of a challenge, however, since there are so many options available on the market.
It’s great to have the variety, it can make narrowing down the options more difficult for new buyers. Some lighting systems are durable and hold up in all weather conditions, while others are prone to break during the summer season.
Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve compiled everything you need to know about buying outdoor solar lights below. With the buying guide, you’ll be able to determine what types are best for you and what features are most important in your decision-making process.
Let’s get started.
What are Outdoor Solar Lights?
Outdoor light solar is a new technology that harnesses the power of the sun to create lighting outdoors, even when it gets dark. As compared to the conventional kind of lights that require electrical hook up, these lights are more efficient and far easier to set up. Using a renewable source of energy, you’ll never worry about not having light.
You might not even realize that you’ve seen all kinds of these lights – on the streets, in a solar garden, backyards, etc.
How Does Solar Light Work?
Solar panel lights are simple. Their foundation is called the photovoltaic panel, also known as the PV panel. This collects the solar energy from the sun by absorbing the sunlight it gives off during the daytime.
Once collected, the solar outdoor energy is transformed into electric and then stored within the solar panel battery.
Once the sun sets, the best LED solar lights can be turned on for whatever your lighting needs may be. As long as you set the light up in an area where it gets plenty of sunlight, you’ll be able to use energy from it for years to come!
In addition to the PV panel, the light’s best feature is its controllers. In many cases, these are designed to work as smart switches to turn the light on whenever it is needed.
Benefits of Outdoor Solar Lights
If you’re new to the world of solar panel LED lights, then you probably have questions about how they work and benefit homeowners.
There are plenty of advantages when it comes to the best solar lights. To introduce you to these benefits, we’re listing them below:
Lighting solar energy is an incredibly environmentally friendly option to brighten your outdoor spaces. Solar powered options produce sustainable electricity by capturing energy from our most renewable energy source: the sun.
Because of this, they play a big role in the reduction of our global carbon footprint. By gradually shifting from a traditional model of power to a solar powered model, we can make big leaps towards that end goal.
The more people adapt to these kinds of solar outdoor lights, the more we can slow down the rate at which we’re exhausting our planet’s resources.\
Powering lights outside for 8 hours or even 10 hours can cost a lot when you’re relying on traditional electricity. But with one of these systems, you can power for hours on end without making a dent in your utility bill. Solar powered LED lights may cost more as an up-front investment, but they will quickly save you money on each monthly electric bill.
The money you save over just a few months, the more you will be able to make up for the initial cost of the solar panels!
Another great aspect is that they’re very low maintenance, which means less work for you! You don’t need to replace any wires, as the solar powered options don’t have any! They’re also weather resistant so you don’t need to worry about them getting fried by a storm or getting toppled by the wind. While you’ll want to still do a few annual check-ups and cleanings throughout the year, it doesn’t take much more to increase the lifespan of your outdoor solar lights.
Options to Choose From
There’s a wide variety of solar lighting styles that you can choose from when you’re in the market to buy the best product:
- If solar string lights are your thing, they’d look great hanging above your patio or porch area.
- Maybe you’re more into the solar garden look, and that’s okay! You’ll be able to choose from numerous different shapes, sizes, functions, and even colors as you shop!
Pick between aesthetic versions and functional versions as well.
The best solar light you’ll find is one that meets your needs, so just keep that in mind as you sort through the variety of options.
Power sources like standard electricity will inevitably go out every once in a while. Whether that’s because of bad storms or an accident, a power black out isn’t uncommon.
The good news is that the best solar outdoor lights have an unlimited source of power that won’t run out as long as you have access to sunlight!
The best solar lights are also convenient. For example, the motion sensor located on your LED solar path lights will help you find your way as you come back home when dark.
It’s also convenient to have a source of light available even if the rest of your electricity is out. While your indoor lights might be suffering, your outdoor solar garden lights or string lights will provide long-lasting light.
No Need for Electric
Solar lights best serve those who don’t want to spend extra each month on the electricity bill. The lights will be powered on the energy of the sun alone, so you won’t be adding anything on top of the bill you already have for indoor electric lights.
It’s also great for people who don’t have much experience setting up traditional electric lights. Since there are no power hazards like cables, there’s little to no setup required! Solar powered lights are protected behind a layer of plastic that seals them in so no water can intrude and cause any damage.
What to Consider When Purchasing the Best Solar Lights
Now that we’ve covered the main benefits of using the best solar lights, let’s explore the top considerations to keep in mind during the buying process. From functionality and brightness to smart features and value, here’s what you need to look for in the solar lighting.
The lighting functions are, of course, the foundation of the solar LED lights. If you’re looking for additional functionality on top of that, be prepared to pay a higher price. Most standard LED lights will last between 8 hours and 10 hours, but you can certainly find longer lasting options at a higher cost.
Ask yourself what function you’re looking to get from these solar panels lighting:
- Do you want string lights to create a charming atmosphere in your backyard?
- Do you want LED solar lights that can function as motion sensors to warn any possible intruders?
These are all important considerations to make before checking out.
Additionally, do you want any lighting effects available to you, or are you just looking for standard lighting? The best LED solar options typically give off a cooler, brighter light that lasts longer, while solar powered garden lights and string lights are more appropriate to create a cozy warm glow.
Take note of the type of bulbs that are used in the LED solar lights you’re considering. Many of the best options on the market today use LED.
If that’s the look you want, your shopping will be easy. If you want the look of an incandescent bulb, look for lights labeled “soft white lights” or “amber glow.” These utilize tinted covers to slightly alter the warmth of light.
Most solar powered options on the market today use LED bulbs, known for their brightness and strength. Solar light output is measured by lumens and can range from a soft 35 lumens to a bright, powerful 700 lumens, depending on the lights best.
If you’re shopping for security lights, you want something bright and powerful. The more lumens you can get, the better. On the other hand, if you prefer gentle outdoor lighting to set the mood for a charming evening, you might prefer a lower output.
Both the type of battery and the capacity of the battery are important factors that play into how well a solar light will work. There are two main types of batteries:
- Those that require full exposure to the sun to fully charge
- Those that can charge with partial sunlight
You should also consider how much power capacity the batter holds if you want sustained light for long periods of time. If you’re looking for solar light security, for example, you’ll want to ensure the type you purchase can last from sun down to sunrise.
What About Sunlight?
Many people are under the impression that the best lights need to be located under direct sunlight at all times to work. While lights in places with bright, sunny weather like Palm Springs or Sedona will certainly be working at their maximum potential, you can still enjoy the power of the solar light at home, no matter where you are.
It’s just a matter of finding an area that gets ample sunlight to put the PV panel. You can wire a PV panel from a better spot like the roof into a more shaded area like a garden to harness the sun’s power.
If you happen to live in an especially cloudy or shaded area like Portland or Seattle, you may have trouble finding lights that can perform overnight in the grey weather.
Today, you can find solar panel lights with all kinds of intelligent features programmed in.
For example, a motion sensor can detect if someone is on your property and turn a path light on the warn them. You can also find ones with an intelligent microprocessor that can moderate the output of light based on data gathered from weather patterns.
You’ll find that the best options are the ones with intelligent features, but these will come at a premium price. However, most customers find it to be a worthy investment because of all the benefits they enjoy. A self-regulating, weather-based light, for example, would preserve solar energy for longer.
If intelligent solar panel lights are in your budget, they’re at least worth a consideration.
With any solar panel lights, you want to get substantial value for what you pay. If you’re forking out a lot of cash for a new set, you want to know that you have 26 feet of coverage and motion sensors on all of your bulbs.
Just realize that even the best and most expensive products will have trouble performing if they’re located in areas with dim sunlight or short periods of natural daylight.
Kinds of Outdoor Solar Lights
To create your personal outdoor paradise, determine what kind of capabilities you’re expecting your solar lighting to offer. For example, if you want something for security that will likely be one with greater lumens and a higher price tag. On the other hand, if you want an ambient garden solar lights, they’ll be labeled as “soft white” and can be found at more affordable prices.
Here’s all you need to know about the most common types. Remember, these are the best solar lights on the market!
Path lights are a wonderful way to light the way back home without increasing your electric bill. A small motion sensor on each light will deter when a person is nearby and light up in order to help them see the path clearly. Because they’ll only be on when necessary, they’ll reserve solar power for longer periods of time.
Most path lights are easy to set up, with stakes that simply get stuck in the ground next to the stone path or driveway you’re illuminating.
Garden lights add ambiance to any outdoor area. You can find solar-powered outdoor planters, 26 feet solar string lights, and even small rock-shaped lights to use along with your landscaping. Adding solar garden lights will make any area look more vibrant and certainly more charming.
The most common ways to use solar panels for garden lights is to place them either on the ground or up on the roof to maximize their sun exposure.
Fence lights serve as a wonderful security measure, acting as motion sensor lights to warn anyone nearby that the residents are home and aware. They can be attached to the top of the fence posts and pointed in any direction you need to achieve the best security lighting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What solar lights are the brightest?
Despite the brand, the brightest lights will offer the highest output and most concentrated lighting power, typically a spotlight.
What are the highest lumens for solar lights?
Some of the best products can reach lumens of over 1,000 at a full charge. However, that much brightness isn’t always necessary. Most people agree that 100 lumens is bright enough to light most walkways at night.
Are solar powered outdoor lights any good?
Solar powered outdoor lights, depending on the brand and type you buy, can provide hours of light with little energy use.
How long do outdoor solar lights last?
On a full charge, your system should last between 8 hours and 10 hours. This number may vary based on where you live and how much sunlight your solar panels get access to.
Are these solar lighting systems weatherproof?
They are weather resistant, but they aren’t fully weatherproof. Harsh winds and dangerous conditions can knock over any outdoor lighting, and solar is no exception. However, the design of solar powered lights is such that normal wind and rain won’t seep in to damage the battery.
Solar lights illuminate your outdoor space and provide an unparalleled level of vibrance and charm. Conversely, they also serve as great security features and pathway lights as well, no matter the weather.
These lights best serve those looking to add to your outdoor aesthetic, add an extra layer of security, or simply looking to light the way home without a higher electric bill.
We hope this guide helped you find the best solar light system for your home.