Solar-powered lights are an increasingly popular alternative. They are affordable, easy to install yourself and can be relocated easily. You also save on electrical costs. When shopping for solar lights, it’s important to match the light to the function you want it to perform. There are three primary categories of solar lights for use in the landscape: accent lights, path lights, and spotlights and task lights.
Accent lights typically use efficient multi-crystalline solar cells that allow them to charge even on cloudy days or in partially shaded areas. Many accent lights utilize amber LEDs to create an even softer ambience than the standard white LEDs. Some of them also “flicker” to simulate candle light. Amber LEDs use less electricity than their white counterparts, which allows for even longer runtimes.
As the name implies, path lights are meant to light paths, walkways, driveway perimeters or other small areas around your home and in your landscape. They are often used in multiples to guide the way along a set of stairs or a dark walk. Path lights typically come with a choice of ground stakes, flange mounts and hanging hooks, to give the user a wide choice of positioning options. Most are designed to focus their light downward.
Task lights and spotlights are the brightest class of solar lights and usually carry the highest price tag. They are designed to cast a bright beam of light on plants, statuary or entryways. That said, it is important to realize a solar task light will not perform like a standard 100-watt outdoor floodlight. A high-quality solar light with good LEDs can produce a focused beam of light equivalent to a 40-watt incandescent spotlight—an impressive amount of light that’s both clean and free.
Key Tips for How to Choose the Best Garden Solar Lights
Light quality should be the second most important feature of your solar outdoor setup. The best solar lights can be comparable in brightness to LED lights. So this is great if you are looking to set up a security light or floodlight.
Find out whether the battery needs full sunlight to charge. Some lights charge with partial sun and work great under trees or in areas with low sunlight. This type of solar light can also be charged on a cloudy day.
Consider the operating time. Usually solar lights perform year round and even charge the battery to provide operation during long winter nights. Some solar lights shine for several days before needing to recharge.
Solar-powered sets typically emit a soft white or amber-colored light, though colored lights in hues like red, green, and blue are another playful option to consider. Of the available options, amber lights tend to use less energy and last longer than their white-light counterparts.
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