Solar Powered Garden Lights - Outdoor Solar Lighting
Garden solar lights are small lights based on LED (Light Emitting Diode), a rechargeable battery (usually one AA sized battery) and a small solar panel for recharging battery during sunlight. When battery is charged in the evening and sun goes down, garden solar lights turn on automatically. Depending on the amount of sun light during the day, battery usually can last entire night.
They are outdoor lights resistant to the rain, wind, sun, snow etc. However, most of them are NOT waterproof and although they can be positioned on stakes above water (in garden ponds, for example), they can't operate under the water nor can they be recharged properly when solar panels are under the water due to sunlight absorption in the water and water leaks, of course.
Garden solar lights come in great number of shapes and sizes, like small lights suitable for edges of walkways and driveways, strong solar lights with motion sensors, decorative solar lights in the form of butterflies, hummingbirds or dragonflies, solar mono- and multi-color string lines, shaped as rocks and other objects commonly found in small gardens etc.
Depending on the model, garden solar lights can be fixed on the wall, fence or they can be mounted on plastic rods (plastic stakes) pushed into the ground. Garden solar lights are cheap and convenient decoration and often very useful addition to any garden, backyard or even a balcony.
Plastic stakes usually consists of two parts - lower part is pushed to the level of the soil and upper part is connected to the solar light itself. This way, if you have to, for example, mow the lawn, you simply remove upper rods/stakes and lights and leave lower parts in the soil. After mowing, just put stakes and lights back onto their positions.
Since solar lights are independent from external power source, they can be positioned freely - for example, using solar garden lights, you can mark walkways around the house, in the garden, around the garden pond, to decorate the patio during the night and similar. There are no high voltage wires, outlets and circuit breakers to worry about, especially during strong rain and near open water. When solar lights start to malfunction, they can be easily replaced since they are rather cheap.
However, after some time of use, batteries get weaker and although solar panels are functioning properly, batteries are unable to store enough energy to keep the LEDs running like before. Depending on the quality of used batteries, it takes several seasons before they have to be replaced. It is easy task to do and can be done in few minutes.
Examples of Outdoor Solar Lights
As said before, outdoor solar lights come in various sizes and shapes. Here is the list of most popular ones.
Note: links are Amazon affiliate links and they open in the new windows.
Solaration KB1041 Solar Stake Flower, Hummingbird, Butterfly and Dragonfly Garden Stake Lights, Four Pieces Set
Solaration KB1041 set consists of 4 individual stakes of hummingbird, butterfly, dragonfly and a lily flower.
Depending on the figure, stakes are 29 - 32 inches (74 - 81 cm) high. Figures are made from acrylic (clear color) but LEDs are multicolored. Stake poles are black, so they don't shine in the dark when LEDs are turned on. Solar panels are positioned below figures, so that they can be 'hidden' near the top of the grass or other vegetation.
On average batteries last 8 hours, little bit longer during summer, little bit longer during winter.
Note: Stakes are long and could be stronger - be very careful where they are positioned if you have pets and small children. Also, protect them from strong wind.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Solaration KB1041 Solar Four Pieces Set Lights link.
SolarTronX Large Super Bright 24 LED Solar Garden Pathway Outdoor Light
This is not ordinary single LED, single AA battery, cheap garden solar light emitting few lumens of lights.
This is relatively large and more expensive solar powered outdoor light with 24 LEDs and 3 AA NiMH batteries that provide enough energy for 8 hours of operation.
24 LEDs provide around 80 lumen of light, while 3 1800 mAh nickel-metal hydride batteries last longer than nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries - they have almost no memory effect, they tolerate wider temperature range, and can withstand more recharge-discharge cycles.
Although these lights are made of plastic, they look as if they are made from stainless steel - very decorative lights too.
Again, not the cheapest solar lights around, but what you pay is what you get.
For more reviews and recommendations, check SolarTronX Large Super Bright 24 LED Solar Outdoor Light link.
Hallomall Solar Powered String Lights
Hallomall solar powered string lights are 72 feet (22m) long and have 150 multicolored LEDs. 6-8 hours of strong sunlight is required to charge the lights for 8-10 hours of operation.
Lights have 2 modes - one is lights 'steady on' and flashing lights. Of course, lights are automatically on at night and auto off during the day.
String lights are easily wrapped around trees and other plants and objects in the garden or can be positioned to follow walkways, fence or various edges.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Hallomall Solar Powered String Lights link.
Hallomall TD-604 4 LED Solar Outdoor Lighting
Hallomall TD-604 is solar outdoor light that uses 4 bright LEDs and produces 200 lumens of lights. It is very versatile light system and can be used as in-ground lights, spotlights, security lighting, path lights for patio, deck, yard, garden, driveway, stairs, pool area etc.
It has 180° angle adjustable reflector to cover desired area with bright light - it is NOT 360° light system.
System has 4 LEDs, with each LED being capable of producing 50 lumens of light - 200 Lumens in total.
Lighting has 2 modes, bright and half bright, with auto on and off.
Rechargeable battery is 2200 mAh 18650 lithium rechargeable battery, requiring 8 hours of strong sunlight to get fully charged - lithium batteries are expensive, but have the best performances regarding number of recharging/discharging cycles, it has no memory effect and can tolerate wide range of operating temperatures.
This solar outdoor system is available in packages of various sizes - again, they are not the cheapest outdoor solar lights, but one really can't compare solar lights based on a single 600 mAh 1.2V NiCd battery with system like this.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Hallomall TD-604 4 LED Solar Outdoor Lighting System link.
Robust Solar 80 LED Outdoor Solar Motion Light
This outdoor solar system comprise of solar panel with 16.4 feet (5 m) wire, light panel with 80 LEDs and programmable motion sensor.
Both solar lamp and motion sensor are adjustable in 2 axis.
Maximum detection range of motion sensor is 16-32 feet (5-10 m).
Working time after being fully charged is approximately 200 triggers per day/night, with each trigger lasting 60 seconds - that is little more than 3 hours of light.
System is based on lithium battery (included) and made out of aluminum.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Robust Solar 80 LED Outdoor Solar Motion Light link.
Outdoor solar lights come in much more shapes and sizes and with more features than shown here: solar lights in the form of rocks and other objects commonly found in gardens and backyards, solar lights with wireless control, solar lights shaped like animals (turtles, frogs, birds etc) etc.
Which one will you choose for yourself, it is all up to you, of course!