Outdoor Solar Lighting

Outdoor solar lighting is one of the simplest, most affordable and most practical uses of solar energy. Outdoor solar lights provide safety and security for your home by illuminating your yard at night.

picture of 12 solar yard lights to illustrate outdoor solar lighting

They help to light the way and prevent accidents on or near stairs, edges of patios, flower beds, decks, and porches, and are very easy to use because they don't require long, unsightly power cords.

Lighting up all the areas that you might walk on outside in the dark is a good idea. If you rely on electricity, this can be next to impossible to string power lines to paths and through uneven yards.

Outdoor solar lights can be placed just about anywhere in your yard or property, including sheds, and around water edges such as streams, ponds, pools, docks, and boat ramps.

Solar outdoor lighting is available in a wide range of mounts from stakes that can be hammered into the ground to clamps that can be easily attach to rails, steps or planks.

Which Color of Outdoor Solar Light?

These days the best light bulbs are the LED's which are the brightest and can last up to 20 years before needing to be replaced. Even though they cost a bit more than your normal halogen bulb, these bulbs save a lot of money over the years.

One of the drawbacks of outdoor solar LED lights is that some models are not very bright. The way to be sure that your solar lights are bright enough is to test them first before doing a full installation.

Solar powered outdoor lighting comes in many decorative colors, to match any garden or yard décor. The most popular are the amber or white lights - lights that are "warm" to look at.

Blue lights are similar to fluorescent lighting and can bother some who have light sensitivity, although they are great for keeping bugs at bay. People who use the bluish lights notice that the bugs don't follow them in from the outdoors!

The best color is an amber or warm white light, which is also one of the brightest.

How do Solar Lights Work?

Outdoor solar lights have built in solar panels. Some are attached at the top of the light and some have panels that are installed nearby to the light.

The solar panels will pull their power from the direct sunlight during the day to illuminate the night. Most will turn out automatically as soon as the sun sets.

Some solar lights have rechargeable Ni-Cad batteries which will work even if the days are cloudy. These insure that you have continual lights every night.

Tips for Purchasing Outdoor Solar Lights

The quality of outdoor solar lighting varies quite a bit. Generally, but not in every case, the most inexpensive lights do not work as well, aren't very bright, and tend to stop working more quickly than the sturdier models.

  • If a light looks flimsy, it probably will not last very long. Look for sturdy lights that are made to be weatherproof.

  • See if you can remove the battery, or whether it is hard wired into the light. A battery that is hard wired will require an electrician's help when you want to replace the battery.

  • Before making a large purchase of solar powered outdoor lights, make sure that they have a money back guarantee, and find out for how long! It may be useful to purchase just a few to test them out before getting a whole yard full of them.

  • For a larger purchase, find out if your solar lights are warrantied. This is useful because one of the common complaints that customers have about the less reliable brands is that the lights simply stop working.

  • Some models like solar driveway lights come with a separate solar panel that must be installed at the top of your shed or outdoor building. Be sure to test your lights first, before going through all the trouble of climbing up on the ladder to install your panel!

Where to Purchase Solar Outdoor Lights

I went into my local department store the other day and was pleased to see for the first time a whole array of solar yard lights in their garden section, the kind that are attached to stakes that you place along your driveway.

They were quite inexpensive, and I don't know how good they were, but as long as they are guaranteed you can try them out.

I personally prefer to shop for solar outdoor lighting online, for a few reasons. Because solar technology is not always consistent, depending on the brand of product you are getting, I like to buy from people that specialize in solar energy.

For example Spheral Solar's solar power outdoor lighting is reliable and the owners are quite good about standing by their product, answering your questions and helping you to get the most out of them.

The other reason I like to shop online for solar lights is that I can learn from other people's experience and avoid the "lemons". I'm a big fan of reading the reviews of products. No product will always get all good reviews, but when you see several people all having the same experience with the lights not working, then it isn't something I want to try!

A good quality solar light will for the most part get mostly good reviews. One of the common complaints with the packages of less expensive models of solar path lights is that one or more of the lights simply doesn't work, or stops working after a few months.

My Picks

I've been looking around at the oudoor solar lighting for my yard, and from what I've seen, no model is absolutely perfect. That being said, here are some of the models I will be considering. I'm pretty picky so I've chosen the ones that have demonstrated some relative reliability, as long as you have sunlight where you live!

My first choice are Spheral Solar's Outdoor Home and Garden Lighting. These are better quality, built to last, and well reviewed by customers

Other Possibilities

These are some of the better quality solar outdoor lights available from Amazon.

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