A Complete Guide to Outdoor Solar Lights

outdoor solar lights

Adding some glow to your backyard, patio, garden or lawn is a great idea whether you’ve just moved into a new house or trying to revive your exterior. Outdoor lighting can help you make either subtle or dramatic changes to your exterior space, and if you’re thinking to invest, then be sure to go solar. 

Outdoor solar lights are not only cost-effective and eco-friendly, but they also bring quite the variety in scope and design. They have plenty of advantages, but there’s also a few disadvantages as well. If you don’t even know where to start, check out our guide below that covers pros and cons of solar powered outdoor lights, how to choose them and how to help them last longer. 

Pros & Cons of Outdoor Solar Lights

outdoor solar lights

Your home’s landscape design will have much to gain from the addition of outdoor solar lights, not just in terms of aesthetics, but landscape lighting can also serve for increased safety and home security. You can use them to detect motion, guide traffic through the yard, as well as highlight specific features of your home. 

Benefits of Solar Landscaping Lighting

  • There’s no wiring required – you don’t need electricity for solar-powered outdoor lights and there are no wires that can trip your kids or that your dogs can chew on;
  • Easy location – because you don’t need a source of electricity and there are no wires involved, you can literally place solar lights anywhere you want, as long as they receive sufficient sunlight;
  • Easy installation – you don’t need an electrician to install outdoor solar lights, because no wiring is required, so it can be a fun and easy DIY project;
  • Low costs – if your landscape lighting is solar-powered, then it will not increase your electricity bill. Not only that, but these lights are easy and inexpensive to maintain;
  • Eco-friendly – outdoor solar lights don’t use electricity, which means they’re eco-friendly and can help reduce your carbon footprint;
  • Lasting use for summers – the days are longer in the summer, which means they’ll get more sunlight and therefore last longer into the night, ideal for the outdoor entertaining season.

Cons of Solar Landscape Lighting

  • Sunlight dependent – while the lack of wires makes it easy to install solar lights almost anywhere, you do need to make sure they’re getting enough sunlight. This means you can’t place them in areas with bushes, shrubs or trees, or near structures that block the sign for most of the day;
  • Regular cleaning – in order to ensure their batteries are charging, you need to regularly clean the solar panels on top of the lights to remove dust and debris. Not only that, but you might have to regularly cut or prune branches and bushes if they start blocking the light;
  • Dimmer illumination – compared to other lighting options, solar-powered outdoor lights can be less strong. This can also happen if some days are cloudy or the days are too short, so they won’t last long into the night;
  • Not customizable – lights that are powered by electricity can be set to run during certain hours, can be upgraded to smart lights and other features, whereas solar-powered ones don’t have such capabilities. 
  • Shorter life – solar panels and the solar lights’ batteries will age, which means you’ll probably have to change the solar lights more often than you would irregular lights.

How To Choose The Best Outdoor Solar Lights

outdoor solar lights

Today, there are plenty of options when it comes to solar powered outdoor lights. Different types of lights serve different purposes, such as accent lights, path lights, string lights and more. Follow these steps to help you choose the best outdoor solar lights. 

  1. Decide which types as lights you need: as mentioned above, you can get different types of outdoor lighting to do different things. Look at your landscape and figure out what you need. For a soft glow, go with accent lights, which can give you different levels of brightness – amber, soft white or super-bright LEDs. For your exterior plants, choose solar-powered planters and cubes, and for the overall atmosphere, go with string lights or decorative firefly lights. 
  2. Don’t overlook pathways: while decorating your backyard or garden is the most fun and you might get lost in the beauty of outdoor chandeliers, lanterns and orbs, don’t forget to look for path lights. These will help you mark your driveway, a path in the garden or steps out of the house. They’re very helpful for late nights and early mornings when you need to see where you’re going.
  3. Choose glass over plastic: after you’ve decided what type of lights you need and start researching brands and models, be sure to check if the panels, shades or other parts are plastic or glass. A lot of products have plastic, but glass is higher-grade and the panels won’t turn cloudy or crack.
  4. Look for advanced circuitry: if you have a shady exterior or live in an area with plenty of shady days, check out outdoor solar lights with advanced circuitry. This technology helps the lights store a charge even when it’s cloudy. Another option would be a remote photovoltaic panel you can install in a sunny place. 
  5. Check the number of LEDs: read the packaging or the product descriptions to find out how many LEDs are in each unit. Some solar powered outdoor lights come with 4 or 6 LEDs, while others have 16. Obviously, the more the better.
  6. Select models with better features: while you might spend a little more on lights with “all-weather” housing, silicone-sealed batteries or on and off switches, they will last you longer in the end. You won’t have to replace them as often, and the switch helps preserve their charge. 

4 Tips to Help Your Outdoor Solar Lights Last Longer

Solar lights are, in fact, rechargeable. Sunlight recharges the battery inside the solar panel, and these batteries generally last about 2 years. Then, they also need replacing, because they no longer have the ability to hold enough energy. Here are 4 tips to help you make your outdoor solar lights last longer.

Tip No. 1: Cleaning & Maintaining

Regularly cleaning the solar panels and replacing the batteries will go a long way to extending the life of your solar powered outdoor lights. You might also want to consider putting them away during the rainy or winter season. Storing them indoors will help preserve the panels on top.

Tip No. 2: Ideal Placement

Install your lights in areas where there’s  not a lot of street lighting or light coming from the house. This way, you’re allowing the lights to provide the necessary illumination. If you’re using them for your garden, make sure you place them around the perimeter, so that they don’t get covered by plants or become very dirty very fast. 

Tip No. 3: Use Clear Paint

You can help your lights shine longer by painting them with a clear, protective layer. This will prevent the solar panels from becoming cloudy or foggy over time. A high-gloss paint is ideal in this case.

Tip No. 4: Turn Them Off

If you have solar lights that have an on/off switch, be sure to turn it to the off position when you’re not using them for longer periods of time. If you’re going away on a long trip, if the forecast shows rain for the following week or so, then this is a good time to turn them off. 

A Simple Electrical Upgrade Can Upgrade Your Quality of Life

The right electrical upgrade can dramatically improve the value and appearance of any home or business. You’ll be amazed at what a difference the right electrical upgrade can make for your home or business. Make sure that when you select an electrical company to do the enhancement of your home and you have decided to take your enhancement to the level where you require an electrical upgrade that the technician at the company has a good working knowledge and the experience to properly guide you in this area.

When you decide to upgrade, our well-trained and certified electricians have all the experience and training needed to complete your electrical panel upgrade project from start to finish, with a minimum of fuss or disturbance. Please contact us right away at 310-800-2401

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