The popularity of solar lights has led to a plethora of options on the market. Here are the factors to consider when choosing outdoor solar lights.
Know how you plan to use your solar lights before shopping. Do you need it for a specific function like security or are you looking for a decorative fixture? Each uses results in different design choices and functions.
2. Desired brightness
Brightness is now measured in lumens. Lumens are more useful than the old wattage measurement. An older 40-watt incandescent bulb is between 300 and 500 lumens. LED lights with the same lumen count burn only three to five watts.
3. Solar panel type
The three most common types of solar panels used to power solar lights are amorphous, polycrystalline, and monocrystalline.
Amorphous has a photovoltaic layer on the entire surface of the cell. They are thin, flexible, and lightweight.
Monocrystalline solar panels consist of individual silicon solar cells. They are stiff and heavy but are the best at generating electricity efficiently.
Polycrystalline solar panels are made from several silicon crystals fused together. Like the monocrystalline silicon variety, they are heavy and hard. They are budget-friendly.
4. Battery type
You need your solar lights to work at night when there is no sun. This is where batteries come in. Batteries store electrical energy as chemical energy, and reactions occur when storing and releasing energy.
Lead-acid batteries work when sulfuric acid reacts with lead. Other battery types include NiCad, nickel-cadmium, and NiMH, which uses metal hydride instead of cadmium. Each type of battery has performance differences in charge time, energy storage, weight, and lifespan.
5. Charging time and running time
Be sure to know how long each model takes to charge and how long they can run between charges. You may need a battery that lasts overnight or longer. Repeatedly dropping batteries to zero can drastically shorten their life.
6. Bulb Type
Most energy-efficient outdoor lighting uses LED technology. They are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and don't run the risk of releasing toxins into the environment when damaged like CFL bulbs. They are also long-lasting.
7. Features and accessories
The features and accessories you need are an important part of how to choose a solar light. You have manual and automatic options, and some are smart devices for your garden. Other types vary in color and intensity.