The Real Truth About Solar Lights

Written by: Ben Naughton

It’s a trend which is only going to increase as customers plump for the cheapest possible option. You’ll see supermarket chains and DIY stores offering incredibly great value solar lights that will promise everything for lighting up your shrubs and trees for Christmas and all year, and they seem to be the perfect solution. If you’ve got no power socket outside your home or simply believe that solar is the answer to your prayers then you need to read this.

Like anything in life nothing comes for free and cheaper does not always mean better, with solar lights included. Firstly you have to take into consideration where Great Britain sits on planet earth, 54 degrees 00′ N and 2 degrees 00′ W. Not exactly a sun worshippers paradise, you’ll be lucky to get 7 days of sunshine in the height of summer and 2 hours in the dark depths of winter. Apply this to solar lights and you’ll surely ask yourself why the UK is one of the biggest consumers of solar garden lights in Europe.

False Hopes

Solar lights can be super reliable and charge even in cloudy days to give a decent amount of light output, but you’ll struggle to find any cheap solar lights of this quality on offer in the UK. They are simply too expensive to manufacture and the British consumers will not pay it. Take for example the best selling solar fairy light on Amazon UK; it offers ‘super bright’ 50 LED solar lights for under £10 and delivered for free. Whilst this product has a staggering amount of 5 star reviews, it’s the low ratings which really tell the full story. The nature of sites such as Amazon install trust and security and this is a fabulous thing to have genuine customer feedback, but when the feedback is too good to be true questions are raised as to whether the customers are getting a fair deal.

A solar light comprises of a panel with a battery inside to store the sunlight as energy. The stronger the panel and higher quality the battery then the better quality the solar light will be. Firstly it is impossible to produce a solar light that offers the same if not more brightness than a mains powered garden light. If you’re prepared to accept that a solar fairy light or solar garden light will offer a pretty but reduced light output then you’ll find something to suit.

Solar lights don’t work in winter

It’s true, most solar fairy lights use a standard crystalline solar panel. This is found on our standard solar fairy lights which gives great performance in summer with decent days of sunlight, although during the rest of the year it will really struggle to light up unless there is a day of glorious sunlight. Every solar light has a sensor inside which makes them illuminate when the daylight drops; in winter this may be as early at 4pm, meaning your little solar lights are draining the battery and within 2 hours it’s pretty much empty. Most people return home from work at 6pm and find their hopes dashed with a garden as dark and dreary as they left it that morning.

Some solar lights do work in winter and these will usually cost at least 3 times the price of a regular £15 set with a crystalline solar panel. Solar lights that do work in dreary weather have to use an amorphous panel. This amorphous panel has a much higher rate of light absorption than its counterpart and therefore can store sunlight even when it’s cloudy in the skies. Combine this powerful solar panel with a bigger and better quality mAh rated battery and there’s a good chance it will work throughout the year and in winter. Whilst you cannot guarantee performance every night you can be sure you’ll have much better illumination and a brighter garden using a higher quality product. Our solar security light uses an amorphous panel and a large battery pack to ensure maximum brightness at an affordable price.

The fewer LEDs the better

The best advice we could give would be to think about the number of bulbs your solar light has. The smaller the number, the better chance of a more reliable product. If you’re willing to take the chance on solar lights that represent fantastic value for money then bear in mind it’s probably only a summer product.

Your solar lights may not be broken

Every battery in any solar product will eventually need replacing. On average they only last for up to 600 charges so you’ll find that usually within 2 years a replacement is needed. At Lights4fun we ensure that all our solar items that we manufacture have a removable and replaceable battery, so you can have more years of illumination. In some cases the battery can run out or fail earlier than expected thus leading customers to believe that their solar product has broken and will need replacing. Fear not! Most of the time changing the battery can be the solution and it could save you a small fortune if you’re a solar light addict. If your Lights4fun solar powered lights fail within their first two years you’ve got the peace of mind that you’re covered by our extended 24 month warranty.

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