Solar-powered outdoor lighting question

topieJuly 16, 2009

Just wondered if anyone has any recommendations for solar-powered landscape lights that they are happy with. We're looking for solar-powered lights that are very bright and well-constructed.

Would like to find something more attractive and ornamental than the floodlight style lights, maybe a lantern-style light. Our house is 130 years old so we'd prefer if the lights aren't too modern-looking.

Currently have an old set of those plastic stake-in-the-ground path lights, and the stakes just seem to shatter from the freezing and thawing of the ground. Tried removing the plastic stakes and sticking the metal rods in the ground, but they just fall over after a while. The light they give off is just not that bright either.

Recommendations from anyone that has solar landscape lights in an area with cold winters, warm summers, spring rain, and summer thunderstorms would be most appreciated.

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grullablue(5)

I love my solar lights! I have a few different kinds, unfortunately I don't know brands, but my newest ones are the lantern type that I am hanging on my chicken coop! I don't know of any "bright" solar lights, the only ones I have, (all of different brands) and the only ones I've ever seen don't provide much light, just enough to light a pathway, so you'd know where you're going, but not enough to light an area.

The lantern style lights I bought for my chicken coop are antique bronze finish, and can either be set on a table, nailed onto the top of a post, put into the ground on a post (that came with it, in sections, but it's not very sturdy) or also came with brackets that we will screw onto to the wall of the coop, and then the hook on top of the lantern hooks onto that. They are nice looking, kind of rustic like. And definitely brighter than the first lights I bought, just those cheapies that you stick in teh ground, which I agree, didn't hold up very well. I don't have the brackets up yet to hang the lights, but did let them charge up so I could check out the brightness in the garage at night....nice enough for what I want it for. Just decoration and enough light to get into the coop at night if I need to. There's no power out there, so I have a battery powered hanging light inside the coop as well. I still have the box for these lantern lights I got...they were $30 at Menards. I can go take a look. Also seems, the LED is on the top, and the bottom appears to have a reflector, to make it seem like it's brighter than it is.

Angie

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 7:42PM
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topie

Thanks so much for the info. The ones you have sound great! We don't have a Menards near us, but I saw some lantern-style solar lights that sound similar to the ones you described at a store near us and was wondering about them...they have a hook on the top so you can hang them up. They have an antique bronze finish too, which I like a lot.

I think the lights that have a lot of options for hanging and mounting sound the like way to go. Brackets are a great idea! The area where we need some light is right next to our garage so we could definitely put some brackets there. The ones I saw don't come with brackets, but we could just get brackets of some kind to hang them from. Much better than those flimsy little plastic stakes on the cheapies...

Thanks for the inspiration!

-topie

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 3:04AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I remember some old threads which credited certain catalogs as selling superior solar lights. A search of "solar" in this forum found the following thread:

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/design/msg082051116648.html

Here's the general "solar" search I did. You might want to check other threads too:

http://search.gardenweb.com/search/nph-ind.cgi?term=solar&forum=design&forum_name=Landscape+Design

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 6:57AM
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topie

Thanks missingtheobvious, I did check out those old threads already about the "superior" solar lights.

Those threads were helpful in that I did learn that the more light-emitting diodes (LED's) in a solar light fixture, the brighter it is, which makes sense. Also found out that the products that have rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries seem to work best.

I did look into the solar lights at the two companies that were recommended on those threads, Frontgate and Grandin Road. They actually specify the wattage and number of LED's in their products on their websites. So far, most products from other companies that I've looked at on the net don't list the number of LED's in each fixture. Some web shopping still has room for improvement I think.

Unfortunately, most of the products that I liked the look of from Frontgate and Grandin Road are a little out of our price range, as our budget for this project is less than $100. Something to save up for maybe for a future purchase.

For now, I'm planning to take a look at an H.D. product in the store that I think may have at least two LED's in one fixture. The lights come in a set of two, and the set comes with four nickel-cadmium batteries, so it's possible that each lighting fixture has two LED's. Hard to tell just from the web, without looking at the box in the store. The product got good reviews on the website, and most of the reviewers were pleasantly surprised with how bright they are.

Will post a photo if we end up purchasing the H.D. product and are happy with the brightness.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 12:27PM
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topie

Well, got the H.D. solar lanterns and we are pretty happy with them. Hard to tell from the photo because I had to use a flash, but they light up our steps enough so that we can navigate them at night, which was our goal for this landscape project.

Thanks again grullablue for the tip about the brackets! I was scouting around the garage for some old brackets and realized we had this wrought iron double "shepherd's hook" thing I could hang the lanterns on. I think we got it to hang the bird feeders on at some point (trying to keep the squirrels away from the bird feeders), and it actually worked perfectly for hanging the lanterns. You can also take them of the hooks and set them on a table which is nice.

Each solar lantern only has one LED, but with the double lantern combo, the overall light is brighter. The light they give off definitely seems brighter than our previous plastic cheapie set. The light is a soft pleasant glow that also won't disturb our neighbors by shining in their window all night.

Anyway, total cost was $40, which was great for our budget.
Thanks again for the inspiration and info.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 1:03AM
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glaswegian(5b, Ont)

I bought a 12 pack from Lowes last year, they are the LED type and you just spike them into the ground. They have an on/off switch at the bottom

They are the big mushroom crome ones

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 5:35PM
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