Looking for recommendations for good quality solar walkway/driveway lights
There was a discussion about them a while back, a search of this forum might turn it up. I've never used solar lights, but some people think the light they give is kind of wimpy. Others like them.
Have you considered low voltage lighting instead?
Whatever you do, don't make your driveway and walks look like airport runways. Lighting should be added where it is needed, staggered so that the light is cast where people will walk, not in a line. I question whether driveway lights are needed at all, since anyone arriving at night in a car will have their headlights on.
The newer technologies are better. The more expensive solar lights are stronger. LED technology beats standard bulb technology for long life and better battery wear but gives less illumination, so you need multi-LED solars to compensate. It is definitely a situation of, you get what you pay for. Name brands (like Westinghouse, sold at Evil Orange) are inferior to the innovators (Sunergy, to name one mfg [who only does wholesale, BTW]).
Amorphous panel solars gather power even on cloudy days, unlike older technology that only respond to direct sunlight. Also check type of rechargeable batteries used -- the preferred type is standard Ni-cad rechargeable batteries, otherwise you'll have to buy replacement batteries from the manufacturer. I've had batteries last anywhere from one year to five; only a handful have given out at all.
Check out Frontgate and Grandinroad (same holding company runs both) for top quality, multi-LED solar lights. They aren't the only source, but if you find you don't like them, their return policy is excellent. Note that only their very newest lights are the "warm" LEDs. Traditional LED light is a "cold" white light and many people find it displeasing.
They are probably only cost effective if you live in the West, Southwest, or South areas of the country, and it is too expensive to run electrical to your yard. In our case, it would cost us over $3,000 to run electrical to our backyard because we would need to add a new subpanel. The solar lighting -- we have many kinds, from post lamps to spotlights to 7 different types of staked lights -- is NOT as effective as low-voltage, but much better than nothing and cost in total less than $800. The post lamps in particularly, work very well. Anything with at least 6 LEDs is strong enough to light a path as well as a standard low-voltage lamp can. I have a 12-LED solar lamp on the patio and you can read by it.
jkom, do you know what commercially available lights use an "amorphous panel"?
I have a solar-powered gargoyle (holding a lamp), but he is more symbolic than functional.
Ads for solar-powered lights are usually wildly optimistic about length of nighttime illumination. Best not to trust the ad hype but to ask users of specific models for info.
A good quality amorphous solar panel will charge a single LED lite, even on a (fairly bright) cloudy day, for about 3-4 hours. They will charge even in partially shaded conditions. The marketing statement will point this out, it's a huge (deservedly so) selling point. Although even a regular solar lite with a good quality panel will charge a bit as long as it gets at least an hour of sunlight.
Because marketing hype is just that, hype, stick with companies that have good return policies. As I stated above, good solar lights are NOT cheap ones. The best are sold by Frontgate/Grandinroad and Gardener's Supply, at least that I've seen. They are metal housing, not flimsy plastic, and solid as a rock.
That doesn't mean you can't find decent solar technology at a discount - for instance, at one discount website they occasionally have solar lampposts available for heavy discount. A 12-LED lamppost light for $89 is going to perform almost as well for me, on a cost-value basis, as the newest-technology lamppost for $279 will -- PROVIDED I accept that (a) the batteries are not as efficient, (b) I may never match the style if I want to buy another, and (c) I site it in the the brightest area possible with no shading, because I have to make the assumption that it is probably only 2/3 as good as the newest model.
You need to let go of the idea of brand names. What you want is a vendor who will stand behind the products they sell and refund your money if you are not satisfied. Yes, you may be out shipping & handling/postage if the solar lights don't work for you, but it would be a cheap price for learning whether they will work for you or not. Your region, your lot, your own personal preferences, all add up to an individual mix that no one else is going to be able to positively, absolutely guarantee that so-and-so is going to be "just the thing" for you.
How long is this driveway? Lights mounted on the garage usually suffice for most suburban homes. Same with the pathway. Would it be possible to illuminate the areas by upgrading/augmenting any existing lighting fixtures? It's possible to over-do lighting by having too many redundant fixtures. If you could provide some more details of your situation, a better solution may be found.
3-4 hours of light on a charge? That's less than I've gotten from cheap lights with less than full day sun.
Hey all, new to the forum.
For some quality solar pathway or accent lights with hidden solar paneling, check out Solar Cynergy. They are a new company that launched an amazing in-ground path or accent light at Lightfair 2007.
it's pretty cool.
Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Cynergy
LED lighting can be very powerful only if you understand it. LED are point source light unlike your incadescents that which throw their 5% light AND 95% heat in every which direction. Therefore, to BEST answer the question, "Best Solar Walkway Lights?", depends partially on their use. What do you want to do? If you want to mark the walkway, the LED light system is designed differently then if you want to completely illuminate the walkway. How long do you want to mark or illuminate the walkway? How do you want to control the light system? Most retailers, especially the big box but even those who appear savvy in solar LED lighting, will not have the appropriate answers. Therefore, you will not know which are the Best Walkway Lights.
If you are considering solar, you add another variable to the equation. Regardless of the type of solar panel, you need visible light, LOTS of it. The efficiency, today, of the BEST solar panel is less than 15%. You will hear and see different, however, you will not hear or see the losses involved in the equation. Also, after you do the calculations, you may discover that solar is not a good option.
Battery technology has severely lagged. Most users of batteries, and there are millions upon millions of battery users, know very little about batteries. You must size your battery respective of the job you want to do.
Solar LED lighting is premised purely on math, IF you seek the BEST. You have to know exactly what you want to achieve and you need to know the math.
Landscape gardeners, artists may not want to focus on the (expensive) light fixture, rather, the quality of light. Why then, shell out your hard earned money on these (hideous) light fixtures? The point here is, is that LED lighting does not need to be expensive. If you have more money then you should have, then yes, buy this stuff. If you want to showcase your gardening, your landscape, and want the BEST Solar Walkway Lights, and do it the way that makes cents, then first figure out what you want to do, then, learn and follow the math.
I am looking for solar walkway lights(residential) that will work year round in a the Seattle area where it is cloudy most of the time in the winter. Any suggestions?
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LED bulbs are needed, which can save power. And the style of the lights match the style of garden. Not expensive one is enough, We don't need them lasting too long, 5 to 8 hours is enough. You can visit solar path lights to find more information.
Since this forum started in 2006, Solar walkway lights have improved immensely. One of the keys for success is making sure your solar light receives the suns rays as much as possible. Remove low hanging branches that may shade them and make sure the solar panel on each one is kept free from debris.We have some solar "accent" path lights available. We invite you to stop by and take a look!
Here is a link that might be useful: Solar