If you want to buy the Best Solar Garden Lights for the UK then read this 2018 guide.
When buying Solar Garden lights you need to do just a little bit of work. The first thing to understand is the specifications.
А good quality product will always display the mAh, or watts of the solar panel, this is literally the power station of the product, without enough power then the lights will never be able to last a long time or be bright enough to be of any real use.
If the advert that you are looking at has nice pictures but doesn't include many details about the product, its because there aren't many things to write about it!
There are many different types of lights available to buy now days and each light requires a different amount of power to ensure that it works well in the UK, these are covered below:
Additional Information : The Powerbee guide to buying solar stake lights as this covers all the major points about these types of lights.
Every solar product must be balanced, there is no point in buying cheap rubbish, you will be disappointed and need to buy replacements nearly every year. Solar Power products for the UK should cost a bit more because the weather is more challenging than Asia and we get less light.
The solar panel, battery and led’s along with super efficient electronics must be balanced carefully, to ensure optimum performance whilst keeping prices at an affordable level!
Price is normally a good indicator of quality, however sometimes this fact can be used by unscrupulous large retailers, who dress up cheap solar lights to make them look higher quality than they truly are.
Take a look at who is selling the product, normally large chains are NOT good because they are more interested in Margins.
• how long have they been in business,
• do they design their own lights specifically for the UK.
• If something goes wrong how easy is it to contact the supplier
• what is their return policy.
Be Careful of The Con
Large retailers are mostly run by accounting teams - they realise that a large number of people purchase garden lights when it is sunny mainly for summer.
So they deliberately cut back on the solar cells / battery capacity & general quality to increase their profits, and the lights work generally ok during summer.
However the lights bought from these chains begin to fail in Autumn time, but by this time the warranty has normally run out, or the supplier selling through their platform has dissapeared.
This is the very reason why most people do not believe that Solar Energy products don't work very well in the UK, but the truth is, that if the product is designed well Solar Lights CAN work very well in the UK in Winter time.
There are limitations of course but You can get some really decent results, so its always in our opinion worth buying from a specialist with good customer service, who actually care about what they are doing.
A standard set of 100 led solar fairy lights should have a minimum of 200 mAh or milliamp hours this could also be expressed as 0.2 watts.
This requirement increases as the number of led’s and therefore the cable length increases, as it takes more and more voltage to push the power through the cable.
So for example a set of 200 led lights needs at least 1 watt of Solar Panel Power. PowerBee are famous for going even further than this basic requirement. Take for example the Powerbee White solar fairy lights, these actually have a 500 mAh panel.
This is part of the reason that in their class the Endurance range are some the best solar powered fairy lights you can buy and will outperform any other set by some degree.
A Solar Led Spotlight needs to produce quite a powerful light, it needs to be intense so as to light up the selected location to at least some useful or pleasingly aesthetic degree, for this reason a solar spot light needs to have a good quality high watt panel, to produce enough voltage
A decent battery capacity to allow the light to emit a good amount of lumens for a prolonged period of time.
The number and type of LEDs is also an important factor, as this will determine the light output, this is nearly always expressed in lumens, we would recommend that the minimum lumen's output for a half descent solar spot light should be 80.
If the spotlight does not inform you of the lumens value then you can almost be certain it will be far lower than this value, some 'spot lights' we tested were around 5 lumens output, which will highlight part of a small bush from a close distance.
There are really two very different categories for solar power spotlights:
Small Plant Highlighters
There are small plant type highlighters which produce a small amount of light and need to be placed very close to the plant or shrub in question, these lights will certainly highlight part a small bush during summer, but will normally not work during winter, or on cloudy days.
There are now however in 2018 some which for just a few pounds more (literally) more will actually work really quite well even in winter time too, these include the Ultra, Ultima, Optima, Suprima & 4 led Spotlight found in our Spotlights category.
Medium Bush / Tree Spot Lights
The second type of solar spot light is what we regard at Powerbee to be really a true Spot Light in that sense of the word, it depends on what the customer wants at the end of the day, & if you only want to highlight a small shrub then the smaller lights are fine, we feel that a spot light should work for a descent length of time during winter, to at Least some degree, and should have the flexibility to be located away from the tree, bush or feature wishing to be highlighted.
If you take for example The Custodian Spot Light, you will be able highlight a small to medium size bush or tree, from 15 feet away, nearly all year around (in winter operation will be limited but if the panel is facing south without shade then this will be on average 2 - 5 hours every day ).
Most smaller plant type highlighters from large chains will operate on average for around 10 - 20 minutes during UK winter time if you can see them at all, it's such a waste because it's a real treat to have light in your garden in winter and truly can cheer you up no end!
There are many different types of requirements for security lights from commercial car parks to garden sheds, outbuildings, entrances etc. We have split these in to 3 main categories.
High usage Busy Areas (activations more than 15 times per night
If you have a fairly busy area for example a busy driveway, and there are multiple activations per night, possibly a two car family with dogs or teenage children constantly on the go, with friends visiting etc, or perhaps a communal bin area or small office car park.
There is only one real choice in these situations the signaller twin head high specification security light. A super high watt panel and a large battery capacity is required for these types of installation, additionally a south-facing aspect without shade would be ideal for consistent all year round use.
The most common installation is where customers require a dark area to be lit upon movement being detected a handful of times per night, coming back from and going to work, letting the dogs out, and having the odd friend visitor round for drinks, there are two real choices here.
If the installation area allows your panel to be south-facing, then you can choose ANY light from the powerbee range depending on the Light level You want.
If though as in some cases you can only get the panel facing east or west or you have some form of shade to the south for example another house or tree / hedge, then you would need to select a higher specification unit, the minimum in this instance would be the 30 SMD Solar PIR Sensor Light.
This may be an area where the customer feels a certain vulnerability however is not often used, for example a garden shed or gate leading to a public alleyway which is seldom used after dark.
In this case you don't need a really high power unit, the light will hardly be used, but when it is activated the customer wants a pretty good bright light to highlight this area. This in itself is an amazing deterrent to any would be burglar, and will also enable you to easily see where you are going.
We would recommend either the signaller fusion or Fusion Security Light in situations like this they both have a good size panel and a descent battery capacity and are under £30, with the fusion you do not necessarily have to have the panel facing south, in fact in many situations this is not possible due to buildings or trees that are blocking true south. However it does need to be in a descent light location, if the light is significantly blocked then choose a unit with a remote solar panel not an integrated one.
Powerbee takes this in to serious consideration when designing our products, that's why we never specify the minimum but always balance price with functionality, it is also important that if you live in the UK then the solar power products that you buy should be specifically designed for the UK, there is no point in buying a unit designed for Asia and expecting any real functionality in the UK outside of summer.
If you follow this guide then you can enjoy the best solar lights that will work in the UK.