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The Best Solar Powered Lights guide UK 2016

If you want to buy the best solar powered lights for the UK then read this 2016 guide.

The Best Solar Powered Lights

When buying solar 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.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, these are covered below:


Fairy lights

The Best Solar Powered Lights - solar fairy lights

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 standard 100 led warm white lights, these actually have a 300 mAh panel.

The Best Solar Powered Lights - solar fairy lights PowerBee

 

This is part of the reason that in their class the Endurance range are the best solar powered  lights you can buy and will outperform any other set by some degree.

Spotlights

The Best Solar Powered Lights - solar spotlights

Spot lights need 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, and 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 really should be sold as a novelty light.

There are really two  very different categories for solar power spotlights:

• There are small plant type highlighters which do produce a large 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 not work during winter, or on cloudy days.

The Best Solar Powered Lights -small plant type highlighters

• The second type of solar spot light is what we regard at powerbee to be a true spot light, it depends on what the customer wants at the end of the day, however we certainly feel that a spot light should work 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, 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 ).

The Best Solar Powered Lights -true spot lights

The smaller plant type highlighters will operate in 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!

Security lights

The Best Solar Powered Lights - solar security lights

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.

• Average usage

The Best Solar Powered Lights - fusion solar security light

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 choices here, if the installation area allows your panel to be south-facing, then you can choose any light from the powerbee range. 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 signaller fusion.

• Low usage

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.The Best Solar Powered Lights - fusion solar security light

We would recommend either the signaller fusion or the sentry 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.

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.

Garden lights

The Best Solar Powered Lights - solar garden lights

Please refer to The powerbee guide to buying solar garden lights as this covers all the major points about these types of lights.

Balance
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
Price is normally s good indicator of quality, however sometimes this fact can be used by unscrupulous retailers, who dress up cheap solar lights to make them look higher quality than they truly are.

Be Aware
Take a look at who is selling the product,

• 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.

If you follow this guide then you can enjoy the best solar lights that will work in the UK.

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