Which solar garden lights are best for you? If you are thinking cheap then think again, in our research the cheaper solar path lights or solar marker lights do not fare well, so we created the Powerbee guide to buying solar garden lights to help you fully understand what choices you have.
All Year around use or not?
Some people seem only concerned with solar lights that only work during summer, in this case the choice of purchase is wide open as nearly all the sets we have tested will work in summer at least to a certain degree (excluding cloudy or rainy days), you can buy ten of these cheap lights for as little as £7 from literally anywhere including petrol stations, Market Stalls, B and Q etc.
However we have found that there are several significant draw backs with these types of lights.
Cheap Lights: The drawbacks
• These types of lights will only really work when the weather is sunny, if there is any moderate cloud, or the location is somewhat restricted by any shade at all, then the performance is significantly reduced, and people are disappointed by this.
We have found that a large number of customers, want to install their lights in borders, around the edge of their garden, this is however in a large number of cases, exactly where fences have been installed, the good old paneled fence is not so good for cheap solar lights as it will cast shade on the panel at various times of the day and reduce lighting time even further.
• Cheap solar garden lights will only work between approximately March and September; the performance is best during June / July / August, there will be very little or in most cases no operation at all over the winter months.
• In some units the batteries although rechargeable are extra ordinarily difficult to replace, this is because the batteries are sometimes soldered in to the unit, trying to replace the battery can result in the customer having to re-solder or damaging the unit when attempting to extract the battery.
• Life span for is normally no more than a year, in fact these types of lights are designed as almost disposable. So although the cost of these units seems attractive it is almost certain that, if not all, then a large percentage of these lights will need to be replaced every year. This is not good for the environment or your finances.
• The companies that normally sell these lights couldn't care less about solar power products they are only interested in sales, margins and profits, as such they do not do any real research in to whether the lights work well, how they can improve the lights and make them work better, because they really do not care.
• These types of cheaper lights are actually originally designed for the Asian markets like Philippines and Thailand and they work quite well there as this part of the world is much sunnier, however they do not work well in northern climates.
It may seem somewhat biased not to write now about the drawbacks of more expensive solar garden lights however it would be a short list as the only real one is price, the price is higher (assuming that you have purchased wisely), and therefore it is far easier to write about the benefits of spending a little more on higher quality solar garden lights.
Mid to High Range Solar Lights : The Benefits
• Higher quality lights such as the Saturn Solar garden light is designed to work all year around in the UK, many people don't believe that this is possible after they have purchased the cheaper variety, but our design incorporates a panel that can be angled towards where the sun is located in winter time, which makes a significant difference in power generation for solar panels, the panel itself as you can see below Is packed full of high grade polycrystalline solar cells, far more than the cheaper variety, enabling the unit to work for many hours even in the depths of UK winter time.
• The batteries are replaceable and are not soldered in, making it a straight forward job to quickly change them, the quality of the battery is also far superior to the cheap solar lights mentioned above this means the probability of having to change the battery after one year is significantly reduced, in most cases Powerbee batteries will last for several years before needing to be replaced.
• The Saturn for example is designed specifically for northern climates, and is built to sustain wind, rain, hail, snow (all the normal type of UK weather!). These units although not indestructible and certainly with a finite life are designed to last for years not just for one season.
• When you actually calculate the cost of the higher quality solar lights and average this across the number of years, then compare this with performance, you actually get a lot more bang for your buck! The current culture of buy and dispose really does not pay off at all in the long run, for anyone including the environment, apart from the large corporations who really don't care about anything other than profit.
• The benefits of buying from a rapidly growing family based company such as Powerbee rather than buying for example from Ebay or Amazon should not be ignored in purchasing decisions, although some people really don't consider this, we believe it is an important part of the buying decision.
• In the UK where Powerbee is based we employ UK people and pay UK taxes, we have a community spirit, we really care about what we do, we care about our customers and our products and we are constantly looking for ways to develop and improve our products, after 9 years specializing in solar power products this can be difficult to do as we have made so many improvements, we believe our range is the best available in terms of price and functionality in the UK.
Powerbee guarantee products for one year as standard, it is easy to call or email us, we use Royal Mail Tracked service as standard. We are very happy to help customers.