Newest Review: ... price to pay seeing as you do not pay any electricity or anything as they are solar powered. They are stainless steel so very practical ... more
Looks good - and survives dog pee!!!
Solar Stainless Steel Solar Garden Light
Member Name: Randal
Solar Stainless Steel Solar Garden Light
Advantages: Looks good and well made.
Disadvantages: Solar panel may struggle in overcast conditions to charge the batteries
I've always enjoyed seeing these solar lights in other peoples gardens at night - like little static ghosts sitting there randomly around the garden. So when we were landscaping our back garden and wanted to provide some light to light the pathway up, these seemed to be ideal for the job. I thought solar - nil running costs, environmentally friendly, look good - can't go wrong.
There seem to be a variety of different makes of these on the market at the moment. But dealing with the ones I have, I bought 2 sets of 4 from Amazon about a year ago for £18 each set, although looking on Amazon now they have reduced down to £12.80 for a set of 4. They were made by a company called Rolson Tools and also had free delivery through Amazon at the time.
They are basically a light in a glass housing on top of a stainless steel tube. On top of the light is a sort of hood, the top of which houses the solar cell. The hood also directs the light produced downwards towards the ground rather than upwards, which is more useful since these are often used to light pathways etc. At the bottom of the stainless steel tube is a spike arrangement which you push into the ground leaving the tube/light sticking vertically upwards. Height wise they are approx 410 mm. No need for extra wiring runs along the garden to power the lights or any requirement to concrete the tubes into the ground to hold them upright, meaning that these lights can be positioned anywhere around the garden - providing that you can push the spike into the ground.
The light itself is powered by a mixture of rechargeable Ni Cd AA batteries and solar power, so that the solar panel charges the batteries up through the day when it is bright, and then the batteries kick-in at night to light the light throughout the night. To try and regulate this battery and solar panel usage and swap over, there is some electronic wizardry inside the unit that switches the light on and off automatically at dusk and dawn. The whole lighting process is full automated, so there is no need to worry about it once you have it set up in the garden.
In use, the light itself is crisp and white coming from LEDs. It's not brilliantly bright, and it's never going to be floodlight brightness quality coming from a solar powered light. But it is functional to light the ground around the light. When we lined these along out path every 8 feet or so either side, they provided plenty of light to light the path around them for quite a few feet, and enough to easily read a book (if you want to get down on your hands and knees in your garden in the middle of the night under the light hood to do so because they are only 410 mm high!!)
The only issue I've found is with the endurance of the rechargeable batteries. Middle of summer wasn't really a problem because long nice bright days (when they did occur) meant that the solar charger was working flat out to charge the batteries for the night. But when we had a few dull days in succession, particularly in the autumn and winter months, the solar cell couldn't quite charge the batteries fully enough during the day, and hence the light was a little dimmer at night and didn't appear to last as long. To get around this I bought a better set of AA rechargeable batteries and every so often I would take them out and give them a full charge on a separate mains battery charger. I suppose it depends on if you are happy with a dimmer light occasionally from these solar lights, or do you want to try and maintain peak efficiency by giving them a full charge every so often. So very much down to personal choice as to how you want to play that issue.
Positioning of the lights also needs to be carefully considered. We had some lights in the open areas of the lawn and others were located nearer some trees. The ones by the trees were slightly shielded from the sun during the day, and again we found these to be dimmer and not as long lasting as the ones that were in the open areas. Repositioning the lights sorted out this issue, but I suppose you could also go through the recharging routine on a mains charger that I detailed earlier.
Longevity wise, they still look good after a year. They seem to be well made and look quite stylish, and we haven't really noticed any signs of failure through water seepage or rust on them. Obviously they have been left out in all weathers, and occasionally we've needed to give the solar cell on the top a quick wipe just to ensure that it was maintaining peak efficiency. They've also been knocked over by the dogs when they've been playing and running in the garden, and 2 of the lights have also survived being extensively used as a pee posts by the dogs (didn't say anything in the manual that dogs weren't allowed to do this - but then my dogs didn't bother to read the manual!!).
In summary, to our garden I think they are a nice addition. They provide sufficient light for our needs to light up the areas where we have put them, and seem to be robust enough to survive all weathers - and dog pee!!! So highly recommended.
Summary: A nice stylish addition to your garden.
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