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~Solar flare or Solar failure?~
Having had a little garden makeover a few years ago with new plants, large cafe style planters and a very nice updated look, what I really wanted to set off the lovely new plants that had been put into the garden was some garden lighting. As there had already been a good deal of very attractive hard landscaping done, which included a fair amount of block paving that curves and undulates around the garden and its borders, I knew that the only way a subtle spot light effect set amongst the plants could be achieved was with the use of 'Solar Powered' lights.
After having scoured the shops for something that would give off a better and brighter white light than other solar lights we had bought in the past I came across the range of Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Lights at Homebase. At the time they were on sale at full price so I bought just one after having been told they would shortly be on a reduced price promotion, in order to see just how bright these big little solar lights actually could be. When wanting to review the lights here on Dooyoo they were not listed so a quick product suggestion was made to allow me to share my thoughts about the lights.
When buying these particular Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Lights I picked them out as they appeared to have the greatest number of small LEDs in them that would hopefully light up well after a good charge on a warm sunny day. When I got the lights home they had to be assembled and placed in a sunny spot ready for charging up and I found that was easy enough to do with minimum fuss and effort. The Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Light that I bought first of all was soon joined by a number of brothers and sisters, as I bought a total of 18 lights in all and they have been sat in the garden ever since creating a mini super soft white spot light effect in the borders and planters all around the edges of the garden.
~How to set up a Super Bright Light~
When the Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Lights I have were purchased they were neatly and safely packed in nice strong cardboard boxes which showed clearly which version of the product they were. The lights I picked were the stainless steel effect finish and I was able to make sure I had picked out the right type and colour by checking the ticked indicator panel on each box which was rather useful as it meant I didn't have to open every box to check its contents. Once the box was opened the main body of the Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Light came as one piece which comprised of a clear plastic 4 sided lighting section and a stainless steel top piece complete with a large solar panel (that took up almost the whole of the top of the light). There were several stainless steel extension pieces which would allow the height of the lights to be adjusted, a ground stake/ spike for safe and secure placement of the lights in the ground or in a planter, and some black plastic connectors which were there in case we wanted the height of the lights extended.
Once all the parts were out of the box it was very quick and easy to set up the light, as the top section was already put together all that was needed was to flick on the switch that would set the light to the ON position. The lights came with their own small set of two rechargeable batteries which are sited on the underside of the light and are protected from the weather as they have a black plastic protective cover plate. The height of the lights was something that was varied depending on where each light was placed, so some of the lights used just 1 of the stainless steel extension poles and some used 2, so needed the black plastic connector joint put in place between the stainless steel poles. The ground spike that came with each light was something that was not connected initially as it turned out to be easier to sink that into the ground and get it level before slotting the rest of the Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Light into the base when in situ. All in all fitting each light together was very quick to do and took no more than 10 minutes for each light from start to finish including placing the ground spike into position in the garden.
~You light up my life!~
In order to allow the Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Lights to charge up fully I made sure as to set them all up early in the day on a sunny morning hoping that they would soak up enough sun to shine their little socks of for me that night. As luck would have it that day the weather turned and clouded over so that when night time fell the lights had not had very much of a charge. Once the evening sunset faded each little Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Light began to spring into action and flickered on lazily not wanting to shine all that brightly. This meant that the super duper bright white lights we hoped for were no where near as light and white as we imagined and although they twinkled on bravely for a few hours they were unable to shine like little stars in the night sky. Since then the lights have performed in a similar way when the weather is cloudy although they do last for longer than they did that first night, so now when the weather is poor I do expect the performance of the lights to reflect that.
The following day after installing the Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Lights the sun shone down like a beacon in the sky all day and I had high hopes for the little lights. That evening once again as the sun went down the lights each twinkled and spluttered into action, one by one until the edge of the garden was softly glowing with the pale white light that was promised. Now before you get too excited I do need to say that although these lights are much brighter than most of the solar lights you can buy, they will never be as bright as anything you plug into the electricity. I was not expecting miracles from the lights but I soon realised I had made the right choice in purchasing more than I thought I might need and placing each light at a distance of no more than 4 feet apart, as even though the lights were working hard to light up, the over all effect was very soft, sparkly and light, although it was brighter than other solar lights I have had.
After a full charge all day, each light was able to give off a soft white glow for the entire evening and all the way through the night too. When morning came the lights began to flash on and off like twinkling stars fading in the sky and I was rather worried they were faulty. The next evening the lights performed just as well and shone as brightly as they could all night until morning time when they twinkled on and off for a good 20 minutes before going off. Since then on cloudy or over cast days and in winter time especially, the lights shine out as well as they can for as long as they can, before twinkling away into nothing. If the weather during the day is over cast each light will do its best to shine for as many hours as possible, although in winter I find that they begin to die off at around 10pm in the evening as they come on at around 3.45pm. In summer time on a sunny day the lights will build up enough charge to be able to shine all through the night till morning time, when they go off on their own and although we have had to replace the batteries in one or two of the lights, after 2 years in situ they are in the main still working well.
~Price, summary, rating~
At the time of purchase the price paid for the first Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Light purchased was the full retail price of £15.49. This does make each Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Light a little more expensive than some cheaper lights you can buy. I feel the price may put some buyers off as you can buy solar lights for as little as £4.99 each in many stores. In defense of these particular lights I must say that these have more LEDs in them than most other small solar lights that I have seen and so I can see why they cost a little more. The more LEDs your solar light has the brighter the light it gives off will be, so where as some of the very cheap lights have just 1 to 3 LEDs in them, the Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Lights have 3 LEDs on each face of the lighting panel. With each lighting panel having 3 sides to it, what you end up with is a total of 9 small LEDs in each light, which is what contributes to the nice soft white light that you get from each one.
Therefore whilst you do pay more for each light you get more too, as not only is the quality of the LED light given off much better, the outer casing and the finish of the product is also much more pleasing to the eye. These lights look just like a good stainless steel set you may have bought to plug into the mains supply and as the solar panel on top of the light is in a deep black tone with minimal silver lines running over it, many people would not know they were solar lights in the first place. The only real give away is that each light gives out a much softer glow than a mains powered light might and on over cast days the amount of light given off at night is far less than after a full charge on sunnys days. You will also need to buy more of these lights and place them closer together to get more than just a soft and pretty glow from them as each light on its own can only do so much.
As the lights were reduced when they were purchased them, each one cost half its normal selling price and as such I feel they were worth getting. These lights are still on sale in stores such as Homebase and are very often reduced in price at times, so my best advice would be to wait until they have a price reduction in order to get best value for money. Over all the lights have performed as well as we expected and hoped for and I have been pleased with their performance over the last 2 years. There are one or two that are not working and they will need replacing this summer with the same style of lights. I would have no hesitation in buying these again as I feel the lights have worked well considering they they been sat outside in all weathers, with no real maintenance for all this time and they are in the main till working well. As the lights have worked well and still look attractive when switched on I feel they ought to get a 4 star product rating.
~Super Bright Stainless Steel Solar Light Stats~
Each Super Bright Light provides a clear white exterior soft light effect
Colour options: Stainless steel, black or a copper toned finish
Dimensions in cm: (H)24, (W)15, (L)20.5
Bulbs per light: 9 x LEDs included in each light
Batteries: 2 x rechargeable batteries provided with each light