Solar lights are a relatively new, and fairly simple technology. They contain a small battery, charged by a solar panel, that powers a light bulb, and they typically have a light sensor that switches them on after sunset. While they come in all shapes and sizes, most still tend to be a bit underpowered and fragile, so shopping around can be helpful in order to find solar yard lighting that will adequately meet your needs.
The first thing you want to do when you are deciding on what type of solar yard lighting to buy is to figure out what lighting effect you are going for. Most solar yard lights on the market will do a fine job of accenting borders along steps, paths and flowerbeds, but if you actually want to see much beyond a silhouette of your feet on a dark night, then you might want to consider a larger solar yard floodlight, which will cast much more light. Solar floodlights can be significantly more expensive than their smaller cousins, but if more light is what you need then you don’t want to skimp, especially because you’ll still be saving money by not having to pay for the electricity to power these larger solar lights.
When choosing basic solar accent lights, consider the materials from which they are made. Many of these small solar lights fall prey to misplaced feet, particularly when put near steps and pathways. So, when choosing solar yard lights for high traffic locations, look for models with a metal or ceramic casing, to protect them from being damaged if stepped on or kicked. Metal or ceramic casing is also a particularly good idea if you live in a colder climate. Cheaper plastic covered solar lights can and will shatter if you step on them or kick them, or even if you bump them with the lawnmower, particularly if it’s cold out.
Bottom of the barrel, cheap solar yard lights still use old style filament light bulbs, which will require replacement fairly often, so look for LED lighting, which gives both a brighter light and a better bulb life. This will make your solar lighting work more effectively and will also let you avoid the hassle of taking the lights apart to switch bulbs. LED solar lights may be a bit more expensive than incandescent solar lights, but it is worth the added expense.
In addition to all of its basic outdoor uses, there is another more unconventional use for standalone solar yard lights.
If you have a power outage and need some indoor lighting, you can use a small solar light as a back up indoor light source. Just step outside, uproot a lamp, and voila! You have an emergency light instead of having to use a flashlight or a fire hazard, like candles. This is best done with a solar yard light that is compact and has a flat base, rather than a long pole, and with one that can easily be replaced when the power comes back on without a lengthy re-installation process. Better yet, if your house is prone to power outages, you can buy an inexpensive solar yard light that you leave outside in a convenient location specifically with the intention that you can easily bring the light inside when you need it.
When buying solar yard lights, you will find you have many options to choose from. If you keep in mind some of these basic buying tips, however, you will be able to choose the best type of solar yard light, as well as the best features (such as the type of casing and bulb type) to fit your needs. This will help you narrow down the many choices and select the best solar yard lighting to brighten up your front yard, backyard and garden.