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anyone had any success stories with garden path solar lights?

(4 Posts)
Finbar Sun 17-Apr-16 23:33:39

Is it true that you get what you pay for? Or are even the expensive ones variable?
I just want a few for a path and border but not sure where to purchase

shovetheholly Mon 18-Apr-16 09:05:21

I have cheap ones from Ikea. They work well, even in my north-facing, not very sunny garden.

Have a look at the build quality of them before you buy - some of them are very cheaply made, others are more solid.

They need to go inside in a shed over the winter!

unlucky83 Mon 18-Apr-16 09:49:56

I had some a number of years ago and they were rubbish -put me off forever... I can't remember how much they were - not the cheapest but then technology has moved on. so they are probably better now.
I guess I would ask why do you want them? For practical lighting up a path in use or just for the look?
I got some to be practical - DP starts work very early and it would be useful for taking DCs to evening activities. (We can use the front door - which has street lighting but the back door/path is easier to use to get to the car etc).
The problem is with shorter winter days, even with dawn to dusk sensors (which I found didn't work too well) they are on for longer than they are charging. So by the time DP was going to work they had run out of charge. And it is in the shorter winter days that you need them most - when it is still dark at 8.30am and goes dark at 4pm.
And they never seemed to charge up properly -even in summer and they were in unshaded locations. They had removable NI CD AA batteries and I used to take them out and charge them up in the house using the battery charger every so often. But when it was colder I think being cold made them appear drained really quickly. They were basically just useless battery powered lights that used marginally less mains electricity...
I guess now rechargeable batteries are better - so they might be better - but you still have the same problem with the charging vs in use time in Winter.
In the end I got an outside mains powered security light with a light sensor and a PIR installed on the house (it is switched inside as well so we can turn it off altogether - it doesn't keep coming on all night) and then we use a torch for the bit of the path out of its range...much easier.
(Did think about having wired lights on the path but cos of the logistics it would be expensive. It would difficult to have them on a PIR (nowhere to site one effectively). We could have them on a timer or leave them on a lot but apart from energy use we have a problem with people thinking it is a public footpath in the day time - lit up at night might encourage that... And I could see us coming back to them being off and having to stumble around in the dark/use phone as a torch . This way we know we need to take/carry a torch...

shovetheholly Mon 18-Apr-16 10:48:47

Oh that's a good point - the cheap solar lights generally aren't intended as a replacement for electric lights. They impart a bit of a glow rather than actually giving you powerful lighting, IYSWIM. And they aren't really intended for winter use.

You can get more powerful and more expensive ones, often using LED bulbs, that are actually for practical lighting!

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