Solar Powered String Lights
Solar powered outdoor string lights are a fantastic way to enhance the mood of any outdoor setting or even provide some much-needed practical lighting in an otherwise dark environment. Today’s goal is to cover the various uses of this dynamic lighting technology and explain why it’s such a great economical alternative to conventional lighting methods.
We will also show you how you can make it effectively work for you regardless of your outdoor lighting requirements and preferences. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the world of solar string lighting.
What is a Solar Powered String Light?
We’ll delve deeper into how they work shortly, but the main reason why you should take notice of this form of lighting is because of the many financial, environmental, and even superficial benefits it offers when compared to traditional lighting technology. Unlike many other forms of solar powered technology, solar lighting is one of the rare examples of a product within this bracket that costs much less than other alternatives.
Because of the arrangement of the bulbs (in a string) and the low output from the bulb’s core, this also gives way to incredibly interesting designs, some of which would have been very difficult to create with conventional bulbs and would certainly have cost significantly more.
On almost all fronts, solar powered string lights offer you a versatile “best of all worlds” solution to your outdoor lighting needs, whatever they may be. Throw into the mix the fact that their power source is endless and doesn’t negatively impact the environment and you’ve got quite a formidable array of benefits to enjoy, especially when it comes to saving money.
How Do Solar Powered String Lights Work?
All solar technology like this relies on sun contact to make it work. This is due to the solar cell platform that powers them. Using internal inverters, they then break photon rays down. The energy produced is then distributed into an attached circuit to be used as a means of energy for powering whatever product is attached to it.
In this case, the specific product is a series of solar led string lights which are then in turn used to light up your chosen outdoor location. This means that your power source is constant and always on. Another element that adds to the effectiveness and efficiency of this lighting variety is the inbuilt sensor, or with some models, a timer. Both serve the same function in that they mean that the lights only come on at night.
How to Choose the Right Solar String Light
Before we look at the main features that you should keep an eye out for, it’s important to understand that this lighting technology differs from mains lighting (lighting that has been hard wired to a mains socket) slightly as it isn’t supposed to be a “main” lighting source.
This means that your expectations need to adjust slightly because you’re not shopping for outdoor solar powered string lights based on the same criteria as you would a hard-wired system. One of the expected compromises is that they aren’t going to work in the same way or be quite as radiant.
Despite us saying that you should expect a lower degree of brightness when compared to a “main” light source (the average output is roughly 40 watts), that doesn’t mean that you can’t access something with a little more intensity if your requirements call for it.
As with anything, accessing higher spec string arrays is going to cost slightly more, but if you want to illuminate a dark area of your garden that’s used for the entertainment of guests, it probably makes sense to invest a little more for safety purposes. Most people’s typical needs can be covered with a range of anywhere from 600 – 1,000 lumens. The higher you go, the brighter the output will be.
A well-established brand name carries a lot of reassurance in the form of a tried and tested manufacturer that you can trust to outfit you with reputable equipment. Some of the best brands, currently producing solar string arrays are Tanger, Brightech, Magictec, Sunlitec, Vivii, Lemontec, Lampat, and Tecbox. You should choose a product that has been created by any of these manufacturers provided that it meets your requirements.
You can determine the level of weather resistance your chosen product has based on something known as an IP rating. A rating of anywhere from 64 to 88 is deemed suitable for the needs of almost anybody. It goes without saying that the higher the rating is, the more resistant the string lights will be.
Charge vs Work Time
This is the very simple but probably also the most important part of all of this. How long does it take your lights to charge and how long are they going to work for? A general rule of thumb is that the average series of solar outdoor string lights needs roughly six hours of charge time during the day and will produce anywhere from 8-15 hours of direct usage based on this level of photon absorption.
Because both of these components are responsible for collecting and using the sun’s rays, you need to invest in the highest capacity battery you can afford to achieve the best results possible for your chosen area.
Most people’s needs will be covered by a battery that comes packing between 800 and 1,000 mAH. But bear in mind, that’s enough for most people. If you think you need more and you want a long run time and maximum brightness, it’d only make sense to try to get something higher.
This is probably the most “fun” aspect of choosing a set of string lights. You’ve got a wide array of designs available, and depending on your chosen setting, the design could help to bring it to life. You do have run of the mill options available that closely mirror more traditional lighting methods in the form of very simple traditional bulb shapes.
But where the exciting part of outdoor string lighting reveals itself is in the eyecatching dynamic designs created to look at home as part of any setting. This means that you cannot only light up a destination, but you can do it with some unique style integrated into the mix, too.
Additional features on offer usually come in the form of sensors or timers. As previously mentioned, these added bonuses are going to massively impact the efficiency of your string lighting and ensure that none of their power goes to waste. You can opt for a timer-based system if you feel that it’ll be accurate enough.
Or you could invest more in a sensor system if you think it’ll lead to a higher degree of accuracy and more effective utilisation of your product. Either way, they’re both great added features to look out for if you want to get the most out of your string lights in the long term.
Top 5 Best Solar Powered String Lights
Now that you know what solar powered light strings are, how they work, and which features you should look out for when choosing a set, it’s now time to highlight five of the best models on the market at the moment.
5. KeShi 40FT 100LED Solar Star String Lights
Diving even further into creative territory now, these star-shaped LEDs not only make for a striking light feature in their own right, but they also come packing some high-end features to make them super efficient, too. After a full charge, you’re looking at between 8 and 12 hours use, and with 100 lights at your disposal, you’ve also got plenty to distribute amongst even the largest settings.
This option also sets a fine example for why solar string lights are a great option in the first place. They come in so many different shapes and sizes to suit a variety of tastes. A star is just an easy appearance to work with. The attached string is highly dexterous and can be used almost anywhere, but the real deal makers here are the added automatic sun sensor and two year parts warranty for both efficiency and peace of mind.
- Great usage time and light quantity
- Powered by sensor
- Versatile design
- Excellent two year parts warranty
- Design may not work with all settings
- String design may be susceptible to animal or element damage
4. Vivii Solar String Light 20 ft 30 LED Crystal Ball Waterproof
This option packs a truly impressive punch for those wanting something a little more “in your face” and quirky without breaking from traditional lighting too much in the process. They’re also very efficient thanks to the included sensor. Even though the bulbs themselves are robust, the wiring that links them is versatile enough to weave into the majority of settings easily.
You won’t struggle to add them to their chosen location with 30 bulbs, an excellent waterproof rating, and a long-lasting battery. This is an excellent option for those looking for something a little different to make their outdoor setting stand out.
- A classy and unique design
- Long lasting battery
- Great value with 30 bulbs and a low price tag
- Sensor activated for maximum efficiency
- Bauble design susceptible to smashing
- Aesthetics may not suit all locations
3. Lalapao 2 Pack Solar String Lights
Realistically, this 2-pack is an upgrade if we compare it to the previous entry in almost every way. It’s just that for some, it might be too much of an upgrade if you’re looking to enhance your outdoor surroundings with simple decor.
With a whopping total of 200 LEDs and eight different light modes plus a respectable level of brightness to boot, this is a great light kit for those looking for a high level of variety with an added “fun” factor thrown into the mix in the form of creative light modes.
With 10+ hours use on a full charge, you’ll get enough use out of them to last you through any garden barbecue or event with friends and neighbours well into the night. The string is also very durable, meaning that it can be woven into any surface or easily mounted with tacks.
- Different light modes can massively enhance the look of an area
- Versatile design means that these lights can be installed almost anywhere
- Over 200 LEDs means you’re likely to have more than enough lights to cover your needs
- Low cost for the value they add
- Solar panel isn’t the most efficient out there for storing energy
- Lighting design is susceptible to outdoor damage from animals
- Too much variety or quantity for some people
2. AMIR Upgraded Solar Powered String Lights
Even though they’re not going to fill a room with light, this option is absolutely fantastic for anyone looking for versatility and ease of use when it comes to giving something “extra” in an outdoor setting. More decorative than functional, the sheer volume (100) of these LEDs is still enough to pack a noticeable punch for those looking to light up their outdoor surroundings.
The string they’re attached to is highly dexterous and can be attached to almost any surface or wrapped around pretty much any object. Because the bulb design is both traditional and simple, they’re versatile enough to work with the majority of settings in a non-invasive fashion.
With added water resistance and even an array of color options, those looking to enhance everything from their garden pond to their patio will find a version of this string light set that works for them.
- Highly versatile design
- An array of color options
- Water resistant
- No sensor activation
- Fairly low level of brightness
1. Brightech Ambience Pro – Waterproof, Solar Powered Outdoor String Lights
For those who want to go for the best of the best, this is certainly one option that probably encapsulates that statement better than any other on the list featuring a 3,000k output, a life span of 20,000 hours, robust high quality housing and a three year, 100% warranty. You’ve got almost everything you could ever need here to deliver highly efficient, high quality outdoor lighting.
The only real setback is the run time, which is roughly five to six hours. Admittedly, you’re unlikely to need more than that, but it all depends on your preferences. Extended early hour garden parties might have to be given a miss!
- Excellent commercial grade build quality
- Easy in-ground or wall-mounted installation
- Great brightness
- Fantastic warranty
- Traditional design that’ll weave into almost all locations
- Fairly short run time
Pros and Cons of Solar Light Strings
Now that you’ve been presented with a wide array of light string options, let’s summarise the reasons for and against opting for this lighting choice if you’re looking to add some illumination to your chosen outdoor setting:
- Significantly cheaper than complicated, wired external lighting systems
- Highly efficient with huge long-term savings to be made on utility bills thanks to sensors and a renewable power source
- An attractive array of designs means that you can not only light up but improve the appearance of your chosen location
- Very versatile and can be used in locations that traditional lighting sources can’t
- They’re never likely to be as effective at lighting up an area as a hard wired light source
- Their effectiveness will largely rely on your daylight sun access
- Many options don’t have the robust build quality of hard wired lighting and may be more susceptible to damage
- The overall lifespan of a string array may require more frequent replacement than a traditional wired option
Overall, these areas are the main points to consider before determining whether or not you want to work with this source of outdoor light.
When it comes to diverse, cheap, economic, and efficient lighting sources for the great outdoors, there’s almost nothing out there that can quite compare to this excellent solar powered option.
You’re getting a host of benefits in the form of decent effectiveness combined with tasteful and sometimes highly individual design all wrapped up in a long-term cost saving structure that almost nobody could argue with.
If you don’t need spotlight-level exterior brightness and you want to enhance the design of your garden (or any outdoor setting) whilst providing highly functional levels of night time visibility, then solar string lights might just be exactly what you need. Shop according to the guidelines above and you’re sure to make an effective choice.