Sitting on your deck in the moonlight looking up at the stars is a very relaxing way to spend your night. It’s not exactly fun to sit in the pitch black though, so I am sure you’ve considered buying some type of lights for the deck to add a little light. There are so many options to choose from, but the best option is solar deck lights. These lights do not require any electric power, making them easier to place wherever you want them.
How do Solar Deck Lights Work?
Solar deck lights are powered exclusively by the solar lights coming from the Sun. When the light hits the solar panel, something called the Photovoltaic Effect takes place. This effect is the conversion of direct light into electric energy.
The solar-turned-electric energy charges the battery inside the solar lights. There are sensors in the solar panels that alert the battery when it is time to turn on at night and off in the morning.
The solar battery lasts for varying ranges of time, but can be replaced when they finally stop charging. You can buy new batteries from the manufacturer when needed.
The solar lights, however, are not replaceable. If your lights burn out, you will have to replace the whole lighting fixture. Even if the battery works, the fixture won’t operate without the lights. You can save the replacement batteries and buy new lighting that uses the same kind.
How to Choose the Best Option for You
The first thing you should look for when purchasing a solar deck light is the brightness. Do you want super bright lights on the deck, or dimmer lights that allows you to see but still enjoy the darkness? Determining the brightness you are looking for will help you pick solar deck lights that will give you the right amount of light.
The next decision you need to make about deck lights is if you want them to be motion activated. There are deck lights that only turn on when they detect motion, and there are lights that will stay on all night and get brighter when motion is detected.
Ease of set up and installation is another factor to consider when determining the best solar lights for your deck. Do you want lights that can just stick in the ground? Or would you prefer lights for deck that can be mounted on a post? There are also lights that can be screwed into the wall, or stuck to the wall with adhesive.
Let’s look over the above solar deck lights in more detail to help you answer the questions you may ask during this process.
1. Gigalumi – Best Overall Option
The Gigalumi is the best overall option because it has desirable features. The deck light is easy to install, powered by solar light, and is automated.
These solar deck lights have triple the LED lights of a normal solar light. The Gigalumi uses six LED lights instead of the normal two that most lights have.
Another great feature is the 120mA solar panel that powers the 600 MAH NI-MH battery. This looks like a bunch of random words, so let me explain what they mean.
A 120mA solar panel has a high conversion rate, so it is able to turn more sunlight into energy. This makes the light on your solar deck light shine extra bright.
A 600 MAH NI-MH batter is a special battery that can be charged with solar light. This is a long lasting, rechargeable battery that can be charged up to one thousand times before needing replaced. That’s over 3 years of use on one set of solar powered batteries.
The Gigalumi solar light has more advantages than disadvantages. This light is easy to install for deck use, giving two ways to secure. You can use the screws included with the lights, or you can secure them to the wall with a double-sided adhesive.
This solar light offers an antique design, allowing them to stand out and be a topic of interest. The material used to build these lights are heat, water, snow and fall proof. If one accidentally falls off the wall, it will still work.
Another advantage of using this lighting on deck to provide light is the long battery life. The battery can be recharged by the sun up to 1,000 times. The solar battery can be used for up to 3 years before it will need to be replaced.
The final advantage of this light is the soft hue that it gives off. Soft hues are relaxing, so it will set a good, light mood while you are sitting outside enjoying them!
The material of these lights are a little flimsy. They can survive a fall off the wall, but you need to be careful not to step on them. They can not hold any weight, so they will break.
Another disadvantage of this deck light is the lack of motion detection. They will stay on all night, but will not change to notify of motion in the area.
The Gigalumi is available in a model that you can attach to your wall, and a model that you can stick in the ground. This is a neat feature because if you need to add lights to your yard, you can buy matching sets.
Gigalumi also offers a 60-day replacement window. If anything goes wrong in the first 60 days, or you just don’t like them, you have 60 days to return or exchange.
There is also a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty that is effective the day you purchase your lights. If something out of your control happens, like the lights just stop working, you are able to get the light fixed or have it replaced.
The best use for these solar lights is to secure them to your walls, stairs, and walkways. Doing so will maximize the efficiency of the lights.
2. Aootek 238 – Best Upgrade Option
The Aootek 238 is a great choice for solar deck lighting if you are looking for different modes that you can control, as this one has three modes. Installation of this light is super simple, there are two keyholes that you can use to hang the light.
The first mode is motion sensor. If you select this mode, your deck light will only come on when it detects motion, stay on for about fifteen seconds, then shut off. When mounted at a height of about five and a half feet on your wall, this light can detect motion up to twenty-six feet away.
The second mode is the permanent mode. If you choose this mode, the deck light will automatically turn on when the sun goes down, and it will stay on until the sun comes up.
The third mode is a combination of the two modes called Smart Brightness. This mode will allow the light to automatically turn on once the sun goes down, and get brighter when it detects motion. The light will then turn off when the sun comes up.
The Aootek 238 solar deck light uses a 2200 MAH battery. The battery can be charged up to five hundred times before needing replaced.
The first advantage of the Aootek 238 solar deck lights is the ability to detect motion up to twenty-six feet away. When installing this light, make sure it is about five and a half feet to achieve the greatest range possible.
This light also features a very bright white light, which can be beneficial if you do a lot of activities outside at night. This light comes from a very strong solar power battery, which allows a life-time run of 30,000 hours.
This light must be mounted on the wall, but the mode settings are on the back of the unit. This makes it difficult to switch the setting you want to use because you will have to take the light down any time you want to change to a different setting.
The major stand-out for this solar lighting is the three modes it offers the customer. The different modes allow you to pick the right setting for your yard, and you can change it without needing to buy a new system.
The first mode option is motion sensing, where the light will only come on if it senses motion. The second is the permanent mode, so it will stay on all night. The third is a combination, staying on all night and getting brighter when motion is detected.
The best way to use this light is to mount it on the wall of your house about five and a half feet up. This is the best position for the motion sensor and brightest light.
3. Portfolio – Best Value Option
If you are looking for solar deck lighting that is reliable, but not expensive, the Portfolio lights are a solid choice. This solar light can be installed on your deck, patio, or outdoor steps.
Portfolio solar lights come with one rechargeable battery. Batteries may need to be replaced often, depending on how much the light runs. This is a motion sensor only light, so there is a possibility of varying life time.
The Portfolio solar deck light is a very reasonably priced option if you aren’t looking to spend a bunch of money. You can buy one light for ten to twenty dollars.
This light can be mounted on your wall outside, lining around your deck, or lighting up your stairs. As long as the light is in view of the sun and can charge, you can place it.
One disadvantage of the Portfolio solar deck light is the only mode it has is motion detection. There is no way to keep the light shining for a certain period of time, it will only turn on with motion.
The battery is not very strong. It can only one for a total of three hours on one charge. If it reaches the maximum three hour run time before dawn, the light will not turn on until the next charge the following day.
While this deck light only detects motion, it has the ability to stay off when it detects motion during the day. If the sun is out, the solar battery will charge and conserve its energy for the night.
It is best to use these solar deck lights as a lining around your deck, patio, and your stairs. This will at least keep you from tripping up or down the stairs when heading outside.
4. Siedinlar – Best Alternative Option
Siedinlar is designed more for yard and walkway use than deck use, but would be a great choice for lining a patio and use in the yard for kids to play.
The Siedinlar solar lights are waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about them if you have a sprinkler system or when it rains.
There are four LED lights in each solar light. They only need eight hours of solar charge to run for 15 hours at night.
The Siedinlar lights are built tough. If you accidentally step on them, or maybe run over one with your car, they will not break. The light will continue to work until the battery dies.
These solar lights also produce just the right amount of light. It is not a blinding white light, and it is not too dull that you can’t see anything. It will give the perfect glow for easy visibility.
The battery life of this type of light is not awful, but not great either. There are mixed reviews on the reliability of the battery, but the majority did not seem to have many issues.
Another disadvantage is the lack of return and replacement options. The company does not offer any type of return or warranty options .
There is an option to pick a light with a different color than plain white. The Siedinlar lights are also available with blue lights.
The Siedinlar solar lights are best used to line your driveway, around your patio, or throughout your yard. If you or someone in your family comes home late at night, wants to play outside at night, and can’t see very well in the darkness, these lights are a great option.
Each of the models mentioned about are great candidates to consider when searching for new solar deck lights. There are many other products that are not mentioned here, but each of these solar lights are highly reviewed.
The Gigalumi is the best overall for its unique style and appearance, reliability, battery life, and brightness. This solar deck lighting does not include a motion sensor, but does have the ability to stay on all night.
The Aootek 238 is the best upgraded solar deck light. It features three modes, motion sensor, permanent on, and a mixture of both. It has a very wide range of motion sensing, up to twenty-six feet, and lights up immediately when motion is detected.
The Portfolio comes at a reasonable price, but will only work as a motion sensor. There is no way to override the lights to stay on all night. It is also a convenient type of solar deck light because it can be mounted to your outside wall, on your stairs, and lining your deck or patio.
Finally, the Siedinlar is the best alternative option to the deck lights. You can use these lights to line your driveway, walkway, or place them throughout your yard. This light also comes in more than one white color, it is offered in blue as well.
Keep this information in mind when considering which type of solar deck lighting you want to purchase. There are so many products out there to choose from, make sure you pick one that you love.