Outdoor lighting is an investment all homeowners should look to make. Adding an extra layer of security, providing curbside appeal, and illumination to property features are just a few of the benefits lighting has to offer.
But before starting a project, it’s always worth researching your options.
With garden lighting, there are many types and styles to choose from. Some of which work with your existing electrical outlets, whilst others use a different source of power.
In this article, we explore what solar and low voltage garden lighting is, the differences between the two options, as well as the pros and cons associated to help you decide on the best choice for your project.
What is solar garden lighting?
Solar garden lighting works by drawing energy from the sun in order to power the lights. This is done through the use of a solar panel a battery combination within the fixture that absorbs and stores the sunlight as energy.
As the light from the sun hits these solar panelled lights, heat generates movement in the negatively charged electrons which pushes them into positively charged layers of the cell. This movement creates the electricity, which then transfers along a wire to be stored in the battery.
Once the sun goes down, a photoresistor registers the lack of light, which activates the power usage and turns on an LED.
Solar garden lighting pros
- Convenience – Solar lights are easy to install, allowing you to place fixtures for lighting just about anywhere they can recharge.
- Somewhat eco-friendly – Given energy is taken from the sun, solar lights are a respectable option for those eco-conscious minds.
- Low cost – Solar lights won’t contribute to your electricity bill, making them a budget friendly solution for most.
Solar garden lighting cons
- No light colour control – Solar lights produce one colour option only, with no ability to customise its light output.
- Short light duration on cloudy days – Without sunshine, solar lights won’t receive the light needed to charge up for when darkness hits.
- Battery may need frequent changing – Depending on the product’s quality, the battery that stores the light generated can often lose its full storage capabilities.
- Low quality and durability – Because solar lights tend to be sold as ‘budget-friendly’ solutions, the lack of quality, durability, and reliability often shines through.
- Not as bright as electrical options – The light output received by solar lights is usually on the dim side.
What is low voltage garden lighting?
Low voltage lights are like regular lights, except for the amount of voltage is uses. Typically, regular lights require 120v (volts) to operate, whereas low voltage only requires 12v.
This is achieved by converting standard 120v current into 12v through use of a transformer.
Low voltage lighting is wired and often preferred by homeowners over 120v due to its enhanced safety and ease of installation. Because only 12v are being used to power each fixture, the installation legalities that would otherwise require a professional don’t apply. This makes the entire project more attractive from a cost point of view, whilst favouring the DIY market.
But that’s low voltage versus regular lighting, what about its pros and cons over solar powered fixtures? Let’s take a look.