Jun 202014
 

DSC 0190 How Well Do Solar Deck Lights Work?

Earlier this week, we received a question from a customer who wanted to know how bright our solar deck lights are. Are they bright enough to illuminate outdoor stairs, for example? Although we know the specifications of all the solar deck lights we sell, this question inspired me to complement my own abstract knowledge of solar deck lights with concrete, hands-on, experiential learning. This is an attempt to give our customer more than just a mere “Yes. They are bright enough.”

I had just made product videos for two kinds of solar deck lights a couple weeks previous and still had the solar deck lights in my possession, so I thought, “Where can I put these lights to test them out?” If you’ve read my apartment lighting entries, you know that my wife, son, and I live in a humble apartment. There’s no deck to speak of and no place that receives direct sunlight. But my wife’s parents live right down the road, so… I set out to see if their deck could use some lights.

Twenty minutes later, I was parking my bike outside my in-laws’ house. I went around back and immediately noted that there were several places that would be great for adding solar deck lights, but two places stuck out to me: A single step on the patio and a place along the stairs up to the second floor. Both applications would have aesthetic and safety benefits.

Here’s the single step that just cried out to me for a round solar deck light.

DSC 0182 How Well Do Solar Deck Lights Work?

So I put one there!

DSC 0190 How Well Do Solar Deck Lights Work?

The round solar deck light looks pretty good even during the day, huh? Personally, I thought this little solar light went perfectly on this much-used patio area. Note how the roundness of the light complements the roundness of the baby pool where my son likes to splash and play.

DSC 0192 How Well Do Solar Deck Lights Work?

Full disclosure: Not everyone was home, and  I didn’t want to install mismatching solar lights, so I decided to leave the other light, the Sagauro solar light, out to absorb sunlight. I knew I could use it later to convey a sense of its brightness without using any screws at the moment.

The stairs stuck out to me in particular because I know that there’s a motion sensor floodlight that comes on at night when anyone uses these stairs, and, although it creates light, it also creates stark shadows on the steps themselves. A little extra illumination would be great here.

DSC 0178 e1403201076808 How Well Do Solar Deck Lights Work?

With both solar lights – one installed and one waiting to be installed – absorbing direct sunlight, I hopped back on my bike and went home, planning to return once the sun had set to see what things looked like.

At around 9:30 p.m. I returned to my wife’s parents’ house to see what the solar deck lights looked like at night. So what was the result? Behold!

DSC 0201 How Well Do Solar Deck Lights Work?

What an attractive addition to the outdoor area. In what would otherwise be complete darkness, this round solar deck light is like a little beacon. There is life here! This is great for allowing whoever takes the dogs out at night to have a sense of where the patio begins and ends. It’s also just very nice and crisp looking. But is this the best option for lighting steps?

What about the Sagauro solar deck light? I was able to easily wedge the Sagauro between two rails on the steps to demonstrate 1) how the light looks at night and 2) whether or not it’s bright enough to illuminate stairs. Here’s the result.

DSC 0205 How Well Do Solar Deck Lights Work?

Looks nice, huh? But how well does it illuminate the stairs?

DSC 0200 How Well Do Solar Deck Lights Work?

This photo is a little out of focus because I didn’t use a tripod, but it demonstrates what it needs to demonstrate. The Sagauro is great for illuminating deck stairs. This is in part because the bottom of the fixture is open, allowing the LEDs to downlight the steps without first being diffused by a lens.

Conclusion: Both the round and Sagauro solar deck lights are very attractive and effective solar deck lights. They both look great at night and positively transform the outdoor area. However, if I, personally, had to choose one as the superior step-lighting fixture, I would choose the Sagauro solar deck light because its open bottom casts light directly down to the step, while the round solar deck light’s lens diffuses the light. The round solar deck light is – it turns out – excellent for installation on a flat surface, where it can create an attractive little light show. The Sagauro is thinner and would be easier to install in tighter spaces, like on posts.

I hope this post helps anyone who is thinking about adding solar deck lights to their outdoor areas.

by

Tom SowdersAfter majoring in creative writing at NC State, I worked in the home remodeling industry. Then, I attended graduate school for a really long time and gained experience as a writer and writing instructor. I live in the Raleigh-Durham area with my wife and baby boy, and you can find me around the Triangle anywhere there's good music and/or NC-style BBQ.

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