The best solar porch light of the products we reviewed is the ALOVECO Solar Lights. The design caught our eyes out of the gate. It has a nostalgic look that sets the right welcoming note. The fact that it’s both a security light and ambient lighting made it an ideal choice. Though a bit more expensive, we liked its versatility and quality construction.
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Why You Should Consider a Solar Powered Porch Light
You’ll see that these products vary widely by just looking at their descriptions. The overriding advantage that they bring to the table is convenience. You don’t have to worry about changing batteries when the sun is taking on that task for you. They operate automatically without the need to turn them on or worry about scheduling them. That’s helpful if you’re coming home with an armful of groceries.
Many products incorporate both the availability of solar power with the energy efficiency of LED lights. The latter optimizes what it gets from the sun to make it an affordable option. The advancing technology has also helped, bringing down the cost to a reasonable level. You can easily get a light for under $100.
Features of a Solar Front Door Light
Taking note of the specs and features will help you get the most out of the best solar porch light. Some products work better for some uses than others. With so much diversity in the kinds and styles, you can find one that ticks off all the boxes for what you need. Advances in technology have put outdoor solar porch lights squarely in the affordable bracket.
Our rundown covers the spectrum of options. They are not only functional, but you can add them as part of your landscaping and the mood that you want to create. If you want something traditional, you can find the perfect one that sets the right tone. If you’re looking for something more whimsical, you’ll see items that fit the bill.
Considerations that you should bear in mind include:
We’ll discuss each one in detail with tips to make an informed choice.
There are several aspects you need to consider with the range. You want to look at the distance from the light placement as well as its scope. A range of 180 degrees or more will give you plenty of coverage. It’s useful for you while bringing a safety factor to the plate too. After all, a night light of this kind serves dual purposes when placed on our front porch.
Brightness and Temperature
You also have to consider the light’s function when thinking about brightness and temperature. The two terms are related. Lumens describes the light output similar to how pounds translates into how heavy something is. The temperature in degrees Kelvin, on the other hand, is how you perceive it.
Temperatures between 3,100 and 4,500 degrees are like a fluorescent light that is blue and stark. Over 4,500 degrees looks like sunlight, bright and clear. Those under 3,100 degrees resemble the warm but adequate light you get from an incandescent bulb. The placement of your solar porch light makes this spec critical.
If you’re installing a light for security purposes, one with a higher temp is desirable to illuminate an area fully. However, one placed near windows in the living quarters would be better suited to a warmer light on the lower end of the scale to avoid disturbing the occupants. The bulb’s temperature is not dependent on the fixture. Instead, it’s a modification you can make with the choice of the light bulb.
Style and Type
It used to be that solar lights came in a generic flat shape. Those products with modifications still exist. However, you’ll also find an array of choices that bridge the gap between incandescent and LED choices. That means wireless products so that you can place them where you need them. While the porch is an option, so is the garage and the back door.
Many products are decorative too. You can find sconces as well as strings of lights if you’d prefer a nostalgic look. That puts the best solar porch light in the realm of a decorator touch in addition to a practical one. No one said that something that is useful has to be boring. However, some choices narrow down the applications for which some products may work.
Any fixture that you install outdoors has to deal with its share of punishment from the elements. That’s why you need to consider how well the product is made when making your choice. Plastic isn’t necessarily a bad pick as long as it’s durable. Newer materials are stronger and more rigid than ones of the past. They can respond to high winds and resist breaking.
Our primary concern is waterproofness. You’ll see it expressed as a passing statement about it. Other times, there is an Ingress Protection (IP) rating. It consists of two digits, the first which describes its resistance to dust and the other, moisture. We like to see items of 65 or higher. That means solid matter and a jet spray won’t penetrate inside of the unit.
Solar Panel Setup
One of the most common customer complaints is that the light fails to turn on when needed. Sometimes, it is a manufacturing defect. That’s why warranties are so essential. Other times, it boils down to user error. If the solar panels don’t get the minimum sun exposure, they won’t work no matter how well-designed the product.
Manufacturers have responded with user instructions and item descriptions that spell out these conditions in razor-sharp detail. Many make the internet faux pas of using bold and capital letters to make this point. Others have redesigned their products with a separate solar panel that you can place where it will receive the most sunlight.
We think that it’s the best way to manage customer satisfaction with performance. You’ll place porch lights above the line of sight, anyway. Running a cord from the unit and its power source isn’t a big deal, especially if you can hide it. It’s also an opportunity for the manufacturer to include a larger solar panel to provide a brighter and longer-lasting light.
Most products use mono- and polycrystalline photovoltaic (PV) cells made of silicon. They capture sunlight and convert it to electricity which illuminates the lights, typically LEDs. There are several advantages to this setup. First, these lights are more efficient than incandescent bulbs. They can last literally thousands of hours longer too.
LEDs don’t emit heat. Instead, almost all of the energy reaching them goes toward lighting. That makes them useful for many applications. From the customer perspective, you probably won’t have to change a bulb during the lifespan of the product. That makes them practical if you have a porch light installed someplace where getting to it would be difficult.
The other benefit of LEDs is that they won’t burn out and leave you in the dark. Instead, their illumination will gradually get dimmer and give you ample time to replace on nearing its end. While they are more expensive up front, you’ll realize a greater return on your investment in the long run.
There’s also the environmental factor to consider. LED lights are an eco-friendly choice. It’s also easier on your pocketbook with noticeable energy savings.
We consider the buyer’s perspective with every product we review. You can get the best solar porch light ever, but it will fail to deliver if the customer service isn’t up to snuff. You can consider these factors the dots and cross on the Is and Ts. We look at things such as the guarantee and warranty of an item. It’s telling if a manufacturer doesn’t support their wares with either one.
We also look at the return policy. Reputable sellers will provide free return shipping without a restocking fee. That is just nickel and diming the buyer. Pay attention to the grace period too. It’s always a smart idea to read the fine print. We consider 30 days a fair assessment of a product’s value.
To be fair, buyers must follow the user instructions to the tee. Solar lights need adequate sun exposure to work. That’s not the fault of the manufacturers if they don’t get direct sunlight and fail to perform as expected.
Our Roundup of the Best Solar Power Porch Lights
Our rundown of the solar LED porch lights yielded some surprises. We didn’t expect to find so many choices in the plethora of styles that we saw. Most were affordable, making it a smart option if you want to reduce your carbon footprint. The lifespan of these products is long, lasting thousands of hours. That only adds to their value.
Sunforce Triple Head Solar Motion Light
The Sunforce Triple Head Solar Motion Light is an example of a product that optimizes the use of technology. Instead of the usual PV cell design, it uses an amorphous solar panel. That means that the materials aren’t rigid or structured like you’d see in conventional options. The result is a more flexible light which you can see by the curved shape.
This technology also helps to overcome one of the glaring issues of solar lights—performance in poor light. The detection range is decent at 30 feet. That will give you enough time to dig out your keys to open the door. The light is equivalent to a 90-watt bulb, providing enough illumination to see the area around it. Its scope is 180 degrees to see the entire space in front of you.
The tradeoff with this type of PV panel is that it is less efficient than the standard kind. Also, it might not last as long. However, if sun exposure is an issue with your location, it’s a worthwhile investment to get the benefits of having a solar light. It’s worth noting that this light is the only one we reviewed using this technology.
Maggift Solar Wall Sconce
The Maggift Solar Wall Sconce is an attractive and practical way to illuminate a space with an unobtrusive light in the warm temperature range. You can mount them on the side of the house or on a railing on your deck. You can adjust its range which we always like to see in these types of products. The units are self-contained with no wires.
We also liked the compact size. The dimensions are 8.1 inches long by 6.2 inches by 4.2 inches high. The black color gives it a classic look that will fit in well with any landscaping theme. The lights have standard PV cells. The top of the units has to be free of any obstructions that would interfere with recharging. They must get direct sunlight for at least six hours a day.
The lights come in a two-pack which we liked for creating balance. The price is right too if you’d like to illuminate your entire deck. You can also buy them in four-packs at a greater savings. All the hardware is included with your purchase too.
Brightech Waterproof LED Outdoor Solar String Lights
Best String Lights
The Brightech Waterproof LED Outdoor Solar String Lights aren’t your typical porch light. Nevertheless, they are so darn cute if you’re going after a whimsical look. The string is 27 feet long, giving you plenty of length to cover the entire area. There is also a separate solar panel that you can place to capture the most direct sunlight.
The light gives off a pleasant warm glow, fitting with the design. The individual bulbs are spaced 20 inches apart and don’t leave large areas without illumination. The strand includes some leeway at either end to set it up correctly and securely. It includes 12 bulbs that look like Edison ones that we liked. Even though they are bare, it was glaring. Overall, it’s a well-made product meant to last.
We can see these lights better suited for use on a patio or deck instead of porch lighting. While the illumination is bright enough, it won’t light up an area too far away from their placement. However, that doesn’t detract from their looks.
ALOVECO Solar Lights
Best Wall Unit
The ALOVECO Solar Lights takes its nostalgic look to the next level with a flickering light that we adored. The design has a classic Victorian-era look. The product is well-made of ABS plastic. The overall look and feel are that it’s sturdy and capable of handling harsh weather conditions. It is both ambient lighting and a motion sensor that triggers a white light.
While the lights are pleasing on their own, the manufacturer took the next step to get the product certified by the RoHS, FCC, and CE. They back up the lights with both a 30-day, money-back guarantee and a 24-month warranty. The product also has an IP65 rating, a testament to its weather resistance. The illumination is bright, approaching the daylight range.
While the range isn’t as large as some products, it more than makes up for it with its design. The three-panel setup allows the lights to capture more sunlight for a long time to speed up recharging. It’s an excellent way to overcome the challenge of getting enough sun exposure in an area that would likely get shaded from the eaves.
LITOM Premium Solar Lights
The LITOM Premium Solar Lights is an all-around lighting solution if you have several areas on your property to illuminate. Each of the four lights has an impressive 270-degree range with visibility up to 200 feet. They are self-contained without wires. They are well-made with certifications from several organizations including the FCC and CE.
The sensory range is about 26 feet which is plenty of space to get to the front door. Each light measures 7 inches long by 5 inches wide by 5 inches high. You can buy them in either cool or warm. They use lithium batteries which are included with your purchase. The product performs as expected. However, the design is too modern-looking for our tastes.
The lights are easy to install. You can also adjust them as needed to optimize recharging. Our only gripe is that they only come in four-packs. Using more than one on your porch is overkill. We’d prefer buying two lights, one for the front and one for the back. It’s worth mentioning the IP rating. At 67, no dust will get inside of the units. It also tests positive for submersion in up to 3 feet of water.
Final Thoughts About the Best Solar Front Porch Lights
Solar-powered lights are an ideal way of providing outdoor lighting in a set-it-and-forget-it type of way. As long as they get enough sunlight, you should get years of enjoyment from your purchase. After all, the convenience they offer is reason enough to consider buying outdoor solar porch lights to replace conventional ones with a more environmentally friendly solution.
In return, you get a product that will provide a reliable source of light without the need to replace batteries or bulbs, in the case of LED options. Advancing technology has made these items more affordable and more fitting for a variety of uses. You’ll see a broad spectrum of styles that make them more than a lighting solution.
Now more than ever, the best solar porch light is a landscaping feature. You’ll see everything from Victorian-era wall scones to bistro lights to in industrial lighting. Many serve a security function with motion sensor capabilities. However, some are ambient lighting too. No matter what your decor or theme, you’ll find a product to put the finishing touches on your landscaping.