Solar Path Lights vs. Hard-Wired LED Path Lights
The question nearly every homeowner asks when they see our low-voltage LED path lights on display is, “Are they solar?” No. They’re not. Why is it that homeowners want solar? These are the reasons they will tell you: 1) There’s no power bill; 2) They’re simple to install; 3) Solar fixtures can be moved around at will because there are no wires; and 4) It feels environmentally friendly.
Without further consideration, these reasons sound incredibly legit! However, there’s so much more to consider.
1) Professional grade LED path lights are meant to last a decade or more whereas solar fixtures generally last only a fraction of that time. (They will hit the landfills twice or more during that time.);
2) Hard-wired path lights typically put out 200-300 lumens of light whereas solar fixtures (with an aesthetically placed panel) typically only cast between 2 and 80 lumens. You need a lot more fixtures to cover the same area;
3) Hard-wired outdoor fixtures shine bright rain or shine whereas solar ones won’t work if it’s been a cloudy day;
4) Timing your hard-wired LED path lights to turn on and off is easy, but there aren’t many options for timeable solar fixtures. They typically turn on and off with a light sensor;
5) The brightness that accompanies a wired system is safer for visitors as it properly illuminates steps and hazards. It is also a deterrent for burglars.
6) As for environmental responsibility, the wired fixture prevails! The long life span and extreme energy efficiency of low-voltage LED path lights far outweigh the small amount of free energy that solar power boasts. Did you know that a complete LED outdoor lighting system of an average home, front to back, costs roughly just $5 in electricity per month? So, the path lights alone would be under $1 monthly.
While there are pros and cons to each type of product, hard-wired LED path lights win for safety and security purposes as well as longevity. Solar path lights work well for decorative applications or for shorter term solutions.