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Evaluation Of Solar Deck Lights

By Cora Dementieva

Deck lighting has been with us for some time now and helps transform any deck at night. But recently solar garden lighting has crept up and now it is possible to buy solar deck lights. But before you rush out to buy some, let’s first consider how good they are.

The most obvious difference with a solar deck light is its size. By comparison with conventional deck lights they’re quite a lot bigger for the simple reason that more surface area is necessary to house the solar cell. This is simply an observation rather than a criticism since the larger format has its own visual appeal.

Installing solar deck lighting proceeds in much the same way as for a conventional one, which involves drilling a suitable hole and pushing it in (a tight push fit, since they have to withstand foot traffic). The step you don’t have to bother with is laying cables underneath or lifting deck boards.

However, a not so immediately clear disadvantage of solar deck lights is that once fitted they don’t, in contrast to regular deck light, just stay in situ from then on. All solar garden lighting uses rechargeable batteries which have a limited number of recharge cycles, meaning that when the battery has been recharged that number of times it must be replaced (so much for “free” light).

So every couple of years or so (depending on the quality of your batteries) you need to pry the units away from the deck boards, trying not to damage either in the process. You then need to locate and open the (typically very well sealed) battery compartment and replace with a battery of a type and rating suitable for the solar charger.

However, the 500 pound gorilla in the room for most folk is the inescapable fact that solar deck lights quite literally don’t hold a candle to conventional electric LED equivalents where luminosity is concerned. They also won’t last (battery life not withstanding) as long as standard LED deck lights. So are they worth it when they compare poorly on maintenance and performance?

Perhaps the only real benefit with solar deck lighting is the ease and speed with which you can fit it. But then, laying cables beneath a deck is not exactly demanding to begin with so it’s hardly much of a selling point. Also, with low life spans, you’ll soon have to find something else that happens to fit the same sized hole (or buy another deck board).

On reflection then, solar deck and patio lighting isn’t yet competitive with the conventional approach. But that said, not all garden locations have a ready supply of electricity and some folk really don’t like doing cabling, so there is a place for them. Just be sure to source yours from a reputable trader and check you can return them if they turn out to be less than adequate (typically if they’re faulty you’ll discover this straight away or within a few days).

Follow these links to learn much more about solar patio lighting and LED outdoor lighting in general.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Dementieva, Cora "Evaluation Of Solar Deck Lights." Evaluation Of Solar Deck Lights. 23 Jun. 2010. 24 Oct 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Dementieva, C (2010, June 23). Evaluation Of Solar Deck Lights. Retrieved October 24, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Dementieva, Cora "Evaluation Of Solar Deck Lights"

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