When making a quick decision to buy a solar post light based solely on a great design, you may want to first consider the size and shape of the fence or deck post it will be installed on. Once this is established, you can move on to more detailed properties such as weather resistance, brightness, overall performance, and some other important factors mentioned below.
Deck and fence posts come in a variety of sizes and shapes, which can affect the size you need for your solar lamp post cap light. To ensure that the solar light will be suitable for the specific position, it is important to take accurate measurements in advance and refer to the product information and manufacturer’s recommendations before purchasing the product.
Most solar lamp post cap lights are designed to fit on top of a fence or deck lamp post, usually with a bracket that screws directly into the wood. However, there are other products with different requirements, including some solar pole caps that attach directly to the side of the pole, and others that have brackets made specifically for round poles. Before deciding to buy a product, it is wise to take proper measurements.
Solar lamp post cap lights are made from several different materials, each designed to give the lamp a unique look while protecting sensitive electronic components from rain, rain and snow.
Plastic is an inexpensive and durable material that comes in many different color options, so it can even be designed to resemble metal. It is resistant to water and extreme temperature fluctuations, although plastic is not as strong as aluminum.Aluminum and cast aluminum are often used to give sun pole cap lights a high-quality look that can be modern, faux weathered, or antique. Aluminum is more durable than plastic and glass; however, it is less resistant to rain, sleet, and snow.Glass is often used for decorative glass in lantern style sun post cap lamps, but it can also be used in spherical and honeycomb lamps. The glass is completely safe to rust and corrode, so it won’t be affected by rain or snow. However, it is fragile and breaks easily.
Solar lamp post cap lights are made to stay outside in bad weather, so you don’t have to worry about covering them or removing them before they get wet. However, products vary in their level of resistance to dust, dirt, debris, rain, sleet and snow. For this reason, solar lamp post cap lights often have an IP (Ingress Protection) rating to denote their specific resistance level.
The IP rating system refers to the resistance of a device to solid objects, represented by the first digit, and the resistance to water, represented by the second digit. For solids, the scale ranges from 0 to 6, 0 means no protection at all and 6 means the product is completely sealed from dust and any larger solids. The water resistance scale ranges from 0 to 9. As with solids, 0 means no protection, while 9 means full protection from powerful close-range water jets.
Typically a water-resistance rating between 5 (protection against low-pressure jets of water) and 7 (can withstand full immersion in 3.2 feet of water for up to 30 minutes) is suitable for a solar post cap light.
The brightness of the light is a very important detail to pay attention to when deciding on the best solar lamp post cap lights for your home. This is because the deck or yard will still be in the dark if the post cap lights don’t produce enough light. The number of individual LED bulbs in a solar light can be used as a generalized indicator of the brightness of the light, but this is a basic product specification and not as reliable as lumens.
The brightness produced by a sun pole cap lamp or any other type of light is measured in lumens. Solar light pole heads range in lumens from as low as 5 lumens to over 200 lumens, but the cost of lighting generally increases with the number of lumens it can produce. However, adding additional solar pole cap lights will make the entire area brighter, so a few low-brightness lights can be as effective as one or two high-brightness lights.
Battery and Charging Time
While you don’t have to worry about regularly replacing disposable batteries, solar lamps still use internal batteries, which can affect the lamp’s runtime and charging time. These batteries typically take 6 to 8 hours to fully charge, although the exact charging time varies between products, even those using the same type of battery.
Once fully charged, the average solar pole cap light battery will be able to provide 6 to 10 hours of lighting, depending on the product. Bad weather can reduce the efficiency of solar panels, but solar lamp post cap lights can still be charged during the day, even during storms.
The aesthetic appearance of solar post cap lights isn’t the most important detail for functionality, but it’s an undeniable factor that needs to be considered in order to find the best solar post cap lights to match your deck and yard decor.
Lantern-style lights are usually the same size as a full-size lantern, with plastic or glass panes on each side to protect the light inside the shade. These lights are usually aluminum, although some may be made of ABS plastic.Faux weathered finishes can add a classic or antique look to a patio. This finish looks great on wood or metal posts and is usually made of cast aluminum.
Honeycomb shades are used on solar light poles, mounted on the side of the pole or on a fence panel. They have the appearance of a quarter circle, directing light down and to the sides, while the top half of the light is absorbed by the solar panels.
Modern solar lamp post cap lights have a sleek look with little decorative design. These minimalist pieces are a great option to provide light without drawing attention away from the rest of the deck or yard. Spherical sun post cap lights are usually made of glass or plastic. They sit on top of a flat stand but are otherwise completely spherical, which allows them to emit light at nearly 360 degrees.Flame effects may be added to standard solar post cap lights to give them the appearance of containing a blazing fire. The flickering light adds a comforting ambiance to the yard as day turns into night.
Our Top Picks
These products were selected for their quality, price, and the other essential factors mentioned above. The best solar post cap lights will keep a deck or yard illuminated so the outdoors can be enjoyed even after the sun has gone down.
Solar post top lights’s advantages
Solar lighting is a green alternative to traditional lighting that requires no grid power at all. That means they don’t rely on the grid to ensure proper operation, but instead ensure plenty of light in the event of a tan or power outage.
They also use one of the world’s leading renewable energy technologies. The cost of solar energy keeps falling every year, and today it is one of the cheapest renewable energy sources on the market.
Off-grid solar panels power the batteries during the day to ensure there is enough power for nighttime use. Once the sun goes down, the controller sees that there is no more charge coming from the panels, and turns the light on. During the development phase, the battery operates the luminaire for a period of time specified by the user.
These batteries are fully recyclable and can be returned to a battery recycling facility during the maintenance phase of the system. Here are some top facts about battery recycling from the University of Illinois explaining the various types of batteries and the best way to dispose of them after use.
Pole installations are usually the same between grid system installations and off-grid solar installations. The main difference is that traditional grids have no reason to dig trenches and have no meters installed.
Digging the trenches for power and setting the meter is one of the most expensive parts of a lighting project installation. Occasionally, trenching can be even more expensive, especially when there are significant obstacles in the road, or when a facility is installed, and the surrounding area is expensive to disturb or repair, such as a newly paved parking lot.
As with off-grid solar lighting systems, grid lights have the same pole setting. The feet may be larger with solar lights because the poles are manufactured to handle the added weight and EPA’s solar power components.
There is no underground conduit running from the main power source from pole to pole. All wiring is located at the top of the pole, or on a nearby pole for some installations. The power is also low voltage which makes it much safer for installation and maintenance.
Finally, barriers such as root systems, underground utilities, or other obstacles typically causing issues with standard electric trenching are no longer an issue. You can just set the pole where the light is needed.
The systems are practically maintenance-free, especially since the use of LED fixtures has become more popular with a 20+ year lifespan on LED lights. LEDs have the longest lifespan of all fixtures on the market today.
Unlike traditional AC-powered fixtures, the use of photocells, the second biggest cause for maintenance, has been removed. The solar panel acts as the photocell using the standard controls.
During the day, when the panel is producing a charge, the controller understands that it is day and keeps the fixture off. Once the panel begins to stop producing a charge, the controls realize that it is night and turns on the light fixtures.
The batteries have a five to seven-year life span if properly sized. This means that every five years or so, a battery change, visual check of the panels and fixture, cleaning of any components is recommended.
Solar panels are cleaned by the rainfall in the area. If you live in an area with little to no rainfall, cleaning of the panels every year or so may be recommended, but for the most part, the 45° angle of the panels allows for nature to keep them clean. No other maintenance is required on the systems as all other components have a life span of 15-30+ years.
Zero Energy Bills
Finally, there are no electricity bills for using solar lighting systems because they are completely off the grid. Imagine not having any electricity bills for your lighting project.
The upfront cost of a commercial system can be prohibitive, but the overall savings are obvious when compared to the reasons above.
Additional cost comparisons can be shown by working with your solar expert to see what the difference in cost is over time. Doing a standard installation and a solar lamp lifespan comparison of over 25 years can show you the big picture of a project.