I’ve written extensively on the importance of outdoor security lights for home security but, have not yet covered solar LED flood lights in particular. With frequent power cuts and load shedding that never sticks to published schedules, more and more South Africans are opting for solar LED flood lights.
Solar vs regular LED flood lights – very IMPORTANT
When it comes to choosing between a solar LED flood light or a regular flood light, I suggest that you choose the solar version. Especially for high traffic areas such as driveways and garages. This will ensure that you save on your electricity bill and have light available in high-risk spots. You’ll also improve your home security since you’ll still have a lit-up driveway, garden, and garage – even when you’re experiencing a power failure or load shedding.
Why you should install solar flood lights with PIR
Any outdoor light equipped with a sensor can serve to alert you of the presence of intruders or movements outside of your home at night. They also act as a deterrent for criminals who prefer to work under the cover of darkness.
The PIR or passive infra-red sensors are great as they add that second layer of safety but don’t stay on and cause glare or a serious annoyance (especially when they shine into bedroom windows). PIR sensors also enable you to extend the life of your lights and save you some money. These lights are also fairly easy to install and weatherproof so you can trust them to keep going for a long time.
Ideal locations to install outdoor solar LEDs
- Above your sliding or swing gates to cover your entrance
- Above your car garage doors or in a place that will light up your driveway
- Your back garden or swimming pool area
- In front of a garden cottage or flatlet
- Above outdoor entertainment areas and lapas
- Above garbage bins, sheds and other outbuildings
No-name brands vs braded solar flood lights
While there are many no-name brands on the market, I suggest you put in a few extra hundreds and get yourself a locally produced brand that offers extended warranty, better overall quality and a longer serviceability. I also suggest that you consider buying a more powerful light for certain areas such as driveways and high-risk areas of your home.
What to consider when looking to buy a solar flood light
- The wattage – this can range from 8W to a whopping 200W (typically for industrial and commercial applications). I’m going to review 5 products and will discuss the best wattage for various home security applications there.
- The lumens – lumens simply refer to the brightness of the light – the more lumens the brighter and more powerful. Although as the wattage goes up so will the lumens, not all products are created equally and you should check the lumens too.
- Beam angle – not always important and 90 to 100 degree beam angles are generally sufficient.
- Whether or not it’s equipped with a PIR or, passive infra-red sensor.
My top 5 solar motion sensor light options for outdoor applications
Please note that these solar lights are manufactured by Ellies and bright Star and that you may find alternatives online and in stores such as Makro and Builders. I’ve listed options within a wide power and price range to cover a range of needs.
Option #1: Ellies 8W solar LED flood light with PIR sensor
This solar LED offers 8W and 600 lumens – it is one of the two least powerful lights on our top 5 list but, as with all Ellies products, is highly reliable and durable. The beam angle sits between 90 and 100 degrees and the charges fully in 4 to 8 hours.
Recommendations: I do not recommend this light for a driveway, entrance or any area that needs good lighting – it’s simply too weak. This is an ideal option for small confined spaces and dark corners where trees and outbuildings block light from other sources.
Where to buy: 8W Ellies solar LED
Price: R 1,279.00
Option #2: Bright Star 10W PIR sensor solar floodlight
Offering 10W you’d expect this product to offer more lumens than option #1 above but it also comes in at 600 lumens and is therefore also the least powerful option on our list. It’s equipped with a PIR sensor, charges in 4 to 8 hours and also has a beam angle of between 90 and 100 degrees.
Recommendations: Once again, I do not recommend this LED solar light for any high-risk areas like parking areas and driveways but, the lower price point makes them great to use in your garden to light up areas where dark trees block your view and light.
Where to buy: Bright Star 10W floodlight
Option #3: Ellies 16W rechargeable solar LED flood light with PIR
Offering double the lumens that our previous two options have (1200), this 16W solar LED is one of the most durable and practical options for home owners. It also has a 90 to 100 degree beam and a 8 to 10 meter passive infrared sensor range and can easily and quickly be installed.
Recommendations: This solar LED with its 1200 lumens is ideal for use around front and back doors, tool sheds, wheelie and recycling bins as well as around lapas and entertainment areas. If you need a light outside of your bedroom windows, this is a great option too.
Where to buy: Ellies 16W floodlight
Price: R 2,085.00
Option #4: Ellies 28W solar LED floodlight with PIR sensor
The 28W solar light has a PIR sensor with a range of up to 10 meters, a beam angle of up to 100 degrees and charges in 4 to 8 hours time. It comes with a 60W solar panel and 18Ah lithium battery. When the PIR sensor is triggered, the full power of the light will activate for 30 seconds. This LED will deliver low-light from dusk to dawn. It also boasts 2300 lumens, a good number for outdoor applications.
Recommendations: This is the ideal solar LED for driveways, parking areas and large garden or entertainment areas that require more light. It is an investment that you can rely on when the power goes out. It’s great quality, weather resistant and is both the product that offers the best value for money and is the most practical.
Where to buy: Ellies 28W LED solar light
Price: R 2,755.00
Option #5: Ellies solar 50W LED with PIR sensor
This is the strongest LED on this top 5 list and offers 4200 lumens and comes in at 50W. With the exception of the increased power, this light offers the same features as the 28W light which offers courtesy low lighting from sunset to sunrise and peak brightness for 30 seconds if the PIR sensor is triggered.
Recommendations: This is ideal for very large back gardens or parking areas and commercial spaces. Unless you have a very large driveway I do not recommend this as a security light. It is a little bit too bright and will cause discomfort in confined areas.
Where to buy: 50W Ellies solar LED
Price: R 5,169.00