How to Choose the Best Solar Powered Dusk to Dawn Light
Before you rush out to buy a new solar powered dusk to dawn lighting, there are a few factors that you should consider. Here are the top features you will want to look out for in solar dusk to dawn lighting, and why they are important.
Like with all flood lighting, the brightness of dusk to dawn floodlights is measured in lumens. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the light it will be. For reference, an average kitchen or bathroom bulb will have around 800 lumens or less – and some solar floodlights can go all the way up to 5,000 lumens.
Dusk til dawn lights, in general, are not as bright as other floodlights, because they are designed to stay up all night without losing their charge. The average dusk to dawn light will have around 1,000 lumens – that is bright enough to illuminate a larger outdoor space like a driveway or garden, but not so bright that it will disturb the neighbors or keep you up all night.
Some dusk to dawn light controls will have multiple brightness settings, so that you can have a brighter light when you need it.
Solar powered lights get their charge from the sun, so they are generally very cost effective in your home. Leaving your solar powered floodlights on all night will not run up your energy bill. That said, the best dusk to dawn lights will still use energy efficiently so that they can hold their charge to stay up all night.
You can look at a light’s run time to know that it will be able to hold its charge from dusk until dawn. If a light has an average run time of less than 8 hours, it won’t work well as your dusk to dawn outdoor light.
Weatherproofing and Durability
Dusk to dawn lights are meant to be used for outdoor spaces, so it is important that they can withstand the elements. All outdoor lights are waterproof to some degree. For the best waterproofing, you should look for a dusk to dawn light that has a high IP rating.
IP, or Ingress Protection, ratings are the measure of how well-sealed an encasing is. An IP over 65 will not just keep out moisture, but dust too, and will stay dry even if submerged in deep water. If you live in an area that sees a lot of storms and wet weather, a high IP rating is a good indication that you will be able to use your dusk to dawn outdoor lights for a long time without needing to replace or repair them.
Additionally, you should make sure that the casing around your solar powered light is corrosion resistant and durable enough to last for years outdoors without needing replacement.
Mounting and Placement
Most outdoor dusk to dawn lights are designed to be mounted on a wall, so you can light up an area right outside your house. Mounted lights are great for use in your driveway, back yard or over your front door. But if you are interested in placing a dusk to dawn light somewhere you will not be able to mount it on a wall – like in a garden or in your yard, for example – you will want to choose a solar dusk to dawn light that can be placed in the ground on a stake or can be mounted on a high pole.
However you mount or place your solar powered light, it is crucial that it is located somewhere it will be in direct sunlight during the day. Most lights need around 7 or 8 hours of sunlight to fully charge – you should be conscious not to place the light in a dark or shady area.
Some lights come with detached solar panels, which allows you to mount the light wherever you want and then mount the solar panel separately, somewhere it will see plenty of direct sunlight.
Dusk to Dawn Sensor
One of the most important features of a dusk to dawn light is that it will automatically turn off and on with the daylight. A built-in dusk to dawn sensor in your floodlight will actually read the brightness and turn the light on at dusk, then shut it off again at sunrise. This feature helps to save energy and makes it easier for you – you don’t have to worry about turning the light on and off manually, or setting a timer according to changing daylight hours.
While dusk to dawn outdoor lights are great for security, they can also be pretty annoying if they are shining in a window. They can also disturb wildlife like owls and bats around your home. To limit those issues, some lights come with a motion sensor that will detect movement and cause the light to change from a dim to a bright setting. That means the light can be just bright enough to see all night, and only get brighter when you are walking in front of it.
Solar covers work by magnifying sunlight and heat and preventing evaporation to trap and retain heat over time. The effectiveness of a solar cover is therefore directly related to how much of the pool it covers. Most solar bubble covers can be cut and trimmed to fit the exact size of your pool, making them an effective way to cover a pool, regardless of size, as long as you buy a big enough cover.
Solar rings are inflatable and need to be bought in bunches to get enough coverage to raise the temperature. The pieces will have gaps between them when you set them up and use them. Liquid solar covers will spread evenly over a pool of any size, as long as you buy enough solution.
Remember that there are more factors than pool size–if half of the pool is shaded during peak sun, you may not need to buy a huge solar bubble cover to cover the entire pool. A handful of solar rings may do the trick to cover the sunny spots.
For both chlorine and saltwater pools, bubble solar covers and solar rings are effective and safe. Because the solar cover literally just ramps up the amount and intensity of sunlight that heats the pool, bubble covers are safe with whatever type of pool you happen to have.
Some liquid pool covers will specify that they only work with chlorine or saltwater pools, but for the most part, most liquid pool covers are also safe in either chlorine or saltwater pools. Liquid covers form around the surface, and then break off when you swim, and then reform once the water stabilizes again. It’s a special formula of molecules that remains at the surface of the pool and reforms whenever it is broken.
In this post I’ve got recommendations for oval, rectangle, and circular pool shapes. Realistically though, because solar bubble covers are meant to be cut down to the size of the pool, you can buy whatever shape you want as long as you buy a big enough cover to cover the total size of the pool. Try not to overbuy, however, because extra square feet can be expensive if you don’t need it.
Solar rings are a great way of protecting and heating your pool in certain areas, or covering oddly shaped or really large pools. Also remember that the shape of the pool is affected by shade–you won’t get much out of a cover that sits in the shade. It won’t properly heat, even though it can prevent minimal evaporation and prevent dust from flying into the pool.
Liquid covers are great for any shape of pool because you simply pour them in and then they spread out evenly with a thin layer of molecules.
Solar covers are generally relatively thin so that the sunlight can easily pass through. They are typically between 8 mil (mil = thousands of an inch) to 16 mil, thin enough to allow sunlight through but thick enough to be durable. Thicker covers are heavier and less likely to get blown away, but also more difficult to maneuver and roll off and on the pool. Obviously, liquid solar covers don’t have material; they’re a chemical formula that is simply poured into the pool to create a thin film on top of the water to prevent evaporation.
Now that you know what features to look for, here are three of the best solar powered dusk to dawn lights available on the market right now. These are all great quality outdoor lights, but they each have their own features that make them unique.
The Guardian security light is number one on our list of the top dusk to dawn floodlights because of its convenience, durability and great value price.
This light has 730 lumens at its brightest. That is a little bit dimmer than some of the other dusk to dawn flood lights available, but still bright enough to clearly illuminate a smaller space, like the area around your front door. It has three brightness settings and can be set to a low 55 lumen output, in case you need just the bare minimum nighttime lighting.
A detached solar panel means that you can mount the light anywhere and pick a separate spot for the solar panel, where it will get plenty of sunshine during the day. Both pieces are easy to mount on a wall or rooftop.
In addition to the dusk to dawn mode, this light has a motion sensor. That means that it can be left on dim mode and switch to the brightest light only when someone walks in front of it. All in all, this could be a good light for someone who wants the security without the super bright floodlight effect of some other lights.
This Sunwebcam solar powered light is a little pricier than some of the other options out there, but it comes with tons of special features and is a great multipurpose outdoor light.
An IP65 rating ensures that this floodlight will stay dry and protected during even the stormiest weather. It is also resistant to dust and other particles. This is a light that is built to last – once you have mounted it you will not need to take it down for repair or replacement for years. It can be mounted on a wall or rooftop, and also comes with a bonus pole mount, to place it further away from your home.
The brightest setting on this 120 LED light is 1000 lumens. The brightness can be adjusted by a handheld control either in steps (50%, 30%, etc.) or in increments. You can also set the light to change brightness at certain times or after certain hours.
The one downside to this multi-function flood light is that it does not have a dusk to dawn sensor. In order to use it all night, you will need to set it to run for 8 hours every day. That said, it has great run time and is guaranteed to hold its charge all through the night, even on the highest brightness setting.
This versatile solar light is bright, comes with plenty of special features, and is available at a super affordable price. This could be a great option for someone who wants a great lighting system without paying too much for high-tech qualities.
The light can be mounted on a wall, or placed in the ground with an included insert stake – this makes them great for lighting a garden or other outdoor space. It has an IP65 waterproof rating and is made of tough ABS plastic. The light has two heads, which can be angled independently to light a larger or smaller space, as you need it.
The brightest setting on this light has 1000 lumens. It also has a smart PIR motion sensor. It can be set to stay on all night, or to get brighter when it detects motion.
One of the biggest issues you might have with this light is the installation. It can be tricky to mount, and driving the stakes into the ground can take some time and effort. Once the light is installed, though, it will work great and last for a long time, in any weather conditions.
All three of these options are high quality outdoor flood lights that can be used dusk to dawn. While they are all great, we think that the Guardian solar security flood light is a clear winner over the other two. The Guardian light checks all the criteria mentioned earlier in this post: it is weatherproof, has an independent, detached solar panel, a great run time and a dusk to dawn sensor.
While it is not the brightest LED dusk to dawn light out there, the Guardian light has a motion sensor that will cause it to get brighter whenever someone is walking through. That means that it will give you the comfort and security of staying on all night, without being bright enough to disturb your neighbors or upset wildlife.
We like the Guardian solar flood light best, but one of the other two options might be better suited to your needs. Whatever light you choose, make sure you mount the solar panel somewhere it will get plenty of direct sunlight, and your outdoor light will keep your home secure night after night.