How Long Outdoor Solar Lights Last & Tips to Extend their Life

If you want to deter intruders and/or keep your wiring costs to a minimum, installing outdoor solar lights on your wall, fence or deck can be an effective way to achieve both aims.

But, how long do solar outdoor lights last? Are they even worth it? And if so, how can you get them to last longer?

If these questions are of interest to you then you’re in the right place.

In this post, I share my experience using various outdoor solar lights, how long they usually last, and how I get them to last longer.

How Long Outdoor Solar Lights Last?

A set of good quality waterproof outdoor solar lights installed where they receive about 5 hours of sunshine (minimum) can usually light for anywhere from about 6 – 11 hours, depending on the battery capacity when set to light always.

How long the light will actually last also depends on the lighting mode selected.

This is because the battery drain with each mode is different and so affects how long the light works on a single charge.

Lighting modes:

  • Always on mode: for maximum brightness but shorter battery runtime
  • Motion sensing mode: including 100% brightness on detecting motion then off and 30% brightness and 100% brightness Either of these modes conserves the battery and so keeps the light on for longer.

How Many Years Solar Lights Last?

Additionally, you can usually use the lights reliably for 3-8 years before you have to replace any parts.

The LED lights are usually good for 100,000 hours (about 10 years).

It is usually the Lithium polymer batteries that wear out faster.

With the available technology, my lifespan reviews of solar batteries usually range from anywhere from 3 to 5 years before they need to be replaced.

There’re some brands that claim that the batteries last for up to 8 years. This remains to be seen in my opinion.

Tips to Extend the Lifespan of Solar Outdoor Lights

Here are a few tips to get your lights to last when buying new solar lights:

1. Go for solar lights with proven reliability. I advise you to go for proven quality lights (with at least 4/5 star genuine reviews ), IP 65 minimum (to withstand exposure to rain), and made from ruggedized steel preferably.

Beware of questionable, fragile ABS mounts. This is why I keep to steel enclosures to minimize the likelihood of ending up with unreliable light fixtures that don’t last.

2. Choose solar lights with larger battery capacity (mA) whenever possible. Some manufacturers usually indicate how many years their batteries are good for before they need to be replaced.

You then have the option at the point of purchase to go for a brand or model of outdoor light that can give you more years of service before a part is replaced!

How to Get Solar Lights to Light Longer

To get the solar lights lighting for more hours:

1. Charge it fully when new and install it to receive longer sunshine hours

The inbuilt battery light is usually only partially charged when shipped from the factory.

Therefore, charge it fully first for at least 6-8 hours before first use for maximum battery life.

2. Install the light where it receives as much sunshine as possible.

Charging the battery partially for an extended period eventually shortens the battery life span.

3. Remove any buildup of dust or other debris on the solar panels so that the light charges fully and lights for as long as possible. Choose a lighting mode that conserves the battery.

I’d recommend for example, where appropriate switching to motion sensing – 30% brightness on and maximum brightness when motion is detected instead of the always brightness mode.

Closing Thoughts

Getting your outdoor solar lights to last starts with choosing a reliable, quality brand with genuine customer reviews.

Additionally, make sure to install it where it receives enough sunshine and to routinely clear the solar panels from any dust buildup.

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