Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of life.
Last updated: February 26, 2021
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Many people assume they know what they are doing when looking for landscape lighting. They only realize they are wrong when it is too late.
If you are dead set on choosing an option that works for you, there are a couple of features that need to be put under consideration. One of them is the power source. You thus get to choose between devices that are solar-powered and those that will add to your monthly power utility bill. Also, there are varying types of bulbs. These tend to affect wattage, voltage and overall power consumption of the tool in different ways. Admittedly, voltage and wattage are elements you need to look into as well. Other features that may raise or lower the standing of specific devices are material makeup, color temperature and beam angle. These should help you grade and rank certain options as they have done for us in the list of landscape lighting options below.
Anybody looking for the highest quality in outdoor landscape lighting has to consider the Nekteck BSV-SL010 Solar Lights for purchase. The image above shows four gadgets, and that is precisely what you will get in the package.
You can then take the lights out and install them as you see fit. Speaking of installation, you have two options. You can either stick them in the ground or mount them on walls depending on the lighting result you want to achieve.
The features list above seems to have left out the voltage and the wattage areas. However, since this is a solar-powered device, it doesn’t consume any power from your home. Consequently, the only costs of owning these inventions are the purchase price and how much you pay for installation.
Some people may also be disappointed by the plastic construction. Nevertheless, it has some things going for it as well. Do not forget that you have to expose the panels so that they can get enough sunlight to charge the batteries.
The tools have two brightness modes with one, of course, being brighter than the other. If you want to guarantee that your lights stay on throughout the night, you are better off choosing the dimmer option.
Additionally, the light output is not bad. Nonetheless, ensure that these devices are well positioned around your garden so you can have even distribution of light.
What we liked:
Relatively easy installation
Solar panels are adjustable to ensure proper charging
What could be better:
The warm color of the lights does not appeal to everyone
Opting for a more expensive device is not against any rules. As such you can pick out the VOLT Brass Spotlight Kit with Transformer and nobody would hold it against you. It uses LED bulbs, just like its predecessor with a difference in the power source.
Imaged above are all the components and accessories that this purchase offers. They need to be connected to your home electrical grid if they are going to provide you with the light that you need in your back or front yard. This makes installation harder. It might even require the services of a professional electrician.
Worth noting is that the heads are adjustable so that you can control light coverage. The manufacturer seems to have thought ahead in the inclusion of the 10-inch hammer stakes. These may be quite beneficial in specific installation scenarios.
Also, the 400-lumen light output is notable. It beats that of the editor’s choice devices. However, it is not the highest on the list. Additionally, the color temperature is more or less on par with that of the Nekteck BSV-SL010 Solar Lights.
One thing some or all buyers of this product will love is the construction. The brass and metal construction is a little more robust than what is provided by some other manufacturers and products.
We should mention that almost all components of this purchase are covered by a lifetime manufacturer warranty. The Underwriters Laboratories certification is also a stamp of high quality.
What we liked:
Comes with most of the accessories needed for installation and use
If you need high levels of decorative flair in your landscape lighting the ZUCKEO RC80 Landscape Lighting seems like an excellent purchase. What sets these landscape lights apart from the rest is the colors of the light produced. There are a total of 16 options.
Lumen output is the second-highest on the list, and consequently, most people will have little to complain about when it comes to brightness. However, if you feel the maximum output is too much for your backyard, you can always dial it down a notch or two.
These lights may also come in handy if you are having a late-night party. The 4 flashing modes are ideal for that scenario. Additionally, water spilt in your yard, as well as rain, is not something you need to be overly worried about. The manufacturer gave the internal components an aluminum waterproof cover.
Also, there are various assurances that you are provided with by the manufacturer. The first is the three months replacement guarantee. If you do not use this, you can still use the 12-month warranty to get repairs done. However, given the 30,000-hour life of the LEDs, you likely won’t need to use these features.
You need to purchase a low-voltage transformer and extra wires for installation as well. The remote control as well adds a touch of class to the purchase.
What we liked:
3-month replacement guarantee
16 colors available
Four flashing modes
What could be better:
You need a few other relatively expensive accessories for you to complete installation
No instructions are included for how to operate the lights
The SUNVIE 12W Low Voltage LED Landscape Lights comprises of ten lights. Consequently, you can cover a relatively large area with these lights.
Additionally, the lumen output is the most impressive one so far. This makes these the brightest lights on our list. As to the coverage of each light, it spans 90 degrees. This is enhanced by the 270-degree adjustable head that you can position for maximum lighting effect.
Corrosion resistance also seems to be something that is built into the device since it is often left outdoors with no extra protection. It is as well waterproof so that it can continue lighting your yard even when it is raining.
Complementing the lights are 20 connectors that are bound to be of use during installation. These work in conjunction with a low voltage transformer as well as low voltage wires. However, these are exempted from the package. It is thus up to you to look for the extra funds required for you to purchase said accessories.
What we liked:
50,000 lifespan for the LEDs
Bright light output
A total of ten lights is in the package
What could be better:
You need to purchase low voltage wires and a low voltage transformer as well
Instructions may be a little tricky to understand for some
The DBF Upgraded 18 LED Solar Lights is probably the most similar in design to the editor’s choice. It comes with a solar panel that can be adjusted without moving the position of the light. This makes charging the batteries to full capacity a hell of a lot easier.
The LED clips are also of excellent quality, given that they are rated to last 50,000. This should give you at least a few years of service. Weather sealing is, of course, a requirement for devices like these. Here the manufacturer delivers and as such the product is waterproof, snow resistant and heat resistant.
If you decide to use the bright light mode, the battery cannot power the device for more than 6 hours. As such, you would do well to use low light mode in most of your lighting scenarios.
The GIGALUMI 6851 Solar Pathway Lights 6-pack is not bad either. First on the list of pros for this set of lighting tools is the stainless steel construction. The compact design of the solar panels on these lights is also impressive.
Additionally, a lot of people may have difficulties believing that batteries are well hidden in these lights. Nevertheless, they do store enough power to give the light a runtime of about 10 hours.
Given their design, the only installation requirement is that you push the stake into the ground. After you turn on the light using a switch under the cap, there is nothing left for you to do. These are as well ideal for pathways.
What we liked:
Easy to use
Relatively long battery life
What could be better:
The lights illuminate relatively small areas
The tools do have some plastic components that are not very durable
A device with cool color temperature may also be precisely what you are looking for in your solar landscape lighting. If this is the case, you cannot go wrong with the LITOM 12 LEDs Solar Landscape Spotlights. They are relatively inexpensive as compared to most other sets. However, the lights in the package are also not many.
Despite the construction being ABS plastic, the lights can withstand a bit of impact and even some rain. Also, because these are solar-powered, the cost goes down even further.
Additionally, installation should be a breeze. You needn’t worry about wires, connectors and even low-voltage transformers. However, ensure that there is enough sunlight where you install the tool. Also, the brightness mode you choose out of the two available will determine how long the lights can stay on.
What we liked:
What could be better:
Battery life is wanting when using the brighter of two lighting modes
The auto-on feature is too sensitive to light hence the device may not turn on in some scenarios where it is needed
A set of products that is quite similar to the VOLT Brass Spotlight Kit with Transformer is the Lumina SFL0104-BZLED6 Landscape Lights. There is, of course, a significant variation in pricing. In addition to using LEDs, this tool is as well capable of handling MR16 Halogen bulbs as well.
Most people who purchase this led landscape lighting kit will be looking to install it in the ground. As such installation should be a piece of cake. This is due to the inclusion of an ABS ground spike in the package. Once this is firmly in the ground, the aluminum head can be easily attached.
Noteworthy is the fact that the head is adjustable. As such, you can control where the light is focused. Additionally, don’t forget the inclusion of the 59-inch cable.
Before purchase, you should know that an extra-low voltage transformer is needed as well. Unlike with the VOLT Brass Spotlight Kit with Transformer, this kit does not come with a transformer in the kit package. As such, you should put some extra money aside for its purchase.
Another extra component that you need to cater to is the cable connector. Once you have all the critical components, you can get to the installation. It is also up to you to judge whether the 1-year warranty is enough for you or not.
What we liked:
Easy installation for most components
Can use either MR16 Halogen bulbs or the LED option
What could be better:
You need to buy extra accessories such as a low voltage transformer and cable connector
Things to Consider
Have you thought about the sort of effect you want to achieve with your purchase? It could be lighting up a pathway, a tree, the fence, the side of your house or something else. If you do your homework well, you will realize that there are different lights, all of which perform well in some scenarios while working dismally in others. This being the case a buying guide assists you in determining which lights are best suited to particular purposes and needs. Consequently, internalizing all the data in the guide below would do you a lot of good.
Features to consider when choosing a landscape lighting kit
Everything that you need to know about a landscape lighting kit is listed in the features section. That data should tell you how bright the light is, its color, durability, the installation process and more. These elements all work to tell the story of whether the tool is suitable for you or not. In the section below, we decipher the jargon that you might encounter so that you can look at all options and judge their suitability objectively.
Solar-powered vs wired
You can probably benefit the environment by using a renewable source of energy in the form of solar. Solar options are also cheap to maintain. However, they come with downsides as well.
As seen in solar-powered options such as the DBF Upgraded 18 LED Solar Lights above you often get different lighting modes. One is bright and battery-consuming while the other is dim. The former will drain your battery in a matter of about six hours while the latter may not provide enough lighting.
Their main downsides include expensive installation as well as costly maintenance. After all, you will have to pay a higher utility bill once you have these devices connected. You may have to sit down and think of which benefits appeal to you the most. Weigh that against the downsides of each category of devices before choosing which lights to shortlist.
LED vs. halogen vs. fluorescent bulbs
When it comes to bulbs, the consensus is that LED bulbs are the most superior. They are cheaper to maintain, produce more lumens per watt, are more efficient and even last longer.
This is why all the products above support the use of LEDs. Of course, you have to commend the manufacturer of the Lumina SFL0104-BZLED6 Landscape Lights for allowing the use of both LED and halogen bulb options as well.
Light output and brightness
The lumens or light output was a critical factor in determining each lighting kits place on our list. You should know that the higher the lumens, the brighter the light. Consequently, if you want superior levels of brightness, the SUNVIE 12W Low Voltage LED Landscape Lights is your best bet on the list above.
You can as well make do with less brightness depending on the area you intend to light up.
Mentioned above is the fact that LED lights for grow and for landscape are more efficient in their use of energy. Consequently, you should expect low wattage levels from the devices mentioned above. The lower the watt rating, the better. However, you still have to think about the impact on the brightness of the tool.
Worth noting is that you will need to purchase a low voltage transformer if you are buying any of the wired devices above. This is because the high voltage rating of regular sockets is likely to damage the LEDs. Also, a rating of about 12V is common with these devices.
Most LEDs have a rated working time. This is the total amount of time they can stay on before they are expected to start failing. The higher the working time, the longer the light will last. A product with a rating of 50,000 hours is much better than the one rated at 30,000.
You may want a spotlight, or you may want a light that illuminates a larger area. This is where you look at the beam angle. Those with wider angles, of course, cover a larger area with the lights.
Also, some of these led landscape lighting kits seem to have rotatable heads, and that can help expand the coverage area of the light.
A light that lasts a long time can be quite a helpful asset. Nevertheless, the lifespan of each tool is not only dependent on the working time of the LED bulbs but the exterior construction as well. If the exterior of the device is flimsy and breaks or can’t keep water out the life of the bulb will be dramatically shortened. Notable is that metal components and bodies are seemingly better on the durability meter.
Timers and motion sensors
Most of these devices aren’t connected to switches back at the house that you can use to turn them on. This is true in the case of solar lights for garden that have no connections at all. There is thus a reliance on motion sensors, light sensors and timers that allow these devices to light up when required.
If you only want lights that will come on when someone is approaching your house, you should go for the motion sensor options. Those of the timer and light sensor variation turn on at night and go off in the morning.
Some kits like the ZUCKEO RC80 Landscape Lighting benefit from a remote control that lets the user control them from different parts of the household. Also, the fact that the kit features many interchangeable colors means this tool is ideal for parties.
Other tools benefit from having adjustable solar panels that maximize sunlight collection. A lot of these extra features might be helpful to you, and hence you should consider purchasing tools that have them.
How to install landscape lights
The process of installation very much depends on the type of lights you select. Solar-powered options are, of course, the easiest to work with. In most cases, you push a stake into the grounds in your backyard, attach the light and position the panel for optimum sunlight collection.
If you are trying to install it on your wall, you might need to drill holes so that you can add screws to keep the lights in place. Remember to position the solar panels optimally so that they are exposed to sunlight.
Wired devices are much more complicated. You may still need to drill holes in your wall or to push a stake into the ground. However, you need to consider distance to the power pack and the low voltage transformers.
Doing this allows you to make the most use of the low voltage cables you are using. In some scenarios, you may need to dig trenches to cover these wires. If you have cable connectors such as those provided with the purchase of the Lumina SFL0104-BZLED6 Landscape Lights, connecting the said wires will be much easier.
The transformer needs to be connected to your electrical grid in the house using a power outlet. Also, a distance of about 10 feet is to be allowed between lights. Once you have the system set up, you can go ahead and test the lighting by turning it on.
It often depends on the area you intend to light up. For general lighting, for example, a level of between 50-300 lumens is sufficient. Paths can get by with about 100 lumens.
If you want floodlights, you will soon find out you need something close to 700 lumens. Finally, wall lights need between 50 and 185 lumens. These are the main guidelines. However, there are no rules against going above the recommended lumen limits.
The term best is often relative to the person using it, especially where low voltage landscape lighting is concerned. Try and find a kit that works for your yard from among the options above and stick with it. Besides, you already have all the information you need to make a stellar decision.
It is easy to understand why one would pick the Nekteck BSV-SL010 Solar Lights. Installation is a breeze, maintenance is minimall while recurrent costs are non-existent. This is why solar options are some of the most popular purchases.
The VOLT Brass Spotlight Kit with Transformer is such a superior-quality product as well. It also eliminates the need to go to the store and order a low voltage transformer and other installation accessories. If you choose this product, your installation and planning work will be easier. It is, however, a shame that you have to pay a lot of money on it.
With the ZUCKEO, it is well suited for parties in your backyard. It can also be used to give a lively look to your premises. Once you have picked a model, purchased it from Amazon and used it for a couple of months, you can then come back and share your experience in the comments. Your experience could help another person with their selection as well.