Landscaping lighting is an important consideration when planning your outdoor living space. Lighting will provide safety and security, improve your curb appeal and allow you to comfortably enjoy your space later into the evening if you wish! The two most popular choices right now for outdoor lighting are Solar and Low-Voltage LED. So which is the best choice for your project?
Solar Landscape Lighting
Solar lighting works by converting energy from the sun into the power needed to run the lights. One of the biggest benefits of solar lighting is that it can be placed anywhere that sunlight is available. Fixtures do not require an electrical connection, so you have plenty of flexibility. Solar lighting is generally less expensive and because it uses no electricity, it is considered to be more eco-friendly. Solar fixtures are easy to install, often installed and ready to go in just minutes with no professional assistance.
Solar lighting does offer some disadvantages as well. Cheaper solar options are often only designed to last a few seasons and will need to be replaced over time. Panels require daily access to bright sunlight to preform properly and fixtures may not run well on cloudy days. Generally, solar lights are not as bright as LED lights and may not stay lit all night long, making them a poor choice for security and safety lighting purposes. Solar options do require some maintenance as you need to ensure panels are keep clean and clear for proper charging.
Solar lighting is a great choice for ambient lighting, lighting vertical surfaces such as fences or adding decorative lighting within trees where brightness and consistant lighting are not a concern.
Low Voltage LED Landscape Lighting
Low Voltage LED fixtures provide a much more consistent and brighter light source while using less energy then traditional wired fixtures. Their performance is not effected by the weather and you control when they go off and on, ensuring you have the light you need, when you need it. They can be placed on a timer so that they do not use energy needlessly during the day as well. Once installed, these fixtures require little to no regular maintenance.
The main disadvantage of Low Voltage LED lighting is the cost and time required for installation. These fixtures require access to an electrical connection which may limit the areas where they can be installed around the yard.
Low Voltage LED Lighting is the best choice for lighting applications where safety and security are a priority. This includes things like driveways, pathways, entrances and illuminating landscaping features. These are applications where consistent, bright lighting coverage is important and the extra cost to have a wired option installed is worth the investment.