One of my fondest memories of my grandfather was helping him test a motion light for the garage. This was long before the era of solar flood lights, so it required wiring and a high wattage bulb.
After several hours of labor, and perhaps a little colorful language, the light was finally in and it was my time to shine. Grandpa had me run, as fast as I could, back and forth past the motion light to see if it worked.
I think I beat it twice.
The look on that wonderful man’s face was a mixture of pride in his grandson’s performance and maybe a little bit of frustration that all of his efforts could be thwarted by a 10 year old hopped up on the promise of ice cream.
Things have come a LONG way since that day.
In this article, we will discuss the 3 different types solar flood lights and the pro’s and con’s of each. (Ad examples chosen by user’s review rating.)
Unibody Solar Flood Lights
Arguably, the most common type of solar flood light is the unibody design. This light is generally mounted vertically and can be more compact than its siblings, offering a very low resistance to wind. This is important for home owners who experience regular wind gusts caused by rain or snow storms.
- For people who like to do a job and be done, the lack of adjustments can be a real benefit. There is nothing to tweak – simply install the light and enjoy the result.
- The lack of adjustments can be very frustrating if you’ve spent the afternoon installing a solar flood light only to find that it doesn’t quite reach the spot you want it to. Mounting holes that have been drilled tend to be permanent, which can cause hesitation if you are considering relocating the light.
It should be noted that manufacturers understand this and have designed a wide range of products for consumer use. Besides the unidirectional light, there are both bidirectional and tridirectional models available should you want the light to shine in more than one direction.
Adjustable Solar Flood Lights
For those who aren’t quite sure if a unibody light will meet their needs, there are solar flood lights with movable heads. These designs are typically mounted vertically and some have a very wide range of adjustability – a perfect fit for those to who like to ‘dial it in’.
- With their adjustable heads, you can focus more of the light exactly where you want it.
- There are not as compact and can be an eyesore for some.
- There are also more susceptible to high wind conditions and may need readjusting after a storm.
Spotlight Solar Flood Lights
Spotlight solar flood lights are unique in that they shine light on one specific location. This is great if you don’t want to illuminate a large area.
Also unique, is that certain models allow for ground installation – making access easier when it comes to adjustment. They tend to have a very low visual impact when they’re not shining, and are easily overlooked when hidden by things like landscaping.
- Easiest to install or adjust when placed in the ground.
- Allows the user to target specific things, instead of blasting an entire area.
- Are more susceptible to yard equipment when placed in the ground – for example lawnmower, weed whip, etc.
Solar Flood Lights – Things To Look For
With the wide range of options available on the market today, it’s good to do your homework. Here are some of the features to look for when considering a solar flood light.
- Motion detector – While this might seem like a standard feature, it’s good to make certain that you are in fact purchasing a light with a motion detector built in. Even if your goal is to have the light come on at nightfall, it’s good to have the option should a situation call for it later.
*Many models will have optional settings on how bright the light will illuminate in different situations.
- Wattage – Different lights will have different levels of power output – with the higher wattage generally being brighter. Make sure that you are purchasing a light rated for your needs. Otherwise, you risk showering too much or too little light; this producing a less than desired result.
- Physical Size – Some of the adjustable solar flood lights can be quite bulky, when compared to their siblings. It’s a good thing to take down the measurements of the flood light you are considering and then tape them out in the desired location ahead of time. This will ensure there are less surprises.
- Light Color – LED’s can offer different choices when it comes to the color of the light being emitted. You will see terms like ‘soft white’, ‘daylight’, ‘bright white’, ect. Be sure to check this so that you know what kind of light your solar flood lights will be producing.
** If you are purchasing through an online store such as Amazon – post this question for a real world perspective.
- Weather Resistance – Different environments have different requirements. Some places are hotter while others have prolonged sub-freezing temperatures. Be sure to pick a light is adequately designed for the worst of where you live.
Flood Lights Vs. Pathway Lights
It should be noted that there is a difference between solar flood lights and solar lights associated with your pathway.
Pathway lights tend to be much lower in wattage as they are designed to illuminate a smaller area. They are usually more decorative in function and tend to be operated more by outdoor daylight conditions than motion operated.
These type of lights are designed for a different purpose and will not perform the same as solar flood lights, which are built to illuminate a large area upon sensing motion.
So if you are looking for a solar flood light, then make sure the ‘flood’ is in the description. Also, if you are in doubt, check the output wattage. Remember, flood lights tend to have a higher wattage output. And if all else fails, do not hesitate to post a question for real world feedback.
For more info on solar lights check out, ‘Should You Turn Solar Lights Off At Night?’