Engineer's picks

Shine it all around: Best solar flood lights 2023

Wouldn’t it be nice to put daily sunlight in a jar and let it out when it gets dark? That’s the idea of solar flood light. In this article, we’ll talk about the best models and what to look out for when you make your choice.

Solar flood lights are free from grid and wiring

Flood light — a lighting unit for projecting a broad beam of light. Flood lights do not correlate with water, they just flood a large area with light.

What is the difference between traditional and solar-powered flood lights? Standard ones are connected to the grid and draw power from it. Solar flood lights use photovoltaic elements to convert sunlight into electricity that is stored in a built-in battery. Let’s see how the two types compare against each other.

Solar flood lights vs Traditional flood lights

• Energy Efficiency. Solar flood lights use energy from the sun. Traditional ones consume electricity from the grid which increases your energy bills — even though not by much.
• Installation. Solar flood lights are easier to install because you don’t need to connect them to the grid. This also means that they can be installed in remote locations where the grid is not available.
• Maintenance. Outdoor solar flood lights require less maintenance than traditional ones as they do not have any moving parts and do not require any wiring. However, you have to keep the photoelements clean and free of debris to ensure optimal performance.
• Performance. Traditional flood lights generally provide brighter and more consistent lighting, especially during the winter months when there are fewer hours of daylight.
• Cost. Solar flood lights tend to be more expensive than traditional ones upfront but over time they save money on electricity bills and maintenance costs.

Check battery, solar panel and lights

A solar flood light has three main parts that you should pay attention to: a battery, a solar panel and the lights themselves. When picking a model, you want to check the specifications of each part.

Battery types and size

Most solar LED flood lights use batteries with capacities in the range of 1000 to 5000 mAh. Assuming a flood light with a power consumption of 10 W, a 1000 mAh battery may be able to power the light for approximately 1 to 2 hours. A 5000 mAh battery keeps the light on for 5 to 10 hours.

Different types of batteries are used in flood lights and each type has its pros and cons:

• Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO) batteries. Being the most common type, these batteries have an estimated lifespan of 500-1000 charge cycles. Lithium-ion batteries endure high temperatures, overcharging, and deep discharging better than other types. Their downside is higher cost.
• Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. These batteries tend to last just as long as Li-Ion ones while being cheaper. However, they have a higher self-discharge rate and they are charged slower.
• Lead-acid batteries. This is the oldest battery type and the cheapest one as well. Lead-acid batteries have an estimated lifespan of 200-300 charge cycles. This type is especially prone to temperature fluctuations, overcharging and deep discharge.
• Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP) batteries. This is the most modern subtype of lithium batteries. They last for 2000-5000 charge cycles which translates to at least a 5-year lifespan.

The battery is often what limits the lifespan of a device: solar panels and LEDs last for over 10 years. High-quality solar flood lights serve you for 5-8 years while some lower-end models may only last a year or two. The lifetime of a traditional flood light depends on what type of lighting it has. 

Lights and brightness

The brightness of solar flood lights is measured in lumens.

Lumen (lm) — a unit of measurement that is used to quantify the amount of light emitted by a light source.

Lumens are a more accurate way of measuring light output than wattage because different types of light bulbs produce different amounts of light for the same amount of energy. For example, a 60-watt incandescent bulb typically produces around 600-800 lumens of light. You can get the same amount of light with a 10-watt LED bulb.

As a rule of thumb, you can use the following conversion ratios to estimate the lumen output of light based on its wattage:

• Incandescent bulbs: 1 W = 10 lm
• Halogen bulbs: 1 W = 12 lm
• LED bulbs: 1 W = 60-100 lm

The lumen rating of solar-powered flood lights ranges from 300 to 1000 lm on average. The brightness lets you know how illuminating the lights are and give an idea about the distance coverage.

Weather resistance

Manufacturers try to make their product prone to extreme weather at least to some degree. Many models have an IP rating: a two-digit number that indicates the level of protection against the intrusion of dust and moisture. For example, an IP65 rating means that the device is protected against dust and low-pressure jets of water from all directions.

The first digit of the IP code (0-6) indicates how well the device is protected against solids. The second digit (0-9) stands for protection against liquids.

While solar panels on top of a flood light are rather ignorant to swings in temperature, the batteries are not. Lead-acid batteries are especially vulnerable to cold and high heat. If you live in an area where high temperatures or frosting are common, we recommend models with LCO or LFP batteries.

Top 3 solar flood lights of 2023

Here are the three best solar flood lights that stood out to our experts. We picked them based on their performance, customer reviews and specifications.

Mokot solar outdoor lights, 288 LED

The Mokot flood light has four adjustable light heads with 288 high-brightness LED beads which can produce up to 800 lm output. These solar lights are waterproof and function well even in heavy rain and snowstorms. The model is equipped with a motion sensor, solar panels and 1800 mAh rechargeable batteries. It charges automatically during the day and starts working in the dark. The solar panel can be adjusted at will to ensure the angle that provides maximum sunlight absorption.

Mihani outdoor solar lights, 218 LED

Mihani flood lights come with a high-efficiency solar panel with tempered glass for better protection. The model has built-in Li-Ion 2200 mAh batteries. The lights have 218 LEDs and provide up to 2500 lm output which puts it among the brightest solar flood lights available.

Mihani solar light is equipped with an improved motion detection chip. Made of ABS material, the lights are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. The IP65 rating ensures that this three-head flood light won't yield in rain, sleet or snow. 

WELALO Outdoor Solar Spot Lights, 52 LED

Welalo solar spot lights have 52 LEDs each and provide 200 lm light output. These are great for your garden and you can simply stick them into the grass. Alternatively, you can use screws to install into the wall as a solar-powered wall light. The manufacturer claims that the lights charge for 6-8 hours and then provide continuous lighting for 6-15 hours.

Andrey Gorichenski
Senior Editor

Andrey had been a news editor and freelance writer for a number of medias before joining A1SolarStore team. Climate change and its impact on people's lives has always been among his interests and it partially explains his degree in Philosophy and Ethics.

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