Buying Guide: How To Choose Outdoor LED Security Lights For Your Home
We all strive to keep our homes safe and protected and try to take all the necessary precautions: watch out for strangers in the neighbourhood, close the windows at night and lock the doors when we leave the house. We might even invest in expensive home security systems and join neighbourhood patrols. However, we may be forgetting the deterring and safety power of a simple outdoor light. Quick to install, packed with quite a few features (motion sensors, weatherproof ratings, battery-savers and more), they are an easy and important step towards improving home safety.
So how do you choose the right outdoor lighting? Should you go for incandescent bulbs or LED? Water-resistant or weatherproof? What are lumens, wattage and what is so special about a PIR motion sensor?
All of that and more in our simple guide below.
Brightness And Lumens
When choosing any kind of lighting, brightness is a factor that naturally comes up first. You may feel comfortable in thinking that the brighter your outdoor lighting is, the more secure you will feel. However, this is not always the case. Lights that are overly bright can come in strong contrast with the night, creating pitch-black shadows. So, you will need to look for a light that is right for you and does not cause shadowing.
To determine how much light you will be getting from the bulb, look at the lumens.
Lumens are used to measure the brightness of the emitted light and one lumen is equal to a light of a candle from one foot away. For example, this Outdoor Solar LED Light features 200 lumens – meaning it will give you 200 candles’ worth of light.
Power And Efficiency
Wattage determines how much power the light source is using. With LED lights consuming as much as 90% less of energy than standard incandescent lights, you will often see different wattage measurements stated in a double format – for instance, “100 Watt equal – 16 Watts”. This means that the LED bulb would only use 16 Watts of energy to produce the equal amount of light as a standard bulb using 100 Watts.
When you combine that with solar energy, the cost of lighting up your yard drops down to zero. Equipped with solar panels, solar outdoor lights collect sunlight during the day and use it to generate electricity. It is then stored in the built-in rechargeable batteries and used to power the LED lights when it gets dark.
The batteries come in different capacities and you will find models with 600mAh batteries and the ones with much bigger capacities, like this Solar LED Light with a 4400mAh built-in battery.
Battery capacity is an important factor to consider, especially if you live in a place where sunlight is not a given on a daily basis. With a bigger battery, your security light will be able to store more energy for rainy days, when sunlight is scarce. Thus, a backup battery may be a reasonable option to keep in mind.
One of the key items in solar panel specifications is conversion efficiency, also known as solar cell efficiency. It measures the energy input of a solar panel per amount of sunlight that it is exposed to. It is determined by dividing the cell’s power output by the input light and the surface of the solar panel and comes as percentage. Commercial solar efficiency record currently stands at around 20% and is featured high-end solar lighting equipment.
Sensors And Controls
A sensor determines when the light is turned on. You will see outdoor lights coming with motion detection sensors, sound sensors or the ones that react to the time of day. Which one would be right for you?
As the name suggests these sensors react to movement and activate the lights upon its detection. Most motion detectors are PIR-based. PIR (passive infrared sensor) is an electronic sensor that detects heat and is used to sense movement of people, animals or other objects.
Outdoor lights with motion detectors have both security and convenience benefits. You will be notified when someone is walking in your yard and won’t have to trip over twigs and branches when coming home from work. What’s more, as the lights are only activated when needed, they come with the extra plus of being energy-efficient.
A photocell reacts to the presence or absence of light and the bulb is turned on accordingly. Your outdoor light will then be automatically off during the day and switch on after sunset.
Outdoor lights equipped with a sound sensor (like this Sound Sensor Solar Wall Lamp) will switch on when they “hear” a noise, like footsteps or knocking. Sound sensor outdoor lights are helpful in detecting intruders and can also be quickly switched on with a clap, if you need help finding those keys.
You can also choose to activate or deactivate your outdoor lights manually, by flipping a switch. This can be a suitable option for someone who only needs the lights on occasion.
Think about where your light will be mounted. If you are planning to keep it under the roof to light up the porch and doorway, the light does not have to be weatherproof. However, keep in mind that these places also tend to be damp and, to be on the safe side, it would be better to go with a humidity/water-resistant device.
If you are placing your security lights outside, they need to be able to withstand all sorts of weather changes and, for long and stable operation, you should take a look at the weatherproof rating. For instance, this Outdoor Security LED Light comes with IP65 rating, meaning it’s dust-tight and resistant to water splashes.
(For a detailed review of IP ratings, click here.).
For a full range of wholesale outdoor LED lighting products, click here.
For more information on outdoor and solar gadgets, click here.
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