Monday, August 17, 2009

Westinghouse Solar Lights


Jamie and I have finally reached a point where we are ready to install landscape lighting in the garden. There are so many products for sale now it’s hard to know which ones to pick. In the past, solar lights haven’t been a very reliable source of luminance for the garden. Recently, leaps and bounds have been made in the available variety of products and I’ve been anxious to see what’s out there. When Teak Wicker & More contacted me and asked me to do a review on these landscape lights, I was happy to oblige and thank them for the opportunity. I intend to do a future post on landscape lighting and what I’ve learned, but this post is strictly for review of the product sent to me.

Within 24 hours of the shipment date I received the Westinghouse lights via FedEx. The first thing I noticed upon opening the box was that these were very chic lights with a nice modern design to them, but that they could easily fit into the design of any garden. Over 26 inches in height and 2 ½ inches diameter, the antique copper finish on these lights make them very attractive in the garden and I didn’t feel the need to conceal them from view.

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The thing I was most interested in was the output of light. With only a single diode as an illumination source, I knew that a tremendous amount of light was not going to be produced by these particular lights and I was correct in assuming so. I must admit though, I was extremely surprised at the amount of light that was produced by them.

If you are looking to light up a path or walkway these lights may be inefficient for those purposes, but you should also realize they were not designed for that task. The light source is simply too high from the ground. The most efficient lights for that job are lights that cast the light downward and not out, the way these were designed to function. Also keep in mind that these are solar lights and if you place them in a shaded area they will perform very poorly. They, as well as all other solar lights need sun to operate.

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If you are looking for a soft, ambient light to place in darker areas of your garden this light set is the way to go and should certainly be a consideration. They provide a very pleasant glow in a small circumference around them that I find very aesthetic and reminiscent of moonlight. If you are less interested in the artsy contribution and need lights for a more practical purpose you may want to consider going for a higher level of luminance.

Taking into consideration the design, size and light output of this set I find them fairly reasonably priced for a mail order item. In summary I was very pleased and my only regret is that we have six of them instead of twelve. These statements are of course only my opinion. You can find other reviews and order the product here.

27 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Interesting solar lights, Randy. We have some in our yard, but they are not that tall. We are always looking for MORE light from the solar ones.. Even in summer, some of them don't produce much light. But--maybe they are not supposed to!!!!!

Thanks for sharing.
Betsy

Jamie and Randy said...

Betsy,
I’ve found that for my needs the single bulb LED lights just aren’t bright enough. They have super intense LED available now and they should start using them in the solar lights.--Randy

tina said...

Very modern indeed. They cast a nice light and look great for ambience. The real test will be to see how long they last. That is my issue with the solar lights-even when in full sun they seem to die out.

Roses and Lilacs said...

I bought something similar this year and like mine pretty well. As you say, they don't add a lot of light but they do provide some interest in the garden after dark. I've had to move a couple of mine to get maximum sunlight during the day.
Marnie

Jamie and Randy said...

Tina,
That's a very interesting point. Even though the LED is supposed to have longer life it doesn't matter if the solar panels don't hold up too. Thank you.

Marnie,
I was really surprise at how much light they did produce. I also found that they were much brighter after two days of charging. They would work very well as marker lights. You are right though, they need optimal light to function correctly.

Jake said...

I hope ypu have better luck with Westinghouse lights. I have tried soem spot lights that quit working after the second night. I also have regular lights that the plastic part that protects the bulb is just cracking and breaking. I wouldn't a Westinghouse product again.

Jake

Jamie and Randy said...

Jake,
Only time will tell. This is the first time I've ever used them. So far my experience has been limited to the low voltage ones. Those lasted for almost 20 years.--Randy

Phillip said...

Garden lighting has always been a confusing issue for me - like you said, there are so many options. I've never found a solar light that produces enough light. The electric lights that I bought from Lowe's last year are excellent but two of them have already stopped working and I can't find them anymore. I want to add more lighting to the front of the house.

Darla said...

I have been a little disappointed with solar lights...even with all of the sun we get here...I guess you get what you pay for..I think this lights are very chic looking and probably look just wonderful in your gardens!

sweet bay said...

We have some solar lights beside our sidewalk. I rather like them, but I do wish they did cast a stronger light.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I bought a couple of little cheapies to try out. They work just fine but they don't really make enough light to do much good. This one you tried at least is pretty.

Jamie and Randy said...

Phillip,
From what I’ve been reading the best LED spotlights have no less than 10 lights in them and 16 is preferred. For a path light, I would go with no less than 3 to 5 LEDs per light. The only problem is they are difficult to find.

Darla,
It’s very hard to find adequate replacements for the old low voltage lights. It would seem to me that the companies that build solar lights would want to make them more comparable. Wouldn’t you think?

Sweet Bay,
I really like the white/blue light of the solar lights, but like you I would some that provide a stronger luminance.

Lisa,
They are very attractive. If Westinghouse had simply put 2 more diodes in the light they probably wouldn’t be able to keep them in stock. I would think it takes only pennies to do that. Just as they are, they still put out an amazing amount of light to only have 1 diode.--Randy

Andrew said...

I really like those lights. It's an interesting addition that many people don't have. It will help to bring the eye up into the garden but won't be bright enough to bother the observer.

Jamie and Randy said...

Andrew,
Very well put! Welcome to our blog, Jamie and I always love getting a new reader!--Randy

Tootsie said...

I like the idea of the solar lights...but have yet to find some that I am really in love with either! Those are attractive...but as you say, not much light...I wonder if there are some stronger ones out there!?

Jamie and Randy said...

Tootsie,
I recently read a magazine article on them and there are good ones out there with higher numbers of LEDs, but I have yet to find them. I really like the idea of harvesting the sun's energy if we can find a good product. I'm on a mission and I'm going to continue my search.--Randy

Wayne said...

Those are good looking lights!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I like the lights and my main question is, how do you get companies to send you products, LOL!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Those are very chic lights. Very, very nice. I hope you got several of them. Good review.~~Dee

Jamie and Randy said...

Wayne,
They are VERY nice looking lights, but they have to balance “style and substance.”

Monica,
I’m not certain how they choose bloggers to contact and ask them to do reviews or promotions. This company has been in touch with several bloggers lately. I just received an email one day and since this is a subject Jamie and I are extremely interested in right now, I was very happy to participate.

Dee,
These particular ones came 6 to a set; I would really like to have 12 of them. I’m serious considering getting them. I’m holding off until Jamie and I determine exactly what type of light we need where in the garden. Thanks for the compliment on the review; that’s very flattering coming from a writer like you.--Randy

Gail said...

Randy, They are really good looking lights....I look forward to your post about outdoor lighting. I want to uplight a few big trees for drama but not until we finish some of these big projects...gail

Jamie and Randy said...

Gail,
I'm going to research the stew out of it before I invest any money. ;-)LOL--Randy

Jake said...

I like low voltage lights better anyway. No matter where they are they stay on all night and are bright. It seems solar lights in ll day full sun only stay on for a few hours and not long at all at night.

Jake

Jamie and Randy said...

Jake,
Our only problem with the low voltage lights is that it’s not recommended that you use over 100 watts per line which I totally don’t understand since most transformers are 300 watts or sets of 300. Using a 20 watt bulb would only allow you to run 5 lights per line and that’s way too limiting for our purposes. But, I am still learning about it all.--Randy

lynn'sgarden said...

Randy, I like the copper finish on these posts. I've always loved the look of path lighting but never found any solar design I liked well enough. How far apart are you placing them...so you'll get another set of six?

Jamie and Randy said...

Lynn,
In my opinion these lights would not be suitable for path lights. The light source is 24 inches from the ground and that’s just too high for the luminance they emmit. Andrew said it well; they “will help to bring the eye up into the garden but won't be bright enough to bother the observer.” I scattered the lights throughout the garden to bring a glow to some of the darker areas and yes I am seriously considering ordering more to balance out the distribution of the lights. BUT, I am interested in the effect they create. I don’t consider them to be substantial enough to be used for practical lighting purposes. I want to make that clear.--Randy

Budget Lighting said...

The more I read further, the more I learned more what would be the best light to put in my own garden. Thanks to you all.