Homebase Solar Garden String Lights May 2012
Homebase Solar Garden String Lights
These new festive solar garden string lights from Homebase have 10 white LED bulbs to light up festive decorations, and an automatic dusk-to-dawn sensor to turn them on in the evening and off again in the morning. They claim to have around six to eight hours battery life when fully charged. We tried out the patriotic Crown and modern Union Jack designs in time for the Jubilee. Read our review to find how long they lasted, lighting up our garden.
Modern festive solar lights for the garden
These new festive solar garden string lights from Homebase promise to glow or flash depending on the setting you choose, for up to eight hours after dusk falls. They're designed to charge during the day and then automatically light up at night, are also claimed to be rainproof.
Long-lasting light - if the sun shines
The instructions suggest these lights need two days under full sunlight to charge. Luckily we were able to give them a weekend on a sunny window sill to charge them up fully. Once charged, we were impressed that the Union Jack lights, which were left on the flash setting, kept going for over 14 hours. The Crown lights, which we left on the constant setting, lasted for just under seven hours - long enough for most parties.
No charge on a dull day
The weather in the UK isn’t always reliable, and when we charged the Crown lights for 12 hours on an overcast day, they only had enough charge for 15 minutes on the constant setting. This is disappointing and means the lights will only work after a very bright day.
Easy to set up and use
The lights are simple to set up and use. The solar panel comes with a two-part plastic spike that can be stuck in the lawn or border, or the panel can be wedged in a tree. There is a generous two metres of cable before the decorations start, and these run for 1.8m. This gives a total cable length of 3.8m, which makes it easy hang the lights up. The dusk-to-dawn sensors work very well, turning the lights on as soon as the sun starts to set and switching them off as soon as daylight returns. This means that once you’ve got them in position, you don’t have to go back to turn them off and on.
Decoration rather than lighting
These decorations have bulbs at the top, so rather than a lantern effect, the light shines down the fibres in the plastic. This means the decoration itself is not lit particularly well and the light comes out at the edges and the top. It’s a pleasant effect, but if you’re hoping that they will light up your garden party, then these lights are not for you. On the other hand, if you’re worried about the lights disturbing wildlife, then the weaker glow will be ideal.
Pros: Easy to use, with a good battery life when fully charged, and a reliable dusk-to-dawn sensor
Cons: Won’t charge on a cloudy day, so not reliable in the British summer, and of decorative use only