Solar outdoor lights do poorly in testsFestive lights fail to shine, say Which? Gardening

25 November 2010

solar christmas lights

Which? Gardening tested 13 Christmassy-looking solar outdoor lights in the hope of imparting some festive cheer. But for the first time ever, every product in their trial is a Don’t Buy

Outdoor Christmas lights can transform your garden into a glittering grotto, but most need plugging into the mains, which limits where you can hang them. 

Solar-powered sets, on the other hand, can go wherever you like as long as the solar panel is in sun. Plus they have no running costs and are environmentally friendly too. 

But can you really expect them to work on a dull December day?

A dim view

Sadly, all of the lights tested by the Which? Gardening team failed to impress. Despite being sold as being suitable for winter use, there’s no hope of any of them producing even the dimmest dusk-to-bedtime display unless you have particularly early nights! In fact, for the first time ever, all of the products tested were Don't Buys.

None stayed on for more than three hours after a typical overcast December day – and five went off within 20 minutes. Some of the lights tested only produced 2% of the light of their mains-powered equivalents. 

The team found that the only way to ensure lights stay on for more than a few hours is to opt for a set with replaceable batteries and fully charge them in a battery charger. And hold on to your receipt! If the lights fail to live up to their description, ask the retailer for a refund.

Read the full story in our review.