The popularity of solar lamp posts continues to grow. Part of this is because the technology used continues to improve, more styles are available than in the past, and prices are comparable to similar electric options. The desire of many people to "go green" and save on utility bills certainly doesn't hurt either.
One thing about most lamp posts is that once they are installed, they can't be relocated easily. But there is a solution: portable solar lamp posts. These are great options for many people: those with vacation homes; renters who'd like to go solar and take their investment with them when they move; condo dwellers; and folks who tend to be indecisive.
How Portable Solar Lamp Posts Differ from Standard Lamp Posts
Most solar lamp posts should be installed on a concrete base. The base should be about a foot in diameter, and at least a foot deep. In areas where the ground freezes in the winter, the concrete base should be even deeper to make sure that the lamp stays straight and level after a few freezing/thaw cycles.
In contrast, portable solar lamp posts can be moved around one's property with ease, taken indoors, or moved from one home to another. They can be sited on decks, patios and balconies without damaging stonework or wood, making them great for those who have limited outdoor space, such as condominium owners.
What to Look for In Portable Lamps
Solar lamps are at the high end of the cost spectrum for solar lighting. Customers should be aware that the cheapest lamp is usually not the best investment.
While low prices are tempting, it's best to buy a product from a manufacturer that specializes in solar lighting as opposed to a regular lighting company that has recently joined the solar band wagon.
One reason it's wise to purchase items engineered by specialists in solar lighting is because the best lamps use state-of-the-art technology. Often, this technology is patented and unavailable to regular lighting manufacturers.
The easiest way to tell you're buying a high quality solar lamp is to look for lithium ion (li-ion) batteries. Lower quality models tend to use NiCAD or NiMH batteries. These are fine for some lighting fixtures, but these battery types are one clear sign that the lamp isn't the best buy for your money.
Another thing you want to make sure of is that the lamp is stable and won't tip over (and possibly break) when a strong gust of wind comes through. Two things are commonly used for portable solar lamps. One is a weighted base, the other technique commonly used to stabilize lamp posts are planters. And if you buy one with a planter, you need to make sure that it is filled with dirt even if you don't choose to add plants. Otherwise, the fixture won't withstand much of a breeze at all.
That being said, common sense still should be used. For example, if you know that heavy winds are on their way, it's a good idea to move the lamp to a sheltered area.
Great Candidates for Portable Solar Lamps
Let's say that you're fortunate enough to own a vacation home, either near the water for summer or near your favorite recreational activity such as a ski resort. You can enjoy the benefits of solar when you are at the residence and simply move it inside when you're away.
That way, you don't have to worry about damage from weather or vandals. Just be sure that you when you do set the lamp back outside that you let it get a strong solar charge (about 12-16 hours of direct sun) before you turn it back on. This not only helps you get the best performance from the light, you'll extend the lifetime of the lithium ion battery.
People who live in condominiums are also great candidates for portable solar lamp posts, and not only because their outdoor space may be limited to a terrace or a balcony. There are also the dreaded condo association rules, which may prohibit the installation of a fixed lamp especially since a concrete base is required.
We know of one individual, for example, whose condo association would not allow him to add a lighting fixture to his entranceway. It didn't matter that the existing light source partially covered by an overgrown shrub and didn't work properly. He was concerned about the safety of his wife, who often came home late in the evening.
The solution: a portable solar lamp. It fit nicely into the small garden space that was the condo association didn't govern and required no permanent changes to the ground or the walls of the building.
People who don't own their own home, but want to improve the aesthetics and illumination of their outside living areas also are great candidates for solar lamp posts. First of all, there's no need of requesting permission from the landlord to make changes to the property. Equally important, a renter can take the lamp with him or her when they move to their next home, be it another rental or their first home purchase.
And of course, some people are indecisive or others just want the flexibility of being able to move the lamp around. Perhaps they want to illuminate different areas from one season to another, while others may be used to the inherent flexibility of smaller solar lights that can easily be moved from one area to another to suit one's fancy. We know some people who leave the solar lamps in sunny area during the day, but move them to gazebos, porches or other covered areas for evening gatherings.
Buy from a Trusted Dealer
Just as there are different strengths and quality among permanent solar lamps, the same is true for portable lamp posts. If you have any questions about whether or not the lamp you are looking for will meet your needs, speak to seller. Good merchants will be able to make the recommendation that is not only best for your budget, but that provides the proper strength of light for your needs.