Can solar-powered fairy lights really work at a time when we’re so bereft of sunshine? Put it this way – don’t expect them to brighten your mood this winter and you won’t be disappointed.
They’re eco friendly, cheap to run and you don’t need to worry about cables – what’s not to like about solar lights? Well, until recently, the dim blue glow they emitted, for starters!
But technology has come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years, and solar lights are now used to illuminate streets and even the runway at Southampton airport. So a string of solar fairy lights is sure to set our festive gardens a-twinkle, right?
Er, no. When Which? Gardening tested 13 sets of solar-powered fairy lights recently (all of them festive-looking and deemed suitable for outdoor use in winter) not one of them produced enough light to transform our gardens into a glittering grotto.
In fact, there was no hope of any of them producing even the dimmest dusk-to-bedtime display – unless you’re in the habit of having very early nights.
The efficacy of solar lights largely depends on the sunlight that they receive during the day, and in December, an average of 80% of days are dull. But having said that, many of the lights we tested didn’t stay on for long even after a sunny day – and the light emitted was a fraction of their mains-powered equivalents.
Sadly we couldn’t recommend any of the lights that we tested, but we’re convinced there must be some decent solar lights out there. Do you have any solar garden lights or gadgets that really do work, even in the depths of winter? If so, we’d love to hear about them!