Have you thought about adding some lighting to your landscape? If you have, you likely know that there are two types of lighting that are popular today. One is solar powered lighting, and the other is low voltage lighting. They are very different from each other in many ways, but each has its pluses and minuses.

Solar landscape lighting is a great idea if you are looking for accent lights for your garden, deck, patio, or walkways, and you get plenty of sunlight throughout the year to keep them charged. Solar lights do not put out quite as much light as low voltage fixtures, so they are best suited for accent lighting. They come in a wide array of colors and styles, so finding the perfect one for your needs should not be too difficult.

If you need more light than solar fixtures are capable of producing, you may need to look at low voltage lighting instead. Since they do not have the need to conserve battery power, they can afford to be much brighter. Keep in mind, however, that there is a trade-off for that extra brightness – electricity. Low voltage lights use electricity, so you will see a change in your energy bill. Some models can actually affect your bill substantially.

Low voltage fixtures are also a lot more difficult to install. They need to be wired to a power source in order to function, unlike solar lights, which just need sun. Usually a solar lighting fixture can just be removed from the packaging and placed wherever you need them via a ground stake, or other similar method. Even those that have a separate panel are still very easy to install. A low voltage setup usually involved digging trenches and running conduit for the wires.

Be that as it may, solar powered fixtures need the sun to charge its batteries. If you live in an area that does not get enough sunlight to fully charge the fixture’s batteries, you will probably not have a very good experience with them. If your home is in an area that gets plenty of sun, but the location you need to place them is in the shade, a fixture with a remote panel is your best bet. That way, you can place the fixture where the light is needed and the panel where it gets direct sunlight.

As far as price goes, solar lights have come down quite a bit in the past couple of years, so they are priced fairly competitively with low voltage lighting. The real difference is in the running cost and cost of maintenance. Here is where there is no competition. Solar wins here, hands down. Not only do they have no impact on your energy bill, but most come with LEDs that are designed to actually outlast the fixture itself. Replacing dead bulbs can be quite common with low voltage fixtures.

The flip side of that argument is that the LEDs on most solar lights cannot be replaced. This means that if the bulb does burn out (and it does happen from time to time), you basically need to trash the entire fixture.

Hopefully this article will help you to decide whether you want to go solar powered or low voltage for your landscape lighting project. Whichever way you go, I wish you the best of luck with your project.

Author's Bio: 

Steve Schafer owns SolarLightsSite.com, where he has put together more information on solar landscape lighting, as well as many other types of solar lights, than any other site on the internet.