Untethered by outlets
No electric cost
Can be dim
Short length, no pairing
Brightech Ambience Pro Solar Outdoor String Lights
Brightech is a California-based lighting company that specializes in techy lamps and outdoor string lights. The Ambience Pro Solar 1W Globe Waterproof LED Outdoor String Lights are a soft, globe-type light that’s best for a small outdoor area. We put the solar string lights to the test at our Colorado home to see if they could warm up the atmosphere during cool nights on our deck.
Setup: Placing the solar panel is key
This Brightech set doesn’t require much setup. Even the bulbs come pre-installed in their sockets, so you can have them up and running in a few minutes.
Location selection is the biggest setup decision, and because they’re tethered to the solar panel, you need to find a location where you like the placement of the lights but you can be sure the panel gets good sun exposure.
As with any solar panel (in the Northern Hemisphere), you want the panel facing south and to have a chance at direct sunlight for as many hours during the day as possible to charge the battery. This may require some trial and error in your specific location. We had a good idea of where to place our panel from our experiments with different garden bed locations, but where the sun hits and for how long in a particular part of your yard may not be information you have readily at hand.
You’ll also want to experiment with placements for the lights because while 27 feet may seem long at first, it can become a pretty short amount of coverage if you’re wrapping it around a pole or beam. Because of the shorter length, we ended up stringing ours up without wrapping the lights, both on a fence and on our deck railing. In this way, we were able to extend the distance the 27-foot strand could cover.
Note that, unlike many wired lights, you can’t pair multiples of the Brightech’s solar string lights to extend their length, though adding another set with another solar panel for power is easy enough.
Design: Attractive bulbs, simple wiring and housing
The plastic G40 bulbs sport modern durability but have a very classic globe shape to them. And yet, the internal light hardware looks rather futuristic—not that you can tell at night when the bulbs are shining brightly.
The black wiring is nondescript and about the thickness of an outdoor extension cord, while the hard black plastic bulb housings are attached directly onto the cord. These aren’t thin wires, and you’ll certainly notice the string during the daylight when strung up, but the black is about as invisible as you can hope to get with outdoor string lights.
These lights are best as an accent, not a primary light source in your outdoor space.
The cable is heavy duty enough to not need support cabling when strung across an open space, though the manufacturer recommends it despite the set weighing only 2.35 pounds.
The black plastic desk lamp-style clamp for the solar panel was easy to use and fit well on the top 2 x 4 of our wooden fence. The 6-inch garden stake was similarly intuitive to use and long enough to hold the panel steady, but short enough that we could press it into the ground by hand.
Performance: Hands-off operation but subject to sunlight
The solar panel and power supply on this unit work remarkably well and speak to the advancement of solar technology in the past few years. Using this set reminded us of some solar walkway lights we owned about 10 years ago whose pathetic light you’d struggle to see if you walked them into a cave.
The solar panel and power supply on this unit work remarkably well and speak to the advancement of solar technology in the past few years.
That said, solar does present some challenges that you don’t have with plug-in lights. For one, the lights are noticeably dimmer and don’t last as long on really cloudy days. We had the benefit of testing these during some of the longer days of the year in early summer, but we could see the challenge an eight-hour daylight period in December could present for these lights.
Additionally, the lights don’t necessarily stay on all night. For most applications, the minimum of six hours of output the manufacturer claims is accurate and enough, but keep in mind they’re running on a battery and don’t have unlimited hours in them. Additionally, you obviously can’t use these indoors unless you charge the panel outdoors and then bring it inside.
When fully charged, the 1-watt bulbs throw off an impressive amount of light without being blinding in the least. There are two color options: soft white and warm white, and we reviewed the former. Even the soft white color temperature is on the yellower end of white light, measuring around 3,000K, which matches the claimed color temperature from the manufacturer. Meanwhile, the warm white model is 2,700K.
When fully charged, the 1-watt bulbs throw off an impressive amount of light without being blinding in the least.
For that reason and the possibility of the lights being on a lower charge, these lights are best as an accent, not a primary light source in your outdoor space. We liked them along our fence line where they threw a bit of warm light on the garden and gave some depth to the backyard patio area beyond the usual exterior lamp light.
Price: On par with competitors
Not surprisingly, these Brightech solar string lights are more expensive than their electrical counterparts, no doubt reflecting the cost of the solar panel more than anything. Compared to other similar solar string light options, however, the Brightech set is right on par.
The cost savings on your electric bill isn’t going to be significant enough to justify choosing these lights for that reason alone.
Brightech Ambience Pro Solar Outdoor String Lights vs. Brightech Ambience Globe LED String Lights
If you like the look and length of the solar Brightech lights but have concerns about their power or reliability due to sun availability, you can spend a little less and get their plug-in LED version of the same length.
You lose the portability of the solar set in exchange for reliable light strength, but the bulbs are essentially the same type but with a 1-watt LED filament instead of the techy look of the solar version. At 1 watt per bulb for 12 bulbs, the cost to run this corded set is low, though not “free” in the way the solar set is.
Yes, if portability matters.
The cost savings on your electric bill isn’t going to be significant enough to justify choosing these lights for that reason alone, but the greatest feature afforded by the solar power source is portability. If, like us, you have areas in your yard that you’d like to light but don’t want to run 100+ feet of extension cord to do it, the Brightech Ambience Pro Solar 1W Globe Waterproof LED Outdoor String Lights are a great solution at a reasonable cost.
- Product Name Ambience Pro Solar 1W Globe Waterproof LED Outdoor String Lights
- Product Brand Brightech
- Price $47.99
- Weight 2.35 lbs.
- Color Soft white, warm white
- Total Bulbs 12
- Multiple Strands No
- Bulb Type LED, G40
- Power Consumption 1W each
- Bulb Lifespan 20,000 hours
- What’s Included String lights, solar panel with a 2,000 mAH battery
- Warranty 5 years, limited