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Solar Vs Mains Powered Garden Lighting

Here you will find the benefits and drawbacks of both Solar power and Mains powered garden lighting. So you can make the right decision.

We will compare the cost, practicality, pros and cons for both solar and mains power to install into your garden.

What Are Solar Garden lights?

Solar Garden lights are typically cheap lighting solutions for your garden. When you buy solar-powered lights, they can be spiked or stake lights and string, rope or festoon lights.


You can easily be picked up in most discount stores or garden centres. Solar lights are generally made from cheap plastic or very thin metal, this can cause them to break when a football gets kicked into them.

My experience with solar lights.

My experience of these solar lights, more so the solar stake light variety, is that they were a great impulse buy and made the garden look great for all of about 5 minutes.

After a few months, the batteries in the garden solar lights started to give up, and the lights were getting very dim and didn’t have the same spark when they first got planted into the ground.

Unfortunately, they ended up going in the bin.

My original thought was that because these lights are solar-powered, they would be better for the environment. It is debatable, as they only lasted a short while before ending up in the landfill.

Should I buy solar lights for the garden?

If you are looking for a quick fix to make your garden look pretty for one or a few certain nights. Yes, this will do the trick as they are cheap but not long-lasting. If you want your garden looking great year on year, then mains powered lights are a better option.

What are mains powered lights?

In essence, mains powered garden lighting are lights that run off your homes electrics, you can still get stake/spike or string and rope lights like the solar power lights, but you have a great range of lights to choose from.

You can pick from many different styles, sizes, shapes and brightness’.. There are some very cost-efficient solutions if you are trying to keep it to a budget. And some very elaborate ones if you want to completely reinvent your garden into a beautiful wonderland.

The materials they are made from ranges from different types of plastics and metal with eco-friendly options available. So you are sure to get the ones that transform your garden the way you want.


My experience with mains powered lights.

Years ago, I thought lighting up your garden was a very 'silly' idea.

That was until I visited the parents in law with their beautifully lit up garden.

They had long festoon lighting over the decking with these big bulbs which lit up the area. Stake lights were placed along the edge of the flower beds, bringing some colour into the garden when the sun had gone in.

I truly felt like it brought more happiness and conversation to the night, instead of just sitting around a fire in the dark trying to keep warm and unable to see anyone's face.

The garden lighting fixtures looked solid and brought the ascetic of the garden together much more than my attempt with the cheap solar lights.

Should I install a mains powered light in the garden?

If you want to turn your garden into a space where you can entertain or even just relax into the late evening hours on your own, then installing mains powered light would be the perfect solution.

You can achieve different levels of brightness to give the garden depth and focus points.

Mains powered lights in your garden are a better permanent and long-lasting choice.

But doesn’t mains power outdoor lighting cost more?

Naturally, installing something into your home's power is going to set you back a little more than cheap solar lights. But if you want something that will last and give you more control over the light, it is by far the better option.

It may not even cost as much as you might think to get a double socket installed in your garden.

Conclusion of solar vs mains powered garden lighting.

Mains power garden lighting is much more transformative and will make the bigger impact to bring your garden alive at night with more options, brighter lights and longer-lasting. Also over time, they could prove cheaper as you won’t be replacing them every few months like the solar ones.

Solar power lighting is great if you don’t want to spend more than 20-30 quid. And ok to pretty up the garden quickly without the need for someone to install outdoor power for you.

Want to power up your garden?

Check out our garden electrics page for more information on what you can do with mains power in your garden.

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duane gilbert

Duane Gilbert

Duane Gilbert is the Managing Director of Doctor Electrical. A problem solver with 'hands-on' experience. He has been in the electrical industry since leaving school and built up a wealth of experience. Connect with Duane on LinkedIn >>

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