LED Solar Sensor Light: Ultimate Buying Guide

LED solar sensor lights are rapidly gaining popularity due to their energy efficiency.

Compared to traditional lighting alternatives, these lights are an affordable option and guarantee consistency.

In this guide, we will walk you through all the critical highlights around LED solar sensor lights.

In the end, we hope you can be able to make well-informed decisions and choices when buying the LED solar sensor lights.

Let’s dive right in:

Parts Of LED Solar Sensor Light

The main parts of LED solar sensor lights include:

Parts of solar solar light

Parts of solar light system


The solar panels are among the exposed parts of a LED solar sensor lights. The panel absorbs the solar energy required to power up the light.

Notably, the panel might be part of the sensor light or maybe detached (stand-alone).

LED Bulbs

The bulbs are the critical component of the LED solar sensor light since they emit the needed light.


The body or fixture hosts the LED bulbs. They come in various shapes and designs, with the typical body typical of the cobra head used in street lighting.

However, there are alternative bodies to help meet the vast aesthetic and domestic applications.


Sensors or the Energy Management System cause the bulbs to turn on. Usually, they react to a specific trigger. Typically, most LED sensor lights feature either motion or light sensors, or both.


The converted sunlight energy is stored in the battery. Various LED solar sensor lights have various battery capacities. The battery capacity will determine how long the sensor lights can function at night.

For smaller LED sensor lights, the battery is integrated in the sensor light body. However, the battery may be separate from larger ones and should be kept from cold temperature conditions.


Poles are a vital part of street light LED solar sensor lights. They hoist the LED solar sensor light to offer adequate illumination.

Operating Principle Of LED Solar Sensor Light

The operating principle of a LED solar sensor light will vary depending on the type of sensor integrated. We will consider the two standard sensor options; motion and light.

With Motion Sensors

During the day, the solar panels recharge the batteries by converting the sunlight energy to electric energy.

With the battery fully charged, the LED light will automatically turn on upon detection of movement.

The typical motion sensors are the PIR (Passive InfraRed) sensors that scan for a moving heat source.

Upon detecting a heat source, for example, a human or a motor vehicle, the light switches on automatically to light up the pathway or the area.

It will remain on provided the heat source is still within the sensor’s scope.

With Light Sensors

LED solar sensor lights with light sensors function the same as those with motion sensors. However, the sensors, in this case, are responsive to light (photosensors).

The photosensors permit current flow if it’s dark (including any obstruction on the sensors) or obstructs current flow if light reaches the detectors.

Both Light And Motion Sensors

Rarely will you find a LED solar sensor light with a motion sensor lacking a photosensor?

However, coming across a LED solar sensor light with a photosensor without a motion sensor is common.

The latter case implies that the LED solar sensor light reacts to both light and motion. Consequently, the LED solar sensor light will only switch on if motion is detected at night.

The two sensors help in energy conservation and efficiency of the LED solar sensor lights.

Operation Time For LED Solar Sensor Light

As earlier mentioned, the operation time for LED solar sensor lights is dependent on the capacity and the state of the battery.

For example, a LED solar sensor light with a 2000 mAH rechargeable lithium-ion battery will operate overnight after a charging period of 8 to 10 hours.

Concerning their lifespan, most LED solar sensor lights have a lifespan of about 50,000 hours.

Applications Of LED Solar Sensor Light

LED Solar sensor light

 LED Solar sensor light

LED solar sensor lights have various applications ranging from essential lighting needs to aesthetic lighting requirements.

These applications include:

  • Street lighting
  • Parking lot lighting
  • Park beautification
  • Construction site lighting
  • Military bases lighting
  • Airport lighting
  • Security lights
  • Retro-fit lighting
  • Pathway lighting
  • Signage lighting
  • Bus stops lighting
  • Mailboxes lighting

Common Light Modes In LED Solar Sensor Light

 3 mode solar sensor light

3 Mode solar sensor light

The light modes will differ depending on the type of LED solar sensor light you have. The three standard modes include:

  • Security modes – Where the sensors automatically turn the light on and off.
  • All-night mode – The lights turn on throughout the night or when it gets dark.
  • Brightness control – Unlike the all-night mode, where the light is in full brightness the entire night, the light is on but not in full brightness with brightness control. However, the brightness will increase when the sensors detect motion.

If you have a LED solar motion sensor light with two lights, front, and backlight, they may include the below smart modes.

Mode A – In this mode, both the front and backlights automatically turn on to full brightness if it detects motion within a 6-meter range.

However, as the movement exits the sensor’s range, the brightness of the two lights weakens gradually.

Mode B – Similar to Mode A, both lights will automatically turn on to full brightness upon motion detection.

However, as the movement exits the sensor’s range, the brightness gradually weakens with the backlight going off while the front light remains on.

In most LED solar sensors light, these modes are set by pressing a specified button on the light.

Styles Of Light Fixtures For LED Solar Sensor Light

LED solar sensor lights come in various fixture designs. Below are the common light fixtures that LED solar sensor lights have.

  • Cobra heads – They are the most popular and are common for LED solar sensor lights used for street lighting.

Cobra head light

Cobra head light

  • Bollard – Their short structure makes them ideal for lighting pathways and walkways. They can also come in handy during landscaping.

 Bollard solar light

Bollard solar light

  • Decorative – These will strike you with their aesthetic look. For this reason, they are mostly used in parks, art districts, and places that require aesthetic details.

Decorative solar light

Decorative solar light

  • Floodlights – When it comes to security lighting, the LED solar sensor lights with the flood light fixture are the most popular.

They offer a wide cast of light, illuminating a more comprehensive range.

Flood light fixture

 Flood light fixture

Technical Specifications For LED Solar Sensor Light

When looking to purchase an LED solar sensor light, the technical specifications are a key concern. We have listed the major technical specifications below.

  • LED light setting – Usually measured in lumens or watts
  • LEDs – It is the number of LED bulbs in the light (given in pieces)
  • Beam angle – Given in degrees
  • Battery type – Mostly rechargeable Li-ion Battery. However, they have different capacities(which are measured in mAh)
  • Lifespan – It is the approximate life length of the battery, given in hours.
  • Installation height – The maximum height for the light installation
  • IP 65 – Indicates that the light is waterproof
  • Charge time – Usually, the minimum time the battery should charge.
  • Motion sensors range – It is given in either meters, feet, or degrees. It is the detection range of the motion sensors.
  • Night Sensor – It is measured in terms of lumen per square meter (lux). It shows the maximum amount of lumens that trigger the night sensor.

Advantages Of LED Solar Sensor Light

LED solar sensor lights have various advantages that are directly resulting in their rapid popularity. These benefits include:

  • They are cost-effective due to the reduction of energy bills. Moreover, it is relatively cheap to set up a LED solar sensor light.
  • Their reliability even in terms of power outages.
  • Also, they are versatile and can be used in several environments.
  • It utilizes clean energy (solar energy). Hence, it does not pollute the environment.
  • Unlike electricity lighting that may require trenching, LED solar sensor lights don’t require trenching.
  • Lastly, the sensors result in energy saving. The light only switches on if need be.

Types of sensors for LED Solar Sensor Light

Sensors are an important component in the LED solar sensor light since they control the powering on and off of the lights. Let’s look at the standard sensors that can be integrated into your lights.

Motion Sensors

They detect motion and automatically turn on the lights. There are many types of motion sensors, including:

  • Passive InfraRed sensors (PIR) sensors – They detect motion by sensing any heat changes or movement.
  • Active sensors – They sense motion using microwave signals and their response time.
  • Combined sensors – They detect motion using both heat changes and microwave signals.

Importantly, there are adjustable PIR sensors that will enable you to adjust the detection range and the delay time. The delay or detection time is the time the lights turn on after motion detection.


These types of sensors respond to the availability or lack of light. Lights with photo sensors automatically turn on when it gets dark or at night. Consequently, these sensors are also referred to as dust to dawn sensors.

They help save on energy since the light will not waste the battery charge by illuminating during the day.

Note: Most LED solar sensor lights have motion and photo sensors for efficient functioning and reliable illumination.

Detection Range Of LED Solar Motion Sensor

The detection range of the sensors will vary depending on the sophistication of the motion sensor.

Typically, the detection range can be as short as 5 meters to as long as 21 meters.

Types of Solar Panels to Use in LED Sensor Light

LED solar sensor light

LED solar sensor light

LED Solar sensor lights use the three main types of solar panels discussed below;

  • Monocrystalline Solar Panels – Despite being the most expensive, they are also the most effective with regard to cell efficiency. They have an efficiency range of 15 – 21 %. Their common application is in lights with a floodlight frame.
  • Polycrystalline Solar Panels – They are cheaper to manufacture with a slightly high cell efficiency of 16%. They are distinct from other panels due to their dark blue solar cells.
  • Amorphous Solar Panels – They have the least cell efficiency of between 7% -10%. As such, they are most ideal for low-power solar lights and electronic devices.

Note: Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels are ideal for powering large solar lights due to their high cell efficiency.

Choosing Color Temperature For LED Solar Sensor Light

The color temperature for LEDs is measured in the Kelvin scale within the range of 1,000K (warm color) to 10,000K (blue-white color).

 Color temperature for LED lights

Color temperature for LED lights

Most LED solar lights have a cool white color temperature, an equivalent of 4000K. However, this temperature can be adjusted to meet your needs.

Luminous Intensity Distribution For LED Solar Sensor Light

The luminous intensity is the strength or quantity of light coming from the source. Commonly, the luminous intensity of LED solar senor lights is displayed using polar curves and plane systems.

 Polar curve luminous intensity distribution

Polar curve luminous intensity distribution

Plane showing luminuos intensity distribution

Plane showing the luminous intensity distribution

Beam Angles For LED Solar Sensor Light

The beam angle shows the angle of distribution of the light from the source. The four (4) categories of beam angles are:

  • 50 – 200 (Spot Light)
  • 210 – 350 (Flood Light)
  • 360 – 490 (Wide Flood Light)
  • 500 – 1200 (Very Wide Flood Light)

Selecting A Location For Your LED Solar Sensor Light

You can make the below considerations to ensure you install your LED solar sensor light in the best location:

  • The LED solar sensor light should be located in a position that allows access to direct sunlight. Consequently, allowing for efficient battery recharge.
  • Ensure there is no obstruction of the sensors. An obstruction may prevent the light from switching on. Obstructions may include objects such as roofs or walls.

Commonly, you can install LED solar sensor lights in the following locations around your house:
Garden paths

  • Patio
  • Around large trees or bushes
  • Around swimming pools
  • Deck
  • Stairways
  • Garden paths
  • Gates and fences

Remember, the installation location will determine the lights’ efficiency in terms of detection and prompt lighting.

Installation Of An LED Solar Sensor Light

The installation of these lights is usually straightforward. The basic steps include;

  1. Select a spot to carry out the installation – the location should be clear of any obstacles.
  2. Assemble the various parts of the LED solar sensor light, if need be.
  • Secure the lamp to the surface using a screw. The surface can include poles, walls, etc. However, there are those lamps that come with their stands or support structure. The mounting should be about 2-3 meters above the ground.
  1. Route the power cord from the solar panel to the light – for the solar lights where the panels are separate from the light.
  2. Adjust the motion sensor to ensure it aligns with the required detection range.
  3. Test the effectiveness of the LED solar sensor light.

Battery Choice For LED Solar Sensor Light

The battery choice of an LED solar sensor light will directly affect its performance.

Batteries store the power required to power up the light. As such, the higher the battery capacity, the longer the light will operate.

Below are the three major battery options available for LED solar sensor lights.

Lead-acid Battery

Arguably, it is the best battery for LED solar sensor lights for the following reasons:

  • They have a cheap cost-per-watt hour. Consequently, reducing the cost of solar power.
  • Requires low maintenance
  • Has a low self-discharge rate.
  • Works best with partial discharge. Importantly, LED solar sensor lights to operate under partial discharge since the lights only turn on under specific circumstances (motion or darkness).

Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) Battery

Li-ion batteries are an option for LED solar sensor lights. They are mostly found in small electronic devices such as cell phones. However, they are not preferred in solar lights due to the following reasons:

  • You can only recharge them around 1,000 times. In other terms, this translates to only about three (3) years of service. Notably, other battery options can last up to 7 years.
  • Also, they require a protection circuit to limit the peak voltage.
  • Lastly, it is costly to manufacture Li-ion batteries. Hence, using them will increase the cost of solar lighting.

Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) Battery

NiCd batteries are also a possible alternative. But, similar to Li-Ion, they have some shortcomings, which include:

  • They are composed of highly toxic cadmium metal.
  • Moreover, they are made for a full charge and full discharge, whereas solar lighting require partial charge and discharge
  • Lastly, they may encounter a “memory effect.” Memory effect is described as the tendency of batteries to forget highs and lows due to partial charge. Consequently, preventing full charge.

Nickel Metal-Hydride (NiMH) Battery

Lastly, we have the Nickel Metal-Hydride batteries. Although NiMH batteries are a better option than NiCd batteries, they have similarities, such as a full charge requirement. Also, they require a ton of maintenance.


NiCd and NiMH are cheap, lightweight, and ideal for low-power LED solar sensor lights. They are available in two main sizes, AAA and AA.

Li-Ion and lead-acid batteries are ideal for high-power LED solar sensor lights. They both require less maintenance and have a long life span.

Charging Time For An LED Solar Sensor Light

Most LED solar sensor lights have a charging time of between 6 to 8 hours, an equivalent of full daylight time. After which, they can operate for 8 to 12 hours.

Energy Management System in LED Solar Sensor Light

The Energy Management System (EMS) can be termed ‘the brain of the LED solar sensor light’. It ensures efficient power storage in the battery and timely discharge of power if the sensor light needs it.

Conclusively, the EMS controls the power in the solar light. It comprises the driver and the controller. Below is a detailed description of both

 Controller for LED solar light

 Controller for LED solar light


Primarily the controllers energize the LEDs in various modes. The modes can include;

  • Full brightness with an automatic shut-off
  • Split mode –Full brightness for the first 5 hours and partial brightness for the remaining time

Also, the controllers instruct the drivers on how to alter the light level.


The drivers convert the raw voltage (commonly, DC 12volts) to 85 volts for use by the solar light.

Sensor Range Of LED Solar Sensor Light

The motion sensors in the LED solar sensor lights have a scope of ranges. Usually, the range is within 1800 to 2700. In terms of distance, the range can be between 16 feet to 65 feet.

Your selection of a specific sensor range will depend on how far you want the sensors to detect.

Standards LED Solar Sensor Light Should Comply With

Quality standards ensure you get the best value for your money when purchasing any product. The LED sensor lights are no exception. Some key quality standards the LED solar sensor lights ought to have include:

  • IP65 rating – To ensure the light is waterproof.
  • International Dark Sky Association (IDA) compliance – It requires that;
  • The light fixture should be less than or equal to 3000 kelvin.
  • The light spillover should not be past the 1800

Factors To Consider When Purchasing An LED Solar Sensor Light

You should not be all green when going to purchase an LED solar sensor light. For this reason, here are some key factors that we recommend you consider;

  • Brightness – The brightness level is usually given in lumens. The typical brightness range for LED solar sensor lights is 300 lumens to 1200 lumens. Advisably, you should purchase lights with a higher lumen rating.
  • Motion detection range – This will determine the effectiveness of the LED solar sensor light. The detection range should be wide/long enough. The typical detection range can be between 16 feet to 65 feet, an equivalent of 1800 to 2700.
  • Color temperature – As earlier highlighted, the color temperature dictates the light color the LEDs produce. The IDA recommends a color temperature of not more than 3000 kelvin. A temperature higher than this will be too bluish, while the one lower than this will be too warm (orange).

Choosing The Best LED Solar Sensor Light

Now that we know the important factors to consider before purchasing a LED solar sensor light, the unanswered question is getting the best LED solar sensor light.

There are several aspects that will enable you to get the right LED solar sensor light, including;

  • Sensors – Choose the right sensor type (the various sensors are discussed in the previous sections). Advisably, a dual (with motion and light) sensor light is ideal and effective. The sensors should also be adjustable for easy alteration.
  • Sensor range – This is mainly for motion sensors. They ought to have a wider scope.
  • Battery type – As discussed in the previous sections, various batteries have their perks. Go for an LED solar sensor light with the most appropriate battery type.
  • Battery capacity– Also consider the better capacity. A larger battery capacity will ensure the light serves you long enough until the next recharge.
  • Bulb – Since LEDs are among the long-lasting bulbs, this isn’t a major concern since all the LED solar sensor lights contain LEDs.
  • Solar panel – Earlier on, we discussed the various solar panel types. Go for solar panels with the highest cell efficiency, i.e., mono and polycrystalline solar panels.
  • Solar wattage – This will determine the capability of the solar panel to generate the power needed to power the lights. A higher wattage is needed for full brightness.
  • Adjustability – Ensure that the LED solar sensor light you have shortlisted provides room for adjusting the illumination time (time light remains on after the sensor has been triggered).
  • Brightness – This is dependent on your intended use for the light. Choose a brightness level ideal for your application.
  • Modes – An ideal LEDS solar sensor light should have various modes for increased efficiency
  • Casing – Importantly, if the lights are for aesthetic applications, consider the casing and the design. For other uses, this won’t be of much concern.
  • Durability – In some cases, sophistication such as weatherproof and heat tolerance implies durable sensor light.
  • Weather resistance – Here, ensure the LED solar light is IP65 rated, meaning it is waterproof.
  • Cable length – Depending on where you intend to install the light, the cable length may be key to ensure proper installation. The addition of extension cables will be an avoidable extra cost.
  • Accessories – The more, the merrier. Check for accessories such as anchor, mounting bracket, screws, and manual.
  • Price – Definitely, you should go for a solar light within your budget. However, do not buy substandard light with a short life span.
  • Warranty- Yes, finally, consider the warranty. Economists will term this as a ‘hedge’; in simple terms, it guarantees that the money you invested in purchasing the solar light won’t go down the drain.

How To Replace LED Solar Sensor Light Batteries

Solar light system

Solar light system

Similar to other electronic devices, you will need to replace the batteries of LED solar lights after extended usage.

For LED solar sensor light with replaceable batteries, the replacement should be after 800 charges, roughly 12months.

Here’s how you can simply carry out the replacement:

  1. First, locate the batteries – usually at the back of the light.
  2. Open the battery housing – typically by unscrewing.
  • Replace the batteries with similar ones that have the same ratings.
  1. Close the battery housing, and you are good to go.

Note: The above procedure is for solar light with battery slots integrated as part of the light. For those with battery slots outside the light structure, you simply carry out direct replacement.

Maintenance On LED Solar Sensor Light

Maintenance of LED solar sensor light ensures your light retains its look and function effectively.

You can do the following;

  • Regularly wipe the lenses with a damp or dry to prevent them from piling up dirt.
  • Ensure the lights, including the solar panels, are free from dirt. This will ensure effective charging and lighting
  • Avoid the use of cleaning agents or solvents on solar panels.

Troubleshooting Your LED Solar Sensor Light

If your solar light happens to experience certain problems, you can check the table below for possible explanations and solutions.

ProblemPossible CauseSolution
Light is dim or flashes     The solar panel needs bright light for battery recharge

The battery charge is low

     If the previous day didn’t have bright light, wait for the next day.

Check for any obstruction on the solar panels, including debris, objects, buildings, and dirt. You will then proceed to clean the panel or remove the obstructions.


Light not turning on      For solar lights with light sensors, maybe an external light source, such as street lights, may confuse the sensor.

Panel not plugged into the light.

Battery not recharged due to overcast weather

     Ensure there is no external light source affecting the sensors.

Confirm whether the panel is plugged into the light.

If there was overcast weather, wait for the battery to recharge the next day.

Light switches on during the day     The lamp is placed  under a shade

The light is facing away from the sunlight

     Remove the lamp from the shade.

Change the direction of the light or sensor to face the sunlight direction.

Light switches on for no reason      The sensor detects moving trees, pets, birds, or vehicles

Presence of reflective objects such as windows, white walls, or water.

Faulty sensor

     Adjust the detection range of the sensor.

Reposition or redirect the sensor away from reflective objects.

Ensure the sensor is functional by moving/placing your hand or object


Also, there are general solutions you can directly consider when you are experiencing problems with your solar light. These include;

  • Ensure the solar panel is receiving maximum sunlight during the day.
  • Check that the switch is set on ‘Auto’.
  • Ensure batteries are correctly installed.
  • Replacing batteries.

The above-listed solutions are those you can carry out by yourself. However, if there is no change after implementing them or after letting the panel charge for two(2) days, you can reach out to us for further assistance.

Safety Information For LED Solar Sensor Light

Safety first! You should make the below considerations to ensure that you and every user plus the solar light are safe.

  • Keep the light away from children
  • Do not install the light close to flammable gases or flames.
  • Avoid staring directly at the lights when they are on.
  • Ensure you firmly install or screw the sensor lights to prevent them from falling.
  • Avoid installation on unstable surfaces.

Warranty Period For LED Solar Sensor Light

Most LED solar sensor lights come with limited warranties, usually lasting a year after the date of purchase. Notably, you need to provide proof of purchase before claiming the warranty.

Here are more related sources of information you may need:

For any questions or inquiries on LED solar sensor lights, contact GoldMore now.

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