Have you ever grabbed yourself some solar lights for your outdoor activities only to realize that they don’t come with batteries? Well, it not so strange to find yourself in such a situation. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason to fear as the best batteries for solar lights will come to your aid.
By the way, a solar cell without a battery is as useless as you can imagine. This is because without the batteries, the electricity harnessed from the solar energy will never be stored for use in the night. Depending on your solar panel’s size, you may need just a single battery or in some cases several of them. Again, the sizes of the batteries will still differ.
In this article, we are going to dig deep into these convenient, eco-friendly and economical ways of ensuring that you have light at any given time while enjoying your outdoor activities.
Things to take note of when using batteries for solar lights
The length of time that is always indicated on the package is just an estimate and not a scientifically set figure. It can, therefore, change depending on a variety of factors such as weather condition, season and geographic location among other features of the area in which the installation has been done.
Secondly, solar lights do not give the same amount of light as outdoor lighting. Do not, therefore, try to compare the two in any way. It is for this reason that solar lights are always preferred for use for decorative purposes or even during camping activities. Having a solar light in the best backpacking tent under 100 will surely motivate your camping spirit.
Before changing your batteries, please make sure that there is no corrosion or rust on the connections. If there are any, clean the terminals before inserting the new batteries. Make such part of your regular maintenance to make the battery last longer.
Things to look out for in the best batteries for solar lights
Not every battery you come across will serve you as per your dreams. It is only the best that will get the job done to the best of your expectations. But how do you get to separate the best from the other less average products? Here are a few tips that can be of great help.
The capacities of batteries vary from one model to the other. It is this capacity that determines how long a battery will stay charged. The higher the capacity, the longer the time the battery will provide power for your solar lights.
It is, therefore, important to go for batteries with the highest capacity ratings. You might be wondering how to know this especially if you do not have the technical knowledge in this sector. Well, check on the ratings denoted in milliamp-hour (mAh).
2/ Price of the batteries
There is no fixed price for these products. The cost may depend on various features which do vary from one manufacturer to the next. It is always important to go for a product that is within your financial status.
For some time it was believed that the most expensive products are the most durable and high performers. But this scenario has been overtaken by the production of cheaper batteries that are not only long-lasting but also provide optimal performance. Generally, batteries for solar lights are affordable.
3/ Type of battery
The best rechargeable batteries for solar lights are available in different kinds. Most solar lights use between 1 to 4 batteries to operate properly. It is, therefore, important to know the type of battery that will ensure optimal performance of your solar lights while camping.
Such batteries are available in the form of Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and Nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries. The former has more capacity than the latter of the same size. The Nickel- metal hydride type of batteries last longer, are more reliable and cost a bit extra compared to the Nickel-cadmium batteries.
And being that they are even more friendly to the environment, they are often featured as the best.
4/ Memory Effect
Each time you charge NiMH batteries, they will charge to full capacity. That is not the case with older NiCd batteries. This is as a result of a condition known as cyclic memory effect. Nickel-cadmium batteries often remember their periods of low charging and, therefore, resetting their charging capacity to low levels.
If your solar panel has received limited sunshine in a given day and recharged to a percentage, let’s say 80%, the battery will remember the previous level and recharge up to that percentage instead of recharging to the full capacity.
Cadmium deteriorates with time, therefore, causing the reduction in capacity at a slower rate than the cyclic memory.
5/ Environmental Impact
Nickel-cadmium batteries contain cadmium which is a heavy metal element that is highly toxic. Batteries that are sealed do not pose any harm, but the open or leaking batteries need extra care when being handled. Any skin contact with cadmium will lead to its absorption into the body.
Due to the toxicity of this substance, it is always recommended to be disposed of in designated recycling stations. The same method of disposals applies to NiMH batteries as they can be extremely harmful if swept into the water bodies.
The best batteries for solar lights: Product Review
In the recent years, there has been significant growth in the field of solar lights. This has in a way or the other resulted in an influx of solar batteries in the market. It at times creates a lot of confusion especially if you need to settle on the crème de la crème.
Because we have been part of this struggle, we thought it is wise to make this process simpler for people like you. Here is a list of the batteries to consider. We based our selection on our experiences, user feedback and reviews.
RayHom AA batteries are the best rechargeable AA batteries for solar lights that you will ever come close to in the market. They are very cheap and to add to that; they are so versatile. This is why they have taken the overall prize as the best batteries for solar lights.
These rechargeable Ni-MH batteries are sold in packs of 8. Apart from being used as part of your solar system, you can use them in alarm clocks, shavers, remote controls and other electronics.
The products are known for their long life because they are premium grade A. They can be charged a record 1200 times. Once charged, their self-discharge is very low making them retain power for longer durations. The low self-discharge together with their high capacity technology is what makes them capable of holding 80% of power even after 3 years.
Those who have used these batteries on their solar lights can confirm that you will always get them fully charged even at the time of purchase. All you need to do is just get them out of the pack and place them into use.
There is a 30-day guarantee for your money back in case of defects. Besides, they come with a warranty of 12 months. My experience with their customer care was exemplary. They are very technical, professional and efficient at any time of the day.
The voltage ratings of these products are 1.2V with capacities of 2800mAh. What’s more, they weigh only 8.8 ounces which qualifies them to be lightweight. This will make sure that your solar light does not become heavy even with the batteries inside.
Takes up little space
Versatile batteries that can be used in a variety of appliances
In case our editor’s pick batteries are larger and a bit expensive for you then this is the best alternative that you can consider for your solar lights. Their rechargeable cycles are 1000 with capacities ranging between 1900 and 2000mAh.
The AmazonBasics are Ni-MH rechargeable batteries that are pre-charged. This makes them ready to be used once taken out of the pack. They have also been designed with a self-discharge technology which makes them discharge very slowly, therefore, making them very reliable and high-quality.
One feature that I really like about these batteries is the fact that they perform extremely well even in the coldest of temperatures. During winter, these batteries are some good consideration to make for your outdoor activities and ski resorts.
They can stay for months or years without being used, but the very day that you decide to utilize them, you’ll never be disappointed. For the batteries to perform better, it is recommended that you store them after being fully charged at 68oF.
AmazonBasics have longer run time as a result of no loss of permanent capacity after being stored for long. Full charging is, therefore, possible time and again. It is also worth noting that they can be used in a variety of electronic devices as well.
These batteries are not very huge in size and will not take up much storage space. Their weight of 7.7 ounces is relatively lighter as well. Their light weight makes them ideal to be used during any outdoor activities where anything heavy is not always a good option to carry along.
We are living in tough economic times. That is the fact that we cannot run away from. Never mind as we have taken into consideration every situation that you could find yourself in. The Tenergy AA NiCd batteries are what you can get if you are short of funds.
Their voltages are rated at 1.2V and are rechargeable types. Apart from the lighting bit that we are concerned with today, they can find their way into a wide range of electronic devices at home and even in the wilderness. You can easily use them to power your pocket radio for instance.
These batteries have capacities of 1000mAh which translates to an extended run time when fully charged. They are generally eco-friendly since when using them, there won’t be any frequent disposals into the environment. They are standard sized with measurements of 14.2 by 50mm in diameter and height respectively.
Each battery weighs 0.06 pounds which is lightweight. These batteries are available in packs of 8. They can be used in places of batteries which are rated at either 600 or 800mAh with a lot of ease. You can pre-charge them before deciding to use them as a way of assisting your solar lights to recharge them in the absence of enough sunshine.
Economical in the long run
Are of high-capacity
Do not hold charge for long
4. AmazonBasics AA High-Capacity Rechargeable Batteries
Expensive products can never miss in the market. Most people prefer these products as they are always believed to be durable with advanced features. AmazonBasics AA High-Capacity Rechargeable Batteries are a bit costly, but they are of great quality and you can at times resort to using them if need be.
The extra power that you need can be found in these batteries. They are the Ni-MH kind. These batteries do perform extremely well regardless of the weather. Their slow self-discharge feature allows them to stay even for years without use but still under working conditions. Even after three years of storage, they will still maintain at least 65% of the original charge.
The other great feature with these batteries is the fact that they can be used on different kinds of electronic devices. They weigh 8.5 ounces with dimensional measurements of 4.6 by 0.6 by 2 inches. Their capacity of 2400mAh is very essential when it comes to ensuring the batteries have long lives.
When buying these batteries, you will find them already pre-charged using solar panels which makes them ready to be used use right from the box. You can always get them in packs of 8. You can charge them as many times as you will need without any capacity or power loss.
Are of great quality
Keep charge for long
Are pre-charged and ready to use
The packaging box can be used for other purposes after removal of the batteries
Fatter than normal-capacity NiMH batteries
The best way to use batteries for solar lights
Make sure that the batteries are fully charged before using them. Charging them for between 5 to 10 cycles before use will make them last for close to 8 hours.
It is important to replace the rechargeable batteries after every 2 years. This will allow them to operate with maximum capacity. If the weather condition of your area is not favorable, be it long winters, it is okay to change the battery on a daily basis.
Inasmuch as many failures of solar lights are often attributed to the battery, the solar panels do at times contribute to such failures. Make sure that the panels are properly tilted at angles where they receive maximum light. Weather conditions and geographical locations should also be considered when mounting solar panels.
How batteries for solar lights work
Solar lights operate as a result of a photovoltaic effect which is actually the most important part of solar lights. It is this part that converts sunlight into direct current. Solar cells are made of multiple layers of chemicals of crystalline silicone that create negative and positive charges.
Sunlight excites the negative charges (electrons) and pushes them towards the positively-charged areas. These areas are what transfer electrons as electricity in the form of direct current through wires on the solar cell to the batteries which are our main area of focus in this article.
The battery is just a store for the electricity. It is from here that it is extracted when needed. The battery gets recharged as long as there is sunlight to be converted into electricity.
At night, there is no conversion of sunlight into electricity. The stored electricity in the batteries is then converted again to electricity that supplies light during the night. This process is then normally repeated on a daily basis.
Solar light batteries are lifesavers for those who have solar lights which do not come with built-in batteries. But these kinds of batteries bought on their own are also useful when it comes to other applications. This makes them a great consideration to make.
Of the reviewed products above, the RayHom AA Rechargeable Batteries take the crown as the best batteries for solar lights. These products have the highest capacity compared to the rest beside being relatively affordable as well.
The low-discharge technology that has been used in their design makes them more durable. They even retain up to 80% of charge without being used in three years. These are just some of the several features that make them the best.
We would, therefore, like to recommend them for your use. Their customer care is always ready to help answer your questions in case there are any.
Have you ever used them? How was your experience? You can as well choose any other solar light batteries from our well-researched list.