With both lighting types, you can:
- Light deck railings and stairs
- Define the patio perimeter
- Illuminate the edges of paths and walkways
- Draw attention to a planter or tree
Other fixtures light up dining tables, grill surfaces, and even underwater in swimming pools.
Low-voltage fixtures clip onto a safe, 12-volt cable connected to a transformer, which plugs into a GFCI-protected 120-volt electrical outlet. A timer or light-sensitive control automatically turns lights on and off.
A low-voltage lighting kit with eight LED stainless steel fixtures, 50 feet of cable, and a transformer starts at $60. Individual low-voltage fixtures range in price from $7 for a simple poly-resin fixture up to about $150 for architectural-grade, cast-brass models.
Solar outdoor lighting fixtures don’t need cables and transformers. They simply turn themselves on automatically after dark. Each stand-alone fixture stakes into the ground or secures to a deck or exterior surface. You’ll save energy, as a sunlight-charged battery powers the bulb.
The downside to solar fixtures is a dimmer glow than low-voltage fixtures, and fewer lighting hours – many solar fixtures run out of stored energy after 4-5 hours on the job. Cloudy days also reduce power.
A four-pack of solar light fixtures that mount on top of deck posts starts at about $30. Or, check out a cast-aluminum solar lantern for about $60.