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Thread: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

  1. #1

    Default LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    Hi,

    I operate a dementia care facility...
    http://www.halekuike.com/site/374/healing_gardens.aspx
    and we started out with the Malibu junk (before they had LED) 7 years ago. Most of the fixtures are still working but the bulb changes are a bummer.

    Actually, most of the Malibu MR16 Spots have failed over time due to...leaks, poor construction, etc.


    I've tried some decent looking LED lights from Lowes that were OK at first.
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_86129-2121-0...7C1&facetInfo=

    But, the finish began to look bad quickly and after a couple of years they are falling apart.

    The Malibu LEDs I've tried are OK...but there has to be something better in the low cost price range.

    The best economical LED spots I've found are these....SPL series High Powered Landscape Spotlights from Super Bright LEDs. They still seem a little expensive at $35 bucks per pop...but they have good output and have held up to tropical weather for 3 or 4 years.
    http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-b...ibu.htm%23mr16

    My maintenance man wants me to order some more of these and I'm going to order them tomorrow.

    Can anyone suggest a decent LED landscape path light (not spot) that's in the $50 or less range?

    Thanks,
    Dave

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* yuandrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    I've only tried out the Malibu LED Pro Model # 8406-9111-01 that you could get from Home Depot. It's only a 1.2 watt LED in there though so it's not too bright but it does light a 3.5 foot diameter area nicely.

    Malibu LED Pro Walk Light

    Lowes also has a mushroom style LED path light as well under the Portfolio brand. Haven't tried that one out yet but I've opened a box up in the store and noted that it uses a Cree XR-E led.

    Portfolio 10.8" Low-Voltage LED Landscape Path Light

    The "Mushroom" style fixture is what I'd prefer for path lights since it directs most of the light downward onto walkways and nearby landscaping rather than glaring sideways into one's face like the more typical "Tier" or "Bollard" style fixture.
    Last edited by yuandrew; 09-01-2011 at 10:35 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    Cool, thanks for the info. I did try some LED fixtures from the Portfolio brand from Lowes. But, after a couple of years they are starting to fall apart (light fixture falling off the pole). It could be the tropical weather. The Mailibu fixures hold up better to corrosion but I agree that the Portfolio's put out better light. I had high hopes for them because they looked nice at first. But, after a little while the "copper" finish started to rust / corrode and look bad...and now they are breaking in half. So, I'm not going to get any more of those.

    I would appreciate any other ideas for inexpensive path light fixtures. Thanks,
    Dave

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* yuandrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    Yeah, the "copper" finish on that and similar fixtures doesn't last very long. The bronze finish on the mushroom fixture may hold up better. I have two of the Portfolio LED spotlights which have a similar finish.
    Last edited by yuandrew; 08-31-2011 at 04:07 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    Some of the finishes are raw. All you have to do is spray paint them with a clear coat type paint.

    To be honest, I haven't found any outdoor lighting that were 'rugged'. They all seem to be made to be replaced every few years.

    Grab a hold of the Portfolio Item #: 78713 | Model #:9SQ1122E5 and see if it might be close to what you want.

    The only other option is to build your own.

  6. #6

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    Thanks for the suggestion and model number. Maybe I'll give them a try again. Aloha,
    DF

  7. #7

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    You might try these. They put out 30 lumens per unit and you can get a 2 pack for under $40. I don't have them but I plan to get a couple after I get my bathroom fixed. Let me know if you get them.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

  8. #8

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    Thanks for the tip. I'm looking for low voltage...but I didn't consider Amazon. I'll see what they have. Thanks.
    Dave

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* yuandrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    My Lowes is now stocking some "Allen and Roth" branded low voltage LED lights along with their Portfolio items.

    I noticed a "mushroom" style path fixture but it was on a high shelf where I couldn't reach it. They did have a set of four spotlights lower down and I opened one up and noticed it used what appeared to be a Bridgelux LS series led.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    You're wasting your time trying to find quality landscape lighting at big box stores. I'm probably not supposed to promote my own company's products, so I'll just advise - do a google search for "high quality landscape lighting fixtures". You'll find several manufacturers that make durable landscape lighting products, including LED's. If you make the right choice, you'll never have to replace these lights again.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    If there is too much shade, solar powered is not reliable. If it is a facility, best to stick with the consistent hard wire runs.
    Most lighting, of what Amazon has, is cheap imported garbage and best avoided.

  12. #12

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    Pretty amazing these are the only decent option.
    Last edited by SR.GRINGO; 10-08-2011 at 08:51 PM.
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  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Nitroz's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    The other thing to remember is that you will want warm colored LEDs so that it looks like halogen output. Cool white, IMO does not cut it for wall washing or lighting a tree.

    For path lights a cooler LED would work.

  14. #14

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    After a few months now, does anybody here have anything else to add?

    I posted a similar question in the following thread and am looking to buy something soon:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?323855-Best-LED-landscape-lights

    I'm likely going to try that Allen + Roth spotlight set someone here mentioned from Lowe's, given the same # of lights from Volt would cost 3x as much. I realize the Volt products are far superior in quality, i.e. offer a "real" heat sink design and commercial water intrusion ratings, but if I'm likely only going to have this house another 2-3 years, who cares? I might reconsider at $40-50/ea for a superior product, but simply can't stomach $70/ea.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* yuandrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    The 4 pack Allen + Roth spotlights would probably be the best "bang" for your buck. You'll get about 240 lumens each fixture which is just on par with a 20 watt MR-16. They appear to use a Bridgelux LS array.

    I don't like to use the "piercing" type connectors common on such low voltage landscape lights though. On most of the Lowe's LED landscape light fixtures, you can easily remove the lamp cord from the connector by pressing a little button next to where the wire comes in. I use those DryConn wire nuts that have silicone in them to hard wire the fixture to the power cable. You can find them in the electrical section, they are light blue with an orange base.

    If you want some path lights, I like the Allen + Roth "mushroom" fixture as it has a warm colored light. The Malibu Pro-LED has a cool white color

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCOUc7dBabk
    Last edited by yuandrew; 03-31-2012 at 06:18 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    My approach has been to take these:

    Ebay item 170811866667

    and put them in these:

    Ebay item 140581608178

    These LED's are very BRIGHT and WARM. I've tried many LED's are these the best my far.

    For $17 a piece, they can't be beat.


    I've also used these for spotlights but they need to be slightly modified to fit the bulbs

    Ebay item 350500057216

    From what I have seen and tried, most LED and solar lights, are way too cool if color (white). These Cree's are by far the closest thing to a warm halogen glow that I have seen.


    Ebay Links removed do not link directly to Ebay


    As was posted here. Please don't do it again. - Norm
    Last edited by Norm; 04-01-2012 at 02:20 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    Andrew... Thanks for the confirmation. It's only a 1-story home, and the live oak I'm trying to light up is only ~5yrs old, so I don't need anything really bright. I'll certainly use those silicon-filled wire nuts, thanks.

    And FM, I'll definitely give those Cree M16 assemblies a harder look if I do anything large-scale, though might consider them earlier for my BIL who's looking to upgrade from his halogen lights to save on power... He's got 1.8KW worth of xformer right now so certainly has some room for savings! Do you have any long-term experience with these? I know the Cree emitters are 2nd to none, but I'm curious how the assemblies will do in a sealed outdoor fixture, where airflow will be nil, and thus heat transfer will be extremely poor.

  18. #18

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Leander311 View Post
    And FM, I'll definitely give those Cree M16 assemblies a harder look if I do anything large-scale, though might consider them earlier for my BIL who's looking to upgrade from his halogen lights to save on power... He's got 1.8KW worth of xformer right now so certainly has some room for savings! Do you have any long-term experience with these? I know the Cree emitters are 2nd to none, but I'm curious how the assemblies will do in a sealed outdoor fixture, where airflow will be nil, and thus heat transfer will be extremely poor.
    I just installed them, no long term use yet

  19. #19

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    I've had the Allen + Roth product in for about a week now. First impressions are they are very well-built for the money (cast-aluminum housing w/quality orange peel black finish, metal spikes, etc), and do offer very good lumen efficacy. The 120W xformer they have for ~$40 also works well, and the built-in light sensor didn't require any placement fiddling to time well with dusk/dawn. I do wish the spotlights had a tighter beam pattern (they are 90 degree), but otherwise no complaints, and an incredible upgrade to the night curb appeal of my home.

    Now I'm just waiting on the Ebay Cree MR16 bulb to replace the single non-LED bulb I have in the system, a 35W halogen. I'll try and remember to post back after the new bulb has been in for a while... Thanks again!
    Last edited by Leander311; 04-11-2012 at 01:40 PM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    Just changed subscription settings... Test...

  21. #21

    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    What bugs me about landscape lighting is that there are two choices - cold LED or incandescent (either in light source or in warm white LED). Be nice if there were some neutral white options in the area of 5000K...
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  22. #22
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    Default Re: LED Landscape lights...review of the cheap stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    What bugs me about landscape lighting is that there are two choices - cold LED or incandescent (either in light source or in warm white LED). Be nice if there were some neutral white options in the area of 5000K...

    Few years back I got a Malibu spot that was quite decent: 3AA,
    3 WW 5mm LEDs, cast aluminum shell and other strudy features,
    and decent rotatable panel. Unfortunately, water got into a small
    PCB inside the panel throught the switch hole, and rotted it out.
    There's small SMT parts on it I could not identify so fixing might
    not be feasible. Looked good but didn't stand up; pity.

    Dave

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