How to Choose the Best Pond Lights
Pond lights are a great way to boost the appearance of your pond. They can ensure that it remains a statement feature in the garden, even at night time.
There’s a number of different types of pond lights, from floating lights that sit on top of the water to ones that are submerged to give your pond an ethereal glow.
Choosing the best pond lights for your garden will depend on the effect you’re hoping to achieve, and the accessibility of power outlets. The following information will give you a better idea of what to look out for.
Type of Lights
There’s a few types of pond lights to consider.
These are arguably the most popular. There are no cord restrictions, and they tend to be relatively low maintenance. Solar lights usually float on the surface of your pond, or can be placed around the edges.
As the name suggests, these resemble small rocks. They are the most subtle form of lighting, blending in with the surrounding landscape. If you have a very busy garden in terms of décor, rock lights are a great option as they will add ambiance without taking over. They can be submerged in the pond, or placed around the edges to blend in with other rocks.
These can help give your pond an atmospheric glow at night. They are aesthetically pleasing, and it’s often possible to use a remote control in order to adjust the settings from afar.
When it comes to pond lights, you have three main power options – solar powered, battery powered and mains powered.
Solar powered lights require very little effort to set up. These lights will be most suitable for placing around the edge of the pond. Although some solar-powered lights have a very high waterproof rating, they will not charge well if submerged under water. You can also get floating solar-powered lights.
Naturally, the benefit of solar power is that you don’t need any mains cables or to change any batteries. You may need to move the lights around in the day, so that they receive enough sunlight to charge. The strength of light produced, and how long the light stays on for, will depend on how much light was received during the day, so they can be a little unreliable – especially after very overcast days.
Battery Powered Lights
The best thing about battery powered lights is that there’s no need to have an outdoor socket installed near the pond.
The strength of light produced from battery lights is not usually as strong as the light from mains-powered units, and you’re less likely to be able to submerge them underwater in the pond. Whilst some battery-powered lights can be submerged, you’ll have to put them somewhere where 1) you can easily reach to get them out and 2) they’re not so deep that their light isn’t visible.
Battery life can vary significantly between different lights, but one set of batteries may only last for a few hours when permanently ‘on’.
Mains Powered Lights
These lights can be the most effective, but they also require the most setting up. If you don’t already have an outdoor power socket near to your pond, you will need to get one installed. Pond lights often have a relatively short mains-power cable, of approximately 2 m, so they need to be positioned close to the plug. Additional waterproofing may be required to make sure that all of the components – for example if it has a IR receiver – are fully waterproofed.
The main benefit of mains powered lights is that they can be very bright. They can also be kept on for as long as necessary, without worrying about the battery dying.
It goes without saying that pond lights, especially ones which will be submersed in the water, need to be fully waterproof.
Most pond lights have a waterproof rating of either IP68 or IP69 – the second number refers to the objects protection against water ingress, whilst the first number refers to its protection against solid particle ingress (like dust).
Technically, a rating of IP68 means that the item can be submerged in fresh water, at a depth of 1.5 m, for 30 minutes without suffering damage. Given that pond lights won’t be placed at such a depth, IP68 should be sufficient for them to last in the pond. Based on customer reports from the lights featured on this page, it seems that IP68 offers good protection for pond lights.
It’s also important to make sure other elements of the lights are waterproof – not just the main unit itself. Ensure that any battery compartments are tightly sealed, as well as any exposed plugs, sockets or cables.
Pond Lights FAQs
Do pond lights bother fish?
Most pond lights won’t disturb your fish, and in fact many fish will appreciate them thanks to the warmth they naturally bring to the pond.
However, fish require a light and dark cycle, and so it’s best not to have your lights on all the time. Lights that are too bright or permanently on may harm your fish or cause their health to deteriorate.
If you notice your fish seem anxious after installing your lights, ensure they have a darker area they can retreat to. It’s recommended to turn your lights off a few hours after the sun has gone down so that your fish can relax.
What are the best pond lights to buy?
If you have a waterproof outdoor socket near to your pond, mains-powered pond lights will allow you to have submersed underwater lighting that can be switched on any time. These lights will generally be the brightest and best permanent solution. Nevertheless, if you don’t have a mains socket near your pond, there are still other good options – either battery-powered lights or solar-powered lights will still create a statement by the pond, they just won’t be as bright as mains-powered lights.