For many people the mere mention of battery-powered lighting conjures memories of fumbling around the kitchen junk drawer in the dark, trying to find the magic combination of size and charge to power their flashlight or other portable device. Convenience and reliability are rarely the first things we associate with batteries. However, due to the constant improvement in energy efficiency, LED lighting is sure to become the product to turn to when sourcing portable lighting. It may be too soon for homeowners to convert all of their household lighting but when it comes to both indoor and outdoor products, LED lighting can become more than just a provider for niche accessories.
In and around the residential household, LED flashlights are already the market leader in portable lighting. However, for common outdoor products such as post-top lanterns or suspended outdoor lights, solar-charged batteries have previously been the most popular. Yet, these products have generally received criticism as solar-charged batteries are often unreliable and the battery can easily fail during the night.
Today, many leading lighting companies are reverting back to primary battery and rechargeable battery products. Though the consumer has the inconvenience of physically replacing the batteries themselves, the increase in reliability and lifespan of the battery seem to out-weigh this issue.
To look at some of the latest LED lighting products, we will use two examples; firstly, an LED luminaire/lantern from lighting supplier, Jasco. This luminaire can be used as a fixed nightlight or used as an alternative to a camping lantern, traditionally powered by gas. The battery version provides 300 lm whilst the plug-in version boasts 400 lm creating enough light to far surpass the light source given by a standard night light. It requires six AA-cell batteries to run it and the battery life is an impressive eight months. Low usage areas would see this battery life increase.
Secondly, we shall look at outdoor spotlights from lighting brand; Mr. Beams. This company has a variety of spotlights which all run on D-cell batteries. Mr. Beams states that with their most popular and best-selling product, the MB360, they can provide their customer with 40 hours of constant light on one set of batteries (with typical operation they believe this to be about 1 year). The light emitted is 140 lm with a coverage area of over 400 sq. feet.
It is worth mentioning smaller products that use re-chargeable batteries and are designed for everyday use of several hours per day. The Hue Glow (mood lighting product) is a good example of this and is a product which can be used indefinitely while plugged in or a few hours on a full charge.
There are currently more battery-powered lighting products on the market than ever before. The quality of many of these products are improving on a quality and are being used as an easy alternative to installing AC powered lights. Major retailers such as Costco and Fulcrum are selling under-cabinet battery powered LED light bars, porch lights, and pathway lights and are illustrating that LED light products are innovative and not inhibited by wiring or cords.