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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tinier solar lights/lighting for your off-grid or tiny house

MINI SOLAR LIGHTS, KEROSENE LANTERNS, GAS LIGHTS, and weighing your options for off-grid use.... 

"Take me to your leader...."

A Review Of The Ikea "Sunnan" Light....
The thing DOES kind of look robot/alien-like, doesn't it?
     This, is the newish series of small and compact solar lighting from Ikea, a store I seem to frequent a heck of alot, as, well, there's one in my town. I decided to give this solar light of theirs, the "Sunnan", a try, as I liked the look of it, and I'm a sucker for the color orange. This little light also comes in white, red, black, blue, yellow, and so on. With my "Tiny House Summer Camp" on the horizon in Vermont (no power out there) I thought it'd be neat to try out some new lighting products too- aside from the trusty old Coleman gas lanterns, which have served me well for almost twenty years (there's a link to those below too).
     Well, overall, without getting technical, I had the chance to test it out quite a bit while camping in an off-grid tiny cabin in Massachusetts with my family the other week, and I have to say, all in all, I'm pretty pleased. Here's the thing though, and what you'll find when reading the reviews in the link below; The solar cell (which is removable), when plugged back in, has to be set just right, or the light won't turn on. It took me a few frustrating tries to plug and angle it in the proper way, but once I got the hang of it, I was pretty amazed at how bright the emitted light is, and it was easy to operate from there on out. So, the good: The light is easily bright enough to read by, and even to check for deer ticks by, which we used it for every night with our kids at the camp. The other plus is that for each light sold, Ikea ships one to a third world country so that students in homes without power will be able to read books and study at night. I like the idea. I also like the modern look and rugged build of this light, and the neck is flexible for ease-of-positioning as well, which comes in handy.

The bad: On a full charge the light is only said to last 3 hours, and it takes 11 hours of very decent sun to fully charge this unit. That said, it seemed that I was getting a long run out of each charge, and only when charging it for 6-8 hours in passing sun, and again, the light given off is pretty bright for such a small lens/l..e.d. array.

The cabin where my family stayed and where I tested out this light for a week....
 All in all I'm pleased, but I just wish they built in a simple, recessed wall mount, as something like this would be perfect to wall hang, near a source of natural light, in a tiny house or cabin- a push-button wall light.

Ikea sells these for about $20- online, they're more, but if there's no Ikea near you, there's little else you can do. 

Here's some links so you can check out more info, reviews, and all that....

Also, plain ole kerosene/oil lanterns have always worked well for me too, they're easy to used, I love the old fashioned look of them, they're extremely affordable, and are built so simply, that little can usually go wrong with them. They do, however, no give off as much light as the Coleman gas lanterns (especially the dual mantle ones), or the Ikea Sunnan. On a full tank though, they do last a long time- up to eight hours in some cases. 

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen


  1. This is great review! I'm also considering to buy some solar lighting that I can use for outdoor activities like camping. Thanks a lot!

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