Ring Wall Light Solar review: Shine a light where you need it
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Ring Smart Lighting Wall Light Solar (without Bridge)
When I unboxed the Ring Wall Light Solar, I thought I had the perfect place to install it: Above my side garage door, which has a fluorescent ceiling can almost right above that’s never turned on when I need it (and the cursed thing isn’t bright enough even when it is on). Ring’s latest product puts out 800 lumens of brightness, it’s equipped with a motion sensor, and it has a 9 x 2.5-inch solar panel to keep its dual lithium-ion batteries topped off. Just the ticket, right?
Not so right, as it turns out. The Wall Light Solar cast a welcome pool of light in front of the door when it got dark, and the motion sensor turned the light on as soon as someone approached. But being mounted to the 6-inch-wide trim board above the door placed the light under my home’s roof eave. Despite the solar panel’s angled orientation—and the fact that this door faces due South, which should have guaranteed constant exposure to sunshine—the light’s batteries died just a few days after installation. The problem? The roof eave cast a shadow over the solar panel and prevented it from ever doing its thing.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart lighting, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
If you absolutely must install the Wall Light Solar in a location where it won’t get enough sunlight to recharge its batteries, Ring did provide a workaround: There’s a barrel connector on the back that you can connect to an optional AC adapter. This wall wart has a 14.7-foot cord that might be long enough to reach an AC outlet on an exterior wall or inside your house (if you don’t mind the trailing wire or drilling a small hole in your wall). But at $39.99, the AC adapter costs almost as much as the light.
There is also one other option: You could buy one of Ring’s independent solar panels ($50 or $100, depending on size) and mount it in a more advantageous location. All three of those alternatives are expensive, and you’ll need to deal with an electrical cord.
There are countless other outdoor areas where you could install the Ring Wall Light Solar and it would probably work perfectly just as it is: On the wall of a trash-can corral, for example; on a fence next to a backyard sitting area; high enough on the side of your house to illuminate a path, but low enough to keep it out of the shadow of an eave; and so on. But putting it above a door dictates how low on the wall it can be, and as useful as it might be to have a light there, it’s not going to work unless you don’t mind taking it down every few days and plugging in a USB cable to charge its batteries (or dealing with the aforementioned wires).
The Ring Wall Light Solar is very reasonably priced at $59.99, but being part of the Ring Smart Lighting product line means it depends on your home also having a Ring Bridge installed to connect it to your Wi-Fi network. If you don’t have this component, you can buy it bundled with the Wall Light for $79.99.
Only one Bridge can be deployed in a home, but it’s enough to support up to 50 Ring Smart Lighting devices, including the company’s A19 and PAR38 smart bulbs, spotlights, floodlights, steplights, pathway lights, stand-alone motion sensors, and the transformer for converting conventional low-voltage landscape lighting into smart lighting. And all these devices can work in concert.
What’s more, using the Ring app, you can link Ring’s smart lights to its video doorbells, floodlight camera, spotlight camera, and any of its standalone cameras, such that a motion sensor on one device can trigger other devices to do what they’re capable of, whether that be turning on their own lights or—in the case of cameras—capturing a video recording. You can also group Ring devices together so you can apply various settings—whether or not you get motion alerts, for instance—to all the devices in that group at once. You’ll use this same app to control the Ring Alarm home security system.
Moving back to individual control of the Ring Wall Light Solar, you can specify how bright you want the light to shine; you can program the sensitivity of its light sensor to prevent the light from turning on during daylight hours; you can adjust the sensitivity of its onboard motion sensor; and you can establish a schedule for when the light should automatically turn on and off—on at dusk and off and dawn, for instance (this is independent of motion detection). And, of course, you can turn the light on and off manually from within the app.
And for the total control freak, the app will maintain a history of every event, recording the date and time the light turned on, turned off, detected motion, stopped detecting motion, and when its batteries began to run low.
The Ring Wall Light Solar is a great outdoor lighting solution that delivers a wide pool of bright light on a schedule or in response to motion, and it has a large solar panel to keep its batteries charged. But the need to keep that panel exposed to sunlight will limit where you can deploy it—unless you also spring for the wired AC adapter or purchase a second, independent solar panel. Both of those workarounds, however, are expensive and demand dealing with a cord.
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Ring Smart Lighting Wall Light Solar (without Bridge)
If you can deploy it in a location that keeps its built-in solar panel exposed to sunlight, the Ring Wall Light Solar will cast a broad pool of light where you need it. There are workarounds if you can’t, but they’re expensive. Apart from that, this is another great addition to the Ring smart home ecosystem.
- 800 lumens of brightness from a 10 x 3-inch (WxH) light bar
- Large solar panel to keep its batteries charged
- Tight integration with the Ring smart home ecosystem
- Solar panel puts some restrictions on installation location
- If you must deploy the light where its solar panel will be shaded, the available workarounds are expensive
Michael covers the smart-home, home-entertainment, and home-networking beats, working in the smart home he built in 2007.