By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
Loose lab-grown diamonds and gem stones. MiaDonna
The disruption of the earth-mined diamond industry has brought many new jewelers to the playing field offering ethical, cost effective, and often higher quality alternatives for consumers to choose from. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) provides all the information to the consumer to make it crystal clear that lab-grown diamonds are in fact, 100% diamond. Made by either high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD), each laboratory-grown diamond is created chemically, physically and optically identical to their earth-mined diamond counterparts, making them indistinguishable to the trained eye, and up-to 40% less the cost. Additionally, both types of diamonds are graded the same way, by the same laboratories that grade earth-mined diamonds.
Although the two diamond types are identical to the eye, their origin stories couldn't be more different. The diamond industry has been built completely on 'a diamond is forever,' but when our natural resources for mining these diamonds are quickly running out, where else are we to turn but to lab-grown diamonds?
Business Insider Australia recently reported that Australia's biggest diamond mine, Argyle Diamonds, which produces nearly 95% of Australia's earth-mined diamonds, will cut production this year by around 10%. The mines are running out and our planet is suffering from the open pits being completely emptied. On the opposing side, production for lab-grown diamonds has ramped up with lab-grown diamond producer Diamond Foundry securing a new production factory in Washington State, which is said to scale up production from approximately 100,000 carats (of diamonds) per year currently, to upwards of 1 million carats per year. According to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Tom Chatham, CEO of Chatham Created Gems, says that there are two main reasons lab-grown diamonds are the wave of the future.
Lab-grown diamond engagement rings. MiaDonna
"One is that the major five producers of natural diamonds speculated that there will be no natural diamond production after 2050 because they've run out of profitable deposits. Reason two is that for the last 10 years, we've been sought out by people, Millennials, who want to buy something that doesn't come out of the earth, who care about the earth and the damage we've created," he adds.
When it comes to the effects related to the social and humanitarian issues of mining diamonds, lab-grown diamonds also have the upper hand here. In a recent case announced last month, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admitted that gold from artisanal mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and rough diamonds mined from Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe are "produced, in whole or in part, using forced labor."
The CBP stated that they would issue Withhold Release Orders for gold mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and rough diamonds mined from Marange, Zimbabwe, along with 3 other products believed to be produced using forced labor. Additionally, in a 2017 report from the World Bank on extractive industries in Sierra Leone, research found that 'it's estimated that approximately 300,000 Sierra Leoneans are directly employed at artisanal mining operations.'
Although the diamond industry is expansive and abundant in many countries across Africa, it's rare that these artisanal mines enforce proper labor laws and environmental standards.
Custom MiaDonna lab-grown diamond engagement ring. MiaDonna
In a recent Gizmodo article, GIA's James Shipley said that advancements in the lab-grown diamond industry has only really taken off in the last five years or so, when the mainstream jewelry sector began taking notice. The International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA), a non-profit organization formed in 2016 by a dozen lab diamond growers and sellers, now has about 50 members, according to IGDA Secretary General, Dick Garard. When the IGDA first formed, lab-grown diamonds were estimated to represent about 1 percent of a $14 billion rough diamond market.
This year, industry analyst Paul Zimnisky estimates they account for 2-3 percent of the market. He expects that share will only continue to grow as factories in China that already produce millions of carats a year for industrial purposes start to see an opportunity in jewelry. Zimnisky also estimates that lab-created diamond market shares in the fashion jewelry market are forecasted to grow to almost 7 percent by 2035.
MiaDonna, specifically, was founded with a single objective in mind: to offer consumers a beautiful, ethical and affordable diamond alternative which in turn, would support The Greener Diamond to help free innocent children oppressed by the active conflict diamond mining industry. With every order placed at MiaDonna, they give back at least 10% of net profits to directly fund projects and initiatives to help local communities have alternative career paths to mining in countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia. They aren't here to just sell consumers lab-grown diamonds, they're here to rebuild the lives and land damaged by diamond mining and provide better, safer and more sustainable options for those who would otherwise be involved in the conflict diamond industry.
The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna
In addition, this year MiaDonna became a Certified B Corporation, which takes into account the company's overall social and environmental performance and evaluates how its operations and business model impact not only their own employees, but also the community, environment and customers. On top of their B Corp efforts, MiaDonna uses only recycled precious metals for all of their engagement ring settings, all of their jewelry is handcrafted in the U.S.A. and they even created an eco-friendly jewelry cleaner using a non-toxic formula that is both environmentally safe and packaged in a fully recyclable, grade 1 container. Learn more about MiaDonna here and shop all lab-grown jewelry, engagement rings and accessories.
Whatever your personal preference may be when it comes to diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are here, and they're here to stay. By being an active, conscious consumer and doing your research into the products you're purchasing and the companies you're purchasing from, you'll have full control over what best fits your needs and desires. There will always be two sides to every coin, but with the resources available for consumers to make their own educated decisions on choosing their diamond, the power is in the people.
From lighting up the night when you return home to boosting security, installing solar flood lights is a great way to invest in your home’s functionality and safety. Solar flood lights harness their energy from the sun and don’t require wiring or electrical work, making installation a breeze even for renters. And thanks to waterproof designs and efficient LEDs, they offer a fix-it-and-forget solution to myriad lighting predicaments.
In this article, we’ll recommend four of the best LED solar flood lights and motion-detector lights on the market today.
Best Solar Flood Lights: Our Recommendations
- Best Overall: AmeriTop Motion-Sensor Lights
- Best Light Bar: TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights
- Best Compact Lights: Kolpop Solar Security Lights
- Best Street-Style Light: RuoKid Solar Street Lights
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. Learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
Full Reviews of Our Top Picks
Best Overall: AmeriTop Motion-Sensor Lights
This high-quality motion-sensing solar flood light from AmeriTop boasts super-bright LEDs for top-notch security. Highly efficient solar panels and LEDs mean lighting whenever and wherever it’s needed, and a 26-foot motion-sensing radius ensures nothing can get close to your house without getting some serious time in the limelight.
- 800-lumen output
- 20% efficient poly solar panels
- 26-foot radius motion sensor
- Wide 270° lighting area
- Automatic on and off
- Adjustable light head and sensor
- IP65 waterproof rating
- Fixed solar panels
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 18,000 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: "It was exactly what I was looking for. They are easy to install, just the right size and project a lot of light. Love that it is solar.” — Joshua via Amazon
Why Buy: The AmeriTop triple-head outdoor flood light is a robust solution for exterior lighting needs, featuring high-intensity LED bulbs, a quick charge time, a wide flood angle and motion-sensing areas, and IP65 waterproofing. Short of the sun itself, there’s no better solar security floodlight for your home.
Best Light Bar: TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights
The TBI Pro ultra-bright solar motion sensor flood light can illuminate up to 1,600 square feet, making it perfect for walls, posts, paths and gardens. Each light fixture casts a searing 2,500-lumen ocean of light, adding security and comfort to any exterior. This model has three lighting modes, so if you don’t need to burn a hole in the dark, you can select a different mode to set a lighter ambiance. From outdoor security to entertaining, these are a great choice.
- 2,500-lumen output
- 1,600-square-foot lighting area
- Super-wide 280° lighting angle
- Motion-detection up to 40 feet
- 12-hour runtime with 4,400 mAh battery
- Three lighting modes
- Automatic on and off
- IP65 waterproof rating
- Fixed solar panels
- Two units per purchase
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 1,300 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “Wow! These things are really bright! Much brighter than we had anticipated. The motion sensor device is neither too sensitive or not sensitive enough — it's just right.” — Light-Zone via Amazon
Why Buy: These high-power solar flood lights prove great things can come in small, affordable packages. You get two super-bright 2,500-lumen bar lights with three brightness settings, a wide lighting angle and superior motion sensitivity reach. And at under $65, they’re perhaps the best value you can buy.
Best Compact Lights: Kolpop Solar Security Lights
Small but tremendous, Kolpop’s Solar Security Lights package offers six 800-lumen solar-powered security lights, each capable of illuminating over 320 square feet. Three brightness settings give you the power to adjust lighting to fit the occasion, from a chill get-together to all-night security.
- 600-lumen output
- 120° motion detection area with 16-foot range
- 8- to 10-hour runtime
- 8- to 10-hour charge time in full sunlight
- 1,800 mAh battery
- Three lighting modes
- IP65 waterproof rating
- Fixed solar panel
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 4,000 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “I love these lights and have bought two packages for our country home … I installed these four months ago and am totally satisfied so far. They don't last as long on overcast days, but that's to be expected.” — Donald via Amazon
Why Buy: Six feature-packed solar security flood lights at an amazing price. These suffer a bit on charge time, output and motion/lighting angles, but their affordability and modularity mean you can install them anywhere you so desire. They’re a great buy for folks who want compact solar security wall lights.
Best Street-Style Light: RuoKid Solar Street Lights
There are several reasons to abandon the traditional flood light style, and RuoKid’s street-style solar flood lights encompass them all. Exceptional brightness, a cool urban design, and an adjustable solar panel and light head make these perfect for brightening dark driveways, patios, front door entryways and more.
- 1,500-lumen output
- Illuminates 970 square feet
- Aluminum alloy housing and mounting hardware
- 4 to 6 hours in full sunlight for full charge
- 8-hour runtime
- 5-year warranty
- IP67 waterproof rating
- Remote controlled
- Adjustable solar panel
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 1,100 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “This light stays on from dusk until dawn with full sun the day before. I installed it as a security light. I live in a rural area with no street lights, and it works perfectly compared to other lights I have purchased..” — Yardman11236 via Amazon
Why Buy: RuoKid designs its products for use on the street, so they’re made to withstand years of heavy-duty service. This awesome 1,500-lumen street-style solar flood light combines power, capacity, durability and function into an attractive, modern design.
How to Choose the Best Solar-Powered Flood Lights
A single doorway doesn’t need 2,500 lumens, nor is a single solar-powered flood light sufficient for lighting up a driveway. Before choosing the best solar-powered flood light, consider the following factors:
- Brightness: In general, brighter is better, but if you only need to light a small area, you might not have to fork over the extra cash for a higher-output unit. If you want to cover a large area with a single bright light, go for at least 1,600 lumens. Or, install multiple lights with a smaller output.
- Features: Today’s solar-powered flood lights are ripe with features. Most have multiple brightness settings and weatherproofing as standard features, but consider other important elements such as remote controls, adjustable/modular solar panels, tilt and pan adjustments for lights and sensors, and metal constructions. As always, the more features, the higher the price, but the investment will be worth it.
- Durability: All of our picks are waterproof, but you may want a light that’s truly built to last. The RuoKid Solar Street Light has an all-metal design and is made to take a beating. Look for weatherproof lights that will hold up through multiple seasons.
- Ease of installation: Compared to their wired counterparts, solar-powered flood lights are a breeze to install. Some require more assembly and mounting than others, so if you’re not on friendly terms with your toolbox, pick a solar flood light that requires little more than a screw to install.
Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Flood Lights
Do solar flood lights really work?
As long as they have consistent daylight for at least a few hours, solar flood lights work exceptionally well. They utilize the same sensor technology as their wired counterparts but require no wiring and have an overall simpler installation thanks to their built-in solar panels.
What is the brightest solar LED flood light?
TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights have an impressive 2,500-lumen output. These are some of the best solar flood lights if brightness is your top priority.
How long do solar-powered flood lights last?
As far as runtime, most solar flood lights provide uninterrupted lighting for 8 to 12 hours. Assuming a solar light has no defects and is installed and used as intended, a solar flood light battery will last 3 to 4 years before needing replacement. Other components of a solar flood light can last up to a decade or more.
What is the most powerful solar security light?
TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights are the most powerful solar LED security lights on our list.
Christian Yonkers is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and outdoor junkie obsessed with the intersectionality between people and planet. He partners with brands and organizations with social and environmental impact at their core, assisting them in telling stories that change the world.