When the time finally came to do a complete deck rebuild we had limited options with the homeowners association community guidelines that we have to abide by, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t push the boundaries a little with a few enhancements.
One of the details we knew we wanted was the addition of quality decorative post caps, possibly lighted models, and to suit our style they had to have a modern design.
This wasn’t as easy of an achievement as I thought when using 4×4 wood posts. Post sleeves and composite decking, which vary in size compared to a standard 4×4 post (actual size is 3.5″), dominate the post cap market for suitable decorative caps.
Now, not all hope was lost as we only needed one style and brand to suite our needs and that’s where the Aurora Deck Lighting brand checked all the boxes that fit our criteria. They have a lineup with the same style for 12V LED and solar, so we had options.
Besides how each style of cap provides lighting, the Zena and Saturn models are, otherwise, identical in design.
- Solid cast aluminum housing.
- Powder coated finish in a variety of colors: Matte Black, Black, White, Bronze, Tan, Clay, Walnut.
- Easily mounts via 2 screws – color matched screws provided.
- 4-sided frosted plastic light window that creates a balanced diffused light.
The thin 360° white frosted window on these post caps creates a very attractive and noticeable detail for both during the day and when lit at night.
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At the time of our deck rebuild we still weren’t sure if we required lit post caps for our needs, so we thought to go the simplest route and try solar models. After a few weeks of analyzing the solar post caps performance we realized our deck location doesn’t get enough direct sunlight, and especially not enough even direct sunlight across all the post caps.
What we did know is the design of the Zena solar post caps were still what we wanted, but we weren’t sure a lit post cap was a priority at this time. We contacted Aurora Deck lighting and they were happy to offer us Saturn style posts caps without the electronics installed at a fair price.
Zena Solar LED Light
The Zena solar lineup of post caps have a cutout in the top panel to allows a solar panel and electrical pack to be inserted for the lighting.
Available Post Sizes: 3.5-inch, 4-inch, 4.375-inch, 4.625-inch, 5-inch
**Images shown with matte black finish.
- 2x LED bulbs provide a cool white light.
- A fitted gasket creates a proper seal between the housing and solar panel module.
- 2x AA rechargeable batteries are part of the solar panel unit for a simple and compact lighting module.
- There’s a built in light sensor that automatically turns the lights on at dusk and off at dawn.
The following are negatives for solar post caps in general and not specific issues to the Aurora Deck Lighting brand.
- A good amount of direct sunlight is crucial to properly charge the batteries. Fresh and fully charged batteries may last a full night (8-12 hours) for the first 5-7 days of use, but depending on the time and intensity of solar panel exposure to sun, the batteries will average more in the 3-6 hours of lit time.
- Not 100% consistent for on / off lit time between post caps. Varying sunlight exposure can leave you with some post caps that are lit and some that are not lit.
Saturn 12V LED Light
The Saturn LED models have a clean flat top with the absence of the solar panel.
This wired model has a brighter light, and better control of lighting, compared to the solar version.
Available Post Sizes: 3.5-inch, 4-inch, 4.375-inch, 4.625-inch, 5-inch, 5.5-inch, 6-inch, 6.5-inch
**Images shown with matte black finish.
- 4x LED bulbs provide a warm white light.
- On / Off when wanted.
- No discharged batteries and unevenly lit lamp concerns.
- A light timer can be added.
This does come with the extra labor and cost of adding the following:
- 12V AC type transformer
- Wiring (which may not be completely hidden on solid wood posts that don’t have hollow centers like post sleeves and composite decking).