Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: Sunnan Lamp from Ikea

I shop at Ikea quite a lot. In fact, I profess that I am a big Ikea fan, and have been for years. I'd say about 90% of the stuff I have in my home is from Ikea, so I thought I'd start reviewing some of them on my blog. Today, I'm reviewing their Sunnan solar-powered lamp. Here it goes...

I've always liked the idea of solar-powered things, so I've had my eye on Ikea's Sunnan lamp (RM49) for quite some time. According the the Ikea US site, purchasing the lamp has an added plus point, as "For every SUNNAN solar lamp sold, the IKEA Foundation donates one to UNICEF and Save the Children to help children in India and Pakistan play, read, write and study after dusk."

SUNNAN LED table lamp IKEA
Image via

Having read a couple of online reviews, including the ones by Inhabitat and Garden of Shadows, I decided to pick up the lamp a few months back, as I needed a nightlight to help me see my way around when the baby wakes up in the wee hours. I would recommend that you read the reviews I've mentioned above, as well as others before you buy the lamp.

So what do I think of the lamp? Check out my review after the jump...

Charging the lamp
I live in a west-facing apartment, so I've tried charging the detachable solar panel by a bright window and on my very sunny east-facing balcony. The verdict - the sunnier the spot, the better. I make it a routine to put the battery out in a sunny spot and take it in during the evenings, ready for action.

Even when fully charged, the lamp provides more of a spot light, rather than illuminating much of its surroundings. I find it will stay at its brightest for about 15-30 minutes max, then it starts to dim.

  IMG_20140827_205144    IMG_20140810_224821
Left: My son using the lamp to read, as you can see, the lamp's neck is bendable. For reading, it's best to use the lamp in low-light conditions rather than total darkness, as it may hurt your eyes.

Right: I sometimes use the lamp to illuminate my laptop when I work at night.

Using the lamp
I'd say the lamp does come in pretty handy when you need a bit of light around, but you don't want it to be too bright. For example, when you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and you don't want to bump your head against the wall or stub your toe on furniture. 

It can be bright enough for you to see your way around, without being too jarring that it would cause you to squint ot wake up others who are sleeping in the same room with you. It's also useful when you need a light where there's no power outlet. You don't need to plug it in, so it can go anywhere with you.

Possible cons
The reviews I've read, by others who have used the lamp longer than I have, have debated its durability and longevity. It can be said that though it's a brilliant idea to have a solar-powered lamp (and I personally think the world needs these), how sustainable is it when it can end up in a landfill a few months/years after purchase? 

My take
So far, for me, I'm happy with my purchase as it's serving it's purpose. My lamp is still going after a few months, but it pains me to think that it will eventually break down on me and I'll have to throw it away (i can't think of how to recycle it). Also, when I went back to buy this lamp for my mum (who needed a light for night-time bathroom trips), there were only a few left. So perhaps they're discontinuing it?

I still think it was brilliant of Ikea to develop this solar-powered light, but perhaps they (or another manufacturer) could figure out a way for us to buy the LED bulb and solar battery separately when the existing one dies out or breaks down. However, this doesn't address possible issues like weak battery connections etc.

What do you think? Are solar-powered lamps like the Sunnan worth it in the long run?

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