Reviewing the "Best Choice Products 10ft Solar LED Lighted Patio Umbrella"
First off a quick disclaimer. We are not being paid to promote or endorse this product. We paid full price for it. In the future if there is any paid endorsement there would be no such disclaimer.
With that out of the way here is our review of the model SKY 6706 patio umbrella. Commonly listed on sites as Best Choice Products 10ft Solar LED Lighted Patio Umbrella.
Our story starts with a problem that this patio umbrella solved for us, and solves in general. Our previous umbrella was bought at Walmart for the regular price and was Walmart quality. (By that I mean it worked for a while before breaking. Quality was what you'd expect from Walmart.) My wife had enhanced this umbrella with a cheap LED light string from Amazon that used 3 AA batteries. We don't have a porch light on the back of our house where our patio is so this was our solution.
While it did look janky the solution worked pretty well, albeit with a few caveats. It somehow blazed through AA batteries, the wires are very thin and fragile and the risk of tangles is high, and the light just wasn't very bright.
Over the winter the previous umbrella had been chewed through by neighborhood squirrels despite being made of synthetic material. It needed to be replaced, so to Amazon we went and this was the result.
The SKY 6706 does away with external wires and instead has the LEDs threaded inside the frame of the umbrella. A ring of solar panels at the top charge the umbrella and a switch near the handle allows you to turn the lights on and off. This is a huge improvement over what we were doing because it doesn't allow wires to snag or tangle, and protects the electronics from the elements. It basically makes our previous umbrella look like a prototype.
The umbrella comes in a single box and needs very little assembly. The only assembly required being the attaching of the lower half of the pole to the upper half. Clearly this is to save on packaging and it clearly makes sense to let the customer do this. Everything else was assembled. Total assembly time was less than the time it took to get the product out of the box. Instructions were included I'm sure but were not needed for assembly because this thing is basically idiot proof.
There is no base included so you'll need to find your own. We used the one that we bought to go with the previous umbrella and they seem to be for the most part interchangeable with a bolt that clamps the umbrella pole tightly into the base.
Instantly the improvement was visible once I threaded the umbrella through our patio table. The pole was significantly sturdier, the material felt thicker, and upon first opening the moving parts felt smooth. I also think the ratcheting hand crank feels like it should last as long as everything else which is good.
Upon first unfurling everything worked out of the box, the LED lights came on as soon as the little piece of paper was removed from the battery box to allow the contacts to carry current. The umbrella tilted nicely and after several months of light use has been very useful. It's also bright enough to read by though I don't have any pictures. Overall we are very satisfied with the SKY 6706 10ft Solar LED Lighted Patio Umbrella and I'd be willing to recommend it to people looking to add some lighting to their patio umbrella.