One of the things I dislike about winter is the early arrival of darkness. Shorter daylight hours can have a psychological effect, but there are also practical issues as well. For example, any of my outdoor equipment that relies on solar charging takes a hit—the solar-powered porch lights that are still on at dawn in the summer are growing dim by 11 pm in the winter. Walking the dogs becomes an issue as well. Our evening walks are in complete darkness in the winter. Some of the streets in our neighborhood lack sidewalks and our dogs have black fur. You become very aware that cars may not see you until they are dangerously close. I decided to try out a set of rechargeable LED dog safety lights from NOVKIN.
In these days of cheap LED lights, there are a lot of options to choose from. I went with the NOVKIN lights for four reasons: they have a solid 4-star rating on Amazon (with over 1,300 ratings), they are rechargeable, they have an integrated clip, and at $11.99 for a two-pack they are affordable.
The NOVKIN lights arrived complete with a USB to micro USB charge cable—another one for the pile… The lights are made of plastic, in a choice of colors (I picked purple and red). They’re a teardrop shape about 1.5-inches long, and the plastic is faceted to resemble a gemstone. A button lets you cycle between a solid light, slow flash, and fast flash. A stainless steel carabiner clip is attached to one end, and this can be used to clip the light to a dog’s collar, harness, or leash. You could also use it to clip the light to a backpack or bike. The whole thing seems solid enough, and NOVKIN says the lights are both weatherproof and waterproof.
One of our dogs is quite powerful and she has a heavy-duty harness with heavy-gauge hardware. It took a bit of effort to work the clip onto the steel ring on her harness, but it was no problem with our other dogs’ setup. We went off into the night. There is no doubt that the NOVKIN lights can be seen from a considerable distance. In fact, we’ve talked to a few fellow dog-walkers and they say they now recognize us from a block or more away by the purple and red lights.
We’ve been using them for a few weeks now. One thing I’ve noted is that they are less effective with dogs like ours that have a lot of long fur. It’s pretty easy for the lights to get covered by all that fur. When that happens, you can still see a glow, but the impact is greatly lessened and the visibility distance is considerably reduced. We try to limit that effect by mounting the lights on the harness top instead of the front, but it still happens when things shift. The lights have lived up to the waterproof claim, having no issues with rain or snow. However, the cold appears to be hurting battery life. They’re rated for up to 6 hours on a charge, but we get about four walks (45 minutes each, on average) before the lights dim and need to be charged. Rather than remember to clip on for every walk, we just leave them on the dogs’ harnesses.
It’s also important to note that they’re not reflective. However, I think the NOVKIN safety LEDs have been a good addition to our night-time dog walking gear. Combined with some armbands for the human contingent, we’re a lot more visible to traffic without having to go to any big fuss, so mission accomplished. Longer battery life would be nice, but at $6 a pop, I can’t really complain.
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