To choose the best outdoor chandelier, you'll want to find one that meets the lighting requirements of the outdoor living area while simultaneously resisting weather damage. These lighting elements can add elegance and beauty to any home. They are generally considered to be a specialty lighting design product; some home improvement stores may carry them, though a much wider selection is available online.
Every component of the outdoor chandelier will experience harsh weathering elements, such as exposure to sun, rain, snow, and sleet. Many metals begin to corrode when exposed to water for a long period of time. Consumers may wish to purchase a unit that has been designed from water-resistant metals that will not rust.
Wrought iron is a common choice for use in outdoor living areas because of its extreme durability and anti-corrosive nature. Chandeliers made from this metal are typically black, though the metal can be painted with wrought iron formulated paint and spray paint in any color that suits the decorating needs of the homeowner. Bronze is also a common metal choice for use outdoors, but unlike wrought iron, this metal will begin to develop slight discoloration with time. This substance may be sealed after purchase prior to hanging outdoors to extend its life and appearance.
Fabric light shades are generally not usable with an outdoor chandelier. These items can become easily damaged when exposed to water and constant sun. Glass shades can withstand most weathering elements while maintaining their original appearance, however. Soot, dirt, and exhaust will naturally build up on the surface of the chandelier and lamp shades. Glass coverings are more easily cleaned than fabric and are not subject to long-term staining.
The outdoor chandelier should also be compatible with the electricity output of the area in which it will be placed. Some outdoor chandeliers are installed near the home, such as on a front or back porch, and may be tied directly into the power grid of the house. In these situations, virtually any outdoor chandelier may be used. Each unit will list in the packaging or instruction manual what the voltage requirements are for usage.
If the outdoor chandelier will not be close to the home and will be tied into a separate electric grid, consumers should consider purchasing a low voltage unit. These chandeliers can run off of currents as low as 12 volts in many countries while still providing adequate light. Specialty light bulbs are often required for these types of chandeliers, though in such cases, many manufacturers include bulbs with the sale of the lighting unit.