Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Solatube 290DS Daylighting System Skylight
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on September 19, 2011
Installed a couple of these in my house. Had the first one installed by the vendor, and watched. After that, I installed 2 more...both the 160 and 290. They are great when placed in the right area. As a rule, in a larger room (above 175sq feet) I think 2 160s (10 inch) work a bit better that 1 290 (14 inch) dead center. You get a bit more even coverage, but both products are awesome.

I did find the color of the light a bit sterile. A bit cold with hits of blue. Not super unappealing, but if you are finicky about lighting and colors, it may bug you. You can buy an effect filter from Solatube that warms up the color of the light. I did buy two of these, and it does warm them up, actually a bit too much for my taste (I'm being super critical). For my third solatube, I went down to a local theatrical lighting place and bought a color filter sheet (used on spot lights). I was able to find a great color that is just a touch less warmer than the one sold by Solatube, and at half the cost (Solatube cost $19, got a 2x2 sheet for $6.) Cut it down to circle size, and stick it in behind defuser that mounts to ceiling portion. For the record, it's made by Gam and color is 435. Google "Gam 435, Ivory". It's SPOT ON.. makes a very natural light.

Cheers
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on October 19, 2010
I've had this product (but smaller diameter) for about five years now. Picked it up at Lowe's for $50. It was a leftover. I knew nothing about it but it LOOKED like it would do what I wanted at far less expense and trouble than a skylight. Put it in the darkest room in my house, an interior bathroom. Now, every time I walk by that room I want to reach in and turn out the light. Does exactly what it's supposed to do. I could care less about the material is it made of. It doesn't have to stand up to any kind of use once it's installed. The dome and the flashing have worked great with no problems at all. The interior diffuser fits flush (almost) to the ceiling and breaks up the light like majic. All that see the light in the bathroom are impressed. It can and does reflect moonlight as well. It's not a window but it is a great source of light in an otherwise dark, dark room. It is pretty easy to install. I just had to get by the fact that I was cutting a hole in the roof!
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on November 21, 2014
I've installed two of these in my own home and have been completely satisfied. I installed a 10" with the vent kit in our bathroom and it has brightened the room better than hoped. The natural light is a big benefit to the dark bathroom in my old house. We have plaster ceilings and walls and have dealt with mildew, etc. due to the plaster, poor ventilation, and lack of natural light. I installed the Solatube, painted the walls and ceiling with Perma-White. It's been 4 years and we've not had even a spot of mildew since. The room is always bright and even at night it collects enough light from the moon to act as a nightlight. Now we've recently installed a 14" in the kitchen and it also has exceeded our expectations. I work for a building material retailer and have sold Solatube along with several other brands. I have first hand experience that the Solatube by FAR gathers more light than any other product on the market. We've had no issues or complaints whatsoever. I've attached photos of the kitchen before and after installation.
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on October 7, 2010
Not much the money. You may want to either invest in a real Skylight from a Window manufacturer, or get one of the cheaper brands (ex "Velux" costs less than half the price). The materials seem laughably cheap, maybe $50 worth of parts (other than the "Dome" which is rock solid) - certainly feels a rip-off when they are trying to charge $350. Lots of flimsy plastic parts which look really tacky on the interior side, and the tubes are weak thin sheet metal (any thinner and it might be tinfoil). The only good thing about this brand, is the patented light collection dome - which "concentrates" the light. OK, but not something I am sure would buy again.

UPDATE - After a year of owning it, I have grown to appreciate the "Pros" more than the Cons.

Pros:
*The Collector Dome is really impressive at NIGHT. At night, when the air is clear and the moon full, this thing collects enough light to illuminate my stairway. The collector dome is the clutch item with this brand.
*The entire unit has survived a historically harsh New England Winter this year, and andequally brutal summer with a recent hurricane. Not a lick of trouble at all after a year, significant since it was a first-time DIY J6P install.
*Easy to install. It can be done in one day.
*Relatively economical. A professionally installed skylight can easily cost $2k if they have to cut the Joists.

Cons:
*Looks cheap on the interior. I got the "crystal view" lens, it looks like a cheap children's prism toy. Although I do admit, the prism is more appealing to me than the "classic" lens (the 'classic' looks like the cheap dimpled plexiglass cover they put on those nasty overhead fluorescent lights in the drop-ceiling at work). They need some more aesthetic options.
*The 45deg angle tube is difficult to line up IMHO. It can be a real PITA to get that fitting flush with everything else.

Conclusion: The product has grown on me. It is a good solution for people who don't want to rip out joists, just don't expect miracles from it. I still think the "worth" is questionable for people who expect to get a return for their investment, I'm not selling my house so I don't care. I'll bump my rating up to 3.5 Stars, if they could offer more elegant interior lens options they would get four stars from me.
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on August 1, 2011
We had solatubes installed in the kitchen of our ranch house, which was a dark place. Now I never have to turn the lights on in the summer when I cook. The kitchen is cool and bright all day. We could not be happier with the product and count it as one of the best remodeling moves we made. Might there be a cheaper alternative-possibly, but for my money this has been the perfect solution.
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on March 12, 2012
I love our Solatube. We installed it in the kitchen and it is great to walk into a room in the middle of the house lit by the sun. Do you know how hard it is to explain that to people? I'm always asked, where is the switch? How do you turn it off? What happens at night?

Duh, it shines bright during the day (who wants to turn that off?) and is dark at night. Meanwhile, breakfast and lunch and most dinners are lit by the sun. It's a great feel and look.

I'm putting one in the living room next.

Robert (I never give 5 stars to anything).
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on May 6, 2013
I had a Solatube installed in our bedroom hallway in 2004 when we were re-roofing. I don't remember the exact model. I still remember the marketing picture though, showing someone looking up with awe and hands raised up towards the new light - that is JUST how I felt (Glory glory!!) with natural light suddenly pouring into our dark windowless hall. Still do. It has been great - no problems, no leakage, haven't needed to clean the inside diffuser lens (which is flush with ceiling). When we had our energy audit done a couple of years ago, on a well-below-freezing day, I was surprised to see it did not show much of a heat loss around it inside, any more than other spots hither and yon. I find it quite miraculous to see how much light emanates from it even when the light is low outdoors - and even under moonlight. Now I'd like another one, over the stairwell. And the house I'm renovating - I think I'll put two in the northwest-facing kitchen, in spite of the two windows, just to make it a nice bright room. This is a terrific product.
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on August 18, 2012
With no windows in our kitchen and only a patio door in our living room, lights had to be used constantly. Our neighbor, with the same problem, had solatubes installed in both rooms and, after seeing the difference, we immediately made arrangements with the dealer. I know there are many other products out there, but I can't imagine that any could give us the amount of light we now have. Thank you, Solatube!
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on January 13, 2014
I had three installed, two in two bathrooms and one in the kitchen. The light is bright and beautiful and turned my cellar like bathrooms in to two of the best lit rooms in my home. We decided to go with the 160DS model in the bathrooms and the 290DS in the kitchen and I couldn't be happier with them. I will be having more installed real soon!
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on June 16, 2011
Installing one of these transformed my dark bathroom with no windows. Beautiful! Installing it in the dark bedroom was a huge mistake. I keep trying to reach and turn out the light.
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