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What are Outdoor Lighting Fixtures and How To Choose The Perfect Outdoor Lights


When you want to make your outdoor space more beautiful and comfortable, choosing the right outdoor lighting is an important decision. But how do you choose when faced with different kinds of outdoor lighting?

In this article, I will share my experience and knowledge with you to help you choose the best outdoor lighting for you.

I. Types of outdoor lighting

Before choosing outdoor lighting, we need to understand the types of outdoor lighting. Common types of outdoor lighting include

  • Wall sconces

Wall sconces are a type of light fixture mounted on the exterior wall of a building and can be used to light porches, decks and doorways. Like the Wall sconces are generally directional, so they are suitable for illuminating a specific area, such as a doorway or porch.

  • Floor lamps

Floor lamps are ground mounted fixtures that are suitable for illuminating areas such as flower beds, paths or driveways. Floor lamps can be mounted on the ground or on a slab to provide strong, powerful lighting.

  • Pillar Light

Pillar lights are usually mounted on columns and can be used to illuminate areas such as doorways, entrances and gardens. Pillar lights usually have a high height and therefore can provide a wider range of lighting.

  • Pathway Lights

Path lights are luminaires installed on both sides of a pathway and are usually used to indicate direction and provide illumination. They help people to move safely through gardens, paths and driveways at night.

  • Pool Lights

Pool lights are luminaires designed specifically for swimming pools to illuminate the area around the pool. These fixtures are usually waterproof and can work underwater.

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II. Key points in choosing outdoor lighting

  • Energy efficiency

When choosing outdoor lighting, it is important to pursue energy efficiency. The use of LED lights can save energy and do not need to replace the bulb in a long time. LED lights have adjustable brightness function, you can adjust the light brightness as needed.

  • Wattage selection

When choosing the wattage of outdoor lights, consider the function of the light. If you need to illuminate a large area, you should choose a high wattage fixture. If it is only for ambient lighting, you can choose low wattage lamps.

  • Durability

Durability is also a very important consideration when choosing outdoor lights. Since outdoor lights need to withstand a variety of weather conditions and climate changes, durability is key to ensuring that the luminaire will last in the outdoor environment.

First and foremost, the luminaire should be weather resistant and able to withstand high temperatures, bright light and rain showers. Using LED lights is a good choice because they can be used for long periods of time and won’t heat up because they are left on for long periods of time.

In addition, you need to make sure that the fixtures you buy can withstand storms or strong winds. For tall fixtures, such as post and column lights, they should be dug deep enough to ensure their stability. And underwater lights, pool lights, fountain lights, etc. need to have a waterproof rating, usually requiring IP65 to IP67, to ensure that they are not subject to water erosion.

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III. How to choose the right lamps and lanterns

  • Color temperature selection

The color temperature is also a factor to consider in the selection of outdoor lighting. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) and ranges from 1000 K to 10,000 K on a scale from warm to cool colors.

Typically, residential or commercial lights have a color temperature between 2000 K and 6500 K. The lower the Kelvin number, the better the light. The lower the Kelvin number, the warmer the light, giving a yellow or orange hue. If the Kelvin number is higher, the cooler the light will be, giving a blue or white hue.

You can choose the right color temperature for your outdoor area and lighting needs. For architectural elements, a warm 2500K to 2700K is recommended, while for illuminating trees and plants, you can choose a light with a lower temperature of 3000K to 4000K. Of course, the specific choice also needs to be determined by personal preference and the actual situation.

  • Lumen selection

Lumens refer to the brightness that outdoor bulbs can emit. Lumens are also a factor to consider when choosing outdoor lighting. If you need to install a security light with motion sensors, you need to choose a luminaire with more lumens. And if it’s just for ambient lighting, the lumens can be lower.

The ideal lumen range for outdoor lights should be between 12 and 1300. If it’s just to illuminate the landscape, 50 to 700 lumens should be enough. But if you need it to make paths or steps clearly visible, you may need higher lumens.

  • Waterproof Rating

If you plan to place the light near an outdoor water feature, it is very important to make sure it has the proper waterproof rating. Typically, if the light has a good chance of getting wet, the waterproof rating should be IP65 to IP67. This is a must for underwater spotlights, pool lights, fountain lights, etc. However, if it is only used for outdoor areas that will be exposed to rain, an IP44 rating should be sufficient.

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IV.  Consider solar lights

Using solar energy is an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly option because it gets its energy from the sun without using traditional sources of electricity and don’t need the led driver. Solar lights are a good option for those who want to reduce their energy overhead.

Solar lights are often designed to include solar panels and rechargeable batteries that can collect solar energy during the day and store it, then use that stored energy to light the lights at night. This means you don’t need to worry about electricity bills or installing power outlets outdoors because solar lights only need the sun’s rays to work properly.

Solar lights can be used in a variety of outdoor lighting scenarios, such as gardens, decks, patios, walkways and driveways. They are also easy to install, just choose a sunny location and place the solar panel in a location that will receive plenty of sunlight. Some solar lights are also equipped with sensors that automatically sense the ambient brightness and adjust the brightness of the light, thus further saving energy.

However, the use of solar lights also have some limitations. Because they need to receive enough sunlight to charge, they may not work properly in areas with some cloudy days, rain or short winter days. In addition, the light from solar lights may be dimmer than traditional lights, so you need to choose the right light according to your actual needs.

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V. Determine the budget

It is important to determine your budget before choosing outdoor lighting. The price of outdoor lights can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, and high or low price does not necessarily mean good or bad quality. Therefore, you need to choose the most suitable outdoor lights according to your budget and needs.

It is important to note, however, that in addition to the cost of purchasing the outdoor lights themselves, you also need to consider the cost of installation and maintenance.

For example, you need to hire an electrician to install the wiring or buy additional accessories, etc. All of these require additional costs. So be sure to take these factors into account when budgeting.

VI. Consider the installation location

Before choosing outdoor lighting, you need to consider their installation location. Some lamps and lanterns need to be hung on the wall or suspended from the ceiling, some need to be buried in the ground or installed on the roadside, etc.. Therefore, before you buy the lamps, you need to determine their optimal installation location and choose the appropriate lamps.

In addition, you need to consider the height and angle of the lamps. If you want to illuminate the ground, then the height and angle of the luminaire need to be adjusted lower. If you want to illuminate the building or landscape, then you need to place the luminaire in a higher position and adjust the angle to get the best lighting effect.

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VII.Pay attention to the color and brightness of the light

When choosing outdoor lighting, you need to consider the color and brightness of the light. The color and brightness of the lights are crucial to the outdoor lighting effect.

In terms of color, you can choose warm yellow light or cool white light. Generally speaking, warm yellow light is more suitable for creating a comfortable and warm ambience, while cool white light is more suitable for illuminating areas such as roads and buildings.

In terms of brightness, you need to choose the right fixture according to your lighting needs. If you need to illuminate a large area, then you need to choose the brighter lamps. If only to illuminate a specific place, the brightness can be relatively low.

.Choose controllable lamps and lanterns

In the choice of outdoor lighting, the choice of controllable lamps is also a very important factor. Modern outdoor lights are usually equipped with controls to adjust the brightness so that you can adjust the brightness of the light as needed. This makes outdoor lighting more flexible and versatile, adapting to the needs of different scenarios.

In addition to controlling brightness, you can also choose lamps with motion sensors. These sensors automatically detect human motion and adjust the brightness as needed to provide safer lighting. Motion sensor luminaires are particularly well suited for lighting doorways, driveways, corridors and other areas where safety lighting is required.

In addition, luminaires with timer functions are available. These luminaires can automatically turn on and off at specified times, which can enhance safety while also helping to save energy.

When choosing outdoor lights, there are many factors to consider. First, we have to pursue energy efficiency and choose LED lights.

Secondly, we need to choose the right wattage and lumens to meet the lighting needs. In addition, we need to consider the durability and waterproof rating of the lights to ensure that they can be used for a long time in the outdoor environment. When designing outdoor lights, they need to coordinate with the house or building and conform to the landscape design to highlight important features.

Finally, we can also choose to use solar lights or controllable fixtures to improve energy efficiency and lighting effectiveness. Taking all factors into account, we can choose the outdoor lights that best suit our needs and preferences, adding beauty and practicality to our houses and outdoor spaces.

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