The Best Outdoor LED Lights don't just Deliver Quality Illumination but also Augment the Beauty of their Surroundings
Outdoor lighting enhances security. While that is a widely known fact, it would be wrong to assume that it is their sole purpose. Outdoor Lighting or Exterior Lighting takes the design of your outdoor spaces to the next level. Installing them is one of the best ways to add illuminance and breathe new life into your outdoor spaces. Experimenting with different types of outdoor lights from the same collection can contribute to a cohesive look in outdoor areas. They look great in porches, patios, entryways, outdoor stairwells and pathways, and other outdoor spaces that can benefit from extra illumination. In this blog, we'll discuss the different types of popular outdoor light fixtures out there in the market today and where to place them to reap the maximum benefits; security and aesthetics.
What to look out for?
When looking for LED light fixtures for an outdoor area, it’s a good idea to consider the size, style, lumens and UL rating of the lights you have in mind. Begin your search for the most ideal outdoor fixtures cond=sidering these criteria:
Placement of the Outdoor Lighting
Every outdoor fixture is different in its appearance, purpose and lumen output. Hence it is necessary to begin the search by deciding firmly on the exact location of the exterior fixtures. Check the dim areas of the outdoors like the front porch, back yard or the driveway.
A pair of wall sconces by each side of the garage door might eliminate some darkness while accentuating the facade. Or a flock of lights lining the driveway edges to illuminate it and the surrounding landscaping.
If you are replacing your legacy lights with Outdoor LEDs, to be sure that you’ll get lights you can trust to work and to stand out in the dark, check the lumen output of your present outdoor lights (halogen, fluorescent, etc.) and make sure your new LED lights have a similar number.
If you feel too confused about where to light and the kinds of lighting you need, consulting an outdoor lighting specialist would be helpful.
Size of the Outdoor Fixture
Being mindful of the size of the fixture is of utmost importance before choosing a style of lighting. Placing new lights without considering the dimensions of the fixture and its application environment would lead to an epic disaster for the area's aesthetic proportions. You'll want to be mindful of the fixture dimensions like height, diameter, length and suspension. Whether it is a sconce, a chandelier or a flush ceiling light that you choose, getting the right size is vital.
For instance, when installing outdoor hanging lights, consider how much of a drop you want to the fixture to have in the area you are installing them. Likewise, for outdoor sconce lighting, measure the surrounding space to determine the appropriate fixture size. And if when installing pathway lights, measure the total length of the pathway to plan the exact number of fixtures to achieve your desired look.
The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) defines several outdoor luminaire cutoff classifications (refer to the illustration above). It is ideal to choose outdoor light fixtures with cutoff angles that prevent light from being emitted above the horizontal plane. Cutoff lighting shines downward toward the ground where it's needed most, and in many cases, this improves visibility. It helps to reduce light pollution and the overall glow they put into the evening sky.
Color & Finish
Most Outdoor LED Lights in the market today are offered in multiple styles, colors and finishes. Even similar styles of fixtures are offered in different finishes. While the color of light you choose is up to your personal aesthetics, some fixtures have their durability prolonged with certain finishes. For instance, if you live in a coastal cool area, you'll want to look out for marine-grade finishes so the light is well-protected in moisture-heavy areas. You'll find several metallic finishes and colors to incorporate into your outdoor lighting scheme as well.
Outdoor fixtures are exposed to the vagaries of nature and hence they need to be designed as such. The wet-listed ratings of ETL and UL is an indication of how wet a light fixture can get and when it comes to outdoor lighting. Outdoor LED light fixtures will either be listed as ETL wet-listed, UL damp, meaning they can be exposed to some moisture or as UL wet, meaning they can be exposed to water. For UL wet listed outdoor light fixtures, you're free to spray them with the garden hose anytime they need to be cleaned. It is imperative to only invest in wet-listed outdoor fixtures as they are certified for durability.
There are a few suggestions from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) for lighting outdoors consciously to promote the goal of dark night skies:
- Opt for fully shielded fixtures that emit little or no light upward
- Prefer“warm-white” or filtered LEDs (CCT < 3,000 K; S/P ratio < 1.2) to minimize blue emission
- Look for products with adaptive controls like dimmers, timers, and motion sensors
- Consider dimming or turning off the lights during overnight hours
- Avoid the temptation to over-light because of the higher luminous efficiency of LEDs.
- Only light the exact space and in the amount required for particular tasks