Outdoor Lighting: The Ultimate Buying Guide

I know you would like to invest in outdoor lighting business.

Or, you want to learn more about outdoor lighting systems.

Whichever the case, this guide explores everything you need to know about outdoor lighting systems.

So, keep reading to learn more.

Key Features Of Outdoor Lighting

Whenever you are looking for an outdoor lighting system, you have to consider visual performance, visual atmosphere, and visual comfort.

These are the three main features that determine the most appropriate type of outdoor lighting for your applications.

Here are the main features that you will have to pay close attention to.

Outdoor lighting system

Outdoor lighting system

Visual Performance

You will look at visual performance in terms of level of illumination as well as limitation of glare.

The main factors that influence visual performance include reflection properties of illuminated surfaces and degree of illuminance.

Visual Atmosphere

In this case, you will focus more on the direction of light as well as the color of the light.

Visual Comfort.

When it comes to visual comfort, you will look at harmonious distribution of brightness as well as color rendering.

In addition to the above features, you should also look at the following:

Maintained Illuminance

Here, you will look at the average degree of illuminance on different reference surfaces from outdoor lighting.

You must factor in the fact that aging and influence from the environment will have an effect on spaces and luminaries.

Maintenance Factors

In terms of maintenance factors, you will consider the luminaires, type of lamp, maintenance intervals and dirt within the environment.

You should note that the maintenance factors vary considerably depending on the above factors thus affecting durability.

Glare of the Light

Here, you will look at the glare of the outdoor lighting in terms of the reflected glare and veiling reflections.

You must also note that the glare of the outdoor li9ighting system is different depending on the type of light.

The Working Principle Of Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is basically a combination of different parts that work together to produce light.

In other words, it is an assembly of different parts that perform different function to light the outdoor area.

Here are the main steps detailing how the outdoor lighting works.

Step One: Switching It On

Depending on the type of outdoor lighting you are using, you have to switch it on and allow it to work.

There are special types of outdoor lighting that have sensors and automatic switching systems.

As soon as the strength of the sunlight fades and darkness approaches, the outdoor lights automatically switch on.

You can try solar motion sensor light for outdoor.

Step Two: Transfer Of Energy

Switching on the light simply means that the electric power can flow through the wire to the light bulb.

The electric energy flows at a very high speed to the bulb where it will lead to generation of light.

Step Three: Lighting

As soon as the electric current or energy reaches the bulb, it will force the bulb filament or wire to glow.

As the wire glows, it produces light energy where a portion of the energy lights up the outdoors.

Differences Between Indoor Lighting And Outdoor Lighting

Indoor lighting system

Indoor lighting

Oudoot lighting for landscaping

Outdoor lighting for landscaping

Just from the names, you can note that there is a difference in terms of use or application of the lights.

You will use the indoor lighting to light up the internal environment of the house.

It is suitable for lighting the rooms inside the house such as living room, bathroom, kitchen, stores, and offices among others.

On the flip side, you will use the outdoor lighting to illuminate the environment outside the building.

You will use it to illuminate or provide enough light to the pathways, back yards, streets, and even roads.

Apart from the usage, you can also compare the indoor and outdoor lighting through the UL ratings.

By looking at the UL rating, you will note that the lighting is specific for three main environments.

Outdoor lightings have the UL rating for wet locations implying that it is suitable for the wet outdoor environments.

On the flip side, you will have the indoor lighting with UL listings for dry locations such as living rooms, and dining rooms.

Apart from that, you will also have UL listings for damp locations with indoor lighting for bathrooms and indoor pools among others.

Areas Of Application Of Outdoor Lighting

The idea here is, you have to place the outdoor lighting in areas where you will be operating or moving at night.

In that case, you can place the outdoor lighting in different locations outside your house such as:

  • Outside the Garage of the House
  • On the Porch of the Building
  • In front of the Door
  • Footpath Leading to the House
  • Behind the Building
  • Backyard of the Building
  • Pool Area
  • Along the Streets

Importance Of Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is very important as it helps to increase efficiency of human activities when it is dark.

Implying that, it will illuminate dark areas during dark hours to allow you to operate under normal circumstances.

It provides light for you to proceed with different activities such as:

  • Entertaining in the backyard
  • Construction
  • Transportation
  • Beautification of the Area (especially in landscaping)

In other words, the outdoor lights make the area safe, efficient, comfortable and secure for any activities.

Types Of Outdoor Lighting Available In The Market

Well, there are quite a number of outdoor lighting systems available in the market that you can choose from.

Here is a list of some of the types of outdoor lighting that you can have.

Spotlight Outdoor Lighting

You can opt for the spotlight which is a special type of light that points in only one direction.

This is a general term for this kind of light as you can manipulate it to perform different functions outdoor.

Spot light outdoor lighting

spotlight outdoor lighting

Floodlights Outdoor Lighting

This is the most useful type of outdoor lighting which covers a very wide area over shorter distance.

You can refer to them as spotlights that have very wide area of coverage and an increase in level of brightness.

Flood lights outdoor lighting

floodlights outdoor lighting

Up/Down Outdoor Lighting

You can use the up/down outdoor lighting on quite a number of applications with a unique type of design.

It comes in different variations and can create patterns on walls or pathways thus beautifying the area.

Up and Down Lighting

up down outdoor lighting

Step Outdoor Lighting

You can have the step outdoor lights which go on the walls next to the staircase or on front vertical face.

It will provide enough light for you especially when you are using the staircase so you will not miss a step.

Step outdoor lighting

step outdoor lighting

Garden Outdoor Lights

You can also place the outdoor lights in your garden to show the beauty and natural nature of your garden.

There are specific types of lights with specific spectrum that can also aid the plants to grow at night.

Garden outdoor lights

garden outdoor lighting

Bollard Outdoor Lights

These are special types of lights that are mounted on top of posts with no light cover or shields.

You will notice that the bollard lights are the only type of lights with the capability of shining in all directions.

Bollard outdoor lights

bollard outdoor lights

String Outdoor Lights

You can also opt for the string outdoor lights which you can string on trees or the exterior of the building.

This type of light is usually better for decorative purposes even though it also serves the purpose of providing light.

String outdoor lights

string outdoor lighting

Factors To Consider When Choosing Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting systems are as important as the indoor lighting systems.

You have to be very careful when choosing outdoor lighting by looking at basic factors.

Here are the main factors to consider when choosing the outdoor lighting system.

Size Of Outdoor Lighting Fixture

You should consider going for the bigger outdoor lighting fixtures even though it should not be too big.

The size is a very important factor to consider because it affects the aesthetics of the building as well as illumination.

Color Of Outdoor Lighting

You should also be very careful with the color of the outdoor lighting fixture and ensure that it complements the walls.

It is, therefore, very important to look for outdoor lighting fixtures that will match or complement the beauty of the area.

Durability Of Outdoor Lighting

Since you will placing the light fixture outside your house, you have to make sure that it is strong and durable.

Implying that, your outdoor lighting fixture must be capable of withstanding the hazardous environmental and weather elements.

Type Of Outdoor Lighting

You must also look at the type of outdoor lighting that you intend to use and their characteristics.

In this case, you should always settle for the LED type of lighting which has the best features for outdoor lighting.

Type Of Glass

You should also pay attention to the type of glass on the outdoor lighting fixture which can be clear or frosted.

In case you choose the clear glass, you will have better ambience while frosted glass offers saves energy and amplifies light.

Wattage For Outdoor Lighting

Here, you have to make sure that the wattage is 80 watts or lower than 80 watts depending on the outdoor area.

It is important to use lower wattage because it is the most practical as the outdoor lights are necessary for a moment.

Location Of The Outdoor Lighting

You should also be very careful and know the right location where you will be placing the outdoor lighting.

The type of outdoor lighting in different locations must give an impression of frequent usage thus the need of considering location.

Source Of Power

In the modern era, many of the outdoor lighting get their power from the sun as they have the solar lighting system.

You can get an outdoor lighting system with the solar power and also electric power as the backup source.

Best Wattage For Outdoor Lighting

When it comes to number of watts, you have to make sure that the wattage is 80 watts or lower.

Implying that, there are different wattages below 80 watts for the outdoor lighting systems.

You can use 40 watts and lower to light up your garden beds and pathways.

In case you want to brighten your driveway and smaller yards, you will need between 40 to 80 watts of light.

It is important to use 80 watts and lower because they are suitable for the environment as well.

How Wattage Compares To Brightness in Outdoor Lighting

Wattage and brightness are very important aspects of the outdoor lighting systems that you must pay attention to.

In other words, you have to look at the amount of energy the outdoor lighting uses and lumen of the light.

Wattage of the outdoor lighting is the measure of how much energy the outdoor lighting is consuming to produce light.

On the other hand, brightness is the amount of light that any source of light emits depending on the wattage.

Implying that the brightness of the light will detail the quantity of light that the outdoor lighting provides.

You will determine the brightness of the outdoor lighting system by looking at the lumen output of the light.

Wattage vs brightness of light

Wattage vs brightness of light

How To Install Outdoor Lights

The installation process of the outdoor lights varies depending on the type of outdoor lighting you intend to use.

Despite having that variation, there are common steps that you will have to follow on every outdoor light installation.

Here are the most common steps that you have to follow when installing the outdoor lighting.

Step One: Preparation Stage

You will begin the installation process by preparing everything you need for the installation process.

In other words, you will have to get the outdoor lighting system in place and also prepare source of power.

Installing the solar powered outdoor lighting is much simpler because you do not have to power into the house electric system.

On the other hand, you will have to prepare a line from the house electric unit for the outdoor lighting.

In addition to that, you should also look at the most appropriate location for installing the outdoor lighting system.

Step Two: Marking The Route And Digging

As soon as you have the power source in place, you will mark a proper route for placing the wires and proceed with digging.

After that, you will proceed with running the conduit under sidewalk within the trench that you have dug.

Push the wire that will carry the electric energy through the conduit to protect it from running water.

As soon as that process is complete, you will proceed with assembly of all the necessary parts.

Step Three: Assemble The Outdoor Lighting

Here, you will assemble all the parts of the outdoor lighting and then mount it at the right location.

After that, you will connect the outdoor lighting to the wires and then the wires to the power source.

You may have an automatic type of outdoor lighting that does not need a switch or install a proper switch.

You have to ensure that you cover all the exposed parts with weatherproof covers to prevent them from damage.

Finally, you will inspect the whole connection to ensure every aspect of the connection is right before testing.

The Cost Of Installing Outdoor Lights

The cost of installing the outdoor lights will vary depending on the types of outdoor lighting.

First, you have to factor in the cost of purchasing the outdoor lighting which varies considerably.

Apart from that, you have to include the cost of other accessories and tools plus the technician.

Depending on the amount of work, you may need more than one source of labor.

At the end, you will note that the b cost will vary depending on the type of outdoor lighting installation.

Accessories You Need During Outdoor Lights Installation

Since the installation process varies, you must also understand that the accessories you need will vary.

In case you will run an underground electric line, there are particular accessories that you must have.

Here is a list of all the tools you will need for installing the outdoor lighting system.

  • 4-in-1 Screwdriver
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Circular Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Non-contact Voltage Tester
  • Posthole Digger
  • Sledgehammer
  • Spade
  • Wire Stripper or Cutter

Apart from the tools, you must also have the following accessories to help in different areas.

  • Wires to help in transfer of electric power from the source to the outdoor lighting system
  • Bulb which will produce the light within the outdoor lighting system
  • Weatherproof cover to protect the accessories from damage from harsh weather elements.
  • Batteries to Store and Release Energy
  • Solar Panels for Charging the Batteries

Number Of Lumens Needed For Outdoor Lighting

When it comes to looking at the number of lumens, you will be looking at the brightness of the light.

Lumen is the unit which will determine the intensity of the outdoor lighting system.

Here is a table that shows different types of outdoor lighting systems and the most suitable lumen.

Type of LightLumen Rating
Path lighting100-200 lumens
Step lights12-100 lumens
Flood lights700-1300 lumens
Motion sensor lights300-700 lumens
Pond/pool lights200-400 lumens
Hardscape lights (on walls)50-185 lumens
Landscape50-300 lumens

Factors Determining Service Life Span Of Outdoor Lights

There are different factors that will determine how long your outdoor lighting will serve you.

One of the most important factors that you have to consider is the maintenance of the outdoor lighting.

You should note that the better the form of maintenance, the higher the service life of the outdoor lighting.

Apart from that, here are other factors that will affect how long the outdoor lights will last.

Power Supply

You have to make sure that you operate the outdoor lighting under the right power supply.

In case you operate the outdoor lighting with more power, you are in danger of reducing the service life.

Ambient Temperature

The ambient temperature especially of the area of installation usually has a great impact on the outdoor lighting service life.

Surge in the ambient temperatures may affect the internal parts of the outdoor lightings thus reducing the service life.

Drivers And Capacitors

In this case, you will look at the type of materials for making the drivers and capacitors for the outdoor lighting.

Weak materials will obviously have a shorter lifespan in comparison to other types of materials thus affecting overall service life.

Heat Emission

You must also understand that the buildup pf heat within the outdoor lighting system may cause a lot of damage.

In that case, you must have heat dissipators which will eliminate a lot of heat and increase service life.

Causes Of Outdoor Lighting Failure

There are many issues which can lead to damage on the outdoor lighting connection thus subsequent failure.

Depending on the types of damage, there are different ways of solving the damage or failure.

Here are some of the factors that contribute to the failure of the outdoor lighting systems.

Dry Rot

This is a situation where the wire connections among other connections rot within the ground and break off the connection.

In such a case, you will have to replace the connections after a certain time period of service under the maintenance schedule.

Rodent Damage

Since the installation is outside, there are parts which might fail due to damage from rodents like rats.

In such a case, you should try and protect the installations and cover them well from reach of the rodents.

Vigorous Landscape Maintenance

During landscape maintenance, you may accidentally affect the power line connections and maybe cut the wires.

In such as case, you have to mark the places with these connections well to avoid damage to the installations.

Moisture Burden

Water or moisture can cause damages on the connection lines and might also cause electrocution without proper management.

It is important to cover the installations with weather proof covers to eliminate the effect of moisture burden.

Factors Determining Electricity Consumption Of Outdoor Lighting

Lighting of the outdoor lights will require electric current from the power grid or from solar charged batteries.

Since you will be using different types of outdoor lights, you should different modes of power consumption.

Here are the main factors that determine the electric consumption of outdoor lighting.

Hours of Use

In case you have outdoor lighting on for a considerable amount of time, the electric consumption will be high.

Wattage of the Outdoor Lighting

You should also understand that the wattage of the outdoor lighting will affect the consumption of electric current.

The higher the wattage of the outdoor lighting, the higher the level of electric consumption.

Lumen of the Outdoor Lighting

Lumen is the unit that you will use in testing the brightness of the outdoor lighting.

In this case, the brighter the outdoor lighting, the higher the consumption of electric current.

Factors Affecting the Cost Of Outdoor Lighting

Garden outdoor lighting

Garden outdoor lighting

Another important factors that you have to be very careful with is the cost of outdoor lighting.

There are different factors that will affect the amount of money you will pay for outdoor lighting.

Here are the main factors that you should take into consideration.

Type Of Outdoor Lighting

You should choose the type of lighting according to the budget that you have.

Implying that there are numerous types of outdoor lighting which cost different prices.

Size Of The Outdoor Lighting

The price of the outdoor lighting will increase with an increase in the size of the outdoor lighting.

In other words, the bigger the size of the outdoor lighting, the higher the amount of money you will pay.

Wattage And Lumen

In this case, you will look at the performance of the outdoor lighting in terms of lumen and wattage.

Implying that, the higher the energy consumption and the brighter the outdoor lighting the higher the cost.

Unique Features Of Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Landscape outdoor ligting

Lanscape outdoor lighting

Among the different types of outdoor lighting, you can opt for the landscape type of outdoor lighting.

You can identify the outdoor landscape lighting through features that are unique to the outdoor lighting.

Here are the main features that can help you identify the outdoor landscape lighting.

Location Of Use

You can use the landscape outdoor lighting privately within your home or publicly in places like parks and office building terraces.

Unique Design

You can also identify the landscape outdoor lighting through the organic design, scale, LED use, light pollution, and ease of control.

Apart from that, you will not that landscape outdoor lighting have specific unique features such as columns

Advantages Of Outdoor Landscape Lighting

As you beatify your building, you may want to view the landscape even at night with the help of the landscape outdoor lights.

Landscape outdoor lighting will bring the beauty of your garden and outdoor decoration to life even in the dark.

Apart from that, here are other advantages of using the outdoor landscape lighting.

Curb Appeal And Enhanced Beauty

One of the reasons for using the outdoor landscape lighting is to enhance the beauty of the landscape.

It will increase the evening and night curb appeal only if you install it properly.

Increase Security

You can also use the outdoor landscape lighting to enhance or increase the security withing your home compound.

It will shine light to key areas of the establishment and warn or scare intruders from having easy access to the establishment.

Extend Use Of Outdoor Space

Usually, when darkness sets upon the world, you are limited from using outdoor space due to lack of proper lights.

You can install the outdoor landscape lighting to help you light up the area at night and extend usage.

Ease Of Use

Using the outdoor landscape lighting is very easy especially if you install it professionally with modern control features.

You can easily have the automatic switching on and off of the outdoor landscape lighting system to ease control.

Benefits Of Solar Outdoor Lighting

Instead of tapping into the house electric unit, you can easily replace it with a solar outdoor lighting.

In other words, the solar outdoor lighting will draw power or energy from a battery that is solar powered.

Here are the benefits of using the solar outdoor lighting.

Cost Efficiency

You will save a lot of money on power bills by using the solar powered outdoor lighting systems.

The solar powered outdoor lighting systems use free energy from the sun to charge batteries that store the power.

Environmentally Friendly

It is an easy way that you can employ to reduce the carbon footprint of pollutants within the environment.

Apart from that, they are also environmentally friendly considering the materials for making the outdoor lighting systems.

Amount Of Heat Dissipated By Outdoor Lighting

One of the biggest problems facing the outdoor lighting system is the amount of heat it produces.

Depending on the type of outdoor light, you will have different heat dissipation capacities.

The amount of dissipated heat will depend on the heat dissipation enhancements on the outdoor lighting systems.

How Motion Sensor Lights Works In Outdoor Lighting

Motion sensor LED light

Motion sensor LED light

Motion sensor outdoor lighting is the use of the lighting systems with motion sensors installed on them.

These sensors have very small pieces of electronics that can detect infrared waves which radiate upon movement.

As soon as motion sensor detects infrared heat that is present in moving cars, people, and animals, it automatically turns on.

Apart from that, when the infrared detection is out of place, the lights will automatically turn off.

How Flood Lights And Spotlights Compare

Flood light

Flood light

Oudtoor spot light

Outdoor spot light

Flood lights are special types of l9ghting systems that can illuminate a wide area over a short distance.

In other words, it has a wide area of coverage even though the distance coved is small.

On the other hand, spot lights are special types of light for illuminating specific points over a long distance.

Implying that, it cannot cover a wide area just like the flood lights even though the distance covered is longer.

How To Choose Best Colour Temperature For Outdoor Lighting

Color temperature for lights

Color temperature for lights

In outdoor lighting systems, you should work with a color temperature ranging from 2500k – 4000k.

When choosing the best color temperature for outdoor lighting, you should consider using warmer outdoor lighting.

Implying that the most appropriate color temperature for outdoor lighting ranges between 2500k to 2700k.

Apart from that, you should have color temperature between 3000k to 4000k for the trees and the plants.

How To Calculate Lux For Outdoor Lighting

Calculating lux for outdoor lighting is a very important factor which allows you to know how much light you need.

You can simply calculate lux using the lux calculator considering the beam angle, distance from light to surface, and beam width.

With that information, you can simply tell and calculate the amount of lux for the outdoor lighting systems.

Ways Of Preventing Outdoor Lighting Fixtures From Rusting

One of the easiest ways of reducing rust on the outdoor lighting fixtures is by using rust resistant fixtures.

Apart from that, you can cover the fixtures with weatherproof covers that will protect it from elements of rust.

Why IP Rating Is Important For Outdoor Lights

IP rating is very efficient especially in determining the kind of protection you need for the outdoor lighting system.

It will help in determining the best location for the outdoor lighting fixtures and how much moisture it can accommodate.

IP rating for lights

IP rating for lights

How To Determine The Required Size Of Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

You can determine the required size of outdoor lighting fixtures by comparing the installation specifications.

Apart from that, size of intended location will also play a huge role in determining size of outdoor lighting fixture.

For instance, outdoor lighting ought to be a fifth of the width and height of your doorway.

Apart from that, the post lights have to be large as they shine more light to a wider area.

Implying that, you must also consider the area of illumination when determining the size of outdoor lighting systems.

When To Replace Outdoor Lights

The best time for replacing the outdoor lights will depend on the level of maintenance for the outdoor lighting.

You will have very little worry for replacement of the outdoor fixtures if you maintain them well.

It is, however, important to conduct frequent inspection on the system to assess damages on the outdoor lights.

In case of any damages, you have to do replacements to ensure that will rectify the damages.

How To Test Quality Of Outdoor Lighting

There are different methods that you can employ to test the outdoor lighting systems.

Some of the tests that you can perform on the outdoor lighting systems include:

  • Rub Test on the lighting rating label
  • Fatigue test for outdoor LED lighting
  • Assembly Check for the Outdoor Lighting
  • Torque test for the outdoor lighting components
  • Hi-Pot Test for compliance with the Quality Standards
  • Function Test for Lighting
  • Endurance Testing

Quality Standards And Certification for Outdoor Lights

You should make sure that the outdoor lighting you purchase is of very high quality.

The best mode of identifying high quality on the outdoor lighting systems is through international quality standards.

Here are some of the quality standards that you should look out for.

  • RoHS Quality Standards
  • ISO Quality Standards
  • IEC TS 62257-9-8 Quality Standards
  • SHS Kits Quality Standards
  • Pico-PV Quality Standards

At GoldMore, we design and produce high performance outdoor lighting systems.

Besides, we also support OEM businesses.

Contact us today for all your outdoor lighting system’s needs.

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