The LED Area Light: Everyone Wants One For a Reason (or 10)
LED area lights are your go-to fixtures for illuminating perimeters, parking lots, or anywhere else needing an added dose of security.
But there’s way more to one of these fixtures than meets the eye. And knowing the difference between a great and not-so-great area light will make your life ten times easier in the long run.
No surprise phone calls from your customer, letting you know the fixture you installed months ago failed.
No wasted time or money on sub-par products.
No having to return luminaires because you weren’t sure about the light distribution types. More on that later.
If you’re thinking about buying area lighting, but you’re not really sure what to look for, this is your guide.
If you’re already a master, and you’re just looking for a refresher course, this’ll help you too.
If you’re tired of reading this introduction and just want to get to the good stuff…well, from this point, you can’t go wrong.
The LED Outdoor Area Light Difference. Psst, It’s a Good One.
Until not-so-recently, the lighting market’s been saturated with sub-par area lights. Namely, metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS).
You may have heard of these referred to other terms, like “inefficient energy-suckers” or “uneven-light-casters.”
Thankfully, our world’s been blessed with the introduction of LED lighting. Which puts all those other versions to shame by casting full and even light throughout a desired area.
Here’s what we mean:
With non-LED lighting, the farther you get the from the source, the more the light dims. This leaves open shadowy areas that can be a security concern at night in parking lots or around perimeters.
With LED area lighting, however, the ends of the light are still strong and brilliant. And, thus, pedestrians can walk to their cars more safely.
LED area light fixtures also last longer – up to 100,000 hours of maintenance-free operation, compared to just 15,000-35,000 hours of MH and HPS. And, at the rate HID lamps lose initial output, they really should be replaced sooner to maintain expected security. LEDs can be a real game-changer for facilities managers, who won’t have to worry about replacing their lighting for up to nearly seven times longer.
Not to mention—because traditional technologies had such a short lifespan—if one area light luminaire died, facilities managers would typically wait until a few more died before justifying the time and expense of renting a bucket truck to replace them all.
What does this mean?
It means that the space he or she was trying to illuminate for safety purposes isn’t being illuminated properly. Which, ironically, creates a safety concern.
Oh, and with LED, your client doesn’t have to worry about disposing heavy metals like lead or mercury, both of which are present in MH and HPS lighting. They also won’t have to wait for long periods while the LED fixture powers up. Instead, it’s instant. Like gratification should be.
An IP What?
One of the things you want to look for when purchasing an LED area light is its IP rating. What’s an IP rating? Fabulous question.
IP stands for Ingress Protection. Its rating will tell you how protected each fixture is from the elements. You know, like dust and moisture. According to energy.gov, “the luminaire should not collect and retain dirt or water on the top side, and the optical chamber should remain clean for the LED luminaire to truly reduce maintenance.”
So, if you know your future outdoor area light’s going to be around sprinklers or other forms of water (which it will be), make sure it’s a got a rating that promises to keep that moisture out. For example, if a fixture’s got a rating of 65, it means it’s “dust-tight, and protected from water jets from any direction.”
You can get a full ratings breakdown right here: http://www.dsmt.com/resources/ip-rating-chart/
Temperature Change Has Never Been Easier
Not sure which correlated color temperature (CCT) area lighting to buy? Wonder no more. Here’s an overview of which temperatures are available and where each is typically used.
Warmer CCTs are in the 2700K-3000K range, making an atmosphere seem more cozy and relaxing. You’ll find them most often in residential settings, particularly living rooms and bedrooms. They’re also used as decorative outdoor lighting at both homes and restaurants. In fact, warmer color temperatures are gaining in popularity; they’ve even become a requirement in some cities.
Have no fear; even though technology has improved with LEDs, you won’t sacrifice efficiency or CRI to achieve that warmer CCT.
In the 3500K to 4000K range, we have the mid-range CCTs. They tend to give off a more neutral appearance, making an area seem more bright and vibrant. Look for these in retail stores, supermarkets, and showrooms.
Finally, we have the 4000K-5000K range, known as the cool whites, or even daylight. These tend to have a blueish appearance, like midday sun on a cloudless day, creating a crisp and energizing ambiance. They’re great for task lighting, like at a desk or in a workshop.
CRI Does Not Stand For Chocolate Raisins Inside. Sadly.
CRI, or color rendering index, rates a fixture’s ability to ”render” (get it?) the true hues of objects. The higher the CRI, the truer to life the object appears. Why does this matter in LED lighting? Being able to distinguish one color from another can be extremely important in certain settings. Like warehouses, for example.
An LED area light fixture with a high CRI ensures that employees can easily determine a green-colored button from a red one. And, you know, avoid disastrous consequences. It also makes sure no one has any unexpected trips or falls. Security-wise, it helps provide a more accurate description of “questionable” activity.
Our area lights typically have a CRI of 80+, so you know you’re getting a quality product.
But don't just take it from us; take it from Don Brandt, our Area Light Product Manager.
So, What’s Your Type? The Bit About LED Area Light Distribution
In a perfect world, you’d light a large space with zero wasted light. That world doesn’t exist. And even if it did, you’d need an unlimited amount of distributions to fine-tune and customize to every application. Have any idea how long that would take? Too long for us.
You can get close to lighting utopia with a combination of the right fixture, mounting height, and fixture placement.
Each can come together for maximum lighting efficiency by using three very basic distribution patterns.
Not to mention, using houseside shields and reflectors can expand your lighting palette even further. Sound simple? It is.
Check out the light-saving distribution patterns below.
This is a versatile optic that works best where roadway width is up to 2 times mounting height, and pole spacing is 4-5 times mounting height.
Type IV is often referred to as forward throw distribution. Forward throw optics push a lot of light out in front of the wall or pole with reduced backlight. The kind of light distribution pattern works best on wide roads, where the width of the road or area is up to 3 times mounting height, and pole spacing is 3-4 times mounting height.
Type V light distribution gives you a symmetrical pattern, with the same intensity from any angle. Because of its symmetry, you also get the same candlepower from any lateral angle. This Type performs best when you’re mounting fixtures at or near the center of roadways, center islands of parking areas, and intersections. Oh, and if you’re looking to illuminate a large commercial parking lot, or any space where full and even light is needed, Type V was made for it.
Meet Our LED Outdoor Area Light Army
If you look up the word ‘seamless’ in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of our E-APE series LED Area Light. Why? It’s got a sleek and low-profile design that blends right into your application.
Not only that – it’s incredibly easy to install, thanks to its die-cast hinge panel.
It’s a highly durable fixture, made from die-cast aluminum and coated with a UV stabilized powder that protects it against cracks or damage caused by UV rays.
The E-APE series comes available in 9,000 to 30,000 lumens, making it a high efficacy product, with up to 140 lumens per watt. It’s also got 3 different optic options – Type II, IV, and V – plus a 3 PIN PC receptacle, with short cap included. And if you’re looking for high color rendering, you’ve got it – the E-APE series comes stocked with an 80 CRI.
It’s cULus listed and DLC Premium, which means it’s one of the best quality fixtures your money can buy. You’ll find the E-APE Series lasting up to 100,000 hours of maintenance-free operation in auto dealerships, parking lots, or anywhere else reliable area lighting is needed. And, since it’s passed e-conolight’s rigorous validation testing program, it also comes with a 5-year warranty.
If you need it in 3000K, we’ve got it. If you need it in 4000K, we’ve got it. If you need it in 5000K, we’ve got it. We’ve also equipped this series with enhanced 10KVA surge suppression to protect against any electrical surprises. It’s dimmable, for the ultimate in energy savings. And wet-listed, to brave the elements.
Here's all of that in picture-form:
Shoebox style area lights illuminate a larger area with ease. Because of their shape, they’re able to illuminate a wider area.
LED Post Top Lights are popular for adding charm and character to landscaping and streets, all the while enhancing security.
Flood lights are common for lighting up parking areas, homes, or any other place in need of extra security. How do you know the best flood lights to buy? This article tells you.
Dusk to Dawn Lights
Dusk to dawns are the ultimate energy savers, thanks to a built-in photocell that automatically turns the fixture on when the sun sets and off when the sun rises. These guys can be found around homes, barns, yards, and docks, to name a few places.
LED wall packs are commonly used to illuminate the exteriors of warehouses, educational institutions, hospitals, or any pathways or perimeters in need of extra safety. There’s a bunch of different wall packs available, depending on your needs – everything from full cutoff to non-cutoff.
This is not the end.
Of your LED area light journey, anyway.
Holy moley, you’re still with us? Color us impressed. And we hope you are, too. Maybe you learned something today. Or maybe you’ve been inspired. We can help with that.
Visit our area lights page, your haven for every single one of those guys on our website, all in one place. Remember all those types of area lighting fixtures we mentioned earlier? Yep, they’re all there. We’d say ‘pick your poison,’ but it’s more like ‘pick your peace of mind.’
Why, you ask?
Our LED outdoor area lights aren’t like a box of chocolates; you always know what you’re gonna get.
Each fixture is UL/ETL listed, meaning it’s been tested for high quality. Which also means it’ll last you for years without any hiccups.
But, in the rare event there is a hiccup, or maybe even a subtle cough, we have lighting experts for that. Since we stand behind our products with 5-year warranties, we don’t just disappear after you hit the “submit your order” button. Just call us at 1-888-243-9445. It’ll make our day.