Outdoor lighting is crucial for homes, businesses, public spaces, and beyond. The right outdoor light fixtures can prevent injury, discourage crime or transform a patio into an all-night entertainment venue.
As LED technology continues to grow in prevalence and drop in price, many people are starting to incorporate LEDs into their outdoor lighting strategies as well. Unfortunately, there’s still some confusion out there about what LEDs can and can’t do, so we’re here to clear it up once and for all: Can LED lights be installed outdoors?
Can LED Lights be used outside?
Yes! LED lights can be installed outdoors.
In fact, LEDs are actually the ideal choice for all residential, commercial, and industrial outdoor lighting needs.
LEDs are fantastic for outdoor use because they offer all the same benefits as indoor LEDs while also reducing the maintenance work and replacement costs that can makes owning outdoor lights such a pain!
Why are LED Lights Great for Outdoor Use?
Let’s take a look at some specific reasons why LEDs are ideal outdoor lights:
1. Bright, Clear Light
Many legacy outdoor lighting fixtures use metal-halide or mercury vapor lamps. Those bulbs start out creating a clear, white light, but over time, they can burn down to a visible orange or even pink color.
LEDs, on the other hand, produce a consistent, clear, white light (depending on the CCT). As long as the diode is receiving electricity, it creates strong light.
Some LEDs even allow you to manually adjust the color temperature of the light, creating warmer mood lighting or brighter safety lighting as needed.
2. Energy Efficiency
Outdoor incandescent or metal-halide lamps burn hot (you know that if you’ve ever tried to change a bulb too fast), and heat is the enemy of efficacy. Hot lights put additional strain on wiring and circuits which burns out the filaments, creating unnecessary replacement costs and wasted energy.
LED technology transforms electricity directly into light using a semiconductor, which means there’s no waste heat created and nearly every watt of energy you put into that lamp is being used to create light.
3. Reduced Cost of Ownership
LED efficacy means you can create the same number of lumens (light) using much less wattage (drawn energy). That directly translates to savings on your monthly utility bill.
As we’ve said, LEDs run cool, so they don’t “burn” themselves out, which means you’ll significantly reduce the frequency of maintenance and replacement by switching to LEDs.
4. Variety of Styles
LEDs are increasingly available in a variety of different shapes and forms to meet both practical and decorative outdoor lightning needs. Let’s dive into some of the possibilities.
What Kinds of LED Lights Are Usually Used Outdoors?
A wide array of reliable, efficient outdoor LED lights are available on the market for commercial and residential applications. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular choices one at a time.
Commercial Outdoor LED Lights
LED shoeboxes are attached to light poles or the sides of buildings to provide light below. They are most commonly used in parking lots, office parks, and public spaces to create a safe, visible environment. Browse our Shoeboxes here.
LED wall packs are bright, compact lights that attach directly to the sides of houses, offices, schools, and other buildings. Wall packs can be angled downward (as they might be above a garage or loading dock door) or faced outward (as they might be on a porch or entryway). See the many varieties of Wall Packs here.
LED flood lights are designed to light the place up, delivering a bright, wide area of light from above. Flood lights are the gold standard for security and safety, as they provide maximum lumens at night. Flood lights can be driven by solar energy and be activated by motion sensors, making them even more energy-efficient.
Residential Outdoor LED Lights
As their name implies, LED string lights are small individual lights strung together on a line. String lights pack a lot of light and personality into any space are extremely popular for decorating patios, fire pits, grill areas, porches, and so on. See our String Lights here.
LED pathway lights generally rest on or are stuck down into the ground to provide safe walking across lawns, down outdoor paths, across driveways, and so on. Pathway lights are perfect for bringing an upscale look to your yard and improving safety without breaking the bank.
An LED bollard is a decorative pillar or post that contains an LED lamp. Bollards are essentially like larger, more permanent pathway lights. They’re ideal for walkways or residential parking areas that are frequently used at night and require clear, striking lighting.
Bulbs can many times be used outdoors if covered and kept away from direct exposure to changin weather conditions. If you’re not looking to buy all new outdoor lighting fixtures, you can install energy efficient LED lightbulbs into your existing fixtures, just like you would a standard bulb, and reap many of the reliable, cost-cutting benefits of LED technology. Browse our large inventory of LED bulbs here.
What to Look for When Buying Outdoor Lights
One of the best ways to maximize your savings with LED lights is to make sure they stay off when you don’t need them. Dawn-to-dusk functionality uses a photocell to detect the presence of sunlight and keep your lamp switched off until the sun is down. If you’re looking to make the most of your outdoor LED investment, dawn-to-dusk lights are the way to go.
The IP rating is a two-digit number that represents a lamp’s resistance to dust and water. That might not mean a lot for indoor lights, but it’s absolutely essentially when it comes to shopping for outdoor LEDs.
The first digit of the IP rating represents resistance to dust, with 6 being the best. If you’re hoping to keep your LED bright and running smoothly for years to come, you want the first digit in your IP rating to be a 6, which will prevent dirt and dust from dimming your light or interfering with your circuitry.
The second digit of your IP rating represents resistance to water, with 8 being the best. Your outdoor LED light should have a score of at least 5 to prevent rain and elements from infiltrating your lamp; however, a score of 6 is required if you’ll be cleaning the area around the lamp with a power washer.
The short answer: rugged outdoor LEDs should have an IP rating of 65 or 66.
UL Safety Certification
The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification is the gold standard for safety and efficiency in lighting. Any LED lamp or bulb bearing their logo has been through rigorous testing to guarantee its functionality, safety for human use, and great quality . Before you purchase any lights, check the package for the distinctive UL logo.
LEDs are perfect for residential, commercial, and industrial outdoor lighting applications because they reliably deliver the lumens people need to stay safe and do great work while also creating new opportunities through energy efficiency and reduced long-term cost of ownership. Whether you’re looking for functional security or decorative lighting, LED is the way to go.
Now we want to hear from you, have you installed any outdoor LED lights and did they live up to your expectations?
Use the comment box below and let us know!