Outdoor Flood Lights
How To Choose the Best Type
If you’re looking for a way to shed the maximum amount of light on your yard, driveway or deck, outdoor flood lights just might be the answer. These lights typically are used for security reasons and also to illuminate a yard, deck, or driveway. Their primary purpose is to flood (or blanket) an an area with light. They also come in a wide range of styles, sizes and light intensity. Although these lights are most often associated with safety and security concerns, they can be also be used as part of a decorative landscape lighting design.
Outdoor flood lights also have other functions besides being decorative and safety oriented. These outside lights are ideal for lighting such things as driveways, front entrance and basketball and tennis courts. If you have spent the money to have one of these courts installed in your yard, why not go the extra mile and make them available for use anytime you like?
If you have decided to add these lights to your yard, you’ll need to decide which type of flood light will best serve your needs. Halogen lights are the most popular choice because they are best able to illuminate large surface areas. These electric lights are extremely bright and powerful. If you stare directly into some of these lights, it can have the same effect as looking straight into the sun. Many models feature a motion sensor that turns the light on when motion is detected and switch it off again after a set amount of time. If your main goal is to implement outdoor security lighting or to illuminate a basketball court or even a children’s playground, halogen bulbs are well worth a serious consideration.
This doesn’t mean that flood lights cannot be used as part of a decorative and stylish landscape lighting design. They are well suited for such tasks as highlighting trees, walls, statues and fountains. When used in this kind of design, the lights are typically filtered to minimize glare and harshness. In many instances, these lights will be strategically concealed or the design of the light itself will have a much more decorative quality than their purely functional counterparts. Designs with brass and copper finishes are commonly used to achieve this effect.
Flood lights for the home typically are operated from either a 120 volt home electrical system or a low-voltage landscape lighting system, which converts (or steps down) a 120 volt home electrical system to a 12 volt alternating current. A low-volt system has two advantages over a 120 volt home system. First, it can be installed without hiring an electrician. Second, it costs considerably less to operate.
If you are wondering what kind of selection there is for outdoor flood lights, the following is a brief description for each of the major classifications:
LED Lights (Light Emitting Diode)
LED landscape lights are a great choice for the budget minded. These lights are generally found in the 40 to 70 watt range, but can be found in varieties that feature 100+ watt bulbs. LED light technology was developed in the early 1960s as means for lighting electrical equipment and originally was limited to shining low-intensity red light. Today these lights can be found in wavelengths ranging from visible, infrared to ultraviolet. What these means to you is that these lights are capable of adjusting both intensity and color.
When compared with incandescent lights, LED lights consume less energy, last longer, are more durable and smaller in size. Many models feature motion sensors to turn the lights on and off or can be set manually for predetermined times. They also can be programmed for specific colors and how often they transition from one color to the next.
Halogen lights are another electricity powered light that come in a compact size. These immensely popular high-powered flood lights shine a brilliant, bright light, which ranges anywhere from 100 watts to 1000 watts and well beyond. These lights are ideal for home safety illumination and are commonly used commercially to light office complexes, public playgrounds and parks.
Solar Powered Lights
Solar powered outdoor flood lights function much the same as halogen and LED lights, but have the distinct advantage of being to harness energy from the sun rather than electricity. This energy is stored in batteries, which is expended during the night.
Solar powered lights allow homeowners with vast properties to install lighting where electricity may not be available. The only caveat is that these lights need to be installed in places that receive pretty of sunlight during the day. If not, a more suitable solution is an electricity powered light. Another thing to consider is that solar lights generally don’t shine as brightly as other flood lights.
CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights)
CFL lights are not the best choice of flood lights because they typically range between 10 and 40 watts. This won’t get the job done properly, in most cases. They’re simply not powerful enough. These lights are most commonly used above garages, porches and decks.
Portable flood lights are most often either solar or battery powered lights. Some have optional AC adaptors, which allow the models to be electrically charged.
In the end, which type of outdoor flood lighting is going to best suit your needs is largely going to depend on which areas you want to illuminate and how brightly you want those areas lit. Overall, halogen and LED lights are best suited for the purpose. Low-voltage landscape lights generally are not powerful enough to take on this kind of job,. These lights are more appropriate for decorative landscaping lighting.
Shopping for price and selection keeps getting easier. You can learn all you need to know by doing an Internet search. Just get on Google (or your favorite search engine) and enter your chosen search terms. Websites like Amazon.com offer company specifications for each kind of light and helpful user reviews.