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LED Beam Angles - What Should I Use? [GUIDE]

LED Beam Angles – What Should I Use? [GUIDE]

You may think it’s as easy as installing a lightbulb to brighten up your workspace but there are still a number of factors to consider. If you’re running a car dealership, you will need the proper lighting to show off a car’s detail. Furthermore, if your office requires high levels of productivity, you will need a certain level of lighting. This is where beam angles come into play. Let’s take a look at what a beam angle is and how to decide on the right one for your work environment. By the end of this post, you will have the knowledge to get the most out of your lighting!

What is a beam angle?

A beam angle — also referred to as a beam spread — is a measurement of how light is distributed when a ceiling light fixture is on. The right type of beam angle can enhance your building’s atmosphere and can give you the desired amount of light for your space. 

How do I decide which beam angle to use?

There are a few things you want to consider when choosing the right beam angle

How many light fixtures should I use?

How many lumens (see below) will give you your desired brightness? The industry standard is 70 foot-candles per square foot for general lighting purposes. Foot candles are the unit of illumination equivalent to one lumen per square foot. You will also want to have a layout design in mind if you want certain areas brighter or dimmer than others.

To determine the number of light fixtures you will need, perform the following steps:

  1. Multiply the area of your building and the industry standard to get a number in lumens.
    1. 50,000 sq. ft. x 70 lumens = 3,500,000 Lumens total
  2. Multiply the total lumens by the constant 1.40. This number is calculated by adding the light loss factor (.75) and the coefficient of utilization (.65) together. You should always take this into consideration when calculating total lumens for a specific space.
    1. 1.40 x 3,500,000 (Lumens total) = 4,900,000 lumens (Second Lumen total)
  3. Add your lumen total and additional lumens together. This will give you the total lumens needed for your space.

How does the ceiling or light fixture height affect lighting?

An area with high ceilings will need a narrower beam angle for both recessed and overhead lighting to properly illuminate the area. Overlapped beam angles will ensure that light is covering your space and will prevent injury.

How do I achieve the right ambiance?

Do you want your building’s occupants to perform productive work or do you just want to provide accent lighting to highlight a specific area? Determining your color temperature or color rendering index will let you know how to properly light your space.

How do I determine the right bulb type to use?

There is no industry standard to determine bulb type so you will need to choose the bulb type based on your application. High-ceiling areas will need narrower beams while lower-ceiling areas require wider beams. Check with the light bulb supplier to determine if you have the right bulb to fit your needs.

What are the different beam angle types?

Some manufacturers have simplified beam angles into different types: narrow, medium, and wide. Furthermore, floodlights have very wide beams while spotlights are narrower. The former is best for areas like parking lots while spotlights are best for putting architectural details on display. The following are examples of MR16. Remember the bulb type can vary depending on the application. 

  • Very Narrow Spot <7°
  • Narrow Spot 5°-15°
  • Spot 16°-22°
  • Narrow Flood 23°-32°
  • Flood 32°-45°
  • Wide Flood 45°-60°
  • Very Wide Flood >60°

What are lumens?

Lumens are responsible for the brightness of a light bulb. Typically, you would think that a bulb is not bright enough when you don’t achieve the proper ambiance but that is not always the case. Remember to take the ceiling’s height into consideration. The light’s brightness will not change due to the height but the beam angle will change. You can always check the manufacturer’s box to ensure you have the right angle and number of lumens.

You Now Have the Knowledge You Need to Get the Most Out of Your Lighting!

LEDs are ideal for areas that need high productivity or for highlighting specific areas. They conserve energy due to emitting light in one direction. If you want to bring efficiency and versatility to your home or office, contact your local ZLED rep today!

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