LED Tip 20: Make sure you Understand Light Distribution

So, you are looking to purchase an LED Fixture, and are comparing two fixtures that both say they have the same beam angle of light distribution. Read this post and avoid the pitfalls of buying the wrong light.

Light distribution should be consistent. 120 degrees distribution should be consistent across all lights, and yet its not. Running the lights IES file through photometric software, and comparing the two, reveals that there are vast differences.

So how can you be safe before you buy? Read on.

Case Study: Comparing 2 Fixtures with the "Same" Beam Angle

Recently a large customer asked us to propose a light for them. The test area was 120 ft long, 8 ft wide and 12 ft high. They wanted 4 fc uniformly distributed across the entire area with no hot spots.

This is not a common requirement, so we started to test different canopy fixtures in our lighting design software. And as we learned what each light would do, we came across 1 light that nailed it. It distributed 4 fc pretty well evenly across the entire area. It was associated with a light that had a reported beam angle of 150 degrees.

So now that we understand what we should be looking for, we swapped out the fixture with other 150 and 160 degree optic fixtures, with the approximate same amount of lumens, expecting to get similar results. The results were interesting. See below our test with a second light with 160 degree optics.

This light, while appears to have been a good candidate, failed the customers requirements by not uniformly distributing the light over the entire area.

So how do you protect yourself before you buy?

It's simple, have a lighting expert at MyLEDLightingGuide run a photometric for you. Seeing is believing, and photometric software allows you to see the results before you purchase. And avoid a costly mistake.

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