LED Flood Lights
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LED flood lights are perfect for large open spaces that require lighting that provides great distribution and high lumen output. LED flood lights provide flexible lighting options where the lights can be mounted on poles, walls, roof tops or even on the ground. Beam angles and optics allow for narrow focused beams to large flood patterns to light up large areas of outdoor space. Flood light mounting options include trunnion mount, slipfitter mount, knuckle mount as well as yoke mount.
Replace Metal Halide, HPS and HID Flood Lights
LED Flood Lights
The Definitive Guide
Floodlights are high-intensity, broad-beamed artificial lights that are often used to light up outdoor sports fields and other outdoor spaces where bright light is needed. Because of the powerful illumination these lights provide, they are also used as security lights in many spaces. When placed strategically, flood lights do just as their name implies – they flood an area with powerful, intense light. Focused flood lights are frequently used as stage lighting instruments in live performances such as plays and concerts.
In the top levels of many professional sports, stadiums are required to have flood lights to enable games to be scheduled outside of daylight hours. This is because evening or night games may be suitable for spectators who have other commitments during the day. The games may also have to be played at night because of the set regulations.
Another motivation for playing sports at night is television marketing. Sports such as football heavily rely on TV rights money to support their sport. Flood lights are also used as temporary lighting systems in sports fields that do not have permanent flood lights installed. The lights are also used to light up monuments, pathways, or to highlight beautiful landscapes.
A flood light is generally designed to illuminate a space or an object to a luminance significantly greater than its surroundings. The powerful luminaire provides an intense light output with a beam pattern that can be varied and controlled to light up a specific area or object while ensuring visual comfort and safety.
Flood lights can be categorized into two types: directional flood lights and area flood lights. These lights are classified according to the ability to control the intensity and distribution of their beams to facilitate the shaping of their light output. Directional flood lights are normally used to visually accentuate specific architectural or structural features for facade lighting or architectural wall washing. Area flood lights, on the other hand, are used in applications that need high luminous intensity distributions to light up expansive open areas such as outdoor stadiums, parking lots, warehouses, indoor arenas, and other spaces.
One thing we want you to be aware of is that flood lights are very different from other types of light fixtures. For starters, these lights are mainly used outdoors, which means they must be hard-wearing in order to withstand all types of weather conditions. High-quality flood lights are usually made with very durable aluminum casings which protect the lighting fixtures from low and high temperatures, high winds, storms, and rain.
The great thing about flood lights is that there are numerous options available on the market. In fact, the types of flood lights available for purchase will surprise you. You can buy flood lights to accentuate the monuments in your municipality, install them next to trees to highlight their beauty, use them to illuminate outdoor sports fields to enhance the game experience (for both athletes and fans), or simply use them to enhance the safety and security of an outdoor space. But because we know that sifting through all the options available is not easy, we have taken the time to prepare this definitive guide to LED flood lights to ensure you choose the perfect ones for your application.
How Are Flood Lights Different From Spotlights?
Some people tend to confuse flood lights with spotlights, but the two are very different. So, what's the main difference between a flood light and a spotlight?
The beam spread of a flood light can be as wide as 120°. This means that it can light up a larger surface area. A spotlight, on the other hand, has a narrow beam of light that is no wider than 45°. The beam is more focused and is much easier to control and direct. The biggest advantage a flood light has over a spotlight is that it can illuminate a larger space with the same lumen output and wattage as a spotlight.
Spotlights are perfect for illuminating a specific spot but they are not very good at illuminating a wide area. However, high-powered LED flood lights can offer light that is almost similar to daylight. For instance, in some sports fields, flood lights are arranged in a way that they give the feeling that it’s actually daytime outside. Flood lights can also be used as work lights. Miners use these lights to illuminate dark passages and caves as they go about their work.
Some flood lights are operated using batteries and are normally used as emergency lights in places where it's vital to have permanent lighting. Flood lights that are portable are used by rescuers in areas where disasters have a tendency to occur, where other light sources are not available. The uses of flood lights are virtually unlimited, which is the reason why they are some of the most popular lighting sources in existence.
Where are Outdoor LED Flood lights used?
Flood lights are usually installed outside residential and commercial buildings along with security systems. Thanks to the bright and clear light they provide, they allow cameras to capture images clearly and very easily. When flood lights are paired with motion sensors, they can help deter possible intruders. The sensors can switch off the lights when they are not in use and only switch them on if trespassers enter the area. In public car parks, the lights can be left on throughout the night to ensure that the areas are well-illuminated at all times.
As cities all over the world have started discovering the security benefits of LED flood lights, they have began installing these lights in public areas. Parks and other public areas are made safer by LED flood lights. They provide very bright light and eliminate shadows, hindering crimes and accidents.
Another popular use of flood lights is as indoor lights. These lights are mostly used in indoor stadiums and arenas. They are normally installed at very high points so they can illuminate larger areas. This is particularly important for sports where players must be able to see clearly in order to play at their best.
When stadiums and arenas are brightly-lit, spectators are also able to enjoy the games and can clearly see the action on the field without straining their eyes. Since the light that flood lights produce is comparable to daylight, it does not cause eye strain to either the players or the spectators.
Flood lights are also used as indoor lights in warehouses and factories to create a safe and comfortable working environment for workers. Because LED flood lights emit much less heat than traditional flood lights, they do not pose a hazard to the occupants as there is no danger of the building getting uncomfortably warm.
Historical landmarks and museums normally use LED flood lights to provide ambient, dramatic lighting. LED lights, unlike conventional lighting systems, have the ability to give off different colors without using expensive filters. They are capable of generating cost-efficient light for these spaces.
Ever driven past a billboard at night and thought of how well-illuminated it was? Then you have definitely seen flood lights in action. Advertising companies normally use flood lights to illuminate billboards as the light they produce allows their ads to be visible at night just as they are during the day.
Other applications that benefit from the light LED flood lights produce are plays and concerts. Outdoor events that take place at night require very powerful light fixtures to provide intense light to help the stars to easily see the audience and the fans to navigate the space and also see the performances clearly – even the fans at the back.
The powerful light emitted by flood lights makes them very powerful tools for search and rescue operations. This is because their wide beams can be directed to scour large areas from a distance, helping rescuers to find lost or stranded people and animals easily. Portable flood lights are mostly used for emergency services.
More Outdoor LED Flood Lights Applications
DOT Roadway Lighting
Sports Stadiums and Collusiums
Outdoor Flood Lighting
Outdoor Storage Parking Zones
Outdoor Storage Areas
Floodlight / Area Lighting
Outdoor Prison Lighting
School and Campus Lighting
The Shortcomings of Traditional Flood Lighting
Outdoor and industrial applications that need high intensity illumination had for a long time been served by high intensity discharge lamps – such as metal halide lamps, high pressure sodium lamps, mercury vapor lamps, and low pressure sodium lamps. And while some HID lamps have a high lumen output, it is no secret that they require a lot of electricity (1000 watts or more) to generate a significant amount of light.
The innate disadvantages of high intensity discharge lamps limit their usage in outdoor applications. For example, high pressure sodium lamps have a bigger light spectrum but very low efficiency (the amount of light they produce differs from the amount of light delivered). Their color rendering index is also very low (approximately 22).
Metal halide lamps, which are widely used in sports fields and other wide area lighting applications, also have numerous disadvantages. As with all HID lamps, they have a long warm up and cool down time. They can take up to 10 minutes to attain full brightness and in case of a power outage, they cannot be switched on immediately.
Metal halide lamps generate light by passing a ceramic arc tube or a quartz arc tube via a gas mixture of vaporized metal halide and mercury. Cold metal halide lamps cannot produce full light output immediately and need approximately 5-10 minutes for their electric arcs -- which are located between the electrodes -- to discharge visible light to full brightness.
But their long initial startup is not of greater concern than their long re-strike time. If power is interrupted, it may take up to 20 minutes for the arcs to re-strike – depending on the type of metal halide lamp used. This is because the pressure inside the arc tubes may rise significantly, preventing the arcs from re-striking.
In addition, high power metal halide have a short useful life of approximately 3000-5000 hours – as high intensity discharge lamps suffer from poor lumen maintenance. HID lamps also contain a small amount of mercury and are susceptible to explosion. Furthermore, all lamps with mercury must be disposed of according to the regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Why LED Flood Lights Are Better Compared to Traditional Flood Lights
Because of the many deficiencies of HID Flood lights, the need arose for a better lighting technology for high power applications. LED technology offered the perfect solution. Over the last couple of decades, the advancements made in solid state lighting technology have been tremendous.
The low energy consumption, improved efficiency, long lifetime, better light quality, and other benefits of LEDs make them suitable for many outdoor and industrial applications that previously used high-density discharge lights or fluorescents.
Types of LED Flood Lights
Photocell LED Flood Lights
You can think of photocells as light sensors. You may be familiar with infrared sensors which are very good at sensing the presence of objects. However, photocells do not detect the presence of objects, they detect the presence of light. Photocells also go by the name photo-resistors because of the way they work – like light-sensitive resistors. When installed in a dark place, they have a very high level of resistance, but when they are installed in a place with lot of light, they have a very low resistance.
The photocells in LED flood lights usually send signals to the circuit to provide less or more current. Their resistance is usually dependent on the quantity of ambient light that hits their photosensitive plates – which determines the brightness of the light fixtures.
When there is enough ambient light, the photocells will switch off, making sure that the flood lights do not produce any light. Because of the way they work, photocells are also known as dusk to dawn sensors. They are perfect for security flood lights as they ensure the lights only switch on when it becomes dark, and switch off as soon as natural light appears – conserving energy during the day.
RGB LED Flood Lights
RGB flood lights are very different from standard flood lights because they mix high-powered lighting with the unique ability to alternate or dim colors. They beautify the environment due to their amazing color changing, wall washing effect. While white light is the standard light color for flood lights and industrial lights, RGB LED flood lights are perfect for dramatic mood lighting. They can accentuate trees in a public park or make a skyscraper come alive.
RGB LED flood lights can be easily controlled by a remote control to change the color or the sequence of the light. Some lights allow you to save the color sequence, enabling you to create your own color style for any part of your building.
Passive Infrared (PIR) LED Flood Lights
The most popular security flood lights on the market have passive infrared (PIR) sensors. Passive infrared sensors utilize infrared technology to detect movement of up to 8m with a 180° detection angle. As soon as a person moves past the censors, the lights switch on automatically.
Because of the way they are designed, they are very popular security lights for both residential and commercial spaces. Security flood lights perfectly illuminate the exteriors of commercial buildings and help drivers and pedestrians to feel safer at night. Lights with passive infrared sensors can be mounted on the corners of commercial buildings, in entrances and exits, or even in low-traffic areas as they have the ability to switch themselves off when there's no activity.
Many of the flood lights sold by MyLEDLightingGuide contain photocell or PIR sensors so you can easily choose the best ones for your application. PIR sensors not only work well with LED flood lights, they are also ideal for outdoor lights as they make sure that spaces are illuminated when they need to be. The great thing about these sensors is that they can also be installed in LED flood lights that are already in use.
Surface Mounted Diodes (SMD) LED Flood Lights
As their name implies, these LEDs are usually mounted on the surface. The light fixtures are designed in such a way they are smaller and slimmer than other LED flood lights – which is why they are also referred to as compact flood lights.
Because of the compact size of SMD flood lights, they are very popular in many applications. More LED diodes can be placed next to each other on a light fixture, making for a greater beam angle. The fixtures are usually very flexible and you can easily tilt their frames up to 360° to focus the light exactly where you want it. They are also less bulky and are perfect for use in outdoor spaces where fixtures with a contemporary design are needed.
The Crucial Things to Consider When Buying Commercial Outdoor LED Flood Lights
The electrical assembly of LED flood lights includes one or more LED drivers which operate the LEDs under wide electrical and temperature ranges to ensure reliability in the most rugged applications. The drivers must be designed to accept universal input voltages (120-277V AC or 90-305V AC). The LED drivers must also be thermally protected from excessive temperature.
An over-current circuit and output over-voltage offers protection against temporary peak currents as well as short-lived voltage spikes and drops that may occur in electrical systems and cause premature energy failure or burning up. The components of the driver must be encased in an IP66 or IP67 rated flame-resistant waterproof plastic enclosure.
Since LED flood lights are used in different applications, they have different optics to offer different optical solutions. The main optic is usually included in the LED package while the secondary optics are components of the flood light fixtures and are meant to shape the beam pattern, the radiation pattern and also optimize efficiency and application spacing. The secondary optics offer unique optical combination possibilities to alter the LED output beam so that it meets the desired photometric specifications.
Secondary optics include lenses, reflectors, diffusers, and total internal reflection lenses. Lenses have the excellent ability to gather light and control the spread of light rays at a small angle. The work of the reflectors is to redirect the illuminance (flux) and connect the rays at a large angle. A total internal reflection (TIR) lens is comprised of a lens and a reflector which follow the rule of total reflection optics to gather and process light.
Lighting fixtures used in high-voltage applications must have lenses made of polycarbonate (PC) or acrylic (PPMA). These lenses have excellent optical properties, high mechanical strength, high thermal conductivity, good thermal stability, water absorbing capacity, and low moisture. In very powerful flood lights, both lenses and TIR lenses are used for higher optical efficiency and better light uniformity. Flood lights used in sports fields usually have reflectors to attain a desired beam pattern and decrease spill light and glare.
The Beam Pattern
Flood light optics come with different light distributions: symmetric, asymmetric, and anti-symmetric. They have different beam spreads to suit spot lighting, flood lighting, area lighting, and roadway lighting applications. Let's look at each one of them.
This type of distribution is usually applied to installations where accurate illumination and light control is needed for small, confined spaces over long distances. Flood lights with this beam pattern are normally used for accent lighting, column grazing, flag poles, and tall facades.
A narrow beam offers a focused distribution and is ideal for spaces where a tight, symmetrical distribution is highly desired. Flood lights with narrow beams are normally used to accentuate storefronts, monuments, and landscapes.
Flood lights with medium beams are typically designed for area lighting or high intensity flood lighting applications. They are used in spaces that require a wide uniform pattern and a specific coverage.
A wide beam is designed for general flood lighting applications where broad, uniform illumination is needed over a large area. Flood lights with wide beams are used in sign and facade lighting, sports lighting, mounted on the ground, or pole-mounted for large-area lighting.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Beam Spread Classifications
|Beam Description||NEMA Type||Beam Spread in Degrees|
|Very narrow||1||10°- 18°|
|Medium narrow||3||29°- 46°|
|Medium wide||5||70°- 100°|
|Very Wide||7||130° and above|
The truth of the matter is that all light sources --from a candle to the most powerful LED light -- have a beam angle. In layman's terms, the beam angle measures the distribution of the light. To give you a better idea, let's explain a little bit more. A regular light bulb has a beam angle of about 360°. What this means is that the light it produces will cover the target area but will not be very intense. Some light fixtures have narrower beam angles, which results in more intense light. The beam angle of such lights is usually about 40° or thereabouts. The beam angle is usually not higher than 5° above the standard in the industry.
LED lights are directional by their very nature. When installed in a ceiling, they cast a cone of light on the target area – which is typically the floor. The angle of the beam usually determines the size of the area that will be illuminated by light. The ideal beam angle of a LED bulb is dictated by the distance between the light fixture and the target area for illumination. In general, the more distant the light source is from the intended area, the smaller the beam angle will be needed to effectively light up the space.
The beam angle is usually represented in degrees which indicate the width in which light is emitted. When you want a larger spread of light, go for light fixtures with a higher beam angle. The standard beam angle for a flood light is typically considered to be about 120°.
Flood Light Construction and Thermal Management
High-quality LED flood lights usually have housings and electrical compartments made from low copper die cast aluminum. The tough aluminum housings are well built to accommodate all optical and electrical components.
The thermal connection between the LED package and the heat sink is provided by a metal core printed circuit board. It also provides electrical insulation and the conveyance of electricity to the LED chips. High power LED flood lights also contain a lens frame that holds the lens, which is usually made of impact-resistant polycarbonate or tempered glass. The frame is mechanically secured with a silicone gasket to ensure weather tight operation.
One major challenge of high-powered LED light fixtures is that they give off a high amount of heat. It is crucial to get rid of this heat the LEDs generate from the LED semiconductor junction to ensure the internal temperature of the light fixtures remains below the maximum operating temperature so that the electronic and electrical components maintain peak performance. This is why thermal management is so important when it comes to high power LED lighting. LED flood lights must have cast aluminum heat sinks at the back of the LED assembly to dissipate heat and control heat buildup.
Heat sinks are thermal conduction pathways incorporated into lighting systems to dispose of or redistribute thermal energy through thermal conduction. They contain fins which create aerodynamic vents that produce efficient air flow and hasten natural convention. The hot air unites smoothly into a quick laminar flow, transferring heat to the surrounding environment. Some thermal management techniques make use of heat pipes that mix the principles of phase transition heat transfer mechanism with thermal conductivity.
The LED housings must be pre-treated and powder coated to withstand all weather conditions without peeling or cracking and offer the best color and gloss retention. These days, flood lights are increasingly integrating aesthetic elements. Some feature stylish, contemporary designs and have contoured edges and smooth curves which help them to blend into the environment very easily.
5 Reasons to Switch to LED Flood Lights
1. Higher Quality of Light
Because LEDs are solid state lighting devices, they have the ability to render colors very well, just like natural light. Their color rendering index is in the range of 80 to 95.
Color Rendering Index (CRI) measures the color reproduction quality of artificial light sources. A high color rendering index means better light quality and that the artificial light is more natural and has the ability to spot color discrimination (is able to perceive slight differences in colors).
Metal halide bulbs usually have a color rendering index of 65 which is not efficient at rendering a colored surface or object. A high CRI is extremely important in some applications like sports as it is desired for televising sports events. Because LEDs have an excellent color rendering ability, they enable fans and spectators to see the activity on sports fields in vivid and bright colors. They allow objects with slight color shade differences to be easily distinguished.
LED light, is by its very nature, highly directional, unlike traditional lights that discharge light in all directions (they are omnidirectional). LED light fixtures generate directional light and have optical efficiencies of 80%-90%. The general losses of intensity for metal halides range between 40%-60% of the light produced. This high optical loss usually results in light pollution such as spill light, on-field glare, halo effect light, and uplight.
But as we mentioned, LED flood lights produce a beam pattern that can be varied and controlled to meet light uniformity and quantity specifications, something that makes them very useful for all applications where flood lights are needed.
2. Economically Beneficial
No question about it, the role economics plays in residential and commercial lighting applications is huge. Energy usage, resource conservation, and long-term sustainability are very important factors that must be taken into consideration in any lighting design. Generally, high output lighting systems consume a significant amount of electricity in order to produce very intense light for large areas.
We won't dispute the fact that some high intensity discharge flood lights have a luminous efficacy that is comparable to that of LED flood lights. High pressure sodium lamps have a luminous efficacy of 75 to 130 lumens per watt, metal halide lamps have an efficacy of 70 to 115 lumens per watt, while low pressure sodium lamps have an efficacy of 130 to 185 lumens per watt.
However, all these lamps lose their lumens extremely fast and do not have a long lifespan. Most high intensity discharge lamps have a very high initial light output, but lumen depreciation happens very quickly during the first 100 to 200 hours of operation. Over their lifetimes, the efficiency of the lamps quickly decreases because of the rapid lumen loss. For instance, a typical 1500-watt metal halide flood light can lose 50% of its original light output over a 3000-hour operation life.
But high powered LED flood lights use very efficient and durable semiconductors and can have L70 lifetimes of up to 100,000 hours. According to the Illuminating Engineering Society, the L70 lifetime is the length of time the lamp will operate for until its light output drops to 70% of the initial output. This means that the useful life of LED flood lights is much longer than that of high intensity discharge lamps.
New generation LEDs have a luminous efficacy between 120 and 200 lumens per watt. And thanks to continuous technological advancements, the luminous efficacy of LEDs is increasing by the day. It has become possible to improve the luminous efficacy of high powered LEDs and some new LEDs emit more than 200 lumens per watt – because of enhancements in the materials and design. LED flood lights are able to offer economic benefits because of their extended lifetimes, high-efficiency, and low maintenance costs. They considerably reduce lamp replacement costs, resulting in a shorter payback time.
3. Unaffected By Changes in Weather and Temperature
LED flood lights are resistant to environmental conditions and temperature fluctuations. High intensity discharge lights can be affected by vibrations, changes in temperature, and other factors and experience premature failure. Since LED Flood lights are not affected by any of these factors, they function excellently in all weather conditions and save you money. LED flood lights can operate even in freezing conditions and are ideal for cold warehouses and storage areas.
4. They Are Free Of Dangerous Components and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Conventional lighting sources usually contain dangerous components such as lead, mercury, and some gasses. According to estimates, almost 50% of our carbon footprint is caused by electricity – 17% is because of lighting alone. We depend on electricity to meet many of our daily needs and it can be produced by non renewable resources (such as coal, gas, or nuclear plants) or renewable resources (such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro power).
The carbon footprint of any space is directly related to the amount of electricity consumed at the source. Since approximately 830g of carbon equivalents are discharged when 1KWh of electricity is consumed, carbon emissions can be greatly reduced if electricity consumption is decreased.
Less electricity is needed to light up LEDs and they use almost 50% less electricity than HID and fluorescent bulbs. And because LED lights are more efficient and durable, they last much longer than traditional lights, over 20 years in some cases. This lowers the production of light bulbs, eliminates greenhouse gas emissions from the equation, and results in less waste. In 2017 alone, LED bulbs decreased 570 million tones of carbon emissions – according to IHS Markit, a company that provides solutions for corporations. In addition, LEDs do not contain dangerous components like HID lamps and fluorescent do.
5. Works with Lighting Controls
The application of lighting controls in high power LED lighting can offer many benefits to environments that use flood lights: a reduction in light pollution, energy savings, compliance with energy codes, and extension of the luminaires’ lifespan. LED drivers are usually fitted with 2 dimming circuits for 0/1-10V dimming -- PWM dimming or DALI digital dimming -- to enable altering of the light levels.
LED flood lights can also be controlled by motion sensors and configured to provide low power or high power illumination, or to switch on and off automatically whenever motion is detected. Photocells can be installed in flood lights to offer dusk to dawn illumination.
They usually activate the light fixtures to provide light when it becomes dark (at dusk) and to go off when the ambient environment becomes bright enough (at dawn). Modern intelligent lighting controls offer a lot of flexibility and provide multiple communication channels for network control. For example, LED RGBW flood lights can be operated under digital multiplex (DMX512) consoles to deliver dynamic or fixed colorful lighting effects for flood lighting, accent lighting, or wall washing to highlight different architectural features.
Additional Benefits of LEDs
It is not a secret that LED lights are redefining high power lighting technology. Apart from the obvious benefits LEDs offer -- better light quality, longer lifetime, and reduced operational costs -- they have numerous other benefits over conventional light sources. For starters, LEDs are instant start up light sources and eliminate the initial waiting period that is typical of HID lamps.
LEDs are solid state lighting devices and have a high level of resistance to mechanical shocks or vibrations, a feature that improves their durability significantly. These lights can be fully dimmed without color variation and by changing their brightness or luminance, a certain light level can be achieved. LEDs, unlike HID and fluorescent lamps, do not produce high amounts of shortwave ultraviolet light which can be very dangerous to humans. LEDs that are meant to be used by humans produce almost no ultraviolet light and no infrared radiation.
Should You Retrofit Or Get New LED Flood Lights?
MyLEDLightingGuide can provide you two products:
1. New Outside LED Flood Lights - perfect floodlight replacement from 30W to 1000W Metal Halide or HPS
2. Retrofit your existing flood light fixture with a LED Flood Light Retrofit.
Our LED commercial flood lights can be run at 100-277 volt or 347-480 volts. They are IP65 (or better) rated to work in either an indoor (wet) or outdoor area. Flood lights can be integrated with energy savings controls, such as motion sensors and dusk to dawn photocells, increasing the cost savings associated with this energy saving conversion.
Our LED flood light retrofit solutions can be used to replace the existing bulb and ballast inside an existing HID Flood Light. Our commercial flood lighting kits are designed to be as easy to retrofit an existing fixture as easily as a bulb and ballast replacement. Rated for 100,000 hours, and backed with a 5 year warranty, our retrofit products allow you to convert to LED and save the expense of new fixtures.
In either case, shop our wide selection of outdoor LED flood lights or LED flood light retrofit knowing we offer a great range of products to best suit your needs.