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LED Dusk to Dawn Security Lights

Shop for LED security lights with motion sensor or photocell for dusk to dawn and auto on/off function. MyLEDLightingGuide carries a large selection of outdoor LED security lights.

When most people hear the word ‘security’, the first thing that comes to mind is uniform-clad individuals with tasers, stun guns, batons, hand-cuffs, and possibly firearms. And even though these are important, they wouldn’t be able to work well without the most important security element: security lights.

In fact, in certain areas, security lights on their own can offer much-needed security. Over the years, businesses and commercial facilities have continued to make security lighting a priority. Their parking-lots, building exteriors, and pathways are well illuminated. Upgrading from traditional lighting to LED security lighting has provided the exteriors with quality lighting which enhances visibility and deters criminals.

Security lights come in different designs and each of them can be used in different applications, depending on the needs. They include flood-lights, wall-pack lights, pole-top lights, and parking-lot lights. Let’s look at them in detail.

Flood LED Security Lights

Shoebox LED Security Lights

LED High Mast

LED Pole Top Lights

Small LED Security Lights

Large LED Security Lights

Wall Pack LED Security Lights

LED Cobra Heads

Security Light Classifications

Wall Pack LED Security Lights

Wall-pack lights, sometimes referred to as wall-mounted lights or wall-packs, are commonly used outdoors. They are mounted on the exterior walls of buildings and provide lighting around the building and to pathways and vehicles near the building.

Their high lumen output enables them to illuminate difficult areas, making them perfect security lights for commercial facilities. Wall-pack lights are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions like snow, rain, and heat.

These lights maintain peak performance in tough environments. They are impact-resistant and perfect for different applications. They also pair well with lighting controls which regulate both their light output and intensity. Before the introduction of LED technology, wall-pack fixtures mostly used high pressure sodium lamps and metal halide lamps.

The different types of wall-pack lights are:

Forward-Throw Wall-pack Lights (Traditional Wall-pack Lights)

These used to be the most common wall-pack lights because they direct light far out from the wall. They are made in different sizes and use different wattages. However, they cause light pollution and light trespass since their light is not properly regulated.

Full Cutoff Wall-pack Lights

These fixtures have a unique design that allows them to direct light only downwards, making them dark sky compliant. This design also reduces, and in most cases eliminates, light trespass because the lamp illuminates the wall and area beneath it. The lamp is only visible when one stands below the fixture. Its conduit entries are visible on the side and at the bottom.

Semi-Cutoff Wall-packs

The design of the semi-cutoff light fixture is a combination of the full cutoff wall-pack and the traditional wall-pack.

The design prevents light pollution to some level, but does not make the lamp dark sky compliant. A semi-cutoff wall-pack directs light downwards although some of it goes upwards. It is mounted on the wall to distribute light to a particular area and can accommodate various light sources.

Adjustable Wall-pack Lights

These wall-pack lights have a full cutoff or semi-cutoff design with a tilt mechanism that enables precise light aiming. They have a fully adjustable module which makes it easy to focus the light upwards, downwards or in the middle. It can distribute light downwards or outwards in case more light is required. These wall-packs work well for perimeter lighting and can use several lights sources.

Up and Down Wall-packs

These wall-packs direct light only up or only down. They provide unique illumination. Experts in the lighting industry typically use them to achieve symmetrical lighting patterns on exterior building walls or to enhance architectural features.

Up and down wall-packs are made in several styles to complement various exterior spaces. When LED up and down lights are combined with dimmers they create a calming atmosphere with ambient lighting. You’ll find these lights in entryways, apartment buildings, and the walls of commercial properties.

Architectural Wall-pack Lights

Unlike the other wall-pack lights, these ones are mainly designed to enhance architecture. They feature high-end designs and are ideal for special placement, like the exteriors of car dealerships. They are mostly purchased for their unique designs and not their functionality.

Flood LED Security Lights

Flood-lights are broad-beamed lights with high-intensity illumination. They are commonly used outdoors and provide lighting over a wide area, enhancing security in many exterior spaces. The intense beam produced by flood-lights can be directed to illuminate a particular area while maintaining safety and visual comfort. High-quality LED flood-lights generate light that is similar to daylight.

Because they're used outdoors, they must be able to endure harsh weather conditions. Quality flood-lights are generally made with aluminum casings for longevity and better performance. The bright light they produce enables security cameras to capture images accurately.

Flood-lights can be paired with motion sensors which turn them on when intruders approach the area and off when they're not needed. In public car parks, they are usually left on throughout the night to deter crime.

The two types of flood-lights are area flood-lights and directional flood-lights. They are categorized according to their capacity to control the distribution and intensity of their beams to shape their light output.

Area Flood-lights

Area flood-lights are normally used in applications that require high luminous intensity. They illuminate huge open areas like parking-lots, outdoor stadiums, and other spaces.

Directional Flood-lights

Directional flood-lights are specifically used to boost the visual appeal of architectural features and for wall washing. 

Are Flood-lights and Spotlights the Same?

Some people think that flood-lights and spot lights are the same, but they are actually quite different. Flood-lights can have a beam as wide as 120° that enables them to illuminate larger surfaces.

Spot lights generally have a narrow light beam, no more than 45°. Their beam is focused and easier to direct and control. The biggest benefit a flood light has over a spot light is its capacity to light up a larger area using the same lumens and wattage.

Shoebox LED Security Lights

Shoe-box lights are designed in a rectangular (shoe-box) shape which allows them to easily illuminate a wide area powerfully and effectively. Security cameras are able to capture everything easily because they fill up spaces with light.

The lights are mounted on poles to provide lighting in parking-lots, driveways, pathways, building entrances, public parks, universities, and other exterior spaces. Mounting methods differ and it’s common to find two or more fixtures mounted on one pole. The lights feature heat sinks that dispel heat effectively.

LED Pole Top Lights

Pole-top lights come in a myriad of designs but have one thing in common: they improve security by giving off uniform light. Their focused light reduces light pollution and trespass.

The lights are commonly used in parking spaces, parks, cultural spaces, and open public areas.

Security Lights Types

Metal Halide Security Lights

Metal halide lamps are high intensity discharge (HID) lights. They produce light when an electrical arc fuses with a blend of gases. The lamps contain argon, xenon, and mercury – plus various metal halides.

And while these lights are still popular, they are not without fault. They render colors poorly (CRI: 60-65) compared to LED security lights (CRI: 75 and above). They are expensive to produce and are inefficient because they require a lot of energy to generate light. Their lamp life is between 6,000 and 15,000 hours.

These lights do not attain their full light output immediately. They take up to 15 minutes to warm up, the longest warm up period of any light source. They also have a restrike period of 5-15 minutes. This means that if they are turned off, they will need time to cool down before they can be switched on again. They produce uneven light, causing dark spots and shadows.

At the end of their lives, they require special disposal methods because they contain mercury which is dangerous to the environment.

Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lamps produce ultraviolet light when an electric current meets the mercury vapor inside the tube. This invisible light is converted to visible light by the phosphor coating on the inner part of the tube. Ballasts start these lamps with an initial high voltage and limit an overflow of electricity inside the tubes.

The useful life of fluorescent lights greatly reduces when they are switched on and off frequently, meaning they need frequent replacement. Additionally, they aren’t eco-friendly because they contain mercury. LED tubes can be installed easily in fluorescent fixtures and are the perfect lights to replace these toxic lamps with a short lifespan.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)

Compact Fluorescent Lamps feature a curved tube and contain magnetic or electronic ballasts at the bottom. Their short lamp life (6,000 to 15,000 hours) vastly reduces when they are frequently switched on and off. What’s more, only a few CFL lamps can be paired with lighting controls like dimmers. Some of them will burn out quickly when combined with controls, unlike LED security lights.

The standard CFL lamp is unsuitable for security lighting because it only has UL rating for dry locations. CFL lamps are also quite sensitive to extreme temperatures. They usually fail to start when installed in areas with freezing temperatures. If at all they start, they generate poor quality light. They also contain the toxic chemical, mercury, which can be very dangerous if it leaks.

Low Pressure Sodium (LPS) Lights

This lamp is also known as the SOX lamp. It is designed with a discharge tube containing solid sodium. The discharge tube has two different designs: one is double ended (linear) and the other is single ended (U-shaped). When switched on, the lamp emits a pink light. It then vaporizes the solid sodium to produce a bright yellow light.

Because it produces monochromatic yellow light, it renders colors very poorly. This feature makes it unsuitable for security lighting as people will not be able to identify other people, objects, and cars. Also, surveillance cameras will not be able to capture images accurately.

The LPS lamp is very expensive to install. It contains sodium which is combustible when exposed to the atmosphere and requires special care when being disposed.

High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Lights

The high pressure sodium lamp was made as an improved version of the LPS lamp – to provide better efficiency with higher pressure. Initially, this lamp was unpopular because of its orange light, but it later became a widely used streetlight in the U.S.

The lamp features an aluminum arc tube containing xenon, sodium, and mercury. It has a short useful life and is highly inefficient. LED security lights are an awesome alternative with their long lifespan and high energy efficiency.

Induction Lamps

Induction lamps and fluorescent lamps are similar for the reason that they generate light with mercury and an electromagnetic field but they don’t contain an electrode or filament – which explains why they also go by the name electrode-less fluorescent lamps.

Induction lamps are sometimes used in flood-lights and wall-packs for security purposes. They have a longer lifespan than other traditional lights; however, they do not operate well in temperatures above 35°C. The lamps are quite bulky and are an unpopular choice for illuminating larger areas. They also use outdated ballast technology with a high failure rate.

Mercury Vapor Lamps

These are high intensity discharge (HID) lamps. In tubes with high pressure, they create bright light with electric arcs through vaporized mercury. Mercury vapor lamps do not make good security lights because they generate light with a bluish-green tint (owing to mercury's mixture of spectral lines).

Their poor color rendering makes them unpopular and unsuitable for surveillance. Also, they have a long warm-up period of 4-7 minutes and require electronic ballasts to work.

LED Security Lighting

Many commercial establishments and businesses have embraced efficient and high-performing LED security lighting. The fear that they are expensive has dissipated because they have seen those before them get a return on investment in less than two years.

With LEDs, businesses are realizing major energy savings of up to 80%. This makes LED security lighting quite affordable in the long run. And even though LEDs use less energy than their traditional counterparts, they generate higher-quality light.

Advancements in LED lighting technology will eventually bring down the upfront cost. Rebates and incentives from the federal government and utility companies can also lower the initial costs. LEDs have a long lamp life and require little to no maintenance. Unlike conventional light sources, they retain 70% of their light to their life’s end.

LED security lighting is reliable and cost-effective for businesses. It saves you money you would have spent on lamp replacements and labor. The lights don’t have delicate elements like ballasts that wear out quickly.

LEDs are more durable than traditional lights because of their sturdy build and technical design. They make great outdoor security lights in all weather conditions. During extreme cold and heat, they can provide consistent light without flickering, buzzing, or burning out.

These lights have a high color rendering index and provide high-quality light. Passersby and car owners can clearly see the actual colors of vehicles, objects, and people. 

Problems with Traditional Security Lights

For many years, high intensity discharge lamps provided outdoor security lighting for businesses and other commercial establishments. These lamps include low pressure sodium lamps, high pressure sodium lamps, metal halide lamps, and mercury vapor lamps. However, these lights did not provide what businesses needed most: efficiency and quality.

Let’s look at each of their issues in detail.

Poor Color Rendering Index

Mercury vapor, HPS lamps, and LPS lamps all produce low quality light and have a very low color rendering index. They make it difficult to see objects as they would appear under natural light. More importantly, these lights do not provide a feeling of security and surveillance cameras cannot accurately capture people, vehicles, and objects. In case a crime takes place, it would be difficult to solve.

High Energy Consumption

Traditional security lights require a high amount of energy to operate. Most HID lamps require 1000 watts or more to produce a significant amount of light. And the worst part is that even though they provide bad light, they still require a high amount of electricity. This results in more greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.  

High Maintenance Costs

Businesses spend lots of money maintaining traditional security lights because they need to be replaced every now and then. Most traditional lamps have a short lifespan; they contain delicate components like ballasts which get damaged quickly. And even though some of them have a low initial cost, when you add up the costs of purchasing new lamps, labor, and transportation, they turn out to be expensive.

Fragility

The fact that security lights are used outdoors means they should have the capacity to endure tough conditions. These include heavy rain, heat, snow, wind, and dust. Traditional lights are generally fragile and in case of such conditions, they can easily get damaged.

These lights cannot endure extreme temperatures. They produce low quality light during winter and sometimes their ballasts might fail to work completely. Since they require a lot of heat to operate, they may end up burning out.

Long Warm-Up Period

Metal halide and mercury vapor lamps have long warm-up periods (1-15 minutes and 6-7 minutes respectively). Metal halides cannot be turned on and off quickly. In case they are switched off suddenly, they require a restrike time of about 15 minutes – for the arc tube inside to cool – before they are switched on again. For security lighting, this is not only an inconvenience, it is unsafe.

Inability to Work with Lighting Controls

Most traditional lights do not work well with lighting controls. The purpose of lighting controls is to increase energy efficiency, as light is only produced when it is required. Lighting controls decrease the efficiency of conventional lights by shortening their ballast life and greatly affecting their light output.

Environmental Hazard

Traditional lamps contain hazardous chemicals like mercury and sodium which are dangerous to the environment, humans, and animals. In the event that the lamps are damaged during maintenance or disposal, these chemicals can be released into the atmosphere. If the lamps are not disposed of the right way, these chemicals end up in landfills, lakes and rivers, killing the fish and affecting human beings and animals.

LED Security Dusk to Dawn Lights Features to Consider

Certifications

UL Listed

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an organization that certifies products and tests them to guarantee that they meet required safety standards. Light fixtures that are authorized for use in wet locations are marked ‘Suitable for Wet Locations’.

LED security lights are outdoor lights, exposed to rain and snow, so it’s imperative that they are UL Listed for Wet Locations. Waterproof lights are also referred to as vapor tight lights. Vapor tight LED fixtures are specifically made to provide quality light in wet conditions while protecting the internal components from moisture and vapor.

They are suitable for areas where they are likely to come into contact with splashing, flowing, or dripping water – like parking-lots and other open outdoor areas. The wiring is safely enclosed within the fixtures. To avoid risks of fire and shock, ensure that your LED security lights are UL listed. High-quality LED security lights have all the important certifications.

IP (Ingress Protection) Rating

An IP rating is an international method of determining the level of protection that a fixture provides the internal electrical elements against water and solid objects. A fixture with an IP rating is usually labelled as IPXX. The ‘XX’ represent 2 digits. The first digit shows protection against solid objects, for example dust, and the second digit shows protection against liquids.

The higher the digits, the higher the protection level. Sometimes, you may see an ‘X’ where a digit should be. That means that the product has not yet been tested for that rating.

IP65 and IP66 are the ideal ratings for LED security lights because they are designed to restrict dust and water from getting into the fixtures.

Lighting Controls and Sensors

Most LED security lights work well with lighting controls. The controls regulate the light potency and lumen output depending on need. For example, dimmers reduce the light to a minimum when there is sufficient natural light while motion sensors detect movement and switch the lights on only when there’s movement within that specific area.

Something important worth mentioning is that even though LED security lights are compatible with most sensors, you should ensure that you purchase the right controls for your lights as some may not be compatible.

Correlated Color Temperature (CCT)

LED lights are available in various color temperatures. A CCT of 2700K is warm white, 3000K is soft white, 3500K is neutral white, 4100K is cool white, 5000K is bright white, and 6500K is daylight white. The best color temperature for security in outdoor spaces is 5000 Kelvins. The American Medical Association has restricted the use of security lights with a CCT above 5000K because of their harmful effect on human beings and the environment.

Lumens

Lumens accurately measure the amount of light produced by a light source. A lamp that appears brighter than another produces more lumens. Lumens are an important consideration because they tell us the output of a LED lamp in comparison with a traditional lamp.

For example, if you currently have traditional security lights that produce 15,000 lumens each, you know that you will need LED lamps that produce the same amount of lumens – or more lumens if you want to reduce the number of fixtures.

Beam angle

All existing light sources – from a candle to the best LED light – have a beam angle. A beam angle basically measures the distribution of light. It is measured in degrees and indicates the width of the emission of light. A regular lamp has a wide beam angle of 360° which covers a large target area but is not intense.

Some light fixtures have a narrow beam angle of about 40° and generate intense light. The angle of the beam dictates the area that will be illuminated. For a larger spread of light, buy fixtures with a large beam angle. For LED security flood-lights, the standard beam angle is about 120°.

Mounting height

The recommended height for mounting a LED security flood light must be half of the distance of the area to be illuminated.

Height of mounting = 1/2 distance of area to be illuminated

For example, if the proposed area for illumination is 10 ft., the floodlight should be mounted at a minimum height of 5 ft.

The mounting height for LED parking-lot security lights ranges between 12 ft. and 20 ft. but sometimes can be as high as 30 feet. You must also consider the number of lights to be mounted on the poles. Whereas it is best to have a maximum of 2 LED parking-lot lights per pole, for additional illumination, you can have four.

Warranty

Some manufacturers provide a 5-year warranty for their LED security lights. Others will provide a 10-year warranty.

Because LEDs are very different, buying those with a 10-year warranty, like those sold by My LED Lighting Guide, will guarantee you better quality.

Mount Types for Security Lights

The different styles of mounts for security lights include slip fitter mounts, straight pole mounts, trunnion mounts, yoke mounts, knuckle mounts, and wall plates. The most popular ones, however, are slip fitters, trunnions, and straight arm mounts. Let’s look at them in detail.

Straight Arm Mounts

Straight arm mounts are quite popular and are normally installed on existing square poles. These mounts are integrated into the poles and have two bolts to secure them: at the top and the bottom. In comparison to other mounts, they are the most aesthetically pleasing, although they are the least flexible. They're perfect for new installations or for poles that are already drilled to accommodate them.

Slip Fitter Mounts

Slip fitter mounts can slide over the standard 2 3/8 inch lighting pole and their setup is very easy. They're quite popular because they are adjustable and give you the freedom to change the angle of the lights when it's necessary.

You can change the direction of the LED heads upwards or downwards. Slip fitter mounts are commonly used in driveways and sports courts. They are quite flexible as you can mount your security lights horizontally, directing the light upwards or vertically, directing the light downwards.

Trunnion Mounts

Trunnion mounts are versatile and can fit properly at the bottom of LED shoe-box security lights. They are the best for unique applications and can be mistaken for yoke mounts – because they look like them. They work where other mounts do not work, especially in applications that need creative mounts. For example, you can mount your lights on billboards using these mounts.

LED Security Light Fixtures - The Benefits

Long Lamp Life and Zero Maintenance

LED security lights have an unbeatable lamp life of 50,000 to 100,000 hours. This means that they can operate for over 10 years without requiring replacement or repairs. Traditional security lights would require replacement 2-4 times (or even more) during that time. The cost of maintaining LEDs during their life is almost zero as they don’t contain delicate elements like ballasts which wear out within a short period.

The task of security lights demands that they are on for several hours, especially during the night. The fact that LEDs don’t require regular maintenance means there won’t be periods of darkness in parking-lots or walkways. Also, commercial facilities, cities, and municipalities can save a lot of time and money that would have been spent on new lights, transportation, and labor.

High-Quality Illumination

Good color rendering indexes and high CCTs make LEDs not only popular but also necessary for security. They provide a safe and welcoming environment to drivers and pedestrians in commercial environments. Hidden areas are well-lit and crime is deterred.

LEDs generally have a good color rendering index of 80 and above. This means that people can identify objects properly in their natural colors. They also make the work of law enforcement officers easy, especially when they are on patrol around the area. Security cameras can perfectly capture high-quality images, something that is highly useful in solving criminal cases.

Eco-Friendly

LED security lights are eco-friendly. They are safe for the environment because they do not contain dangerous chemicals like mercury and sodium, which are found in fluorescents and HID lamps. When their useful life is over, LEDs often end up in recycling plants. They greatly reduce the carbon footprint since they use very little electricity and do not end up in landfills.

Energy Efficiency

One of the main reasons LED security lights have gained popularity across several cities is their energy efficiency. They are designed to produce high-quality light with much less energy than traditional lighting alternatives. By switching to LED technology, businesses can realize up to 80% energy savings. A 70W LED can replace a 250W HID fixture.

These savings eliminate the common fear that LED lights are expensive, because they have a short payback period. Also, the incentives and rebates offered by the federal government and utility companies make the initial costs lower.

Directional Light

The light produced by LED security lights can easily be focused because their light is directional. It can be directed exactly where it is required. This enhances light efficiency and reduces light trespass. It also limits the use of extra electrical components like reflectors which trap light, thus wasting energy. All popular traditional lights have reflectors which help redirect the light, but reflectors are not 100% efficient and waste some light.

Durability

LED security lights are durable and shatter-proof due to their solid construction. They are able to endure harsh conditions. Because they are outdoor lights, they are exposed to extreme conditions like heat, snow, and rain.

Most LED light fixtures can operate in high temperatures (up to 135°F) and cold temperatures (up to -22°F). Whereas traditional lights may fail to start or burn out in extreme temperatures, LEDs will continue to offer high performance.

Design Flexibility

LED security lights are versatile and flexible. They can be designed in various ways to suit different applications. For instance, LEDs can be installed in unique areas like in tall trees.

Instant Brightness

LED security lights do not have a warm up period; they automatically produce light and reach full output the moment they are switched on. This contributes to their efficiency. Additionally, constantly switching them on and off does not affect their output. They also have no restrike time. They can be switched back on immediately after they’ve been turned off.

Lighting Controls

LED security lights work extremely well with lighting controls. Lighting control systems enhance energy efficiency and are automated, making them easy to operate.  The lighting controls that work with LED security lights include:

Time Scheduling

Here, a clock is used to adjust the light based on the time. At certain times, the lights may be turned off, on, or dimmed to save energy. Time scheduling is suitable for areas that are either regularly or intermittently occupied, especially where the lights stay on for long hours for security and safety purposes.

Motion Sensors

These sensors detect motion. They switch off the lights if a particular space has not been occupied for a certain amount of time and switch them back on the moment they detect movement. These sensors can offer energy savings of 35%-45%.

Dimmers

LED security lights work well with dimmers. Dimmers adjust the light levels depending on the light requirements. The light output of LEDs can be decreased and increased without any negative effects. They can be dimmed from 100% to 0.5%, saving energy. Dimming is typically implemented when there is sufficient natural light in a specific area.

Daylight Harvesting

Daylight harvesting uses photosensors to switch the lights on or off depending on the available natural light. When daylight levels increase above a certain threshold, the photosensors decrease the light output.

Security Lights Case Studies

Case Study 1

Starbucks in Gainesville, Georgia needed bright security lights around its building. But it did not want any light to trespass onto its neighbors or the road. The establishment settled for forward throw wall-packs and full cut-off wall-packs. The combination of both fixtures provided quality illumination to the front of the building and the whole drive-through.

The wall-pack security lights have heavy-duty aluminum casings and are sealed with tempered glass. This makes for a long lamp life of over 50,000 hours and gives them the ability to endure any weather condition. Starbucks is sure to save several thousands of dollars on electricity.

Case Study 2

A New York Housing Authority improved the lighting in its parking-lots by upgrading from 400W metal halide fixtures to efficient 100W LED lights with a CCT of 5000K. This upgrade enhanced visibility as the light is now of higher quality and uniform.

The lamps have lowered both maintenance costs and the electric bill. The color temperature provides a crisp, clean look, enhancing security and safety in the parking-lot. And not only does the light cover the parking-lot area, it also covers the sidewalks.

Case Study 3

Busch Boulevard, a commercial Plaza in Tampa, Florida, wanted to upgrade the lighting in its outdoor parking-lot. It wanted high-quality light and to lower its energy consumption and maintenance costs. The plaza had been using metal halide bulbs which were inefficient and had a short lifespan.

The 1000W metal halide lamps were replaced with 300W LED shoe-box fixtures while the 200W metal halide wall-packs were replaced with 70W LED wall-packs. The high-quality light of the LEDs has made the outdoor area brighter and aesthetically pleasing. The sidewalks are much safer because of the improved visibility. The plaza management is now thinking of retrofitting the whole complex.

Ready to Improve Your Security?

Our LED security lights can replace all traditional lights, saving you money and time while improving the security of your facility. They are perfect for industrial applications and commercial facilities. For example, your industrial application may require explosion proof lights, which we offer, too. Our commercial security lights offer great style, appeal, and meet the needs of businesses.

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