LED Beam Angles Explained
In these days of task-specific lighting, it’s important to know what you’re looking for prior to purchasing your bulbs. But, do you know which beam angle you require for your installation? If not, will when you read this LED Monkey article!
What is a Beam Angle?
It might sound simplistic, but anything that produces light has a beam angle. Sometimes known as “beam spread" it measures how light dissipates from the source of illumination to its designated target.
The beam angle refers to any illumination falling within 50% of the maximum intensity that the bulb is capable of achieving.
We refer to light that falls outside this angle as the "beam field." This extends until the light intensity has decreased to 10% of the maximum.
Irrespective of the size of the beam angle you select, it is only the intensity of the beam that changes. The level of brightness, or lumens, remains constant.
An example of this is a torch, moved nearer to and farther away from a wall.
As you move the torch closer to the wall, its beam becomes more concentrated and intense.
Conversely. when you move away from the wall, the beam becomes wider and more diffuse, but its lumens haven’t changed – it’s just dispersing its light differently.
Therefore, if you needed a brighter torch, you wouldn’t go for one with a narrower beam angle, you’d go for one with a greater number of lumens.
Remember – Lumens = Brightness!
How to Find Out the Beam Angle of a Bulb
As you'll see from the photo on the right, it is sometimes displayed as a numerical degree value, such as 90° or 270°.
However, it may also be a written description such as "Wide Flood", "Wide Angle" or "Narrow Spot".
We recommend that you always check the packaging of your LED lighting products carefully prior to completing your purchase.
Spotlights or Floodlights?
When you’re considering buying some LED light bulbs, you’ll notice two terms that come up all the time. These are: "spotlights" and "floodlights".
Spotlights/Downlights produce a narrow beam of light that usually has a beam angle of 45° or less. As such, the beam is very focused and concentrated. This makes it ideal for illuminating a small or well-defined area.
Floodlights cast a much wider beam of light of up to around 120°. The coverage with this type of light is much greater and widely dispersed, which makes it the ideal type of light for providing security outside your home.
The Best Locations for Spotlights and Floodlights
Spotlight bulbs with a relatively narrow beam angle are perfect to highlight specific points and features within a room.
Locations in which you'll find spotlights include living room and kitchen display cabinets, art installations and galleries, architectural features, photographic studios and performance environments like theatres and music venues.
Floodlights that have a much wider beam angle create a more general, unspecific form of illumination, as their light is spread evenly over a wide area.
Locations for floodlights can include gardens, driveways and outdoor or indoor sporting arenas.
LED floodlights are also extremely useful for home security as they often come complete with a motion sensor that will detect movement within a wide range and switch on the light accordingly.
Things to Consider When Choosing Your Beam Angles
Criteria you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re choosing the beam angle of your LED bulbs are as follows:
The type of room you wish to illuminate
Do you require several concentrated lights or a wide spread? What type of effect are you hoping to achieve?
The number and frequency of the light fixtures within the room
How many light fixtures do you need? What’s the distance between them? Do you want intersecting beams for a wide spread of light, or several distinctly-lit areas?
The lighting ambience you wish to achieve - In a domestic setting, a medium-sized beam angle of around 40° will usually be sufficient. The number will rise if the ceiling is quite high or if there are only a small number of other light fixtures present. For living areas like bedrooms that don’t require as much light, a wider beam angle of around 60° might be all you require from your overhead lights.
The height of the ceiling or fixtures – For rooms with a high ceiling, you’ll require a narrow beam angle for both recessed and overhead lighting to properly illuminate the area. As stated earlier, a wide beam is not as intense as a narrow beam and will not extend as far, but the light will be spread out more widely.
The type of light bulb - The type of light bulb you choose will determine the beam angles you’re able to achieve.
As you'll no doubt already be aware, different bulbs have different strengths, specifications and values. So, it’s important that you do your research before you buy.
Get In Touch With Us!
If there’s anything in this article you’re not quite sure about, please don’t think twice about contacting a member of our customer service team. You can reach us by dialling 0800 999 7797. Or, you can contact us via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, if you're experiencing any problems or difficulties with your LED lighting, you'll find all the tips and info you need on our excellent FAQs page!
We hope to hear from you soon.