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Understanding Beam Angles in LED Lighting

Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-07-21      Origin: Site

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Beam angles play a crucial role in the world of LED lighting. They determine the spread and intensity of light emitted from a source, making them an essential factor to consider when choosing lighting fixtures. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the concept of beam angles, its relationship with spill light, the available options for LED luminaires , and how to select the right beam angle for your specific lighting needs.


What is a Beam Angle?


A beam angle refers to the measure of how light spreads from its source, such as an LED bulb. It is the angle at which the area of 50% of the peak central light intensity is reached. The beam angle determines the coverage area of the light, with broader angles resulting in a wider spread but lower intensity, and narrower angles providing a more focused and intense light.

Different light sources have varying beam angles, which are categorized into several types ranging from very narrow to very wide. The beam angle also affects light intensity, as a wider spread leads to a lower intensity, while a narrower spread creates a higher intensity.


Relationship between Beam Angle and Spill Light


The beam angle of an LED lamp determines the illuminated area, while the spill light refers to the portion of light that falls outside the beam angle. When comparing lights with different beam angles, those with larger angles have smaller central light intensities but more spill light. Conversely, lights with smaller beam angles have higher central light intensities and less spill light.


For example, consider a recessed adjustable downlight with beam angles of 10°, 24°, and 38°. The 10° downlight has a smaller irradiation range, with a prominent central light intensity that creates a strong contrast on the illuminated surface. On the other hand, the 38° LED downlight has a larger irradiation range but a smaller central light intensity, resulting in a softer contrast. The 24° LED downlight falls between the 10° and 38° options, striking a balance between central light intensity and spill light.


LED Luminaire Beam Angle Options


LED luminaires come in various beam angles to cater to different lighting requirements. Here are some common beam angle options for different types of LED lights:


Downlights

Downlights are versatile lighting fixtures used in various settings, such as homes, offices, and retail spaces. The beam angle for downlights can range from 10° to 120°, depending on the desired lighting effect. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the beam angle for downlights:

Accent Lighting: For highlighting specific objects or areas, narrow beam angles of 10° to 15° can create a focused and dramatic lighting effect.

Wall Washing: If you want to wash the walls with light, a beam angle of 24° to 36° is suitable. This wider angle will evenly distribute light along the walls and reduce the sense of occlusion in the space.

Basic Lighting: When providing general illumination, wider beam angles of 60° to 120° are ideal. They offer uniform lighting throughout the space and are suitable for corridors, hotel halls, shopping malls, and office lighting.

Accent Lighting


Floodlights

Floodlights are commonly used for outdoor lighting applications, such as illuminating large areas like stadiums, parking lots, and facades. The beam angles for LED floodlights can vary depending on the specific requirements of the space. Here are some typical options:

Wide Area Illumination: Traditional floodlights with reflectors usually have a beam angle of 120°, providing wide coverage for large areas like squares and high poles.

Modular LED Floodlights : Modern LED floodlights often feature modular designs with interchangeable lenses. These lenses offer various beam angles, such as 25°, 45°, 60°, 90°, and even polarized light for street lighting.

Street Lighting

LED street lights require specific beam angles to ensure optimal lighting on roads and pathways. The lighting angles for LED street lights are categorized into different types, such as Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, Type 4, and Type 5. The selection of a suitable beam angle depends on the width of the road and the desired lighting distribution. Here's a quick overview:

Type 1: Suitable for narrow roads or pathways.

Type 2: Ideal for medium-width roads.

Type 3: Designed for wide roads or intersections.

Type 4: Suitable for large roadways or parking lots.

Type 5: Ideal for wide-area lighting, such as stadiums or open spaces.

Facade Lighting

Facade lighting is used to highlight architectural features and create visual interest in buildings. LED luminaires with specific beam angles are employed to achieve desired lighting effects. For outdoor wall lighting, beam angles of 30° or lower are often used, such as LED linear wall washers or outdoor projection lights.


Choosing the Right LED Beam Angle

Selecting the appropriate beam angle for your LED lights depends on various factors, including the intended use of the lighting, the size and layout of the space, and the desired lighting effect. Here are some considerations for different types of LED luminaires:

Factors for Downlights

When choosing beam angles for downlights , consider the following factors:

Purpose: Determine whether you need accent lighting, wall washing, or basic illumination.

Ceiling Height: Higher ceilings may require narrower beam angles to compensate for the loss of light intensity at greater distances.

Room Size: In smaller spaces, wider beam angles can provide sufficient coverage, while larger spaces may require narrower angles or multiple fixtures.

Factors for Floodlights

For floodlights, consider the following factors when selecting the beam angle:

Area Coverage: Assess the size of the area you need to illuminate and choose a beam angle that provides adequate coverage.

Lighting Distribution: Consider the desired lighting distribution and the specific requirements of the space, such as uniform lighting or emphasizing specific areas.

Factors for Street Lighting

When it comes to selecting beam angles for street lighting, consider the following factors:

Road Width: Determine the width of the road or pathway and choose a beam angle that provides optimal lighting coverage.

Lighting Distribution: Consider the specific lighting distribution requirements for different road types, such as narrow roads, intersections, or wide roadways.

Factors for Facade Lighting

For facade lighting, take the following factors into account when selecting beam angles:

Architectural Features: Identify the key architectural elements you want to highlight and choose a beam angle that accentuates those features.

Lighting Effect: Consider the desired lighting effect, such as grazing the walls or creating dramatic contrasts, and select a beam angle accordingly.



How to Select Good LED Beam Angles

Choosing the right beam angles for your LED lighting involves understanding the specific requirements of your space and the desired lighting effects. Here are some tips for selecting beam angles for different types of LED luminaires:

Choosing Downlight Beam Angles

For accent lighting purposes, opt for narrow beam angles of 10° to 15° to create focused and dramatic effects on specific objects or areas.

When wall washing is desired, choose beam angles of 24° to 36° to evenly distribute light along the walls and reduce the sense of occlusion in the space.

For general illumination, wider beam angles of 60° to 120° provide uniform lighting throughout the space and are suitable for corridors, hotel halls, shopping malls, and offices.

Choosing Floodlight Beam Angles

Consider the size and coverage area of the space you need to illuminate. For large areas, beam angles of 120° are suitable for traditional floodlights with reflectors.

If you require more flexibility, consider modular LED floodlights with interchangeable lenses. Select lenses with beam angles ranging from 25° to 90° based on the specific lighting requirements of your outdoor space.

Choosing Street Lighting Beam Angles

Assess the width of the road or pathway and choose the appropriate beam angle based on the NEMA classifications, such as Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, Type 4, or Type 5, to ensure optimal lighting coverage.

Consider the specific lighting distribution requirements for different road types, such as narrow roads, intersections, or wide roadways, and select the corresponding beam angle.

Choosing Facade Lighting Beam Angles

Identify the architectural features you want to highlight and select beam angles of 30° or lower to achieve the desired lighting effect.

Consider the distance between the luminaires and the building facade to ensure adequate illumination of the architectural elements.


In conclusion


Understanding beam angles is crucial for optimizing LED lighting in different spaces. By selecting the appropriate beam angles, you can achieve the desired lighting effects while ensuring efficient and effective illumination. Consider factors such as purpose, ceiling height, room size, area coverage, and lighting distribution when choosing the right beam angles for your LED luminaires. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the optimal beam angle depends on the specific requirements of each space and application scenario.



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