Spot Lights vs. Flood Lights: When to Use Which

When to Use Which

When selecting lighting to use for a work zone, it is easy to become flustered at the wide variety of options to choose from. If you've managed to narrow everything down to floodlights and spotlights, you may be still wondering which one is best to use for utility work lights. For those of you who are not sure, this guide should help you decide which type of light is ideal for your situation.

Beam Spread

One of the most confusing ideas in the LED light world is the idea of beam spread. LED lights are excellent at creating directional light while incandescent lights require reflectors and diffusers to ensure that the light is "pushed" in the right direction. Incandescent lights often waste a phenomenal amount of electricity. LED chips, on the other hand, send light in one direction only. Depending on the type of light you choose, you can have an incredible light pattern at a fraction of the traditional cost.

Beam spread measures the spread of light from the actual light source. The perfect beam spread for a utility work light will depend on the area to be illuminated and the distance from the light source.

Types of Beam Spread

There are a wide variety of lights available for purchase today. Each of these lights has its own areas of strength and weakness.

  • Omni-directional – Omni-directional lights spread in all directions. This type of light is often used for table lamps, ceiling fixtures and other residential applications.
  • Directional -Directional beams are focused in a single direction. Only LED lights are truly directional and are also commonly used in residential applications.
  • Spotlights -Spotlights use beam angles that are less than 45 degrees. The highly concentrated lighting caused by the focused beams makes it perfect for areas that require additional intense lighting in low-light conditions.
  • Floodlights -Floodlight beam angles are usually around 120 to 130 degrees. The wide beam spread of these lights makes them perfect for lighting large work zones and are commonly used in sports arenas and as billboard lighting.

Differences Between Spotlights and Floodlights

Although spotlights and floodlights look extremely similar when held and looked at, their differences are immediately obvious when they are in use. Spotlights are useful for lighting up long distances with a focused beam of light. Floodlights illuminate wider areas for greater visibility.

The Floodlight Advantage

The Floodlight Advantage

Floodlights are one of the most powerful forms of illumination today and are used in a wide variety of ways. As the name suggests, floodlights are broad-beamed, high-intensity lights that quite literally "flood" the surrounding area with illumination.

The intense nature of floodlights makes them ideal for areas that require a substitute for sunlight. Sporting events are one good example. Because they are often televised, it is imperative that the lighting levels are high enough to meet broadcast-quality levels.

Floodlights also make excellent emergency lights. The powerful beam is used for search-and-rescue operations and for illuminating accident scenes. Floodlights also provide additional security to the area where they are in use. When used as security lights, they can be equipped with motion sensors to keep them from burning unnecessary electricity. In other cases, they can remain in use constantly.

Floodlights are best positioned at strategic locations around the perimeter of the area to be illuminated. Sports fields provide an excellent example. The floodlights are positioned to focus on specific areas of the field to create an effect similar to that of the midday sun. Floodlights are used in a similar way in work zone areas. When placed in series in light towers, floodlights become the next best thing to natural daylight.

The Spotlight Advantage

The Spotlight Advantage

Spotlights, on the other hand, are best used when focused beams are a requirement to get something done. They are often used as searchlights for marine applications and are equally at home on the work site. Spotlight beam patterns are known for their ability to cast a narrow, long-reaching beam of light. For work areas requiring intensely focused light, spotlights are the best choice.

Using the proper type of nighttime lighting in a work zone can help decrease the number of accidents. In recent years, the night hours have been selected to perform some of the needed construction on America's roads. The presence of vehicles on the highways makes it easier for the construction crews to get their jobs done with minimal interruption. Motorists are less likely to become stuck in mile-long traffic jams or become involved in multi-vehicle car accidents.

The nighttime hours are also cooler during the summer months, making it more pleasant for construction crews. However, low-light conditions pose safety hazards of their own. Using the proper lighting options will greatly reduce the chance for fatal accidents. A combination of floodlights and spotlights is often the best way to achieve the necessary illumination for a work zone.

Why Choose LED Lights

Recent advancements in LED technology have produced a new way of creating maximum-intensity lighting while decreasing the cost of operation. Because they use minimal amounts of electricity, LED lights are also environmentally friendly.

LED lights are extremely long-lasting and can provide high-intensity light for up to 50,000 hours. That is a huge advantage over incandescent or halogen lights. These lights last up to 2,500-3500 hours.Because LED lights are among the brightest forms of illumination in use today, you will not need as many to illuminate your work zone. Fewer bulbs equals less energy and decreased operational costs.

LED lights are more durable than their halogen, fluorescent and incandescent counterparts. Some of them are weather-proof, making them ideal for outside operations.

Although LED lights may appear to be more expensive initially, the long-term benefits will far outweigh the initial expense. In as little as two years, LED floodlights and spotlights can begin saving you money as a result of:

  • Reduced electrical usage
  • The need for fewer bulbs
  • Long lifespan

Using the proper utility work lights is crucial to ensure the safety of your workers and of the motorists who will be passing through the work zone. Floodlights and spotlights can help keep everyone safe while necessary road work is being completed. Hopefully this guide will help you choose the right lights for your work zone.

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