Pillar top lighting, LED pole lighting or decorative area lighting are commonly used for exterior lighting of roads, walkways, parking lots and commercial and educational campus lighting. This form of exterior lighting is usually mounted on vertical poles, usually between 7 feet and 20 feet.

Some of the most commonly used post top lighting applications utilized today are Metal Halide, High-Pressure Sodium, and Mercury Vapor Lamps, which are all forms of High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps. Below are a few visual examples of non-LED post top lighting applications.

How To Select post Area Lights

As their name suggests, these lights are designed to illuminate paths, but are also ideal for gardens, flower beds, driveways, and surrounding patio areas.

Since the path is on the ground, it makes sense for the path light to cast down. Most have visors or anti-glare panels to prevent light from reaching people’s eyes.


BBier has a wide variety of these lamps in different styles, materials and finishes. Choosing the ideal path and area lights for your home is largely based on your preferences for how they look and how they illuminate the landscape.


Why Use post top area Lighting?

There are three main reasons as below:

Safety. Provide your family and friends with enough light to sail safely at night without tripping or falling.

Safety. Provide enough light in these paths and areas so you can see and identify people approaching your house.

beautiful. Bright landscapes evoke a sense of beauty, tranquility, and awe.

What About Size?

BBier has an extensive selection of path lights of all sizes and shapes. Some have larger or smaller hats, others are shorter or taller. These size and shape differences affect the performance and suitability of various applications.


A Few Simple Guidelines

Larger caps and taller fixtures tend to have wider beam spreads.

Smaller hats look best on narrow trails.

Shorter fixtures can be used for any size path or garden bed. Be careful on sidewalks as they can be a tripping hazard.

Taller fixtures are suitable for flower beds and low shrubs. Consider adding optional pinned or telescopic extensions, if pinning may require higher vegetation growth.

How Many post top area Lights Are Needed?

Two approaches – continuous illumination and pools of light.

Continuous illumination

This describes a pattern where light from one device overlaps light from another. This is the best approach when your road is uneven, or no ambient light is present, or if the road will be used by older people.

pool of light

These goals are achieved when you space the fixtures further apart. This allows you to use less fixtures and can produce very nice lighting. But you should only use this method if there is some ambient light, if the path has a fairly uniform surface and older use is not a problem.

Since the beam diameter (beam spread) differs for each fixture, you will need to refer to the spacing recommendations on the fixture web page (under the Details tab).


Now that you know the spacing between each fixture and the path length, you can calculate the number of fixtures needed. But there is one more problem. The first and last path lights should be located very close to the start and end of the path. This means that half of the light from each device will extend beyond the path itself by half the distance the beam travels — or one more beam travel length in total.

Useful Lighting Terms

While landscape lighting design is largely intuitive, there are a few useful terms to describe what you see.


Ambient Light

This refers to the light already present in the nighttime landscape. Light sources include street lights, interior lights, sky glow (artificial light reflected from clouds), moonlight, and starlight. If your ambient light is always present (like street lights) then you can use fewer path lights – spaced farther apart.


Beam Spread

It describes the diameter (in feet) of the useful illuminated area under the path light. Since light may have soft or hard edges (depending on the type of fixation), the dimensions are approximate. Beam spreads can be found on the product webpage under the Details tab. Remember that stem extension is used when beam extension increases. Also, it is important to note that for some special luminaires the beam spread will not be published as their light distribution may be too complex to measure.


Direct Glare

It describes the light emitted by a bulb, lamp or LED array that is directed into the eye. Such light is detrimental to the lighting design, may cause visual discomfort, and may partially blur vision. Lights in the Bbier area all use hoods or shields to protect visitors and occupants from direct glare.


Common Issues in Non-LED Post Top Lighting

You should be aware of a few shared issues common to all forms of HID lamps, such as Metal Halide, High-Pressure Sodium, and Mercury Vapor Lamps.

Energy Cost

A typical range for common HID lamps for pole top lighting applications is 100 watts to 250 watts. With higher wattage produces higher light output. There are several factors that come into play in wattage that are utilized, such as number, spacing and height. Electricity costs for multiple 100w or 250w HID units can range from $6,000 to $16,000 per year.


Lighting Performance

The performance characteristics of HID lamps can vary widely, depending on the type of lamp you are using. If your device uses high pressure sodium, you may see a longer lifespan than other forms of HID, due to slower intraluminal degradation. But because of their fuel structure, they can produce an orange light with a very low color rendering index. The illumination produced by operating metal halide lamps will initially provide white light. But as the lumens of metal halide lamps degrade at an accelerated rate, your lamp’s overall lifespan will be reduced, producing pink illumination that provides little to no light.


Maintenance Costs

Since the primary purpose of pole top lighting is to illuminate pedestrians and vehicles, maintenance has always been a major concern. You don’t just have to worry about lamp life. But these devices are usually located on roads or parking lots. When lamps and ballasts are replaced, they can interfere with daily activities. These costs add up quickly. Over the course of 3 years, you could spend $1,200 in labor and materials to maintain a pole-top light fixture.


The Benefits of an LED Post Top Retrofit

There are considerable benefits to having an LED retrofit for an organization’s overhead light. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) use semiconductors to generate light. They do not depend on the consumption of fuel sources like HID lamps. Most LED pole lighting fixtures use multi-point light sources. This means the lamp has multiple diodes and separate optics. When compared to the way HID luminaires distribute light, the result of the lighting is a more even distribution over a surface. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three of the most common benefits of LED retrofits.

Energy Savings

LED pole lighting commonly utilize wattages between 25– 106 watts. Which often results in a 40%-80% reduction in energy consumption. This could mean savings of up to $800 per fixture, per year in electricity costs.


Lighting Performance

Thanks to the multi-point design of the LED pole lighting, you will see a bright and evenly distributed light pattern that perfectly illuminates areas frequented by pedestrians and vehicles. Within a given area, there will be less variation in lighting and will eliminate common spots of light produced by HID equipment. In addition to your uniform displacement lighting, LEDs come in a variety of color temperatures. Offers a range of options to increase the visual perception of brightness.


Maintenance Savings

Because of the way LEDs emit light, they last longer. The light output produced by LEDs drops very slowly over time. Therefore, their functional life can often exceed 100,000 hours. The longevity of the LEDs greatly reduces the costs associated with maintaining your post top lighting. They can lead to a significant maintenance savings, especially if you need to use a bucket truck or lift to maintain your post overhead lighting.

Interested in Learning More About an LED Post Top Bay?

The first step in any LED pole top lighting project should be to contact a lighting and electrical solutions provider. Make sure lighting and electrical companies are manufacturer and product neutral. Neutrality makes you pay more attention to your needs. rather than a desire or limitation to sell a particular product.

LED retrofit suppliers should inquire about your project.

What is your desired result?

Are you considering budget or project completion constraints?

Do you have energy saving goals?

Are there details of lighting performance that need to be considered?

At bbier Services Group, our business model is designed to give you the greatest ROI. Also take into account your lighting performance, maintenance costs and energy efficiency. No one solution or product is one size fits all. We understand custom solutions to meet an organization’s needs