Knowing the difference between spotlights and floodlights is crucial when you’re evaluating which one you need for your particular project. To the uninitiated, these two lights may look like little difference, but in fact, these two different types of lights provide very different functions. That’s why it’s so important to understand these subtle differences that set them apart.
The main difference between spotlights and floodlights is the beam angle. Confused? Let us explain.
WHAT IS A BEAM ANGLE?
The beam angle (sometimes called the beam pattern) is a measure of the angle formed between the brightest point of the light and the points on either side, at which the intensity of the light is measured as 50% of its brightness.
A larger beam angle means a wider spectrum over a surface area, while a smaller beam angle means a narrower beam. Those narrower beams are often referred to as spot beams, while those with wider angles are considered flood beams (hence the name).
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPOTLIGHTS AND FLOODLIGHTS?
Spotlights are generally defined as having a beam angle of no more than 45 degrees, while floodlights are generally defined as having a beam angle of 90 degrees or more.
With spotlights, users can almost “point and shoot” specific objects to illuminate them better. Due to the narrower beam, the illumination is more concentrated than floodlights. Floodlights, on the other hand, can cast light into a larger space without using more power or wattage than spotlights.
The choice of which type of light you use depends largely on your needs.
SPOTLIGHTS VS. FLOODLIGHTS USE CASES
Spotlights are flexible and bright enough to illuminate specific objects. That’s why they are the choice for musical and theatrical performances. They are especially good at following the movement of the performers around the stage, giving the audience a better view. However, they are equally suitable for illuminating static objects such as artwork or sculptures.
When it comes to lighting large surface areas, such as the outside of your home, large warehouses, construction projects, or parking lots, floodlights are the light of choice. Perhaps the most obvious place for floodlight use is in sports stadiums across the country. By installing hundreds of floodlights on pillars high on the pitch, players and spectators can enjoy uninterrupted views thanks to 100% of the pitch’s surface.
ARE SPOTLIGHTS AND FLOODLIGHTS EXCLUSIVE OF EACH OTHER?
In short, no. The angle of the beam depends largely on the bulb. Some bulbs look exactly the same but emit completely different beam angles, while others are able to provide different spot and flood light settings when using the same bulb. This is especially true when it comes to products that use LED lighting technology.
Some flashlights in the Peli series, such as the 5050R, feature a “Flood to Spot Technology” that allows users to switch between modes by adjusting the beam angle.
Everything You Need to Know about Beam Angles and Their Main Impact on Your Lighting Needs
Our homes and workplaces require proper lighting. But choosing the right lighting requires more than just the brightness, functionality and efficiency of the light. If we want to maximize light in our homes and offices, there is another aspect that should be considered when choosing the right lighting: beam angle. So, what exactly is a beam angle? What role and importance does it play when choosing the ideal light source for your needs? Here’s everything you need to know about beam angles and their major impact on your lighting needs .
The beam angle explained
In fact, every light source – from the simplest candles to LED lights – has a beam angle. Basically, beam angle is a measure of light distribution. To give you a better idea: a standard light bulb will have a 360-degree beam, meaning the light from it will surround the area, but not as intense. Some types of lighting will have a narrower beam angle, which results in more intense lighting, and this includes downlights, especially GU10 LED lights. Such lamps typically have a beam of about 40 degrees or so, with a beam angle of no more than the industry standard 5 degrees.
The facts on selecting lights with wider beam angles
If the light you choose has a wider or wider beam angle, you don’t necessarily benefit from brighter light – you just benefit from more diffused light. Although the intensity of the beam increases, the brightness remains the same. Brightness is measured in lumens, while intensity is measured in candela. One aspect you should keep in mind is that if you choose a wider beam angle, the light from it won’t be as intense and the center of the beam won’t reach as far. By choosing the right beam angle, the light can make a bigger impact on the room.
Another fact you should know is that it’s not just about wider beams or narrower beams – the distance from one beam to the other also makes a difference. If you choose four lights with 40-degree beams and place them two meters apart in a room, chances are the center of the room will be a dark, dim area. You might be thinking, “Okay, then I’ll install a wider beam.” But that solution doesn’t necessarily work either. Even if you install four lights with 60-degree beams in a room, you may still have a dark, unlit area in the very middle of the room. So what’s the solution? Simple: instead of just using 4 downlights, increase the number of downlights to 9 so you can have better light uniformity.
Where to use lights with broader beam angles
If you choose a very narrow angle of light – say only 25 degrees – it’s called a spot. If you choose lights with a wider beam angle of around 60 degrees, they are called floodlighting. So now, the big question is: where is the best place to use light with different beam angles?
First, think about the lounge area. The lounge area is suitable for wider light angles because the area doesn’t need to be too bright – work usually done in the lounge area includes watching TV, relaxing or reading, so you don’t need too concentrated or intense light. On the other hand, narrower beams (about 25 degrees) are generally better suited for rooms with higher ceilings, such as libraries or study rooms. For all other rooms in your home or office, a light angle of between 35 and 45 degrees is usually appropriate, but it also depends on the spacing and application of the light.
Which lights to choose
In fact, the best types of lights you can choose that will have the proper beam angle are LED downlights and GU10 LED lights. These types of lights aren’t just the standard 40-degree beam angle—they now have a wider variety of beams, including 60 degrees.
More on 60-degree beams
If you have a large room and you want to light it with the correct beam angle, choose lights with a 60-degree beam angle. While a wider angle won’t give you as much intense light, the light is more evenly distributed throughout the room. Also, if you opt for a downlight with a 60-degree beam, plus the higher lumens, you won’t need to install a lot of downlights in a given room. The room will have a more uniform look.
But keep in mind that some rooms may not be well suited for lights with a 60-degree beam angle, while others may be suitable for a 40-degree beam. The key is to make sure the lighting in the room is uniform and symmetrical. There should be neither dark places nor too hot places in the room. If you have a large room and you want to light it with the correct beam angle, choose lights with a 60-degree beam angle. While a wider angle won’t give you as much intense light, the light is more evenly distributed throughout the room. Also, if you opt for a downlight with a 60-degree beam, plus the higher lumens, you won’t need to install a lot of downlights in a given room. The room will have a more uniform look.
But keep in mind that some rooms may not be well suited for lights with a 60-degree beam angle, while others may be suitable for a 40-degree beam. The key is to make sure the lighting in the room is uniform and symmetrical. There should be neither dark places nor too hot places in the room.