LED Lighting – What Are Beam Angles?

One of the things you often hear about LED light bulbs, is that their beam angle is narrower than the old fashion incandescent light bulbs, or even than the newer CFLs.

What does this mean and is it a problem?

The beam angle is the angle at which light is directed from the light bulb. So a small angle of 20 degrees would be appropriate for a spot light, focusing light on just one small area. If you want more general lighting, spreading light over a whole room, a larger angle of perhaps 90 degrees would be preferred. In most domestic lighting situations beam angles of 30-45 degrees are sufficient to light a room comfortably.

The idea that LEDs have narrow beam angles stems from the older technology LEDs which were indeed designed for focused light in a narrow area. Today this is no longer true. New technology now means that LED light bulbs are available in a wide range of beam angles, from narrow spotlights to wider general lighting. Some LEDS can be bought in a range of beam angles from 15, 30, 40, 45, 60, 90, to 120 degrees. What this means is that there is a lot of choice on the market, sometimes so much choice that it gets confusing for the buyer. You can no longer just grab a light bulb from the supermarket shelf. There are decisions to be made!

The important thing when choosing LED lighting for your home, is to work out exactly what is needed for each area. A room lit by a single ceiling light will definitely need the widest beam angle available, whereas a room with several downlights placed in various areas of the room can use the average 35-40 beam angle as the lights will cover different areas of the room and overlap with each other. You will need a different type of LED light bulb for a table lamp than for a ceiling light, otherwise you might find that you are throwing light directly back at the ceiling instead of lighting up your desk or reading material!

When you are just getting starting with LED lighting, it makes sense to consult a specialist in the field, who understands all the different options and can advise on the best lighting solutions for your needs. LEDs are a considerable investment at the time of initial purchase, though they earn their way several times over when it comes to long life and energy savings, so you want to start off with the right ones. Look for a lighting specialist in your area who stocks a wide range of quality LED lighting. They should be happy to spend time advising on your requirements.