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Buying Guide

How Many Lumens are Needed for Outdoor Lighting

Recommended Lumens for Specific Outdoor Needs
A lit spotlight installed on a house.

Below is a list of recommended LED lumens for specific outdoor lighting:

  • Step lights: 12-100 lumens
  • Hardscape lights (on walls): 50-185 lumens
  • Landscape lights: 50-300 lumens 
  • Path lights: 100-200 lumens
  • Landscape spotlights: 120 lumens
  • Lamp posts: 120-180 lumens
  • Pond/pool lights: 200-400 lumens
  • Motion sensor lights: 300-700 lumens
  • Flood lights: 700-1300 lumens

A lot of the lumen requirements depend on where the lighting is placed and the main purpose of the light. If you place a light in a darker area, you may require more lumens. If you want the light itself to not be as bright, invest in a bulb that emits fewer lumens.

How Many Lumens Are Needed for a Patio
A patio lit by string lights and decorated with outdoor decor.

Most patio lighting is decorative in nature, though some lights are added for security purposes. More often than not, the lights used for a patio are string lights, outdoor wall lights, post lights or outdoor hanging lights. These lights are typically meant to be less bright than their security counterparts, and thus require the use of bulbs that emit less lumens. 

String lights will usually emit fewer lumens than a wall light, as they're meant to be bright but at the same time dimmer than most lights to create the desired ambiance. How many lumens you'd need for your patio ultimately depends on how you want to decorate your outdoor space.

How Many Lumens Are Needed for Landscape Lighting
Pathway lights making a path to the front door.

Landscape lighting refers to lighting used outdoors. This encompasses pathway lights, spotlights and more. Most lights that illuminate your landscape are considered landscape lights. They double as security lights and decorative lighting. And because the usage varies from light to light, how many lumens you need for your landscape lighting will vary.

If you've installed spotlights, they will typically require 120 lumens. If you're installing path lights along your walkway, 100 to 200 lumens is recommended. Path lights can be used to light a path from the end of a driveway to the front door, or they can simply be decorative. The way you use them dictates the lumens needed. If you're looking for more decorative pathway lights, use fewer lumens. If you have them for security reasons, more lumens will probably be necessary.

How Many Lumens Are Needed for Flood Lights
A house with lit flood lights.

Flood lights are usually installed for security purposes. There are many flood lighting types meant to light specific spots outside your home. Wall pack lights are installed to illuminate pathways, while area lights are made to light larger areas such as parking lots and entire yards. 

If you need to light a pathway, fewer lumens are required for those types of flood lights, while area lights, as the name would suggest, need more lumens for brighter and more wide-spread illumination.

Flood lights require 700 to 1300 lumens. The brighter the lights are, the more lumens they emit, and the more secure your space. 

Motion sensor flood lights require between 300 and 700 lumens. These lights have ranges, so brightness may vary. They also illuminate a space when an object crosses their path. If you want the beam of light that motion sensor lights emit to be brighter, go with a bulb that has higher lumens. 

Lumen Solar Lighting
A house with solar panels installed on the roof.

There has been a gradual shift within the public from using incadescent to LED lights. These lights are more energy-efficient than the typical light bulb, and are oftentimes used just as frequently indoors as they are outdoors. With the reemergence of LED lights comes the resurrection of solar-powered lighting. 

Solar lighting is one of the most energy-efficient forms of lighting out there. Because these lights are powered by the sun, this energy is clean and renewable. These lights are also self-sustaining, require little to no maintenance, and emit no fumes, carbon emissions or greenhouse gases. As you can see, there are numerous benefits to using solar power. And don't worry about overcast days; solar-powered lights will still work in shady areas.

Use solar lighting to illuminate any and all parts of your outdoor space. Most lighting can now be solar-powered. Because of this, you can find some of the highest lumen solar lights online or at your local Home Depot. The Home Depot carries solar landscape lights, solar wall lights, solar deck lights, solar post lights and solar string lights. Solar spotlights and solar task lights are currently the brightest solar lights on the market.

Lumens to Watts Conversion Chart
Chart which displays lumens to watts conversions.