Outdoor Post Lights: Their Purpose and Types

Outdoor post lights are often used to light up a home’s exterior. These fixtures can be mounted on the ground or placed atop a pole.  They usually incorporate two separate lamps, one above the other, which shine down in opposite directions with their beams aimed at each other and reflected back for a more powerful effect. Post outdoor lights are typically installed around the perimeter of a property to provide security and safety as well as aesthetic value.

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When purchasing a post light, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Purpose – What is the light for? Flood lights are good for general lighting, while spotlights are better for lighting up specific areas. Up lighting and downlighting can create a more atmospheric look, while wall-mounted or pole-mounted lights can provide extra illumination.
  2. Size – How large of an area needs to be illuminated? Post lights come in a variety of sizes, so make sure to choose one that is appropriate for the desired area.
  3. Weatherproofing – Make sure to choose a post light that is weatherproof so it can be used outdoors in all weather conditions.
  4. Ease of installation – Some post lights need to be hardwired, while some are wireless. Make sure to choose one that is right for your needs.
  5. Power source – Post lights typically come with either a wired or battery system. Wired systems require access to an electric box and can be installed quickly and easily. Batteries can be used for wireless systems and provide more flexibility in where the post light can be placed, but they need to be replaced regularly.
  6. Warranty – Make sure to choose a post light with a warranty in case it malfunctions within the first few months of use.
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Types of post lights: 

Flood and spot lights– Flood and spot lights are good for areas such as the front porch to provide safety, lighting, and security. They emit a brighter light than other types of post lights and are typically adjustable so that they can be directed to specific areas. These types of post lights are common in areas such as the front porch to provide safety, lighting, and security. 

Wall mounted and pole mounted– Wall-mounted fixtures allow for extra illumination in the form of screen or privacy lighting. These types of post lights are also good for creating a sense of atmospheric lighting or character within an area.

Up lighting and downlighting– Up lighting and downlighting can create a sense of atmospheric lighting while also giving an area some character.

For up lighting, a light is placed in a fixture that reflects light from above so it will appear to be coming from “within” the adjacent ground or wall. The up lighted area should typically be about four to six feet wide.

Downlighting utilizes lights that face downwards onto an object or surface, creating a softer light than spotlights. This type of post lighting is good for illuminating specific objects, such as a sculpture in a garden or an area on a patio. Downlights also provide exceptional security in the form of lighted walkways and illuminated entryways.

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