outdoor lighting

Choosing the Right Outdoor Light Wattage

June 24, 2024

Did you know that selecting the right wattage for your outdoor lights can greatly impact not only the ambiance of your outdoor spaces but also your energy consumption? Learning more about wattage for outdoor lights is essential for creating a well-lit and inviting outdoor environment while optimizing energy efficiency.

Let’s review the different types of bulbs available and provide insights into how to make the most out of your outdoor lighting fixtures.

What Is Outdoor Light Wattage?

Regarding outdoor lighting, wattage refers to the amount of power consumed by a light bulb to produce light. The wattage of outdoor lights determines the brightness and intensity of the light they emit. Choosing the right wattage for your outdoor fixtures is crucial in achieving the desired lighting effect while ensuring energy efficiency.

What Are the Optimal Outdoor Lighting Wattage?

Low Watt Lights (10-40 watts)

Low-wattage lights, or bulbs with a lower range of wattages, are a popular choice of bulb type to create a soft, inviting artificial light. These lights are ideal for setting up a warm, romantic, or cozy ambiance in outdoor spaces like small patios, garden areas, or even porch lights.

Low-wattage incandescent lights can lend a vintage feel and offer a softer light compared to other bulb types, helping to create a relaxing outdoor atmosphere. These lights generally fall in the 10-40 watts range, making them highly energy-efficient and cost-effective for long-term use in ambient or mood lighting.

Medium Watt Lights

Medium-wattage lights, often referred to as mid-range wattage lights, serve as a balancing force between low and high-wattage lights. If you need outdoor wall lights with enough brightness for broader areas like parking lots, walkways, or decks but don’t want the intensity that comes with high-wattage lights, then these are the type of bulbs for you. Traditional lights in this category usually have a wattage range of 40-80 watts, offering sufficient illumination for safety while not being excessively bright or distracting.

High Watt Lights

For spaces that require significantly brighter, intense illumination, high-watt lights are the bulb type to choose. These lights, with a higher range of wattages starting from 80, are ideal for large garages, driveways, or outdoor flood lights around the perimeter of your property.

Also, high-watt lights are particularly beneficial in areas prone to intrusions or accidents, offering lots of artificial light and increased safety and security. But if it is not used correctly, these lights consume more energy and can contribute to light pollution.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Watts for Outdoor Lights

Energy Efficiency

When considering light fixtures for your outdoor lighting applications, energy efficiency should be considered. LED bulbs offer superior energy efficiency when compared to incandescent bulbs, with much lower wattage. Less energy consumption means the beam of light emitted by an LED is just as bright, if not brighter, while still saving power.

Purpose of Lighting

Defining the purpose of lighting is an essential decision in choosing the ideal wattage. If you want subtle, ambient light to create a warm, welcoming feel, lower-wattage bulbs might be all you need. On the other hand, if you need brighter light for safety or security purposes, like in parking lots or pathways, higher-wattage bulbs or even high-powered LED bulbs might be necessary.

Location and Coverage

The wattage of the bulbs also depends on the location and the coverage area. For broader illumination in large areas, brighter light from high-wattage bulbs or strong LED bulbs may be required. Conversely, a beam of light emitting from low or medium-watt bulbs might be sufficient in small places or for spotlighting specific features.

Environmental Considerations

For outdoor lighting applications, it’s important to consider impacts on the surrounding environment, such as light pollution. Overly bright lights coming from high-wattage incandescent bulbs or certain light fixtures may contribute to light pollution and disturb the local wildlife. Having a balance of light output is essential.


The bulbs’ cost, longevity, and light output should all be considered when deciding what wattage for outdoor lights is most economical. LED bulbs provide better longevity and energy efficiency, making them more cost-effective compared to high-wattage incandescent bulbs in the long run.

Color Temperature

Considering the color temperature of your bulbs is just as essential as choosing the ideal wattage when planning outdoor lighting applications. Lower color temperatures (measured in Kelvins) typically create a warm, ambient light, while higher color temperatures produce a cooler, more bright light. Solar lights can also provide an additional option for cost-saving and energy-efficient lighting without compromising brightness.

Choosing the Right Wattage for Different Outdoor Applications

  • Ambient Lighting. To create a soft and inviting atmosphere in outdoor spaces such as patios and deck areas, opt for low-wattage bulbs or LED lights with a warm color temperature. These bulbs provide a gentle glow that enhances the ambiance without causing light pollution.
  • Security and Safety Lighting. Regarding security flood lights or lighting fixtures for parking lots and pathways, consider higher-wattage bulbs or LED flood lights with bright white light. These lights prioritize safety and visibility, ensuring a well-lit environment for enhanced security.
  • Accent and Landscape Lighting. For accent lighting to highlight specific features in your outdoor landscape, choose accent lights with varying wattages to create depth and visual interest. LED lights with adjustable brightness settings are ideal for accentuating key elements in your outdoor space.
  • Entrance Lighting. The entrance of your home or property is where a visitor’s first impression is made, so it should be well-lit. Choosing the right type of bulb can make a huge difference here. Typically, medium-wattage lights in the range of 40-80 watts will provide sufficient visible light without being overwhelmingly bright. Exterior lighting, such as wall wash lights, can offer a balance between ambiance and functionality, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your property.
  • Task Lighting. For outdoor areas where specific tasks are carried out, such as a BBQ spot or an outdoor workspace, the lighting should be bright enough to safely perform the activity without straining the eyes. The type of bulb is essential here, too—bulbs ranging from 60-100 watts or their equivalent in LED form are best suited for task lighting. If the area is large, overhead pole lighting might be a great option to achieve broad, even illumination.

Know the Perfect Wattage for Your Outdoor Lighting at Premier Outdoor Lighting Today

Choosing the right outdoor light wattage is an essential decision that can transform your outdoor spaces into welcoming and secure environments. Knowing the wattage and how it affects different bulbs helps light your way to creating an outdoor space that’s not only inviting but also energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

Regarding outdoor lighting, the right wattage can make all the difference in creating a beautifully lit outdoor oasis while conserving energy. Explore a wide range of outdoor lighting fixtures, from low-wattage bulbs to security flood lights, to find the ideal lighting solutions for your outdoor living spaces.

Contact Premier Outdoor Lighting now for expert outdoor lighting solutions tailored to your specific requirements.

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