Are LED lights good for outdoor use?

outdoor lighting

A properly set up outdoor lighting fixture not only transforms a simple patio into a great nighttime entertainment venue, but can also lower the risk of injuries or prevent crime from happening. This begs the question – is there a place for LEDs in outdoors lighting? The answer seems obvious, but despite the ever-growing popularity and availability of LED based lights there’s still some confusion in the matter. Let’s clear up the topic.

What makes LEDs great for outdoor use?

Without further delay, let’s answer the title question – they’re far more than good. LED lights are practically ideal for any outdoor lighting system, be it commercial, industrial or residential. LED lighting fixtures offer the same benefits outdoors as LED lighting indoor. Here’s what you’ll gain by switching to LED bulbs:


Metal-halide or incandescent lamps get really hot as most of their energy intake is transformed fruitlessly into heat – a traditional incandescent bulb uses only about 10-15% of it effectively. All this excessive heat not only waste energy but also puts extra strain on circuits and wiring which in turn quickens the burn out of the filaments. And this generates unnecessary, repetitive replacement costs.

On the other hand, thanks to the technology used, LED based light sources transform almost all (90% and up) electricity into light. This means that almost every watt of intake energy is used to the fullest and there’s nearly none heat waste. LED light bulbs are consequently the most energy-efficient lighting option available nowadays.

Clear and bright light

As the time passes, traditional outdoor lights based on incandescent light bulbs start to lose their original light’s colour and clarity. After a while they burn down, turning visibly orange or even pink in some cases and the light itself becomes blurry.

Whereas LED lighting produces clear, consistent, cool white light (the actual colour of light depends on its CCT) all the time the diodes are receiving electricity. Some models of LED lights even allow you to smoothly and manually adjust their light’s colour temperature. Thanks to that you can switch between bright safety lighting and warmer mood lighting practically on the fly.


A single LED light bulb has a lifespan of 7 500-15 000 hours, depending on its quality. That’s more than ten times more than in traditional incandescent light bulbs which last for 700-1 000 hours. Therefore, using an outdoor LED bulb will greatly lower the replacement costs.

Reduced operating cost

The impressive efficacy of LEDs means that less energy is used to produce the same amount of light. In practice, compared to standard lights, LED light bulbs can produce the same number of lumens (a.i. same brightness of light) using far less wattage. For example, a 9 W LED bulb can produce the same light (1100 lumens) as its 75 W incandescent counterpart. This affects the bills greatly, so switching LED based light bulbs will bring considerable savings in the long run.

Types of LED lights typically used outdoors

LED lights come in massively various shapes, sizes and forms which gives you a lot of freedom in designing your outdoor lighting. You can find a wide variety of LED wall lights at Unfortunately, this abundance of choices can be confusing. So which lights would work best for illuminating your outdoors? Here’s some frequently used options for residential and commercial outdoor LED lighting:


  1. Bulbs – the simplest option which can be used with already existing lighting fixtures. If you plan to use a LED light bulb on its own, remember to cover it and don’t expose it directly to the weather conditions.
  2. String lights – a series of small individual LED lights strung together on one line. They’re great for decorative outdoor lighting and are frequently used to illuminate porches, patios, grill areas, fire pits, etc.
  3. Pathway lights – a form of outdoor lighting that is stuck to the ground or simply rests on it. They can improve the look of any yard while also providing save night walks across driveways, lawns, down the paths, etc.
  4. Bollard – essentially a more permanent and larger substitute for pathway lights. Those decorative posts or quite sizable pillars work great on residential parking lots and anywhere that a clear and striking lighting is required.


  1. Wall packs – compact, bright outdoor wall lights that can be attached to the sides of any building. LED wall lights can be stationary or allow downward and upward angle adjustments.
  2. Flood lights – bright lighting fixtures that can make wide areas very bright. This kind of lamp is mostly used for safety and security, as the number of lumens generated can easily turn even the darkest night into bright white day.
  3. Shoeboxes – outdoor LED lamps providing light below that can be attached to building walls or light poles. They’re a common sight and work well in public spaces, parking lots, office parks and other locations which should be visible and safe environments.

outdoor lighting

Important features of outdoor lighting

While browsing for lights to illuminate your outside, there’s a few features that you’d need to consider. Here’re the main three:

  1. UL Safety Certification – a certificate from Underwriters Laboratories on bulbs or light means that the product went through some rigorous testing that ensures its quality, functionality and safety for human use. Any lamp with this distinctive UL logo will surely meet all your expectations.
  2. IP rating – a two-digit number representing resistance to dust and water (first one goes up to 6, the second to 8) which are absolutely essential for outdoor lamps. What should you aim for here? The first digit should always be 6 so the dust and dirt won’t interfere with circuitry or dim the light. The second digit should be at least 5 so the rain and the elements can’t infiltrate the lamp,  but a score of 6 would be a must if you plan to clean the surrounding area with a power washer.
  3. Dusk-to-Dawn functionality – this feature uses a photocell to detect sunlight, making sure that your light will be switched after the sun is down. Thanks to this you’ll make sure that your light will shine only when needed which helps you maximize your LED lighting savings.

LED lights – illuminate your outdoor with stylish lighting

LED based light bulbs and other lights are a true breakthrough in the lighting industry. Their high standard and quality light makes them the best option for any indoor or outdoor lighting fixture. Moreover, their peerless efficiency means that the cost of running them is as low as possible. So if you’re looking for a good way to bring light outside the house, there’s no better option than LEDs.