How to Choose the Best Outdoor Security Light
Outdoor security lights can have several uses. Primarily, they act as a deterrent to potential intruders in your garden/driveway. Even in the dead of night, if a bright light comes on, anyone snooping around your property is likely going to feel spooked and ‘seen’.
In addition to this, motion-sensor security lights can be useful lighting in outdoor spaces, perfect for returning home at night or taking the dog out for a late-night toilet trip.
There are a lot of different security lights on the market, and the information below has been put together to help you choose the best unit for your garden.
Brightness is measured in lumens. Bright security lights should have around 2000 lumens to make an impact. This is especially true if you want to be able to notice the light turning on from inside your home.
Given that security lights are so bright, it’s important not to position them anywhere where they could dazzle or confuse passing motorists.
With the ever-unpredictable UK weather, it’s essential that your outdoor light is both waterproof and weatherproof. Waterproofing is indicated by an ‘IP’ rating, so it’s worth understanding what these mean in more detail.
IP stands for ‘ingress protection’, and if an electrical product has been tested and given an IP rating, this rating will be written as ‘IP’ followed by two numbers. For example, IP56.
The first number refers to ‘solids’ and describes how well protected the machine is from the ingress of solid objects like fingers (IP1) or dust (IP5/6). The higher the number, the more protected the item is against an ingress of solids. The scale only goes up to 6.
The second number refers to ‘fresh water’ and describes how well protected the machine is from different applications of water. For example, if the second number is ‘1’, then the item is protected against vertically falling drops of water, like condensation. If the second number is ‘4’, it’s protected from water being splashed from all directions. And, if it’s ‘6’, it’s protected from strong jets of water. This scale goes up to 8.
Some products may have an ‘X’ instead of a number in one of the two positions. This means that the product hasn’t been tested specifically for that type of ingress. For example a machine with IPX6 has been tested as being protected from strong jets of water, but its protection against solid ingress is unknown.
Outdoor lights should have at least a five in each column.
Security lights are usually wall mounted; they are best placed approximately 1.8 – 3 metres above the ground, angled downwards. Lights that are higher up will produce a wider radius of light.
Solar-powered lights are the easiest lights to install as they have no wiring. Most mains-powered security lights will require an electrician to fit them. Be warned – they don’t often come with a plug fitted.
Positioning Your Security Light
Naturally, you’ll want your security light positioned in the area where you sense it will be most useful to deter potential intruders; however, there are a few other things to consider as well.
Security lighting is often complained about, so ensure you position your lighting so that it won’t disturb neighbours or shine into their home.
Also, remember that if you stop noticing the light going on (for instance, if your pet regularly activates it and you eventually stop reacting), then it’s no longer working as a security measure.
Ensure your light isn’t activated by cars passing on the road outside your home as this can distract drivers and cause accidents.
Outdoor Security Light FAQs
How bright should an outdoor security light be?
Security lights are designed to alert someone to potential danger or deter intruders, which means they need to be a lot brighter than your other outdoor lights.
The brightness you require will depend on the size of the space you’re needing to illuminate at once. For most patios and driveways, a security light of between 800 and 2000 lumens will be perfect.
If you’ve got a large garden to illuminate or a very large driveway, opt for a security light with up to 3000 lumens.
It’s also important to choose the right location for your security lights, as this will also influence how secure they are. Ensure when the light is switched on there are no dark shadows, as these can be used for hiding in.
Ensure the light you purchase isn’t going to disturb your neighbours. If it’s going to shine into their bedroom or living room, it’ll need to be adjusted.
What colour light is best for security?
Colour temperature is measured in kelvins. The higher the kelvin, the cooler the colour temperature is. Lighting with 2700K to 2800K provides a warm glow with very few blue tones.
As you reach up to 4500K or higher, the colour becomes a lot cooler. These lights contain a subtle hint of blue and are very white looking.
For security lights, you’ll likely want a colour temperature between 5500K and 6000K. These will cover the area in a bright, white light that can help deter unwelcome visitors.
How high up should I position my security lighting?
Motion-sensor security lights should be placed around 1.8 – 3 metres above the ground, facing downwards.