The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Outdoor Lights

The increase in outdoor decor popularity has flooded the market with many decorative lights of different types and shapes, such as patio lights, table lights, tree lights, and more. In this post, I'll share with you everything you need to know about outdoor lights and how to choose them.

Photo from shutterstock

Things You Must Know About Outdoor Lights

    Part 1. IP Rating

      The first thing that you need to look at when you are choosing your exterior patio lights or outdoor patio lights is their IP rating. But what is an IP rating? IP stands for ingress protection, and it states the level of protection a light fixture has against dust and water.

      A low IP rating (below 44) means that the light bulb doesn't have much protection against dust and water. Light fixtures with a low IP rating are suitable for use inside the house, but they probably won't last much outdoors.

      Light bulbs that have a rating between IP44 and IP65 can be used both inside and outdoors, granted that they are in areas that are relatively protected from harsh weather.

      What you are looking for if you want outdoor lights is an IP rating that's higher than 65, because lights with an IP rating higher than 65 are waterproof, not to mention that they are also protected from dust and external factors. 

        Part 2. Types of Bulbs

          The second thing that you need to know when you plan to buy any light is the types of bulbs available. When it comes to bulbs, we have four types that are commonly used for outdoor lighting. Those are:

            1. LED Bulbs:

              First of all, we have LED bulbs, which are bulbs that use light emitting diodes to produce light.

              Pros of LED Bulbs:

              Some of the merits that LED bulbs have are that:

              • LED bulbs are significantly more energy efficient. 
              • They have the longest life span.
              • They produce less heat.

              Cons of LED Bulbs:

              Some of the drawbacks of LED bulbs are that:

              • They are more expensive.
              • They don't function well in heat..

                2. Incandescent Bulbs

                  One of the oldest light bulbs are incandescent bulbs. They work by heating a suitable material to a high temperature.

                  Pros of Incandescent Bulbs:

                  Incandescent bulbs have a lot of advantages, for example:

                  • They are cost-effective. 
                  • They tend to be brighter, which makes them suitable for pathways and work areas.

                  Cons of Incandescent Bulbs:

                  Like every light bulb, incandescent lights also have problems:

                  • They don't last long.
                  • They aren't energy-efficient. .

                    3. Halogen Bulbs

                      Halogen bulbs are incandescent bulbs that operate at a higher temperature and produce light with a higher color temperature.

                      Pros of Halogen Bulbs:

                      • They give instant and bright light.
                      • They have dimmable functionality.

                      Cons of Halogen Bulbs:

                      • Halogen bulbs are energy-efficient.
                      • They emit a significant amount of heat.

                        4. Fluorescent Bulbs

                          As their name states, fluorescent light bulbs use fluorescence to produce light.

                          Pros of Fluorescent Bulbs:

                          Fluorescent bulbs have many merits, some of which are: 

                          • They save energy.
                          • They are durable and can last for a long time

                          Cons of Fluorescent Bulbs:

                          Some of the disadvantages of fluorescent bulbs are:

                          • A major drawback is that they contain mercury.
                          • Another disadvantage of fluorescent lights is that they can't be dimmed

                            Part 3. Energy Sources

                              The third thing you need to consider when you are buying outdoor lights is their energy source. There are four sources of energy that are commonly used.

                                1. Lights That Use Electricity

                                  Electricity is the most common source of energy for lighting, and it powers almost all sorts of light fixtures.

                                  Pros of lights that rely on electricity:

                                  The advantages of using electricity are that:

                                  • Electricity is reliable and convenient.
                                  • It can be easily controlled.

                                  Cons of using lights that rely on electricity:

                                  • The Electricity that we mostly use is not eco-friendly, as it mostly relies on non-renewable sources.
                                  • It needs infrastructure.

                                    2. Lights Which Use Solar Energy

                                      Lighting that use solar energy relies on solar panels, which use sun rays to produce energy.

                                      Pros of using solar energy for lighting:

                                      Solar energy is gaining popularity and becoming more desirable for the following reasons: 

                                      • It's a clean source of energy, which is one of the main reasons why it's becoming so popular nowadays. 
                                      • It's suitable for isolated areas.

                                      Cons of using solar energy for lighting:

                                      Just like any other source of energy, solar energy has its drawbacks as well. For example, lights that use solar energy tend to have the following issues:

                                      • High initial cost.
                                      • It's affected by the battery's lifespan. 

                                        3. Battery-powered lighting

                                          Battery-powered lighting uses batteries as a source of energy.  

                                          Pros of battery-powered lights: 

                                          • Mostly, they are portable.
                                          • Usually, they are easy to install.

                                          Cons of Battery-powered lights:

                                          • They depend on the battery's lifespan. 
                                          • Disposable batteries can be harmful to the environment. 

                                          Types of Outdoor Lights

                                          Now that you know all the primary criteria for choosing outdoor lights, it's time to know the types of outdoor and exterior patio lights that you can choose from according to the purpose of the lighting. 

                                          1. Functional Lighting

                                          Functional outdoor lights are the lights that we use for practical reasons. For example, illuminating the area to do tasks. They are designed to give bright light that will cover a wide area.

                                          Functional exterior lights are mainly used for pathways, outdoor cooking areas, outdoor working areas, stairs, and entrances.

                                          Functional lights include the following:

                                          • Wall lights: wall lights are light fixtures that are attached directly to the exterior walls to give intense illumination.

                                          Photo from shutterstock

                                          • Post lights: post lights are usually used to line pathways or driveways.

                                          Photo from shutterstock

                                          • Stake lights: here the light bulbs are mounted on stakes, and just like post lights, they are also used for pathways.

                                          Photo from shutterstock

                                          • Decking lights: Decking lights are used to illuminate outdoor patios or decks.

                                          Photo from shutterstock

                                          2. Decorative Lighting

                                          Decorative outdoor lights make your outdoor space more personalized and beautiful. Examples of decorative lights are:

                                          • Lantern lights give a vintage feel to your outdoor space; they come in different sizes and styles and can be hung not only outside but also inside the house.

                                          Photo from shutterstock

                                          • Table lights are perfect for illuminating and adding some style to the patio dining table.

                                          Photo from shutterstock

                                          • String lights are one of the most popular outdoor patio lights; they are versatile and can be used anywhere outside.

                                          Photo from shutterstock

                                          How to Choose Outdoor Backyard String Lights

                                          You can oversee the process of decorating your backyard with backyard string lights without external help by following this guide:

                                          1. Decide the space

                                          Backyards consist of different spaces, each with unique characteristics and functions. That's why different outdoor lights fit in different places. For example, you will find that light bulbs and LED string lights are more suitable for the patio and the walkways. Rope string lights fit trees and poles. Solar garden lights and floor lights are more suitable for the back garden, and so on.

                                          2. Check the Features of the Lights 

                                          Additionally, it's better to choose a light that's energy-efficient, even if it has a higher initial cost.

                                          3. Select Your Favorite Atmosphere

                                          There are two types of lighting fixtures when it comes to the atmosphere. We have single lights that give either a warm or cool light, and we have lighting that is multicolored. Which one you choose depends on your outdoor space and your preferences. 

                                          Popular Outdoor Backyard Lights 

                                          To help you make your choice, I will share with you the most commonly used and popular backyard lights.

                                          1. Patio Lights

                                          Patio lights are among the most popular outdoor backyard lights. This popularity is attributed to the warm ambiance that patio lights create. Not to mention, they can easily be installed without complications.

                                          Photo from shutterstock

                                          2. Solar String Lights

                                          Solar string lights are famous for their energy saving abilities. Also, they can work everywhere.

                                          Photo from shutterstock

                                          In conclusion, choosing your outdoor lights is not difficult; all you need to do is follow the instructions we shared with you on this post (check the IP rating, ask about the type of bulb, and check the energy source). With that, you are all set. And if you still don't know what to choose, then take a look at our collections on Ollny's Store. Our outdoor lights are waterproof and durable, not to mention that they will definitely give you the ambiance that you are looking for. 

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