How to Choose the Right Parking Lot Lights?

parking lot light

Parking lot lighting is essential for safety, security, and visibility in outdoor parking areas. With advancements in technology, solar parking lot lights have become increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and environmental benefits. We'll explore the various types of parking lot lights, optimal brightness considerations, and expert tips to help you choose the right lighting solution for your parking lot.

What are Parking Lot Lights and How Many Types Are There?

Parking lot lights are outdoor lighting fixtures designed to illuminate parking areas, ensuring visibility for drivers and pedestrians during nighttime hours. There are several types of parking lot lights available, each with its own unique characteristics:

  • LED Parking Lot Lights: LED lights are highly energy-efficient and long-lasting, making them a popular choice for parking lot illumination. They offer bright, uniform lighting and require minimal maintenance.
  • Solar Parking Lot Lights: Solar lights utilize solar panels to harness sunlight and convert it into electricity for illumination. They are environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and suitable for off-grid locations or areas with limited access to electricity.
  • Metal Halide Parking Lot Lights: Metal halide lights provide high-intensity illumination and are commonly used in large parking lots or outdoor areas. However, they have higher energy consumption and shorter lifespans compared to LED and solar lights.
  • High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) Parking Lot Lights: HPS lights emit a warm, yellowish glow and are known for their energy efficiency. While they are cost-effective, they have lower color rendering compared to LED lights.

How Bright Should Parking Lot Lights Be?

The brightness of parking lot lights, measured in lumens, is essential for ensuring adequate visibility and security. The right brightness level depends on factors such as the size of the parking lot and the intended use of the area. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Lumen Output: Aim for a lumen output that provides uniform illumination across the parking lot without creating glare or dark spots. As a reference, a typical LED parking lot light may have a lumen output ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 lumens or more.
  • Mounting Height: Consider the mounting height of the lights, as this will affect the distribution of light. Taller mounting heights may require lights with higher lumen output to ensure adequate coverage.
  • Lighting Distribution: Choose lighting fixtures with appropriate distribution patterns, such as Type III or Type V, to ensure uniform illumination across the parking lot surface and minimize light pollution.
parking lot light


Tips to Choose Parking Lot Lights

When selecting parking lot lights, consider the following tips to ensure you choose the right fixtures for your specific requirements:

  • Understand Your Lighting Needs: Assess the specific requirements of your parking lot, including size, layout, and usage patterns. Consider factors such as mounting height, light distribution, and potential obstructions that may impact lighting effectiveness.
  • Opt for LED Technology: LED parking lot lights offer significant advantages over traditional lighting technologies. They are highly energy-efficient, have a longer lifespan, and provide better light quality and color rendering. Although they may have a higher upfront cost, the long-term savings in energy and maintenance expenses make them a cost-effective choice.
  • Consider Light Distribution Patterns: Choose fixtures with appropriate light distribution patterns to ensure uniform illumination across the parking lot surface. Different distribution types, such as Type III or Type V, are suitable for various applications and mounting heights. Consulting with a lighting professional can help determine the most suitable distribution pattern for your needs.
  • Evaluate Brightness Levels: Determine the optimal brightness level for your parking lot based on industry standards and recommendations. Factors such as mounting height, light color temperature, and surrounding ambient lighting conditions will influence the required lumen output. Aim for sufficient illumination to enhance safety and security without causing glare or light pollution.
  • Review Energy Efficiency Ratings: Look for parking lot lights with high efficacy ratings and ENERGY STAR certification. Energy-efficient fixtures will help reduce electricity consumption and operating costs while minimizing environmental impact. Consider additional features such as dimming controls or motion sensors to further enhance energy savings. 
  • Prioritize Durability and Reliability: Select lighting fixtures constructed from durable materials that can withstand harsh outdoor conditions, including corrosion, moisture, and temperature fluctuations. Ensure the fixtures have adequate ingress protection (IP) ratings for protection against dust and water ingress. Investing in high-quality, weather-resistant lights will minimize maintenance requirements and prolong the lifespan of the fixtures.
  • Check Compliance with Regulations: Verify that the chosen parking lot lights comply with local regulations, codes, and standards, including dark sky ordinances and safety guidelines. Consider factors such as light trespass, glare control, and uniformity requirements to minimize potential conflicts with neighboring properties and ensure a safe and visually appealing lighting environment.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Consult with lighting professionals, engineers, or manufacturers specializing in outdoor lighting to receive expert advice and recommendations tailored to your specific project requirements. They can assist with lighting design, product selection, and compliance issues to ensure optimal performance and regulatory compliance.

By following these tips and guidelines, you can choose the right parking lot lights that meet your specific needs for brightness, energy efficiency, durability, and compliance with regulations.


In conclusion, selecting the right parking lot lights is crucial for ensuring safety, security, and visibility in parking areas. Consider factors such as the type of light, brightness level, energy efficiency, durability, and compliance with regulations when making your decision. With careful planning and consideration, you can choose high-quality parking lot lights that provide optimal illumination and contribute to a safe and welcoming environment for drivers and pedestrians alike.

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