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How Many Lumens Do You Need for Outdoor Lighting?

Posted in: | November 30, 2015

UPDATED July 28, 2022   The future of LEDs is bright. LEDs take the least amount of energy and are rapidly being perfected in brightness and appearance — evolving from their bluish/white glow into a variety of incandescent, warmer options. It’s no wonder they have gained dominance in the marketplace.

Whether you are interested in the quality of light or the energy-saving benefits, it’s time to start thinking in terms of lumens when it comes to how bright you want your outdoor space to be. How many lumens you need, depends on the use of the area you are lighting.

For commercial solar lighting applications, we recommend using Foot Candle (or Lux in the metric system) as the measurement to determine how illuminated a surface should be. For more on Watts, Lumens and Foot Candles in commercial solar lighting, see our Commercial Grade Solar Lights: Guide to Watts, Lumens and Foot Candles – Part 1 blog.

What is a Lumen?

A lumen is simply a unit of measurement of visible light. When shopping for newer, energy-efficient LED light bulbs, understanding light output in lumens is essential. Not surprisingly, more lumens equal more brightness. If you are looking for the brightest LED bulb for floodlights for example, simply find the one with the most lumens.

How Do Lumens Compare to Watts?

Watts and lumens measure two different things. Wattage measures the amount of electrical power the light bulb consumes. In the old days, when we shopped for incandescent light bulbs, we loosely estimated the brightness of a bulb based on how much power it required.

Lumens, on the other hand, measure the actual brightness — regardless of how much power is needed. Buying a light based on lumens is actually a more accurate way to determine the brightness than buying a light based on wattage.

Does a Higher Wattage Mean a Brighter Light?

Nope. Not anymore. A long time ago, conventional logic dictated that a bulb with higher wattage would produce a brighter light but today, this isn’t always the case. Thankfully, advances in modern lighting allow us to produce more light using less energy. A 23-watt LED for instance, can produce the same amount of light (or lumens) as a 100-watt incandescent — and the technology is only getting better!

Are Your Outdoor LED Lights Bright Enough?

Whether it’s for saving money on electricity or being an environmentally aware homeowner, many people have already switched to energy-saving LED bulbs for their outdoor lights. Many have even switched to solar powered LED outdoor lights saving hundreds of dollars per year on their electricity bill while enjoying bright, highly durable and beautifully designed lights.

Because most of us are still used to thinking of light output in terms of watts, here is a cheat sheet to give you an idea of the average lumens needed for various outdoor LED lighting.

LED Outdoor Light Recommended Lumens Gama Sonic Lights
Security Lights 700-1400 Security and Utility Solar Lights
Decorative Wall Lights 50-150 Solar Wall Lights
Decorative Post Lights 100-400 Residential Solar Post Lights
Pedestrian Post Lights 500-2000 Commercial Solar Post Lights
Landscape, Garden and Pathway Lights 50-250 Solar Landscape, Garden and Pathway Lights
Deck, Fence and Pergola Lights 5-250 Solar Deck, Fence and Pergola Lights

How Many Lumens are Needed for Outdoor Pathway Lighting?

House lit up at night

Solar pathway lighting

Close up of solar pathway lighting

Generally, path lighting is considered decorative accent lighting. But it’s actually very useful for visitors to see the walkway. Solar LED pathway lighting has come a long way. Bollard lights are also a popular choice for effective solar path lighting. 80 lumens is considered bright enough for most walkways — including commercial properties. For garden lights used as accent lighting, 50 lumens is generally sufficient to add safety, dimension, color and interest in your yard.

Examples of Gama Sonic’s innovative and beautiful Solar LED Pathway lights include:

Solar Garden Light Shepherd Hook;

Contemporary Solar Path Light;

Premier Garden Solar Light;

Polaris Bollard Solar Light

Stainless Steel Bollard Solar Light with EZ Anchor

How Many Lumens are Needed for Landscape Lights?

Landscape lighting varies in brightness. LED landscape spotlights which are generally accent lighting for shrubs, signs and architecture can range from 100 to 300 lumens. Solar powered LED spotlights have come a long way in clarity, duration and brightness.

Beautifully lit up home using solar lighting

Examples of Gama Sonic solar flood lights and solar spotlights include:

Solar Flood light;

Solar Spotlight

Exterior of home lit up at night

Solar Powered Outdoor LED Lights Are the Best Choice for DIY Landscape Lighting.

The best part of using solar-powered outdoor landscape lighting is that anyone can install them! Because outdoor solar lights don’t need to be wired, you don’t need to hire an expensive electrician or buy complicated tools to do the job. In fact, we at Gama Sonic feature an EZ Anchor system for our solar lamp posts which allows for easy installation in just minutes!

Today’s outdoor solar LED lights are continuing to improve in quality, durability and of course, brightness. Solar LED lights offer you clear, attractive lighting for your outdoor space. Outdoor solar lights also save energy and money! The future of LED lumens and solar energy is promising. Decorate and light up your home with various outdoor solar light options like solar lamp posts, solar post lights, solar path lights and more. As you get used to measuring light intensity by lumens, you will quickly be able to determine the best lights for your home and yard.

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  1. Caroline Callaway on January 20, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    I can’t seem to find proper lighting for my outside residence. The street side doesn’t get enough sun for solar lights. The entry side does. My thought is to place two solar ground lights between these two areas with enough
    capacity to almost flood them with light. They would probably need adjusting ability. There are no street lights.and my old pathway solars don’t do much. I’ve seen lights with a few hundred lumen capacity and as high as
    Several thousand, and need sugggestion and info so I can make the right selection.
    Property is 1/2 acre and the bulk of it is in these two areas.
    Thank you for your help..

    • Melody Battle on January 24, 2022 at 12:39 pm

      Ms. Callawya,

      Thank you for your comments and inquiry on our solar units. We’d love the opportunity to speak with you more in detail about you solar needs.

      Please contact our office and speak with an available support person so that we can narrow down a suitable possibility for solar lighting for you.

      Our contact number is 1-800-835-4113 EXT 101.

      We look forward to hearing from you.

      Gama Sonic Support Team
      1-800-835-4113 Ext 101

  2. Carole Harris on March 5, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    I have 6 posts (4×4) on the patio and would like to put lights on them. I have seen post lights with 20 lumens and some with 15 lumens. Is that sufficient lighting? Please help! Thanks

    • Melody Battle on March 7, 2022 at 12:13 pm

      Our Gothic Solar Post Cap Light actually has 40 Lumens. Model 143011. Depending upon the area of footage of where you are lighting is the key to knowing what strength of light is needed.

  3. ana on March 9, 2023 at 10:25 pm

    This was very informative thank you! I am looking to add some string lights about 6-8 of them to my backyard
    need a significant brightness to be able light up an outdoor seating area by the woods and wondering what the optimum lumen brightness of the bulbs should be ?
    thanks in advance