How Many Lumens Do I Need For Outdoor Security Lighting?

One of the most frequently asked questions for security experts is, “How many lumens do I need for outdoor security lighting?” It is, in fact, a pertinent question that has complex answers depending on your home security setup. This article will answer this question by addressing what lumens are and how they work. Next, we’ll discuss how lumens alone don’t offer a complete picture for light effectiveness.

What Are Lumens, Anyway?

A lumen is a standard unit of light emitted per second. Lighting manufacturers often rate the brightness of their lights in lumens. However, some manufacturers rate their lights in watts, which might cause some confusion. It’s important to note that watts are a measure of energy consumed per second; an incandescent bulb might consume 100 watts and give off 1600 lumens, while LED lights are much more efficient. For example, the Iluminar WL643-2 LED Illuminator outputs 3712 lumens while only consuming 48W of power.

How Many Lumens Do I Need For Outdoor Security Lighting?

So, we can see that light output isn’t measured in watts, as that is the amount of power the light consumes while outputting a certain number of lumens. That said, how many lumens is the right amount?

To determine this, you must consider the amount of light you need for your application. If you want to know how many lumens are necessary for security lighting, consider the size and shape of the area you want to illuminate. A good rule of thumb is that security lights should be much brighter than general-purpose lighting: look for lights that offer at least 700 lumens.

At the same time, you don’t want your lights to be too bright! Having thousands of lumens projecting right into your neighbor’s windows is not a great idea. Extremely bright lights can also cause problems for birds and wildlife, interfering with their sleep behavior and consuming more power than necessary.

How To Choose Security Lighting

A good security lighting manufacturer will test their lights thoroughly. This means they can offer you data that helps you make a better purchasing decision. Here are some data points every reputable manufacturer should mention:

  • Power consumption (in watts, W) along with voltage (in volts, V) and current (in amperes, A)
  • Light output in lumens, commonly shortened to lm.
  • Color temperature, measured in kelvin (K). Warmer, yellower lights have a lower temperature, while brighter lights are higher. Halogen lights commonly measure around 3000K, while 6500K is a bright white.
  • Color rendering index, or CRI. Only high-quality manufacturers are likely to mention their CRI, which measures how accurately the light allows you to view colors. Low CRI lights can make colors appear dull or washed out, while high CRI lights are most accurate to how you would see an object during the day.


Iluminar specializes in the manufacture of superior, professional-quality LED lighting solutions for license plate capture systems, as well as video surveillance. We also offer unmatched customer service for all of our clients.

Our invisible and visible series of products all come in various form factors, with many angle choices, wavelengths, range, and power ratings available to choose from. Our illuminators come with covert and semi-covert options capable of running off AC or DC power. Best of all, we offer weatherproof systems with exceptional build quality to survive even the most brutal deployment application.

Our product experts will personally guide you towards choosing the right product for your application. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at (281) 438-3500 today!

Main Menu
Skip to content