What is the LED beam angle?
LEDs were once said to be very directional, but now changes in technology allow the use of surface mounted diodes (SMD) that can emit a light beam which spreads wider than a 150 degree beam, which in a lot of situations might not be required.
So with the use of optics, this wide spread of light from the LED is often focused through a lens to create a more narrow beam to suit the application. This is also done in a variety other of ways, in which the most common options of spreading a LED’s light are by using a reflector or multi-reflectors, a prism or with the use of lenses to direct the light.
Which beam angle should I use?
The beam angle of the LED light you choose is usually determined by what height your ceiling is from the object or floor space to be illuminated and what lux level (brightness) is required in that particular area.
The beam angle is one thing to make sure you watch out for with LED lights. Very wide beam angles and high ceilings often leave a very low level of overall light, and vice versa with very narrow beam angles in low height ceilings as this will make your home look have a hot spotting effect on the floor.
We recommend choosing a LED product which has enough light for the application and the easiest way to determine this is by looking at what you’ve got already and deciding what you like or don’t like about it. In domestic lighting applications there is no standard to adhere to, so it’s just about matching up the LED and beam angle to what suits you.
For example, a kitchen bench top area may require a higher intensity light for food preparation. However to achieve the higher brightness (lux) you desire on the 1 meter wide bench top you may choose to use a more narrow beam to focus the light into one area rather than spread it out. By doing this the light is being used effectively. Whereas if you were to use the same light with a wide beam, the total lumen (light) output over the wider area of illumination may not be enough to reach the desired lux on the bench top. It could also spread light into areas which do not necessarily require the light such as a fridge, or the cupboards.
Notice in the images above, the light dissipates at a lower point using the wide beam than the more narrow beams. The LED only has a certain amount of light or lumens in total to emit. Spreading the light across a wider plain will result in a lower light level at the same distance compared to having a more narrow beam. A more narrow beam which would look brighter, however it won’t cover as much area.