High Bay Lighting: What You Should Know

As one of the most used lighting applications in industrial markets, finding a good High Bay light can be a daunting task. If you do a quick Google search for LED High Bay lighting, you will see a plethora of options ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars for what seems like equivalent products. How do you know what is a good product?  What should you look for?  Well, that’s exactly what we are here to help you with. In order to figure out what product you should be using in your facility, you have to start by understanding your real needs and requirements.  


One of the first questions we always ask is, how long will the lights be on? If your answer is “more than 12 hours a day”, then you should stop looking at any of the cheap options because they will not last. If you do decide to go cheap, you will likely be doing this again in 2-3 years. Your answer to this may be “well it comes with a 5-year warranty”. Well, will the manufacturer even be around in 5 years from now to honor it? If they are around, will they try to blame it on your infrastructure? Even if they do honor the warranty, are you comfortable re-installing lights every month as they continue to fail? This costs money and lots of time. We are currently doing dozens of projects where we are replacing older LED fixtures because the customer is fed up with all of the problems they are having and the costs to fix them which is the result of going with a cheap lighting solution. 


Next, what are you doing under those lights? Usually the answer varies within the same facility. You may need to use a different fixture depending on the tasks being performed. Are the lights at 20’ high or 50’ high? Glare is a huge issue at 20’ and may not be an issue at 50’, unless your workers need to constantly look up to perform their jobs. This is the most important part of the process. Someone needs to come into your facility and observe how your workers are doing their jobs. That is the only way to figure out the type of light that should be above them. You can really improve worker morale and even increase employee retention if they have a pleasing work environment.  


What about obstructions or other obstacles in the way of lights?  There are two main types of High Bays. Round and Linear.  


Most round High Bays are 12-18’ and most linear High Bays are anywhere from 2-4 feet long.  So, there is a major difference in the footprint of these and as you can imagine the pattern of light can be completely different. I’ve seen too many round High Bays in between really narrow racks at 30’ high and as you can imagine, half the light is on top of the racks and not making its way down to the floor. With a linear High Bay that has “Aisle Optics”, we can make sure that almost all the light gets to the floor, maximizing the foot candle levels all the way down. The difference in using the correct High Bay can literally mean productivity gains or losses.


There are about a dozen other things to consider when looking at High Bay lighting. This is why it is so important that you work with a professional company who understands these issues, and if you can find someone who is Lighting Certified(LC), even better, as they are highly educated on how lighting affects different types of applications. Whatever you do, don’t just buy a cheap High Bay from a single Google search. It is almost guaranteed that you will be buying another one in a year.  

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