Post Top Lighting Combines Brilliance and Beauty in a Single Fixture

Post top lighting is a welcome sight wherever it’s installed, and it’s installed nearly everywhere you look. That’s because post top fixtures are extremely versatile, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re nice to look at.

Post top poles and fixtures can fit into most outdoor lighting solutions, whether you’re illuminating a single yard or an entire downtown district. That’s partly because they’re available in a huge range of sizes and styles. Post top fixtures are also powerful enough to illuminate a larger area, so they’re ideal for outdoor spaces.

Post Top Lighting

Where is Post Lighting Usually Installed?

You’ll find post top lighting in a lot of urban and suburban areas, where dense exterior illumination is needed for safety reasons. Some of the most common settings for post tops include:

  • Parks
  • City streetscapes (streetscapes refer to the space directly adjacent to the road)
  • Neighborhoods
  • Apartment communities
  • University campuses
  • Medical or business facilities
  • Parking lots
  • Landscape designs

With their versatility, post top lamps can be installed anywhere without being out of place. You might not find them in small areas, like a front yard, but they’re a fit for large residential areas and most commercial settings.

Why Are Post Top Lighting Systems Installed?

Post top systems provide safety-enhancing light for any setting. They help pedestrians, cyclists and motorists all navigate safely during night, and they do so with a kind of illumination that people find comfortable.

Economy is also a design focus for post top systems. Because they’re mounted on lower poles (maximum of 20 feet high, usually), they are faster to install and easier to maintain, as long as they’re fitted with the right lamp technology.

This mix of affordability and effectiveness is why post top lighting can help illuminate a municipality, company, school, hospital, or any large facility. The post tops themselves, though, are only one part of the solution. The lamp technology inside the fixture is also extremely important.

The Problem With Using HID Fixtures in Post Top Lights

Until the introduction of LED lighting, post top fixtures were typically fitted with high intensity discharge (HID) lamps. This typically includes metal halides and high-pressure sodium lamps. If the fixture is extremely old, then it may be powered with a mercury vapor bulb.

HID options were the most popular post top lights for so long because of their high output. There are significant issues with both metal halides and pressurized sodium lamps, though, which explains why there’s an ongoing shift to LED technology. Here’s why metal halides are being left behind:

  • Efficiency – Metal halides and pressurized sodium operate on outdated technology. Both types of lamps rely on inefficient fuel combustion to produce illumination, and this naturally results in significant thermal losses. As a result, you’ll need a lot of wattage to get sufficient light from an HID lamp, and that means greater energy usage.
  • Longevity – Because of their outdated engineering, HID lamps are more likely to fail early. On average, metal halides and high-pressure sodium lamps are rated for about 20,000 hours before replacement is likely required. However, many HID lamps suffer in performance long before that mark. Metal halides fade and turn pinkish, while high-pressure sodium also fades and may cycle on and off.
  • Quality – HID fixtures output a lot of illumination, but compared to LED, it’s not high-quality illumination. High-pressure sodium lamps suffer from very poor color rendering, which reduces their effectiveness at night. Metal halides produce a neutral light that’s better for visibility, but that light degrades quickly over time and results in inconsistent performance.

HID technology has been maxed out from an engineering standpoint, so alternatives have been needed for a while. That’s where LED technology comes in.

Four Reasons Why LED Lamps are the Top Choice for Post Lighting Projects

LEDs are taking over the lighting industry and replacing HIDs, incandescent and fluorescent at a rapid rate. You’ll find LED lamps everywhere now, including in post top fixtures. That’s a good thing for facility managers because LED technology offers several benefits. Here are four benefits worth thinking about:

  1. Better efficiency – LED lighting is the most efficient option available, whether you’re measuring efficiency at the source or at the system level. At the source, LED lamps emit more lumens per watt, compared to every other alternative.
    At the system level, LED’s efficiency advantage is even more pronounced. That’s because LEDs emit directionally instead of radiating illumination everywhere. It’s easier to capture and aim LED illumination as a result, so more of the light gets to where it’s needed.
  2. Extended lifespan – Although post top lighting is cost effective for what it offers, maintenance costs can be prohibitive if the fixtures need to be replaced frequently. Changing out a post top light typically requires special equipment like a bucket truck, so minimizing fixture replacement is important.
    LEDs make it easier to handle those maintenance costs, because LEDs are rated for roughly 50,000 hours. They frequently last longer than that as well, and they retain their lumen output as they age. They can do so because a single LED chip is made up of many diode lamps and if one fails, the lamp will maintain its appearance.
  3. Better lighting quality – Lighting quality was the limiting factor for LED fixtures for a long time, but they’ve caught up and exceeded expectations. Modern LED post top lamps generate light that is more evenly spread and brighter than HID options. There are no hotspots, no glare, and no dead areas, so LED lamps work better over a longer distance.
    LED lighting is also available in any color temperature and with high-CRI ratings, so the technology will display color values accurately at night.
  4. Better controllability – No other form of lighting is as controllable as LEDs. LED lamps are engineered using solid state circuitry, and solid state circuitry is easier to manage with precision.
    In practice, this means LED post tops can be paired with a selection of lighting controls. Photocells are the most popular, as they switch the post tops on and off as ambient light levels change throughout the day. Other controls include timers, motion sensors and dimmers, allowing for complete control over how the post top lighting system looks and performs.

Bulb Daddy Can Source Post Top Lighting Products for Your Application

The Bulb Daddy team has helped residential and commercial property owners source lighting solutions for decades. We’re experts in connecting the optimal lighting product to our clients’ lighting needs, and that expertise extends to post top lighting solutions. If you’re searching for the ideal post top fixture, one that will fit perfectly into your outdoor lighting design, we’ve got it.