Choosing the Right LED High Bay for Your Application


Compared to metal halide and other common industrial lighting technologies, LED lights start up instantly, last five times longer, and less susceptible to lumen depreciation. They are also much easier to dim or use with motion/occupancy sensors than HID or linear fluorescents. And then, of course, there's the energy—and energy bill—savings. This savings is especially noticeable with high-intensity lights, like parking lot and street lights—and high bays.

Over the nine+ years XTLED has been in business, we've helped numerous companies change out their old-style high bay lighting for LED, so we know that selecting just the right lights can be a task. We've written this guide on the basics of high bay lighting to help those who are just starting to look into it. If you have more specific questions, however, you can reach us through the Live Chat button at the bottom of your browser window, or call us at the numbers located at the top of every page of our site. We're happy to help! Now on to the guide:

1. What to Look for When Buying

Lumens per Watt (l/W or LPW)

The higher this value, the more energy-efficient the lights are. Take, as an example, two 100W UFO high bays. They probably look very much the same from the outside, but one is rated at 100 lumens/Watt, the other at 170 l/W. The 100-lumen-per-Watt model will give you 10,000 lumens of light, about equivalent to a 150W metal halide. The 170-lumen-per-Watt fixture, on the other hand, will output 17,000 lumens of light, equivalent to a 250W metal halide. The higher the lumens per Watt, the lower the wattage you can use to replace your existing lights.

Quality Indicators

Replacing your facility's lights is an intensive task. You don't want to find out a year later that a third of the new lights that were supposed to last 15 years have already gone out. So make sure you get quality lights from a reputable company.

How much info do they give you about the lights? What kind of reviews/ratings do their lights have?

Look at the warranty, too, but keep in mind that it's easy for a company to offer what looks like a great warranty—the question is, will they be around to honor it? Will they be easy to get back in touch with, and how much of a run-around will they give you if you need a replacement? You can test out how serious they are about customer service by getting in touch with them now. Is their phone number easy to find? Who answers when you call? How long have they been in business? (XTLED has been around nine years, but our parent company's been in business for more than fifty.)

Cheap lights can be tempting, but when you consider the cost and disruption of replacing all your lighting, money saved now can be money and time lost on early failures and chasing warranty replacements.

2. Differences Between High Bay Models

Traditional High Bays

Traditional high bay lights are the familiar, pendant-style fixtures that are outfitted with a reflector, usually made of aluminum. The reflector was needed because of the omni-directional nature of the light sources that were used before LEDs. Light emanating from the sides of the bulb would be lost unless it was captured and directed downward by the reflector.

If you have traditional high bay fixtures and you'd like to keep your fixtures, we recommend replacing the metal halide lamps inside with LED corn lights / LED Retrofit bulbs.

If, on the other hand, you're looking to update your look at the same time that you shrink your energy footprint, we recommend replacing traditional style high bays with one of the following styles of LED high bay light fixtures.

Round High Bays

These newer round LED high bays, often called "UFO" style lights, don't need reflectors because LED lighting is intrinsically more directional than metal halide or other light sources. This allows for a more compact, low-profile design of the fixture. These lights are heavy duty and IP65-rated, allowing them to be used in even harsh conditions, such as industrial laundries, grain processing plants, car washes, and barns. At the same time, they're very striking in appearance, so they're a great consideration for any high-ceiling application, from aircraft hangars to the café area of a large grocery store.

Panel-Style High Bays

Not to be confused with LED light panels, these troffer-like LED high bays are similar in appearance to T5 and T8 fixtures. Compared to round high bays, they distribute light over a larger area. If you have T5 or T8 lights already, these types of high bays are their ideal (and sleek!) replacement.

If you're using linear fluorescent fixtures already and you want to keep those fixtures, we have extra bright 4ft and extra bright 8ft LED tubes that provide excellent lighting at install heights over 15 feet. Or you can retrofit your fluorescent fixtures with magnetic LED strips.

Linear Aisle Lights

These high bay fixtures have beam angles specifically designed for use between aisles, such as in warehouses, large grocery stores, and wholesale club stores.

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