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Spotlights vs Floodlights: What’s The Difference?

Being aware of the difference between what a spotlight and what a floodlight is, is important. When you think of putting together a lighting design for a landscape you will want the best for you and so you will look for various types of lights to successfully get the complete look you had in your mind.

Usually, path lights, floodlights, spotlights, down-lights, and up-lights tend to enhance the complete view and that’s why they are common choices. 

But to know which is the right choice for you between spotlights and floodlights can be a little challenging since both the lights provide light for various needs. To avoid making things less complicated for yourself and others there is something called the beam spread that you need to check off the lights you want to buy. By understanding the beam spread you will be able to choose the right outdoor lights for yourself.

What is a Beam Pattern?

The measurement of angles formed between a cone of lights brightest point which is the center and the points that are on both sides of the center where the light’s intensity is 50 percent as bright is a Beam pattern or beam angle. 

beam angle

Spotlights tend to give away a beam of light that is nothing more than 45 degrees in width and less than 25 degrees wide. This is the style of light that is an up-light to show off a particular landscaping feature or the type of light that is placed on top of the garage door. 

Whereas, floodlights often have a wider beam spread. Floodlights provide a beam of light that is more than 45 degrees and up to 120 degrees. However, at times you may come across lights that are given the name of floodlights but come with a beam spread of 25 degrees. If you are searching for a light with a beam spread as narrow as that, you might as well opt for a spotlight instead. 

Where to Use a Spotlight?

Spotlights are usually used for the illumination of a particular spot. Basically, any singular object such as a  statue, or some painting in your home, an architectural feature, a doorway can be lit up with the help of spotlights. 

If you are having complaints from your neighbors and are looking for a light that does not happen to reach your neighbor’s window you can make use of a spotlight which will help dedicate the light to only the particular area you want it to shed light upon. Spotlights will help you avoid causing light pollution and also will make sure not to disturb your neighbors. 

Where to Use a Floodlight?

A floodlight has the exact opposite purpose of a spotlight. Just as spotlights are used to cover a smaller area, floodlights are used to illuminate a larger and broader area. And hence the beam spread of floodlights is much more than that of a spotlight. 

You can use a floodlight to light up your backyard lot or deck but cannot use it to illuminate an architectural feature in your home. 

Difference Between Spotlights and Floodlights?

The difference between Spotlights and floodlights is just the matter of surface area they are built to cover mainly. Floodlights apparently have a lot more advantages than spotlights, we will compare the two for you further.

Where can they be used?

While spotlights are significantly smaller in size compared to flood light fixtures, they are meant to illuminate smaller areas. For instance, spotlights can be used to illuminate a particular object. You will find them above garage doors, on police officers, rescue vehicles, in theatres, for a statue, etc. On the other side, floodlights are used to illuminate bigger areas such as Tennis Courts or a football pitch, or any place that needs more surface area to be covered. 

White Light

When it comes to the white light that is given out, floodlights win since the LED floodlights give out is similar to daylight. 


Floodlights are well-known for their long-lasting features. In comparison with the standard bulbs, floodlights are more durable. But, spotlights are durable as well. 


Floodlights are known to be easy to maintain. LED floodlights may seem expensive, but spending that amount of money once and not having to replace those lights with new ones saves you time and money that you wouldn’t be able to do with spotlights. 


When it comes to the safety department, spotlights can overheat because they are made from ordinary bulbs which can be dangerous since they can overheat and blow out. Whereas, LED floodlights to remain cool while shedding out the light. Hence, floodlights are a much safer option. 


Floodlights are used in many unexpected tasks that you can think of. For instance, in order to help vehicles move further floodlights are used in fog. Floodlights can be used to cover areas underwater as well.

In contrast, spotlights cannot be used for such tasks since they are built only to illuminate a specific object or small surface area, unlike Floodlights. 


In the end, you have to decide which light is the best one for you based on the purpose of what you want to use it for. Just make sure to keep in mind the whole idea behind what large and small beam patterns are built to do and that should help you out. 

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