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Published Jul. 13, 2021

Whether it’s for home protection or to take the driveway basketball game into overtime, a quality outdoor floodlight gives your property a bright, dependable source of light. New, long-lasting LED bulbs and smartphone controls have carried traditional halogen floodlights into the 21st century, while additional built-in cameras and alarms add a new layer to create security lighting. Unique all-in-one floodlights can tackle a wide variety of tasks with the flip of a switch. Or, if all you need is a simple bright light, you can find a basic set-it-and-forget-it floodlight that won’t need a new bulb every few months. From motion-activated solar floodlights illuminating a walkway to high-powered smart floodlights that coat the entire yard in artificial sunshine, find the best floodlight for every home below.

Factors to consider when shopping for the best floodlight

Ready to buy the best floodlight and keep your home safe and bright? Before marching into the home store with a fistful of cash, think about where you want to mount it and how you’ll use it. The security lighting options can be overwhelming, so take your time and read through the specifications to ensure the outdoor floodlight will do exactly what you want it to do. 

Do you want an all-in-one security system?

The best outdoor floodlight can become an entire security system with the right options. Motion detection is a common feature for floodlights, and it may be enough to deter criminals and pesky neighbors. But if you want a higher level of security, arm your home with floodlights equipped with cameras and alarms. These feature-rich camera floodlights are surprisingly easy to set up and maintain. Smartphone apps give you complete control of the lights and video footage, with alerts to let you know when something outside seems suspicious. Whether you need all the bells and whistles depends on how you’ll use it. For top-level security and peace of mind, it’s best to go all-in with a floodlight/camera hybrid. These models may be more expensive, and there may be monthly charges for video data storage, but it’s a small price to pay for total home security. 

Does the floodlight need wiring?

If installing a floodlight for the first time, you will need to think about the power supply. While it’s easy to mount a floodlight fixture to a home with simple brackets, the lights will need dependable power. That usually means hardwiring the lights. It sounds daunting, but if you have a free weekend and the right tools, wiring a new exterior light is fairly straightforward. Be careful, read all the instructions, and make sure you know what you’re doing before putting holes in the aluminum siding. Better yet, hire a pro. For those who don’t want to be bothered with wiring, there are battery-powered and solar-powered options that provide the same amount of light.

Will the floodlight take a beating from the outdoor elements?

Outdoor floodlights should always be weather resistant. Rain, snow, high winds, and poorly aimed soccer balls add wear and tear. If the floodlight is exposed to fluctuating temperatures and inclement weather, make sure the bulbs won’t break and the housing won’t leak. The ruggedness of a floodlight is measured in International Protection (IP) units. Most floodlights have an IP rating above 45, which is good enough for average climates that experience rain, snow, and ice. For those exposed to extreme weather, shop for a light with an IP rating above 64.

How bright do you want the light?

Even super-bright LEDs use only a small amount of power. That’s why lights are measured in lumens, not watts. The best floodlight will be above 700 lumens, while anything over 2,000 lumens will give you all the brightness you need. If you’re using it as security lighting, brighter is better. Many bright outdoor security lights can be easily adjusted and dimmed to find the right blast of “gotcha!” for home protection. However, if the floodlight is used for more mundane purposes such as illuminating a path or highlighting your home, 2,000 lumens is much too bright. For instance, landscape lights average around 150 lumens, giving your property a classy glow instead of a blinding shine.

How many do you need?

Besides lumens, the biggest factor for finding the best floodlight is position. Think about the height and angle of the light. Most floodlights spread out to cover 120 degrees. Spotlights, on the other hand, focus the light to within 45 degrees. Floodlights come in pairs to provide overlapped lighting the beams overlap each other to cover more space and eliminate some shadows. When trying to light a corner of the home or yard, make sure the house or overhanging roof won’t block the beam of light, the motion detector, or obstruct the video camera. Look for potential blind spots. For complete coverage, you may need multiple mounted at different, strategic positions. 

The best floodlights

How do you choose the best floodlight for your home? Look for the features you want, but stay open to some features you didn’t even know existed. These lights can do much more than turn on and off. Learn about the latest options below to find the perfect way to brighten the night.

Best floodlight for security: eufy Floodlight Security Camera

Fierce Security Features

Keep criminals away—especially while you’re away—with an all-in-one security system. eufy security

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Shining a bright light is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the features of the eufy Security Floodlight Camera. The 1080-p camera keeps a watchful eye on your property, sending a live video stream to the smart device of your choice. The features are easy to operate: Timers, motion detection, alerts, sirens, and brightness are all managed from an intuitive app. When triggered, important events are recorded and saved on the internal 4GB drive. There are no monthly fees or subscriptions for data storage, unlike most security cameras. Just be mindful of the storage limitations, delete unwanted video regularly, and you should be ready to record when needed. Note: It’s also an outside LED floodlight, with 2,400 lumens of brightness.

Best for property managers: GLORIOUS-LITE Floodlight

Bright is Right

This is the shining superstar of basic outdoor floodlights. GLORIOUS-LITE

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One of the brightest floodlights on the consumer market, the GLORIOUS-LITE is great for fields and large properties. Its 10,000 lumens are more than enough to light up a large area. This is as bright as most street lamps, and it can light up playgrounds and soccer fields. That also means it’s too overpowering for small areas. The outside LED floodlight lacks further features, such as motion detection and timers. It’s a simple on/off light designed for one task: illuminating the darkness. The rugged housing has an IP rating of 66, ideal for rough climates. However, do note the 100W lights get very hot—never touch or adjust these floodlights without protective gloves. They plug into any nearby wall outlet, but the included cord is only 3 feet long. Extension cords or rewiring to a longer cord may be necessary depending on where you want to mount the light. 

Best floodlight for non-electricians: Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight Camera

Simple Wireless Installation

Skip the wiring and rewiring with this battery-operated security floodlight. Arlo

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The biggest drawback to even the best outdoor floodlight is that it may require wiring to power the light. That said, the Arlo Pro 3 is a true wireless powerhouse with a rechargeable battery that lasts about six months on a single charge. The Arlo floodlight is also an HD security camera that offers up impressive, crystal clear 2K video. You can even zoom in on important details. It’s easy to sync up the household WiFi and control the outside LED floodlight camera with a smartphone. The downside? To record video, you’ll need to pay a monthly data storage fee. Without it, this is just a fancy floodlight without any video capabilities. But for an easy-to-install security floodlight, the Arlo Pro 3 is the feature-rich winner.

Best security lights for energy-conscious homeowners: LEPOWER Solar Security Lights

Solar-Powered Solution

arness the power of the sun with impressively bright solar floodlights. LEPOWER

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Solar floodlights run the risk of being too dim and finicky. Luckily, the LEPOWER LED solar floodlight has a strong solar battery that will give you lasting outdoor security lights at night. Make sure the solar panel is bathed in direct sunlight during the day and you’ll have no problem keeping the 1,600-lumen floodlight lit for 50 consecutive minutes. The 180-degree motion detector catches anyone up to 75 feet away with a blast of light. You can adjust the period of light from 10 seconds to 2 minutes. This one is relatively simple to install, but position matters. You want full sunshine during the day, and make sure the motion detector is aimed correctly at night. For a solar-powered floodlight, the LEPOWER is a dependable, Earth-friendly security guard. Note: This is more a motion detector light than an all-night party light. It’s designed for short periods of luminescence.

Best floodlight for starter homes: Lithonia Outdoor Floodlight

Simple, Inexpensive Features

This standard, old-fashioned light fixture is just the right shade of bright. Lithonia Lighting

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If you’re renting or don’t plan to turn your house into a permanent home, save money with a budget-friendly floodlight. This is simply a lighting fixture for two bulbs of your choosing (not included). Set-up is easy with a few screws, and the housing is rust-resistant. It lacks fancy options, has no motion detectors or timers, but sometimes all you need is a light. For those who want colored lights and voice-assistant support, you can always get smart bulbs that fit into the fixture’s sockets and easily link to your WiFi network and smartphone. Keep in mind: Smart bulbs will cost about three times as much as the fixture itself. You can also use bug-resistant yellow bulbs—or any bulbs you want! If money is an issue, buy basic bulbs which should only cost about $10.

FAQs

Q:

How many lumens do I need for a floodlight?

The number of lumens needed for an outdoor floodlight is between 700 and 2,5000. That said, 700 lumens may be too dim for security purposes and is designed more for decoration and lighting walkways. When in doubt, go for anything above 2,000 lumens. Security lights should be bright enough to effectively deter would-be criminals. To capture high-quality video with a security camera, you’ll need 2,000 lumens of crime-stopping power. For wide-open spaces and fields, we recommend a 5,000-lumen light or brighter. And always think about angles and positions: The light should cover your property, but shouldn’t be shining into your neighbor’s windows. You also may need multiple lights to eliminate blind spots.

Q:

How do I choose outdoor floodlights?

To choose the best outdoor floodlight, answer one question: Do you want video or not? Floodlights equipped with cameras can be more expensive, and there may be monthly data storage charges. However, that extra expense is well worth it if the floodlight is meant for home security. If you don’t need a camera/floodlight combo, opt for one with quality motion detection and lighting options. There are plenty of non-camera floodlights that still have useful features, such as timers and smartphone functionality. And if none of that matters, and all you want is a simple light, you shouldn’t spend more than $30 for a basic floodlight with standard motion detection.

Q:

How bright is a 30W LED floodlight?

A 30W LED floodlight will provide about 2,600 lumens of light. That’s roughly equal to a 300W halogen floodlight, which is plenty for outdoor security use. Remember: Wattage doesn’t matter too much for LED lights. Energy-efficient LEDs only require a small amount of power. That’s why it’s best to look at the lumens instead of the wattage. The low-energy requirement of LED lights also means solar floodlights still have enough juice for big, bright light output.

The final word on buying the best floodlight

What’s the best floodlight for your backyard and driveway? Basically, how you choose to light your outdoor space depends on whether you need a camera or if you just need a light. Security lights armed with HD cameras and alarms are becoming increasingly popular. They are user-friendly, and if disaster strikes, the footage can be critical. Alerts and two-way voice communication are handy security features that you won’t find in standard floodlights. All those high-tech features come with a higher price point. If you need a basic floodlight for the backyard or driveway, choose a simple lighting fixture that is easy to install and maintain. Knowing your options means you’ll easily find the light that’s right for your home.

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