High Bay vs. Low Bay Lighting

In the world of lighting, there are a lot of terms and functions associated with certain fixture types. If you are new to lighting or just looking for a refresher, you may have some questions regarding high bay vs. low bay lighting.

What is high bay lighting?

A high bay light is usually defined as a light intended for use in a ceiling ranging from 20-40 feet in height from the floor. A high bay ceiling is usually found in industrial and some commercial spaces.

What is low bay lighting?

A low bay light is usually defined as a light intended for use in a ceiling under 20 feet in height from the floor. A low bay ceiling is the most common type of ceiling commonly seen in homes, most retail businesses, and public buildings.

Are there major differences between the two?

When considering high bays vs. low bays, the matter of the ceiling height is always the deciding factor. The reason behind this is because these two categories of lighting fixtures are manufactured differently to accommodate the needs of each space. For example, one of the major differences is the concentration of the light spread. Most high bays will utilize reflectors to help ensure the light spreads down and out in the way necessary for visibility in the space from the higher distance. A high bay will also feature a high lumen output to compensate for the greater distance compared to low bay light fixtures. A fixture placed so high up may have a harder time maintaining the brightness you expect so it needs to compensate with a higher lumen output to reach all the vital areas and avoid shadows.

What happens if I use the wrong one for my space?

Many people worry about the negative impacts of using the wrong one in their space. While the results won't be a disaster per se, it will definitely impact the space overall. For example, using a low bay light in a high bay ceiling will result in a lack of proper visibility, and the use of a high bay light in a low bay ceiling will certainly overpower the space and flood it with too much brightness as well as cost more in the long run. This is why it's important to consider the height of your ceiling and the role it plays in choosing the right lighting solutions for your space.