How Many Lumens Do I Need in Security Lighting?

We all know that it is essential to keep our houses secured. You’re here because you are ready to install security lighting in your home. There’s a catch, though: you don’t know how bright those lights should be or what kinds of lights you should buy. You don’t want to disturb your neighbors and spend more on electricity.

How many lumens do we need in security lighting? It should be between 700-1300 lumens. However, it should not be too bright because it might disturb your neighbors and contribute to light pollution, affecting both the environment and human bodies. Several factors affect the number of lumens needed, such as room size and shape, user’s intentions, types of lights used, and color schemes.

In this article, we will learn about how many lumens a security lighting system should have. First, you will talk about lumens and how it affects you buying your light bulbs. You will also learn how factors such as room size, color schemes, and user’s intentions affect our choices in security lighting.

In addition to that, we will be recommending some features of security lighting systems you should have. Lastly, we will know how too bright lighting can affect our neighbors and the environment, even leading to light pollution.

Let’s Get to Know Lumens Together

Lumens and watts are not the same.

Lumens and watts do not mean the same thing, but they do work together in lighting. Watts does not measure brightness. They measure the power used by a light bulb when lit up at home. For example, a 60W incandescent bulb gives off 800 lumens of light, meaning you have to consume at least $130 a month if the light bulb is used twenty-four hours a day for a whole month.

Meanwhile, LED lights and CFLs produce more lumens with lower energy usage. Higher lumens are more important than higher watts since we want to get more light than higher bills. Higher lumens/low watts are now the standard in light bulbs.

We should rely more on lumens when looking for lights.

The old notion that light bulbs with higher watts are better are now gone. I advise you to look for the highest lumens and lower wattage to get the most brightness.

To put things into perspective: a CFL bulb with 1100 lumens only consumes 14 to 17W; an LED light with the same lumens consumes only 11 to 17W than 75W in an incandescent bulb and 52W for a halogen light bulb with the same lumens. LED lights produce the same light using up to 85% less energy.

It means that lesser watts consumption means saving more money on electricity.

Brighter Lighting is Not Always Better

4 Factors of determining how many lumens you’ll need

There are four factors that affect the number of lumens we need in a room.

Room Size and Shape

One factor is the room size and shape because the bigger the room, the more lumens you will need. For example, a 250 sq ft house needs at least 5000 lumens as your primary light source. Lighting makes the rooms bigger or smaller, depending on how you place them.

Our eyes play tricks on what we see, so if a room has more lights, it would seem bigger. In security lighting, they don’t usually have walls to block the light, so we should try putting the lights on the walkways.

User Intentions

User intentions are also crucial in knowing how many lumens you need. A homeowner wants to have a subdued mood in the room so that he might get dimmers or accent lights installed in the room. If someone wants a super bright room, they might add at least 10-20% of the recommended lumens in the house.

For example, in a 250 sq ft home, you need 5000 lumens, then add 1000 lumens more for extra brightness. It should be bright enough for security lighting because, unlike accent lights, we need to make sure every untoward movement can be seen outside.

Color Schemes

Color schemes can also affect the lumens needed in a room. For example, if you have a room with darker colored walls such as pine green or black, you might add at least 10 lumens per sq ft, based on houses with eight-foot ceilings.

Rooms with lighter wall colors might require lights with lesser lumens. We need more lumens in security lighting since it’s usually dark in the evenings, and if we have greenery, that can make it darker, so more lights are needed.

Types of Light Bulbs

Lastly, the types of light bulbs used also affect the lumens because you might need more bulbs if the light fixtures are smaller in size. For example, a homeowner wants to have lighting in his small space, so he might have wall sconces installed.

You have to install at least six to ten wall sconces to achieve optimal brightness for work. We should use the lighting fixtures meant for security lighting rather than saving more money and buying smaller fixtures.

Be sure you use lights specially designed for security.

Remember: the accent lights you might have in your garden cannot be used for security lighting because they provide lesser light needed for security. Accent lights range from 50 to 300 lumens max, while security lightings require triple the amount (700 lumens minimum).

Security lights are used to protect your homes, so it should be brighter. We have to keep in mind that security lighting is for security purposes, and accent lighting is for aesthetics.

Too bright lights can cause problems with your neighbors and the environment.

One thing we should know is that outdoors should have brighter lighting, especially at night. It can be brighter but not too bright to disturb your neighbors.

Neighbors complain of the light seeping through their houses at nighttime, making sleeping and moving inside their house uncomfortable. It can also disrupt your neighbors’ sleeping patterns and circadian rhythms as well.

The National Conference on State Legislatures has released a research about the effects of light pollution and its laws. Today, 18 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have laws aiming to reduce the light pollution in their skies.

Strategic positioning is vital. For example, put your lighting on places where no windows can reflect the light in their houses. Outdoor lighting can also contribute to light pollution.

For those who don’t know, light pollution is the inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light — including security lighting. It can disrupt ecosystems just like how humans’ circadian rhythms are getting disturbed with excessive amounts of light, such as the birds’ migration in some seasons.

The glare coming from the sunlight can also damage one’s eyes, mostly if aging already or have preexisting conditions.

There is No One-Size, Fits-All Rule in Security Lighting

Brighter lighting is not necessarily a better option.

As mentioned above, too much light can cause light pollution. It can cause glares on neighbors’ windows. It can also cause light trespass, where the light goes inside the neighbors’ houses.

Lastly, it can also cause environmental issues with how stars won’t be visible anymore due to excess lighting from security lighting.

Not all lighting types can be used outside just because they are bright.

It is important to note that not all lighting types are meant to be used outside. CFLs do not work well in colder climates, and they might not start, so they are not recommended for outdoor lighting. LEDs work the best in any environment as they don’t overheat nor react badly to colder temperatures. 

Some of the recommended brands include LITOM and Sansi since they work on solar energy to help save electricity bills. LITOM lights cost around thirty-nine dollars apiece, while Sansi lighting fixtures cost $36.99 each, as of today’s writing. You can buy these on Amazon. They both use solar energy, so there is no need to install additional wirings. 

Based on my personal experience, I chose LITOM because they can withstand changing weather conditions. It also detects motion within up to 26 feet and the best part of it — it uses solar energy. That means I can be saving a lot of money but not compromising my security.

Other recommendations are smart lights or lights with home automation capabilities, such as Eufy Floodlight, but they are more expensive. A single unit of Eufy Smart Floodlight with a camera costs around $199.99 as of today’s writing.


The primary purpose of having security lighting is to warn people of potential dangers like burglars or other security threats. It is also used to scare unwanted people or animals away from you.

To be specific, security lighting should be between 700 and 1300 lumens. Strategic placing is also essential and has additional security features, such as having a security camera installed near the security lights, which can also maximize household security systems.

There are cheaper options out there, such as security lights that you can buy on Amazon, which will help you save money because they are powered by solar energy. They usually cost around forty dollars apiece, which is much cheaper.

We don’t want you wasting money on something you might not get to use in the end.


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If you’re interested in reading more about smart light, smart garages and smart homes checkout some of the other houshia categories including:

Home Security

Smart Lights

Smart Home

Smart Garage

Steve Foster

Suburbanite, tech geek, handy man, automation enthusiast who started blogging about the stuff I do around my home and found he had a knack for it.

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