Parking Lot Lighting FAQ

Parking Lot Lighting FAQ

When buying the right equipment to light up your parking lot, there are many questions to consider. With decades of experience helping customers with questions and determining the best configurations for their lot, the lighting experts on our team here at have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions so that they can help you with your project! Should you have any additional questions not covered in this list, please call us at (800) 443-8254.

What are the lights in a parking lot called?

The lights found in a parking lot are commonly called “parking lot light poles” or “LED light poles.” They also are sometimes mistakenly referred to as street lights, but that is not correct. Street lights cast a narrow beam of light to illuminate a narrow rectangular area such as street pavement, whereas parking lot lights cast a broader beam to light larger areas.

What type of light is best suited for outdoor parking?

For parking lots, LED area lights are the go-to option. While this has not always been the case, LEDs have dominated this use-case due to their durability, energy efficiency, and they’re incredibly effective at achieving desired brightness levels. The most significant advantage of LEDs is their lumen maintenance which means that even after many years, they will keep providing more than 90% of their original brightness.

How much does a parking lot light pole cost?

Price varies greatly depending upon the square footage of the lot and how well-lit the area needs to be (number of foot-candles required). To properly light the average outdoor parking lot, the cost for this typically falls in the $3,000-$5,000 range which includes the light poles and LED lights for an average size parking lot. A larger parking lot could cost more, though we’ve found our customers generally get what they need in that cost range.

How tall is a parking lot light pole?

Parking lot LED light poles are most commonly 15-20 feet tall; this height is ideal for maximizing the light coverage of a larger area while minimizing the number of light poles. Poles 15 feet or less are not typically used as the number of light poles required to cover the area increases significantly, impacting the project’s cost.

Parking lot lighting, like other forms of outdoor lighting, is measured in foot-candles. A foot-candle is a unit of illumination equal to that given by a source of one candela at a distance of one foot. If you are unsure how many foot-candles you need for your particular project, please use the images below as a general guideline; you can also contact us via e-mail or chat with our lighting experts over the phone at (800) 443-8254.The graphic above illustrates one of the most common questions: How much area does a parking lot light pole cover? In this case, an approximate 6,000 sqft. area is covered by a 150 watt LED area light attached to a 20 ft light pole.

Parking Lot Foot-Candle Chart

How many light poles are required to illuminate a parking lot?

The number of poles needed depends on the square footage you are trying to illuminate and the level of brightness required across the entire lot. If the parking lot needs to be brightly lit, that will take more lights than a parking lot where you simply need a basic lighting level for basic safety. If you start from scratch and want to light up an entire lot (which is the most common scenario we see with our customers), you will need to purchase poles and lights. Something to also take into consideration is how many light fixtures you will be using on a pole.

What is a typical number of foot-candles needed for a parking lot?

It is essential to consider the activity and type of parking lot you are lighting, for example, a car dealership. Dealerships require a higher volume of light to allow for high visibility of the vehicles; dealerships are typically 50 foot-candles. Compared to a church parking lot (typically one foot-candle), the light provides essential visibility for people to move around safely. On average, 1-5 ft candles generally are recommended.

Aerial View Foot-Candle Chart

How do you install parking lot lights?

When installing parking lot lights, you will want to use anchor base poles most of the time. Anchor base poles are commonly used in parking lots because they provide the best outdoor lighting in the safest way possible, allowing the poles to be raised above the grade. In addition, if there is damage to the light pole, it can be easily replaced by disconnecting them from the concrete foundation. The direct burial method can be used in the perimeter of parking lots near grassy areas. It is essential to be aware that different municipalities may have specific guidelines or code requirements for light levels or light spills; check with your municipality before starting your project.

Check out our product instructional videos page or subscribe to our YouTube channel to learn more about parking lot lighting and other helpful tips and tricks.

If you have any additional product-related questions concerning parking lot lighting, give us a call or send us a message. We’d be happy to help!

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