Everything You Need To Know About Beam Angle

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Lighting can change the feel of any space, from a cozy living room to a busy shop or an outdoor area. We often talk about things like brightness, color, and design when we think about lighting. But, we should also focus on the ‘beam angle’.

In basic words, the beam angle is how wide the light spreads from the light source. It decides how much area the light covers and where the light goes. Knowing about beam angles helps us get the best lighting for different places.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about beam angles – what they are, how they’re measured, and where they’re used. We’ll see how beam angles change lighting, look at common beam angles used in lighting, and learn how to choose the right beam angle for different places. By the end of this article, you’ll understand beam angles well and can use this knowledge for lighting design.

Understanding Beam Angles


The beam angle is important in lighting design. It’s the angle at which light comes out from a light source. It’s measured from the middle of the light source to the point where the light is half as bright. It tells us the shape and size of the area that the light covers. Smaller beam angles (10 to 30 degrees) create focused spotlights. These are great for highlighting specific areas or objects.


Larger beam angles (60 to 120 degrees or more) create a widespread, softer light that fills a whole room. This can make a space feel big and open. Beam angles that are in the middle (30 to 60 degrees) are a mix of both. They’re good for general lighting or task lighting.

Narrow Beam Angle


A narrow beam angle is from 10 to 30 degrees. It shines a bright light over a small area. It’s perfect for lighting up specific things or places accurately. It makes a strong, focused beam of light. This is good for spotlighting, task lighting, or showing off building features.

For example, in a museum, you can use these spotlights to shine on certain artworks or items to make them look better. Also, in shops, you can use track lights with a narrow beam angle to light up certain product displays. This can make a cool visual effect for customers.

Wide Beam Angle


Wide beam angles, usually between 60 to 120 degrees, give a large, soft light. They’re good for lighting up big areas.

You can use wide beam lights in homes to make a room feel cosy. You can also use them outdoors to light up big areas like gardens or parking lots.

Knowing the difference between narrow and wide beam angles helps you pick the right light.

narrow beam angle and wide beam angle
narrow beam angle and wide beam angle

Common Beam Angles


various beam angles are commonly used to achieve specific lighting effects and meet different requirements. Let’s explore some of the most common beam angles and their applications:

Beam Angle Description Applications
Narrow Spot (10-20 degrees) Highly focused beam of light Used for accent lighting, highlighting specific objects or architectural features
Spot (25-40 degrees) Focused beam of light with slightly broader coverage Ideal for accent lighting, emphasizing objects or specific areas
Narrow Flood (45-60 degrees) Wider coverage with a focused beam Suited for task lighting, offering slightly wider coverage
Flood (65-120 degrees) Wide and even distribution of light Perfect for general ambient lighting
Wide Flood (125 degrees and above) Widest distribution of light, providing soft and diffused illumination Used in outdoor lighting, landscape lighting

It’s important to note that the specific beam angles available may vary depending on the lighting fixture or manufacturer. Understanding these common beam angles allows you to select the appropriate lighting solution that matches with your desired lighting effects and requirements.

How Does Beam Angle Affect Lighting Conditions?


The angle of a light beam changes how bright it is and how much area it covers. Let’s look at how:

1. Brightness:

If the beam angle is narrow, the light is more concentrated and brighter because it covers a smaller area. This is great for highlighting things. But if the beam angle is wide, the light is spread out more, so it’s softer and covers a larger area. It might not be as bright, but the light is more evenly distributed.

2. Coverage:

The beam angle decides how much area the light will cover. A small beam angle gives a focused light that lights up a small, specific area. This is good for highlighting certain objects or parts of a building. On the other hand, a big beam angle lights up a bigger space, which is good for general lighting or brightening up large areas. It spreads the light more evenly, lessens shadows and makes the space well-lit.

When choosing the right beam angle, you need to think about how much light a place needs. For example, in a shop, you can use spotlights with a small beam angle to draw attention to products. But for larger areas like aisles, you can use downlights with a big beam angle to light up the whole space.

beam angle for par light bulbs
beam angle for par light bulbs

3. Glare Control:

Beam angle is key to managing glare. Small beam angles focus light, which helps prevent glare and is good for places where we need to be careful with light. Large beam angles spread light out, which can cause glare if not handled correctly. To avoid glare from large beam angles, it’s important to place the light fixtures correctly and use shields.

By knowing how beam angle affects brightness, glare and how much area it covers, you can plan better lighting for different places.

How do you measure Beam Angles?


Accurately measuring beam angles is crucial for selecting and specifying the right lighting fixtures for various applications. There are many ways to accurately measure beam angles. Here are some methods often used:

1. Goniophotometer:

This is a special tool that measures how light from a source is spread out in all directions. It has a part that rotates and sensors that pick up how strong the light is at different spots. They give exact measurements of things like the beam angle, brightness, and color of the light. But, they usually cost a lot and need someone with special skills to use them.

2. Photometric Software:

This is a program that uses math and light data to figure out and show beam angles. It looks at the properties of the light source, like how bright it is from different angles, and makes reports and pictures showing the beam angle and how much it covers.

3. Light Meters:

These are tools, also called lux meters, used to guess the beam angle. This is done by checking how bright the light is at different distances from the source. The brightness decreases as you move further away, this change helps guess the beam angle. But, this method only gives a rough guess and may not be very accurate.

Factors Affecting Beam Angle Measurements:

Several factors can affect beam angle measurements, including:

  • Fixture Design: The design of the light fixture, such as the shape of the reflector or lens, can influence the beam angle distribution.
  • Lamp Type: The type of lamp used, such as incandescent, LED, or fluorescent, can also affect beam angle characteristics.
  • Measurement Distance: The distance from the light source to the measurement point can impact the accuracy of beam angle measurements.

When manufacturers provide specifications for lighting fixtures, they often include the beam angle measured using standardized methods. These specifications give users a clear understanding of the light distribution characteristics and help in selecting the appropriate fixtures for their lighting requirements.

Applications of Different Beam Angles


Knowing how to use different beam angles is important for good lighting. Let’s see how certain angles can help us get the lighting effects we want:

Narrow Beam Angles: (10 to 30 degrees)

  • Accent Lighting: Use narrow beam angles to highlight special building parts, artworks, or things, making them stand out.
  • Spotlighting: Narrow beam angles create focused spotlights, lighting up certain areas or things, like stage lights or display case lights.
  • Track Lighting: Use narrow beam angles in track lighting to light up specific areas or things with movable spotlights.

flood beam angle

Medium Beam Angles: (30 to 60 degrees)

• Task Lighting: Medium beam angles provide focused task lighting, suitable for areas where precise illumination is needed, such as desks, reading areas, or workstations.

• General Illumination: Medium beam angles offer a balance between focused and diffused lighting, making them suitable for general illumination in offices, classrooms, and living spaces.

• Wall Washing: Medium beam angles are used in wall washing techniques to create a soft, even glow on walls, enhancing the ambiance and visual interest of a space.

Wide Beam Angles: (60 to 120 degrees or more)

• Ambient Lighting: Wide beam angles provide diffused ambient lighting, creating a sense of spaciousness and openness in large areas, such as lobbies, conference rooms, and open-plan offices.

• Cove Lighting: Wide beam angles are used in cove lighting to create a soft, indirect wash of light along ceilings or alcoves, adding a subtle layer of illumination.

• Decorative Lighting: Wide beam angles are often used in decorative lighting fixtures, such as chandeliers or pendant lights, to provide ambient illumination while enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a space.

By understanding the applications of different beam angles, you can strategically select and position lighting fixtures to achieve the desired lighting effects for specific spaces and environments.

How To Select The Right Beam Angle?



Choosing the right beam angle for a particular application requires careful consideration of several factors:

1. Purpose of the lighting: Determine whether the lighting is intended for accent, task, or ambient illumination. Narrow beam angles are suitable for accent lighting, medium beam angles for task lighting, and wide beam angles for ambient lighting.

2. Size and Layout of the Space: Take into account the size and layout of the space you’re lighting. Larger areas may require wider beam angles to ensure adequate coverage, while smaller areas may benefit from narrower beam angles for focused illumination.

3. Distance from Light Source to Target: The distance between the light source and the target area also affects the beam angle choice. Longer distances may require wider beam angles to achieve uniform coverage, while shorter distances may allow for narrower beam angles with more focused lighting.

4. Desired Lighting Effects: Consider the desired lighting effects for the space. Do you want to create dramatic highlights, soft and diffused illumination, or a combination of both? This will help determine the appropriate beam angle that can achieve the desired effects.

5. Lighting Design and Aesthetics: Take the overall lighting design and aesthetics into account. The beam angle should complement the style and atmosphere of the space. For example, in a modern and minimalist setting, narrower beam angles may be preferred for precise and clean lighting.

6. Energy Efficiency: Consider energy efficiency when choosing beam angles. Narrower beam angles provide more focused lighting, reducing unnecessary light and energy use. However, wider beam angles can provide more efficient coverage in certain situations, reducing the number of fixtures required.

Type of light fixture and lamp used 


The type of light fixture and lamp used can influence the beam angle distribution. Consider the specific light fixture design and lamp characteristics when selecting the appropriate beam angle.

mr16 beam angle
mr16 beam angle

General Guidelines for Beam Angle Selection:

  • For accent lighting, use narrow beam angles (10-30 degrees) to create focused spotlights.
  • For task lighting, use medium beam angles (30-60 degrees) for a balance of focused illumination and wider coverage.
  • For ambient lighting, use wide beam angles (60-120 degrees or more) to diffuse light evenly throughout the space.

Right Beam Angles For Different Spaces


The ideal beam angle selection can vary depending on the type of space being illuminated:

Residential Lighting:

  • Living rooms: Use a combination of medium beam angles for general illumination and narrow beam angles for accent lighting.
  • Bedrooms: Use medium beam angles for general illumination and narrow beam angles for task lighting near beds or desks.
  • Kitchens: Use a combination of medium beam angles for general illumination and narrow beam angles for task lighting over countertops or sinks.

Commercial Lighting:

  • Retail stores: Use medium beam angles for general illumination and narrow beam angles for highlighting specific products or displays.
  • Restaurants: Use a combination of medium beam angles for general illumination and narrow beam angles for accent lighting on walls or architectural features.
  • Offices: Use medium beam angles for general illumination and narrow beam angles for task lighting on desks or workspaces.

Industrial Lighting:

  • Warehouse lighting: Use wide beam angles for general illumination and narrow beam angles for task lighting in specific areas.
  • Manufacturing facilities: Use a combination of medium beam angles for general illumination and narrow beam angles for task lighting on workstations or machinery.
  • Safety lighting: Use narrow beam angles for focused illumination of safety exits or pathways.

By carefully considering these factors, you can make informed decisions when selecting beam angles and create lighting designs that enhance the functionality and visual appeal of your space.



1. What does 30 degree beam angle mean?

A 30-degree beam angle is about how wide the light spreads from a light fixture. It’s like a cone of light that gets wider the further it goes from the light source.

This 30-degree cone of light is not too narrow and not too wide, so it’s often used for different types of lighting. It’s good for highlighting specific things, or for lighting up a general area. The exact effect depends on how far the light is from what it’s lighting up, how bright the light is, and what kind of surface it’s shining on.

2. What is the difference between a narrow spot and a spot beam angle?

The main difference is the beam spread. A narrow spot has a more concentrated beam, typically between 10-20 degrees, while a spot beam angle ranges from 25-40 degrees and provides a slightly wider coverage.

3. How do I determine the appropriate beam angle for a specific space?

Consider factors such as the purpose of lighting, space size, desired lighting effects, and the distance between the light source and the target area to determine the appropriate beam angle.

4. Are there beam angle standards for different applications?

While there are no strict beam angle standards, certain applications like accent lighting generally benefit from narrower beam angles, while general ambient lighting may require wider beam angles.

5. Can I adjust the beam angle of my existing lighting fixtures?

It depends on the type of lighting fixture. Some fixtures offer adjustable beam angles, while others have fixed angles. Consult with a lighting professional to explore options for adjusting the beam angle of your existing fixtures.

6. How do I choose the right beam angle for different types of lamps?

The right beam angle for a lamp depends on the type of lamp and how you plan to use it. For example, LED lamps are famous for their wide range of beam angle choices., while incandescent lamps typically have wider beam angles. Consult the specifications of the lamp to determine its beam angle range.

7. How can I minimize glare from wide beam angle fixtures?

Proper light fixture placement and shielding are crucial for minimizing glare from wide beam angle fixtures. Avoid direct glare by positioning fixtures carefully and using diffusers or shields to control the spread of light.



This is a simple guide on beam angles in lighting. This article will help you understand the basics, useful when choosing lighting for your applications.

Beam angles might seem complex, but they’re easy once you understand them. Use wide angles for bright spaces, and narrow ones to highlight areas. You can mix beam angles for perfect lighting.

If choosing beam angles feels tough, our experts at CST Lighting are here to help. We have many indoor and outdoor lighting options for homes, commercial and industrials.

CST Lighting offers many great lighting options. Some of our top categories are LED Strip Lights, LED Neon Lights, LED Downlight, and Outdoor Spotlighs, etc.

Want a custom quote for your lighting? Contact us now!

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