Most light sources radiate in a 360-degree pattern.
The fixture often uses reflectors and lenses to “throw” more light where it is needed and wanted. The design and use of these devices is called Optics.
Optics is defined as the science that deals with the properties of light; in this case specifically dealing with the way light changes directions when it is either refracted and dispersed by a lens or reflected from a mirror.
LED’s are quite different in this respect as the light is radiated in about a 90-degree pattern and is noted as being “directional” or going only in one direction. This makes LED’s more efficient in task lighting, street lighting and other types of lighting that require light to be directional. However, with the use of Optics and other devices, an LED fixture can be made to be 360 degrees.
When comparing light fixtures, be sure to notice how efficient they are at putting light in the areas you need and want light. To make a full comparison of light fixtures you need to consider:
- The overall energy usage of the fixture including ballasts, drivers and bulb
- The cost of the fixture
- The life of the light source and replacement costs over the lifetime of the fixture
- The amount, color and CRI of the light reaching the surfaces you wish to illuminate