Spot vs Flood Light

Spot vs Flood Light Featured Photo

When deciding between spot vs flood light, there are a few key factors to consider, with the most important being purpose. Each of these light types are designed for specific purposes and this post will describe the differences and applications for each.  

My family and I are in the process of developing a property. It’s a piece of land we want to turn into a place people can rent for hosting events or for just getting away for the weekend, away from the city. Things are slowly coming into place with most items ticked off of our list.

We’ve got structures, pieces of furniture, and even plants to add beauty and color around. We’re just adding a few more finishing touches and one of the few things we’re currently looking at are the lighting fixtures outside the house.

We wanted to give the place a dainty vibe but still wanted everything properly lighted and illuminated. From LED light bars, LED lights, and all sorts of architectural lighting, we’ve seriously considered them all.

One of the few things that keep coming up are LED spot lights and LED flood lights. For a normal person, these don’t mean a thing, so what are they and how are they different?

Spot vs Flood Light: What’s the Difference?

For anyone planning a landscape lighting design, both floodlights and spotlights are popular options that just keep popping out. It’s easy for experts to determine what goes best for different properties and goals they want to achieve.

But for a normal person, terms like spot light and flood light can often be confusing. So what exactly are spot light and flood beam patterns and how are they different and or/similar?

What are spot lights?

Spot lights are a type of light pattern with a narrow beam spread, usually less than 45 degrees in width. Spot lights are more concentrated, narrower, and are able to reach long distances in the path ahead.

Spot lights are much easier to point and control which direction it points its light on. This specific feature of spot lights makes it a popular choice to illuminate certain objects.

One can easily spot spot lights (no pun intended) in decorative settings. It’s usually used to illuminate specific garden decorations, painting and photo exhibits, statues, items for sale in high-end stores, and other display objects.

Spot lights are able to shift focus to specific things, rather than focus on the entire area. It can be an effective lighting fixture to guide a spectator’s eyes in a specific direction.

Because spot lights have a more concentrated ray of light, they cast sharper shadows.

Spot light application

Spot lights are versatile and convenient to use. They offer both outdoor and indoor use.

As mentioned above, spot lights have a variety of use as house garden light fixtures. Spotlights illuminate and direct gaze to specific garden décor you want to highlight.

Spotlights also work great for many commercial applications. It can be used to illuminate signages, products, and exhibit items like paintings, statues, and photographs.

Another famous use of spotlights is for stages and performances. If you attend live shows like music festivals, concerts, and theater plays and productions, you must have seen spot lights used on stage. In these scenarios, spot lights are used to illuminate central performers up on stage.

Some police cars and rescue vehicles also sometimes use spot lights to illuminate their path and see long distances.

What are flood lights?

Flood lights have a much wider beam spread than those of spot lights. They have a beam spread of more than 45 degrees and up to about 120 degrees.

Flood lights are effective in lighting and illuminating larger areas and effectively do so even in low light settings. Much like its name, flood lights are able to flood huge spaces with maximum light and illumination.

Instead of helping eyes shift focus on specific things or areas, flood lights light and illuminate the entire area.

Flood lights have high-diffusion light patterns. This means they disperse light evenly throughout a space. This results in softer shadows. And because they light and illuminate entire spaces, flood lights are non-directional lights, meaning they aren’t capable of illuminating specific areas only.

With flood lights, you can’t control where it hits and what it illuminates. Once you place and install it on a large space, it will work to provide maximum illumination and flood the whole area with light.

Flood light application

Flood lights offer a lot of uses, especially for outdoor and night time purposes.

Because flood lights are able to illuminate large spaces, its most common applications are for stadiums and sports fields. They’re capable of illuminating such areas even in very low light settings.

Flood lights are also often used in driveways and huge parking lots. Even large warehouses benefit from flood lights as indoor lighting as they are capable of illuminating much larger spaces and buildings.

Flood lights are also commonly used for road work and street sweeping vehicles, which usually operate slowly at night. They also prove to be useful for vehicles driving through foggy roads and just general night use.

Spot vs flood light

Now that we know what each beam pattern is, it’s time we take a deep dive on their key differences.

Beam angle and beam width

Spot lights have a beam angle and beam width of less than 45 degrees. This means they have a much concentrated and narrower light spread. They’re able to reach far longer distances straight ahead in its direction.

Flood lights have a beam angle of more than 45 to about 120 degrees. They have a wider spread of light and illuminate much larger spaces.

While spot lights are directional and can illuminate a specific spot, flood lights are not and instead illuminate the entire area in its path. Spot lights, though concentrated, reach a farther distance than flood lights.

Spot lights reach a farther distance but don’t illuminate wide areas like how flood lights are capable of.


Flood light fixtures are generally bigger in size. Because they illuminate larger areas, they’re also bigger in size.

Spot lights are typically smaller than flood lights. The most common spot lights in the market are round in shape. Thanks to the shape, they’re easy to adjust to a specific direction.


Spot lights work best for illuminating specific areas or spots. Because they’re concentrated and directional, they help bring focus and gaze to whatever you choose.

Flood lights flood entire spaces and would be best if you need to light up big spaces like driveways and parking areas. Their light is scattered and provides enough light in low light settings.

Spot Light or Flood Light: Which is Right for You?

The answer to the question which beam pattern – spot lights or flood lights – you should get would depend on your application needs.

If you need something to illuminate signages or specific areas of a space only, spotlights would be beneficial. But if you want something that projects light strong enough for an entire area, flood lights are the way to go.

Many choose to a combination of both spot and flood lights to get the most of both light patterns, all depending on how much light you need and your preferred light intensity.


Spot lights and flood lights are two of the most common types of light when people think about landscaping. Apart from using them in gardens, they offer a variety of uses and much versatility.

Many are often confused by these two terms, what they mean, and how they’re different.

Spot lights have a narrow beam angle and spread. This means the light coming from spot lights is narrow and concentrated, but can reach long distances.

Spot lights are directional and easy to point and concentrate to specific directions for focused light. They’re a popular choice to illuminate garden décor, statutes, paintings or photographs, and landscape lighting.

Flood lights have a wider beam spread and beam angle. This results in scattered light that can illuminate larger areas in its direction. It floods whole areas with light instead of specific parts of it only.

Flood lights are best for installation in driveways, parking areas, and even as indoor lighting in huge warehouses.

And that has been our guide on spot and flood lights, what they are, and how they’re different! Thanks for reading all the way down here!