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Ensure Proper Light Coverage by Understanding Foot-Candle Calculations

When planning an LED lighting project, one of the most important factors to consider is light coverage. This article will explain how to use the "foot-candle" measurement to determine how much light your project will require.

What is a foot candle?

A foot candle is a measure of luminescence that quantifies the amount of light reaching a specific surface area. A foot candle measures the lumens per square foot of a illuminate. Specifically, a 1-lumen light that lights up a 1x1 foot area at a distance of one foot is said to produce 1 foot candle. The foot candle is the most common measurement used by professionals to determine appropriate light levels in work spaces, retail venues, buildings and outdoor spaces.

How many foot candles do you need?

The exact amount of foot candles needed can be found with a light meter. For commercial and industrial applications, it might be smart to invest in a light meter or hire an expert to make this determination for you. For homeowners or small business, you can make foot candle estimates based on the chart below.
  • Offices and Indoor Spaces: 20-50 foot candles
  • Warehouses: 10-50 foot candles (more needed for more detailed activity like ready labels)
  • Machine Shops: 50-100 foot candles
  • Outdoor Spaces: 20-50 foot candles
  • Painting and Color Matching: 100-150 foot candles (locations where precise color work is done require more lights)
For more information on choosing the correct LED light for your application, contact one of our experts at 877-533-5554