Can LED Bulbs Be Used Outdoors? (Pro’s, Con’s, and Warnings!)

Whether you’re throwing a garden party, hosting a barbecue, or just looking to spruce up your outside spaces, you may be wondering what your options are lighting wise.

So can LED bulbs be used outdoors? Thankfully, appropriately rated LED bulbs are totally safe to use outside HOWEVER there are caveats...

What this means is that, so long as your LED bulb in particular has been listed as UL certified for use in a ‘damp’ or ‘wet’ location (whichever is required contextually) then you shouldn’t experience any problems or have to worry about one arising.

For instance, a bulb that’s positioned beneath your awning, porch or other covering would only require a ‘damp location’ rating, where a totally exposed bulb that’s just sitting out in the open needs to have been rated as safe for use in a ‘wet location’.

This information should be easily available on the packaging or instructions provided with said bulbs, but if it’s not, a quick Google search should bring up the manufacturer’s recommendations for use.

A bulb’s IP rating, which refers to its resilience against debris, damp and other infiltrators, is also indicative of its appropriateness for outdoor use.

It is a two digit number, with the first referring to resistance to dust and the second to water.

The first value is measured from 1-6, with six being best, and the second from 1-8. Ideally, you’ll want an LED bulb with an IP rating of 65 or 66, as this should provide sufficient protection from adverse weather conditions.

It is also advised that you should pair your bulb with a lighting fixture - not only are they attractive (perhaps more so than an exposed bulb!), but they will also serve as added protection from the elements and make sure no one around them gets hurt.

You might be surprised to know that LED lighting is becoming increasingly popular for use outdoors, for several reasons. Let’s take a look at some!

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Why Use LED Outside?

  1. Made More Durable 

Usually made from plastic, as opposed to glass, LED bulbs tend to be a lot more durable than your standard bulb, which makes them a really great alternative for use outside.

They pose far less risk of smashing and causing injury to people nearby!Internal components have also often been sealed inside epoxy resin (see how to colour it here) or a similar protective layer, in order to keep that fragile core wire safe and untouched.

They’re therefore much less susceptible to external vibration or impacts.

  1. Far Better Energy Efficiency

Other common choices for outdoor bulbs are metal-halide or incandescent, and those bad boys tend to run at a much higher temperature, which increases their energy consumption considerably.

LED light uses diodes and a semiconductor, in order to transform energy into light without generating any heat at all, wasting virtually anything.

When compared to incandescent bulbs, white light emitting LEDs consume just 1/10th of the energy!

  1. Cost Effective - Cheaper To Run

Able to generate exactly the same amount of lumens with far less energy, you’ll notice that your utilities bill is far more budget friendly when you use LED lighting - it seems silly to even consider other alternatives at this point.

Likewise, because zero heat is generated in the light-making process, it’s physically impossible for an LED bulb to burn itself out or succumb to other damage.

As a result, you won’t have to spend more money on any repairs or replacements.

  1. Bolder, Brighter, Better Light Emission

Over time, the standard halogen, incandescent (and other) bulbs we use most often will begin to dim as they are used; what was once a clear white light can become lackluster and hard to see by, requiring regular swapping out for a fresh one.

With LEDs, because their power comes from electricity, the lumens produced will remain constant and therefore the light emitted stays at the same level constantly, whether it’s been used for a day or a year.

They don’t succumb to the tests of time!

  1. Innovative Design, Impressive Styles

As technology continues to develop before our eyes, so too do the forms and functions of LED bulbs, which are increasingly more advanced. Aesthetically, too, they are more diverse in appearance, coming in different shapes and sizes.

Many LEDs come with a remove that doesn’t just allow you to switch the light on and off or dim to your desired level of brightness, but you can also change the color of the light produced totally - from red to pink to blue and back, the world’s your oyster!

An LED bulb outside

Which LEDS Are Used Outdoors?

One of the most popular iterations of the LED bulb outside is what’s known as the Dawn to Dusk model.

Such bulbs have an internal sensor that detects the current light levels outside and emitting lumens accordingly. It’s seriously clever stuff!

They will also automatically switch on in the dark and turn back off again at dusk - this all occurs manually, without the need for user control.

Given their technological powers, you might find these ones are pricier, but certainly worth the investment.

Another bulb that seems to be growing in popularity is the Yellow Bug Free edition, which offers a method of lighting up your garden without sending out a signal to every fly, mosquito and other insect in the vicinity to come and join you.

Whilst not quite as bright and bold as the dawn to dusk, they emit a beautiful amber-yellow glow, which creates a beautiful ambiance during the evening.

Perfect for your porch, it makes sitting outside at night a whole lot more pleasurable!

You may have also seen a huge rise in the popularity of Color-changing Smart Bulbs, which are usually paired with an Amazon Echo, Google Home or similar device, allowing you to choose between millions of color combinations for your light.

This makes achieving the light you’re looking for a whole lot more personalized, and the smart functions like voice commands and timers allow you to change things up hands-free.

Have you ever wanted to bask on a pink porch? Well, now you can!

So Can LED Bulbs Be Used Outdoors?

Thankfully, appropriately rated LED bulbs are totally safe to use outside if it's been UL certified as "damp" or "wet" location then you usually won't have any problems however always check the instructions that come with the bulb to be sure.