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Line Voltage Spot Light

When choosing the correct Line Voltage Spot Light for your outdoor feature, several options and items will need to be addressed.  In this article we will look at the major items that will need to be covered.

Spot verses flood

Spot lights will have a narrower field of light than a flood light.  The spot light will have a 45 or less degree spread of light vs the flood light having about 120 degree spread of light. If you are trying to highlight a big area not just a feature a flood light will be the choice.  Some times it will take more than one spot light to give the results your are looking for.  In this article will cover just spot lights for feature items.

Two major items to review before selecting a spot light is the distance to the feature from the light and how big the feature is to highlight. Most spot lights will give you a chart with the spread of the light over distances.  This will help after you have gathered your information.

A spot light with a 45 degree of light spread will have a circle of light four feet wide at 5 feet, eight feet wide at 10 feet and sixteen feet wide at 20 feet.  If you get a spot light with a smaller degree of light the circle of light will be smaller.

A spot light with a 20 degree of light spread will have a circle of light two feet wide at 5 feet.  You can see that it will narrow the beam of light to highlight a small area.  This type of light will have a light circle of eight feet at a 20 foot distance.

Most fixtures do not come with bulbs so you can choose the amount of spread by choosing the degree of spread on the bulb.  Make sure that you check this feature on your bulb.

Wire run and mounting

Line voltage wire run

Line Voltage Post Light Wire Run

Wire runs will be under ground.  See my post on line voltage post lights about the electric line from your house box to your fixture box. Some will just let an electrician take care of the wire runs, this is OK as there are many rules to follow when running a electric line under the ground.

Mounting of your fixture on the ground lever will be on a weatherproof box.  This box can be attached to a wooden or metal object that will be stable.  This box will have several knockouts that are threaded.  Most outdoor light fixtures are made to screw into these threads and form a water proof connection.

Tree or pole mounting will require you to run your electric conduit line up to your fixture box.  Several types of tree mounts are available.

Types of spot lights

Line voltage spot lightThe low end of spectrum with be the two incandescent bulb fixture with some kind of voltage interrupter like a light switch, dusk to dawn sensor or a motion sensor.  The degree of the bulb will decide how well this highlights your feature.  This fixture will normally have two bulbs that can be pointed in different directions, perfect for the corner of your house.  Look at the review of the Designers Fountain P218C-06.

A rectangle shaped halogen fixture will have a stick type of bulb called a T-3.  This type of bulb does not have a long life.  I have one in the front and am going to change it, tired of changing the bulb.  The reflectors will determine the amount of spread this fixture gives.

A round shaped halogen fixture will have a PAR16 or PAR20 75 bulb.  The base of these bulbs will be the line voltage spot lightsame as a regular light bulb. You could put one of the new LED bulbs in these fixtures if it is rated  for wet location service.  The degree of spread of the bulb will determine the lighting output.

A LED fixture will have several small LED bulbs that will outlast the fixture in most cases.  These will be very bright.and some will have a narrow spread of light of 10 degrees.  If you have a feature to highlight that is high or a great distance from your light position, this is the fixture that you will need.


When you are looking at line voltage spot light to highlight an item or feature in your outdoor space, choosing the correct fixture will could make all the difference. The bulbs and the fixture choices will be varied.  Hopefully in this article we will take some of the guess work out of you decision.

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