What Is the Difference Between a Flood & Spot Light?

Spotlights work well for illuminating specific objects.
Spotlights work well for illuminating specific objects. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Professional landscapers and lighting experts often employ both floodlights and spotlights, but the two lighting types produce significantly different beams intended for very different uses.

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Beam Width

The width of the beam distinguishes floodlights from spotlights. Projected over an 8-foot distance, a floodlight should cast a 4-foot beam, while a spotlight should cast a 2-foot beam. Spotlights typically project a 45-degree beam, while floodlights project a 120-degree beam.


Floodlights work well to illuminate large areas and can effectively illuminate a work area or serve as security lights. Spotlights, in contrast, typically illuminate specific points like artwork and architectural details.


Spotlights typically appear brighter than floodlights, even with the same wattage bulbs, because they produce more highly concentrated beams of light. Consumers can purchase both floodlights and spotlights in a variety of bulb types, including incandescent, halogen and LED.


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