How to Choose a Night Light

Night lights are an excellent way to improve the safety of your home while keeping your electricity bill low, but it is essential to strike the right balance between style and efficiency. Here is our complete guide to choosing night lights for your home.

What are the benefits of night lights?

  • Night lights can help parents see when checking in on their baby in the nursery or bring comfort to a young child who is afraid of the dark.
  • Night lights are also an excellent fall prevention tool for seniors who have poor night vision.
  • They are ideal for illuminating the spaces in your home that don’t receive natural light and keeping hallways and bathrooms lit during the night.

What features should I look for in a night light?

The right night lights for your home should offer a suite of features that complement your décor and meet your safety needs. Some features to look for when shopping for a night light include:

  • Motion Sensor

Motion-activated night lights illuminate when someone enters their field of vision, so you don’t have to turn them on or off, saving you energy and having minimal impact on your utility bill. Look for a night light with a wide detection radius between 8-20 feet, depending on the location of the light.

Motion sensor lights in the bedroom should have the lowest sensitivity to prevent disturbing your sleep. Basement, garage and hallway lights should have the widest radius to prevent tripping in the dark.

  • Low Lumens

Lumens are a measurement of light emission. Ideally, a night light should have just enough lumens to guide you through your home safely, but few enough that they do not disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. Look for night lights under 50 lumens. For basements and garages, you may need a bulb between 50-100 lumens to illuminate the larger space.

  • The Right Color

The color of the night light you choose will depend on the location. Night lights in the bedroom should be red or orange to minimize any disruption to your sleep cycle. Lights in hallways and bathrooms should be a warm yellow light for slightly better illumination. Avoid blue or white light as it activates the daylight receptors in your eyes and makes it difficult to get back to sleep.

  • Discreet Profile

Night lights should not intrude on the space of your home to improve your safety when wandering your home at night. Look for night lights with a low or flat profile that sit flush against the wall if mounted or close to the power outlet if it is a plug-in.

Red Metal Glass Aluminun Rocket Table Night Light

What is the best bulb for a night light?

Night lights come in a range of different bulbs. The best night light should have an energy-efficient light source, emit a gentle glow, and does not produce too much heat. There are three main types of bulbs:

  • Incandescent

Lamp-style night lights and plug-ins use incandescent bulbs. They are similar to the standard bulbs used in your home light fixtures but with a lower wattage. They have an average lifespan of 1,000 hours and use between 2-7 watts of energy. However, they also produce heat, which could make them hazardous for use in a bedroom.

  • LED

LED bulbs are the most efficient and long-lasting style of night light bulbs. LED bulbs last at least 25,000 hours. They also come in a range of colors which can improve your sleep. They consume about 0.5 watts of energy, and while they do produce a slight amount of heat, most bulbs are fitted with a heat sink that draws the heat away from the bulbs, making them safe for use in all rooms of your home.

  • Electroluminescent

Most modern styles of night light do not use bulbs. Instead, they use electroluminescent technology, so you don’t need to replace burnt-out bulbs. They are also highly energy-efficient and long-lasting, at least 4,000 hours and only use 0.5 watts of energy. They also come in a wide variety of colors and do not produce any heat, making them perfect for kids’ bedrooms.

Clear Plastic Horse LED Table Night Light

Should I Choose a Plug-in or Battery Night Light?

When it comes to powering your light all night long, there are two options: plug-in and battery powered. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The key to choosing the right one for your home depends on the location of the light and power usage.

  • Plug-in Night Lights

The biggest advantage of using a plug-in night light is that it will stay illuminated all night and there is no need to change batteries. Most plug-in night lights use very little electricity and won’t significantly impact your utility bills.

However, depending on where the night light is positioned, you may find yourself without an outlet to charge your phone or tablet overnight. If you have limited outlets for electronics, consider a night light that replaces the outlet to allow access for phone chargers while still keeping your space well-lit.

  • Battery-powered Night Lights

Battery-powered night lights can be placed in almost any location because they do not need a power outlet. This enables them to be mounted easily on basement and hallway walls.

Unfortunately, regardless of the wattage of the bulbs used, you will eventually need to replace the batteries. Depending on how often you use the light and the type of battery, replacing batteries frequently can be cost-prohibitive for some people. Choose battery-powered night lights with LED bulbs or electroluminescence as they are more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

Quick Tips

  • Night lights should use low wattage bulbs and emit no more than 50 lumens.
  • Choose red or orange night lights to avoid disrupting your sleep-wake cycle.
  • Opt for motion sensor lights to save energy.
  • Electroluminescent lights are best for bedrooms as they do not produce heat.
  • LED and electroluminescent lights are long-lasting and extremely energy efficient.
  • Buy plug-in lights for a more reliable light source.

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