How to Choose a Post Light

Outdoor post lights help to make an excellent first impression and improve your curb appeal. They are also an essential outdoor security feature for any home by illuminating potential hazards. Choose the right outdoor lighting to enhance the style and safety of your outdoor space with our guide to post lights.

What Are the Features to Look For in Post Lights?

While there is a vast range of different post lights available to match your style and meet security needs, there are a few essential features to look for when shopping for a post light including:

Weatherproof Casing

Outdoor lights need to stand up to the elements, so you need to ensure that you buy post lamp with a heavy-duty weatherproof casing to protect bulbs and electrical elements from damage that would put your family home at risk. The casing should also be resistant to dust and debris to minimize interference with the brightness of the lamp.

Easy Installation

Ideally, you want a post light that can be quickly and easily mounted to a post that you have already prepared and wired in your home. Make sure your post light comes with the correct hardware and mounting base to fit the post.

For gas or electric lamps, you may need the assistance of professionals to complete your installation. However, if you choose the eco-friendlier solar option, no wiring is needed, and they are ready for use as soon as they are secured in position.

Quality Finishes

The finish of the post light determines how well it blends in with your home exterior and landscaping. Look for luxe metallic finishes such as copper, bronze, or die-cast aluminum that are hardwearing and stylish to give the lamp an expensive antique appeal.

Hammered or beveled glass panels can elevate the style of the lamp without inhibiting the brightness or direction of the light.

Timer or Sensor

A timer or motion sensor can help you to save energy when using your post lights. Set the timer between sunset and sunrise, and don’t forget to adjust the timers for daylight savings.

Motion sensors are ideal for post lights used for security measures. The sudden flash of light can deter would-be criminals and illuminate your home for witnesses. Motion sensors are also a good idea for functional task lighting, such as next to garages or on patios. However, motion sensors can be triggered by reflective surfaces, so make sure you position your post lights away from water features, mirrors, and windows.

Metal Architectural Bronze Wispy White Square Rectangle Pier Mount Light
Matte Black Metal Novelty Hardwired Lantern Head
Dark Bronze Square Rectangle Hardwired Lantern Head
Bronze Copper Accents Metal Square Rectangle Hardwired Plug In Lantern Head

Which Type of Lighting Should I Use?

The three most popular types of post lighting have both pros and cons, and each emits a different type of light suitable for different outdoor areas of your home.

Electric Post Lights

The most common style of post light used by professional landscapers is the low-voltage electric light. For yards that have already been wired, installation is a simple process. You also have a choice between LED, incandescent, and fluorescent bulbs to determine the amount and type of light you want.

Outdoor electric bulbs are long-lasting, especially if you opt for the slightly more expensive LED bulbs. They can also be set up with a timer or photosensor that switches the light on at dusk when the natural light gets low.

Electric lights are the best options for safety and security lighting. Choose a stylish lantern that matches your home exterior style to illuminate your front gate or porch.

Brushed Steel Bell Cone Edison Style Hardwired Lantern Head
Black Square Rectangle Hardwired Lantern Head
Rubbed Oil Bronze Metal Cylinder Hardwired Lamp Post Light
White Urn Hardwired Post Light

Gas Post Lights

Although not as common as low-voltage electrical lights, gas post lights offer a mesmerizing flickering light that creates a warm and inviting ambiance in your yard. Though gas lights do emit intense light, the flickering makes them unsuitable as safety and security lights.

Gas post lights need to be professionally installed and connected to a gas line. They are typically more expensive to operate than electric lights, and you will need to make sure the post light features a wind guard to protect the flame from extinguishing in strong winds.

Gas lights are the best option as decorative pieces in the backyard or patio. Match the gas post lights to outdoor wall sconces in your entertainment area to create an inviting outdoor space that has a seamless flowing style.

Architectural Bronze Metal Aluminium Barrel Post Light
Matte Black Metal Globe Post Light
Moroccan Gold Cast Aluminum Urn Lamp Post

Solar Post Lights

The biggest advantage of using solar panel post lights is the cost-efficiency. They also have a zero-carbon footprint and do not require any complex wiring for installation.

One of the downsides to solar post lights is that they don’t offer the same brightness as electric or gas-powered lanterns. This is a major consideration for lights used for security purposes.

The power of the light also suffers if it is not positioned in an area with continual direct sunlight. Solar lights also require a little extra care and attention to remove dirt and grime as they can limit the panel’s ability to absorb sunlight.

For pools, garden paths, and other open outdoor areas, solar post lamps are the best choice. You may need to purchase multiple lamps to compensate for the brightness, but the cost is offset by the money you save on your energy bill.

Black Plastic Empire Vintage Triple Solar Post Light
Metal Plastic Empire Solar LED Lamp Post
Black Cast Aluminum Empire LED Solar Lantern Head
Metal Empire Solar LED Pier Mount Light
Metal Empire Solar LED Pier Mount Light

Quick Tips

  • Make sure your post lights are weatherproof and hardwearing.
  • Lights should be easy to mount to your prepared post and install. However, you should never DIY gas or complex electrical wiring, hire the professionals instead.
  • The finish and details on the light should reflect the exterior style of your home and blend in with the landscape design.
  • Use timers or motion sensors to save energy.
  • Choose electric lights for security, gas lights for ambiance, and solar lights for pools and garden paths.

Foter Magazine is a premier architecture, decoration, interiors and design website. We inspire and guide you to make your home a more attractive place.


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