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Guide to Pole Barn Lighting: Know These 7 Different Types in 2024

LED lights on top of a reflective surface
LED lights. Image via pxfuel.com

One of the things that you need to decide on when building a pole barn is the type of lighting you want to use. Lighting plays a pivotal role in a pole barn because it can drastically affect how it looks and feels. Using the wrong kind of lighting can ruin the overall aesthetics of your pole barn. 

This article will give you a better idea of the different types of pole barn lights you can use. We will also tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of each type to help you choose the right one for your pole barn when it’s time to buy your lighting fixtures. 

Is a Good Lighting on Your Pole Barn Important?

While most of us treat lighting as just a way to make buildings brighter, lighting fixtures offer more than that. An excellent lighting choice can create depth and height to change the appearance of a structure. You can use lighting to draw attention to the most impressive sections of your pole barn. Lighting can add dimension to a space and add character to a structure. It can make a space more functional and help improve the quality of life of its user.

What are the Different Types of Pole Barn Lighting?

Let’s look at the different pole barn lighting types and their characteristics so you can choose the best lighting fixtures for your needs. 

Standard “A” Bulb

Type A light bulbs are the most widely used in residential buildings. They have many uses and can function well as household lighting fixtures, hall lighting, ceiling fan lights, and others. In fact, the most common light bulb size is A19. They are cheap but have shorter lifetimes of between 750 and 2,500 hours. Another drawback is that they are not as energy-efficient as other lighting options. 

Type A light bulbs are the most widely used in residential buildings.
A standard A bulb. Image via wikimedia.org

Tungsten Halogen

This type of pole barn light is also called a halogen lamp, quartz-halogen, or quartz iodine lamp. It is a type of incandescent lamp with tungsten filament sealed in a compact transparent envelope. This transparent envelope is filled with a mixture of inert gas and a small amount of a halogen, typically bromine or iodine. Halogen lamps are slightly more energy-efficient than Standard A bulbs but are almost the same price. Spotlights, automotive headlights, and work lights are some of the everyday uses of halogen lamps. They also last longer and have lifetimes of between 2,000 and 4,000 hours. 

 a halogen lamp, quartz-halogen, or quartz iodine lamp on top of a smooth surface
A tungsten halogen lamp. Image via wikimedia .org

Straight Tube

Straight tube lights are also called fluorescent lights. A straight tube light uses a mixture of argon, neon, krypton or xenon, and mercury vapor. Depending on the manufacturer, you can find straight tubes as affordable as Standard A bulbs, while some are more expensive. One advantage of straight tube lights is that you can get them in warm and cold color temperatures. Buy a straight tube with a warm color temperature if you want a more natural-looking light and a cold color temperature if you want lighting that is whitish but looks a bit artificial. Straight tube lights are durable and last between 7,000 and 24,000 hours. 

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Straight tube lights are also called fluorescent lights
A straight tube lighting. Image via wikimedia.org

Compact Fluorescent

Compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, produce light with the help of gas reactions within their tubes. Compact fluorescent lamps often contain argon and mercury vapor. CFLs are more energy-efficient than traditional light bulbs, so they can help you reduce your energy bills. They are dimmable, so you can use them in areas where you don’t need the full illumination that light bulbs offer. Unlike straight tube lights, CFLs come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, so you can get one that suits the overall design of your pole barn. However, CFLs are less durable than straight tubes and can last only around 10,000 hours. 

A Compact fluorescent lamps
A compact fluorescent lamp. Image via wikimedia.org

HID Metal Halide

If you are looking for a lighting fixture that offers maximum illumination, an HID metal halide lamp is an excellent choice. HID means high-intensity discharge, and this type of pole barn light produces higher-quality light. The light HID metal halide lamps produce is closer to natural sunlight and helps increase visual acuity. Because of how bright they are, they are commonly used as a security lights or to light a larger area. HID metal halide lamps are expensive but can last between 5,000 and 20,000 hours. 

a HID metal halide lamp
An HID metal halide. Image via wikiedia.org

HID High-Pressure Sodium

This is a type of lighting you will commonly see in industrial settings. They are also used as plant grow lights. They have excellent lumen maintenance, which means that the quality of light they produce doesn’t degrade as they get older. HID high-pressure sodium lights can last between 16,000 and 24,000 hours. One disadvantage of this type of light is its delayed startup period of up to four minutes. This means that the lamp will start dim and attain full brightness up to four minutes after your turn it on. 

A HID high-pressure sodium light
A HID high-pressure sodium light. Image via wikimedia.org

LED Light

LED stands for light emitting diode. It is the most energy-efficient lighting option available today. These are also very durable and can last between 10,000 and 50,000 hours. Unlike other types of lighting, LED lights emit little heat. They are expensive initially, but the energy savings can make them more affordable in the long run. LED lights are customizable, so you can use them in various ways, like accent lights, workbench lights, pin lights, etc. 

LED lights on a shiny surface
LED lights. Image via pxfuel.com

How to Choose Your Pole Barn Lighting

Let us now turn our attention to some important pointers you should keep in mind while making your pole barn lighting plans. 

Amount of Light

Analyze the area you want to light up. Do you want to light the entire pole barn or just a small portion? If you want to light the entire pole barn, using one or two powerful lights might be more efficient than many small ones. A small LED light might be more efficient if you need to light just a small section of the pole barn. You can actually compute the number of lighting fixtures you will need with the help of this formula


An ample space Kitchen with good lighting and wooden center table for tools
An ample space Kitchen with good lighting and wooden center table for tools

How you intend to use a space is important in choosing your barn lighting fixtures. For example, ceiling, sidewalk, and walkway lights should be bright enough to illuminate a large area. Bright but focused lights are ideal for work areas, allowing you to see what you are doing accurately. Artificial lights emitting much heat are not ideal for areas where you expect to spend a lot of time, like a workshop or a recreational space. Check our Instagram account for design ideas you can use in planning your pole barn. 


Your budget is critical in choosing the type of barn lighting fixtures you will use. Aside from the lighting fixtures’ cost, you also need to consider the electrical wiring of your pole barn. This is why it is important that you plan the placement of pole barn lights ahead of time so your electrician can assess how many light sockets they need to install. 

Compare the lighting options mentioned above and look at their energy consumption, as they can affect your monthly energy usage. It is also better if you canvass several suppliers to compare prices. Aside from pricing, ask for warranty information to know what to do if you need to replace a busted bulb. Check if the seller offers free shipping if you order out of state. 

Final Thoughts 

Pole barn lighting affects not just how bright your pole barn will be; light fixtures can affect your energy consumption. Some lighting options are initially expensive, so you will need to prepare a larger budget. Using the information we provided above, you can carefully choose lighting fixtures to make your pole barn functional without resulting in a sharp increase in energy consumption. Follow our Facebook page for more content on pole barn homes, barndominium floor plans, and shouses

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