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High bay lighting

About High bay lighting

High bay lighting is designed to operate high above the ground, which makes it a popular option for commercial and industrial buildings. High bay fixtures are commonly found in places like warehouses, manufacturing plants, industrial garages and large stores. When a building has a ceiling height of over 15 feet, other fixtures don’t provide adequate lighting at floor level - you need to use high bay lamps.

Most high bay fixtures use high-output fluorescent tubes, metal halide bulbs or LED lamps. However, LED high bay lights offer the best performance: they last longer than both fluorescent and MH lamps, and they can achieve energy savings of over 60%. For example, when upgrading metal halide lamps, a 400W equivalent LED high bay typically consumes less than 150W. Since the MH fixture consumes around 450W when connected to the ballast, you’re getting energy savings of 66% in this case.

Thanks to their long service life, High bay LED lights also save on replacement lamps and maintenance over time. While an MH bulb must normally be replaced in less than 10,000 hours, an LED high bay light will normally last between 50,000 and 100,000 hours. In other words, you are not only saving electricity, but also 5-10 replacement lamps over time!

High bay LED lights are also a safer option than fluorescent tubes and MH bulbs:


  • Fluorescent tubes and MH bulbs can shatter, releasing shards of glass over the area below. This can be very dangerous on a factory floor, or a warehouse that contains food products. On the other hand, LED high bay lights can be manufactured without fragile materials, eliminating this risk.
  • MH bulbs cannot be switched back on immediately if their power supply is disconnected, leaving the area in the dark for several minutes. This is not an issue when using LED lighting, which can be switched frequently without problem.
  • Thanks to their low energy consumption, LED lights can run with batteries and other backup power sources for a longer time when there is a blackout. Fluorescent tubes and MH lamps will deplete backup power sources faster, due to their higher consumption.

If you want to improve high bay lighting in an existing building, there are two main options. You can remove the existing lighting system completely to install new LED fixtures, but you can also install high bay LED retrofit lamps. which use existing fixtures while only replacing their lamps and internal connections.

Below, we will answer some frequently asked questions about LED high bay lights, and high bay lighting in general. If you’re looking for quality LED high bay lights in Canada, Lumenco offers a wide production selection from top brands in the lighting industry.

Are There Different Types of LED High Bay Lights?

All high bay LED fixtures are designed to provide adequate lighting when installed high above the ground. However, there are different designs available:

Linear and UFO fixtures are the most common types, and both are very effective when you need to illuminate areas with high ceilings. The main difference between these fixtures types is their beam shape: linear high bay LED fixtures emit more light towards their sides, making them suitable for aisles, while UFO fixtures emit light equally in all directions due to their round shape.

High bay LED fixtures are an excellent option for industrial lighting. Lamp replacements can be disruptive or production in a manufacturing plant, but they are minimized thanks to the long service life of LED lighting.


How Are High Bay Fixtures Installed?

When high bay fixtures are used in commercial and industrial buildings, they are normally attached to the ceiling with specially designed chains, similar to how shop lights are installed. However, there are also surface mount LED high bay fixtures, which can be attached directly to the roof structure without chains.

If you are using LED high bay retrofit lamps, there is no need to install new fixtures. You only need to remove the lamps in the existing fixtures, and rewire their internal connections as required by the retrofit lamps. This allows a quicker installation while saving on labor costs.

Are High Bay Fixtures Compatible with Lighting Controls?

When using high bay fixtures, the compatibility with lighting controls depends on the lamp type:

  • High bay LED fixtures are the best option to be combined with automatic lighting controls. They can be switched on and off in a short time without problem, and they can also be dimmed when their full lighting output is not needed.
  • High bay fluorescent fixtures can be switched on and off with lighting controls, but most of them are not compatible with dimmers - you need special lamps and ballasts.
  • High bay MH fixtures cannot be switched on and off repeatedly, since they have a restrike time, and you cannot use dimmers with them. Lighting controls have very limited applications in this case.

Lighting controls can achieve synergy with LED high bay fixtures, increasing their energy savings. For example, a 400 watt metal halide high bay LED equivalent bulb only consumes around 150W. To achieve additional savings, a lighting control can reduce its operating hours, and also its brightness when daylight is available.

How Often Do High Bay Lamps Need to Be Replaced?

When using high bay lighting, the frequency of replacement depends on the lamp type:

  • Metal halide lamps have the shortest service life, and normally they must be replaced in less than 10,000 hours.
  • Fluorescent tubes have an intermediate service life of around 20,000 hours.
  • LED lamps have the longest service life: replacement bulbs normally last more than 50,000 hours, and high bay fixtures with integrated LEDs have a service life of up to 100,000 hours.

High bay LED lamps produce less waste thanks to their long service life, making them an environmentally friendly alternative. Also consider that LED lamps contain no mercury, unlike metal halide and fluorescent tubes.