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Practical advice on commercial lighting from LED retrofts to lighting design

How to pick the best LED wall pack

Posted by Scott Anderson on


Wall packs are a workhorse fixture for building security and safety. These fixtures are common across a wide range of industries from industrial and warehouse to retail and just about everything in between.  

Wall packs are a workhorse fixture for building security and safety. These fixtures are common across a wide range of industries from industrial and warehouse to retail and just about everything in between.

Today, if you’re looking for a new LED wall pack, you’ll want to steer clear of the lowest cost products to avoid quality issues that result in premature failure. But when you’re looking at the most common options, there are a lot of "copy cat" products out there, too.

So, how do you choose an LED wall pack if most of the options are so similar? Do you go with a reasonable price and then just move on? We’ve put together a few considerations on picking the best LED wall pack to help guide your decision.

Why avoid the lowest cost LED wall packs? 

LED lighting has come a long way in the last ten years. A decade ago, it wasn’t uncommon to compare “similar” LED products where an untrained eye could easily see significant differences between the light color or quality. This typically translated to other quality issues that would result in early failures or color quality that made it more difficult to see well. 

A big part of the advancement of the industry has to do with the advancement of more consistent LED chips, electronics, and heat management. This means that many lighting products are more consistent than they used to be. There’s still a big difference between some of the lowest cost options on the market and mainstream products, but when you’re comparing the larger, more reputable manufacturers, the differences have narrowed considerably.

So, if you're looking for a quality wall pack, you should probably pause if the price point is much below $100.

From here we’ll look at a guide for choosing from comparable, good quality LED wall packs rather than focusing on low-end fixtures. 

How to compare LED wall pack fixtures

Once you determine the light output and light color for an LED wall pack, you’ll probably still be faced with a dozen or more fixtures to choose from. At this point, most of the decision centers around your project timing, local requirements, and longer-term needs. 

Product availability 

Product availability is more of a concern than ever. With supply chain issues that are often unpredictable, your project timeline should determine your perspective on product availability.  

Many manufacturers are bringing stock into the US or assembling fixtures in the US to help shorten lead times. If you need fixtures in a hurry or you are operating a project where getting product in a specific time frame is critical, you should consider looking for products where a distributor or manufacturer have available inventory in the US.  

Color and wattage selectable versus fixed color and wattage fixtures 

Another recent trend in LED lighting is the influx of “color selectable” and “wattage selectable” fixtures. These fixtures allow you to change the light color and in some case wattage (translates to light output) with small switches on or in the fixture.

These fixtures tend to be slightly more expensive than a fixed color and fixed wattage fixture, but they also simplify the stocking needs for suppliers, so you may have an easier time finding product that’s in stock. These fixtures also allow for flexibility to configure in the field. You can decide if this is a pro or a con based on your project needs.

Local lighting code requirements 

When it comes to exterior lighting like wall packs, you may run into local lighting codes for backlight, uplight, and glare (“BUG”) requirements. If you’re in an area where there are BUG or dark sky compliance requirements, you should check to make sure the fixtures you’re considering meet this requirement.

Are you planning a project with detailed lighting requirements? Our lighting design studio can help make sure you meet local requirements, get the right product, and run a successful project. Get a lighting consultation today. 

Fixture warranty 

LED fixtures from reputable manufacturers typically provide warranties in the five-to-ten-year range. In most cases, a warranty only covers the product itself and not installation labor. If longevity is something that you’re considering, a longer warranty or even an extended warranty may be a consideration.

Brand and cost

We’ve covered brand and cost to a degree, but once you’ve ruled out the product that has quality and longevity concerns, you’re still left with a range of brands and prices. When it comes to brand, there are a number of good options to choose from. If you’re looking for other lighting products and you can consolidate to a specific brand, you may be able to negotiate better pricing based on volume. Or maybe you’re trying to hit an overall fixture price or project cost which will drive you toward a specific option.

Of the reputable products, you’ll likely see advanced BUG ratings, longer warranty, color and wattage selection, and other features affecting the price. Based on the features you need, you’ll still have a variety of prices to choose from that you can feel good about.

Rebate eligibility

Are you planning to apply for utility rebates to help reduce your project cost? If so, make sure that you consider any product requirements like DLC rating, wattage requirements, and more when selecting a wall pack.   

You may also want to check with your utility on the impact of color and wattage selectable features on rebate eligibility.

What is the best LED wall pack available?

Ultimately, the best LED wall pack is going to depend on your budget and requirements, but the good news is that there are a number of good options to choose from.

As a rule, if you're considering products in the $100 to $180+ range, you'll generally be looking at good quality products. From this general price range, use the guide above to consider BUG requirements, rebate eligibility, and lead times. Using this guide, you'll be able to pick a quality product that will perform well.

If you’re working on a lighting retrofit, remodel, or a new construction project, our team has the expertise to guide you to the products that fit your specific needs and timeline. If you’re ready to specify projects or you have an over-budget lighting package that you need help with, schedule a lighting consultation with our team here 

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