NEMA beam spread classifications for outdoor floodlights

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The light distribution for floodlights is classified by beam type in accordance with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) classifications. The NEMA designation determines how wide or narrow the light is projected out of a floodlight. The NEMA beam spread is specified between Type 1 through Type 7, based on the field angle at which 10 percent of the maximum intensity is emitted. NEMA beam spread classifications are widely used by the lighting industry to specify the overall light distribution pattern of outdoor directional luminaires.

NEMA TypeBeam SpreadBeam DescriptionBeam Projection Distance
1​
10° to 18°Very Narrow240 ft and greater
2​
> 18° to 29°Narrow200 to 240 ft
3​
> 29° to 46°Medium Narrow175 to 200 ft
4​
> 46° to 70°Medium145 to 175 ft
5​
> 70° to 100°Medium Wide105 to 145 ft
6​
> 100° to 130°Wide80 to 105 ft
7​
> 130° and upVery WideUnder 80 ft

NEMA-Beam-Classification.jpg


Axially symmetrical luminaires which have the same horizontal and vertical beam spreads are classified with one NEMA number (i.e., Type 3). Luminaires with asymmetrical light distributions have separate horizontal and vertical beam designations. These luminaires are classified with two NEMA numbers (i.e., Type 5 x 3 or Type 5H x 3V). The horizontal value is always given first.

Six standard beamspreads (image courtesy of Hubbell Lighting)
NEMA-light-distributions.png
 

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