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Beam Spread and NEMA Types

Flood lighting can provide a wide range of light distribution or beam spread. Beam spread is classified into NEMA Types.

Beam Spread (°) NEMA Type Description
10° - 18° 1 Very Narrow
> 18° - 29° 2 Narrow
> 29° - 46° 3 Medium Narrow
46° - 70° 4 Medium
70° - 100° 5 Medium Wide
100° - 130° 6 Wide
130°+ 7 Very Wide

NEMA indicates how wide or narrow the light is projected out of the flood light. Horizontal and vertical beam spread angles are used to distinguish NEMA types. 

Example: If the horizonal beam spread is 120° and the vertical beam spread is 140°, then the NEMA type is 6 x 7.

General Flood Lighting Principles

  • A narrower beam spread should be used if there is a large distance between the floodlight and the area being illuminated.
  • Narrow beam flood lights have a lower percentage of beam lumens falling outside the area to be lighted than wide beam flood lights. 
  • NEMA type is determined by two angles (horizontal and vertical) where the light intensity is 10% of the maximum beam intensity.

Six Standard Beam Spreads

Narrow Spot NEMA 2 x 2

Narrow Spot 2 x 2

The narrow spot distribution is ideal for applications where a tighter beam is required. It is also excellent for applications with far setbacks or longer distances such as flagpoles or tall trees.

Narrow Flood NEMA 4 x 4

Narrow Flood 4 x 4

Ideal for accenting sculptures, landscape and facade lighting with farther setbacks, narrow flood distribution provides a tight and symmetrical concentrated beam.

Horizontal Flood Beam Spread 5 x 3 NEMA Type

Horizontal Flood 5 x 3

Horizontal flood provides a wide horizontal beam with a narrow vertical concentration. It is ideal for applications that require a wide horizontal coverage with a shorter setback. It is a great distribution for grazing and accentuating architecture.

Vertical Flood 3x5 Beam Spread

Vertical Flood 3 x 5

Great for tall facades and signs with a limited setback, vertical flood provides tall, tight distribution.

Medium Flood Light Beam Spread 5 x 5 NEMA Type

Medium Flood 5 x 5

Designed for applications that require a wider uniform pattern with a medium setback, medium flood  is ideal for facades, under canopies, signs and general landscape applications.

Wide Flood Light Beam Spread 6 x 6 NEMA Type

Wide Flood 6 x 6

Wide flood distribution provides a large and uniform light pattern. Good for applications that require a shorter setback, wide flood can be used for signs, large facades, and broad landscape foliage. it can also be used for pole mounted applications for general area lighting.

Sources: Lithonia Lighting and Hubbell Lighting