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The Best LED Wall Lights in 2021: Buying Guide & Reviews

The best LED Wall Lights should combine the right amount of energy efficient light for their intended purpose with the perfect aesthetics for the space they will be in. However, understandably most people choose the style first with the assumption that the light itself will be acceptable, potentially missing out on an even better solution or worse still spoiling the room with the wrong type of light.

Choosing lighting can be a little daunting so we’ve put together our quick LED wall light buying guide so you can benefit from the principles that guide us as lighting designers. So let’s walk through our simplified key principles of choice to get your lighting looking good and performing incredibly for you.

Best-LED-wall-lights
Wall Light using an LED Lamp, St James’ Hotel in London.

Table of Contents

Quick Best Buy

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Wall Light Choice #1

The Benefits of Using LED Wall Lights.

The LED light source has revolutionized lighting and our interiors. This miniaturized light source runs with very little heat and has liberated designers to include LED into designs that were once impossible for traditional light bulbs. This has even meant that LED wall lights can even be built into the very fabric of the building, seamlessly integrated into the interior. Wall lighting choice is better than ever thanks to LED.

A huge benefit is you will save money. The efficiency of LED as a source of light is typically 80% better than the once incumbent sources of halogen and tungsten, immediately impacting your household bills as well as helping the environment.

LED is instantly on, there is no warming up of the bulb before it reaches full strength which makes them particularly useful if triggered on and off by a presence detector to light up a room or corridor.

7 Important Considerations When Choosing LED Wall Lights.

What is it for?

Choosing an LED Wall light should start with its primarily reason for being there? Is it more for the light it’s contributing to the room or the decoration? It can be both of course.

The higher output more functional levels of light needed for the general illumination of a room will usually come from the more architecturally styled cleaner lined style LED wall light. 

Wall lights can be incredible decorative, artistic statements that are focal points to a room that come alive when lit adding an accent level of light. These points of interest are integral parts of a successful lighting scheme.

Lumen Output

When the main source of ambient lighting for a space is from the walls, the amount of light the LED source is delivering into the room is very important. LED output in wall lights vary from a glow of light (under 100 lumens) to useful levels (400 lumens minimum and upwards).

The problem you can have is comparing one product to another as not all manufacturer’s will measure the output but simply tell you the wattage of the LED. You cannot directly correlate the energy spent to create the light (wattage) with the level of light actually produced (lumens), so our choices will guide you on how useful the illumination will be.

The Direction of light

Will your room benefit more from light that goes directly into the room or reflect off of the wall and ceiling first? Reflected light adds a more subtle and comfortable illumination than a light that shines through frosted glass, so it’s important to consider what type of light you want as an integral part of decorating your home. 

The Color of Light

The white light from LED is not all the same. Look out for the degree of kelvin in the specifications with the popular choices:

Proportions

The size of your choice is crucial as it’s a key part of any room and should have the proportions to suit it. Lighting benefits from bold choices, so go larger rather than smaller.

Inside or Out?

Wall lights to be installed outside need to be UL listed as damp or wet rated for the US and IP rated for Europe, so look out for this additional level of moisture ingress protection needed for wet locations such as porches, patio walls, anywhere on the exterior of a building. 

Dimming LED

Dimming LED can be done smoothly with no flickering of the light, but it can only be done perfectly when there is the correct combination of dimmable power supply (driver) with an LED sensitive dimmer plate on the wall that will handle low loads. If you want to dim your LED wall sconce choice, look for ‘dimmable driver’ somewhere in the specification and if you cannot find it stated presume it isn’t dimmable.

11 Types of LED Wall Light

Here are some common types which each can adopt a variety of styles depending on their finish and design.

Surface Mount

This type is fixed onto the wall and is the most common and self explanatory but it’s always worth checking that your choice is completely surface mounted with none of it requiring recessing into the wall. The power will enter the wall light in a particular position so ensure the recessed junction box in the wall.

Flush Mount

Flush means flat, meaning the wall light is mostly sunken into the wall revealing the diffuser or an opening for the light to emit from.

Recessed

Part or all of the fixture is recessed into the wall, similar to flush mount. LED reading lights sometimes have the power supply and switching hidden within the body which is recessed into a wall, with only a slim backplate and arm showing in the room – so recessed does not always mean completely hidden.

Some recessed LED wall lights are totally trimless plastered completely into the wall revealing just a hole ready for the light to escape from.

Marker

Marker lighting is installed into a wall to illuminate the space in front of it with a comfortable low output – demarking it’s position with the type of light that looks great when repeated.

Uplights

Create a wash of light up a wall as an accent light and if powerful enough will reflect light off of the ceiling and contribute to the overall ambient general lighting levels.

Up & Downlights

Twin sources of LED that direct light in opposite directions, combining the useful illumination of the floor and ceiling being lit as well as looking interesting.

Reading Lights

Adjustable swing armed wall mounted luminaires with an appropriate colour and lumen level of white light to assist in reading printed subject matter.

Spotlight

A directional adjustable powerful source of light, useful for throwing light across longer distances.

Monopoint

A monopoint wall light is another name for a spotlight style fixture, it’s name describing the singular point of fixing to distribute light in multiple directions.

Outdoor

Designed to be robust enough to withstand the weather and protected against the ingress of moisture to various degrees, described as IP ratings in Europe and wet rated for ETL.

Emergency

Emergency wall lighting is either dedicated to emergency use (non maintained) or has an added back up battery to power the LED light source of a normal light but at a lower output percentage in the event of the loss of power (maintained).

Floodlight

A wide beamed high output LED light source used to spread alot of light across a wide area, mostly used outdoors.

PIR

Presence detecting LED wall lights will sense movement within a specified angle of detection and allow the light to turn on for an adjustable amount of time. Once that time has elapsed the luminaire will turn off or power down to a lower percentage until movement is detected again.

Photocell – Dawn to Dusk

Often paired with the PIR, this luminaire will not turn on until the adjustable photocell has sensed it is dark enough for your choice. It will turn a light on at dusk, leave it on through the night and off again at dawn.

Styles of LED Wall Light

Here are some common styles which each can adopt some of the different types as previously described.

Decorative

LED wall lighting that can be beautiful as well as functional. This category splinters into a wide variety of style descriptions according to design and finish too many to all name here but some common styles are:

Functional Decorative

Wall lights that are purposefully styled by design and finish but also provide some form of technical lighting. This could be moveable arms, an adjustable head, cantilevered arms, adjustable library lighting, decorative spotlighting.

Bath

Wall lighting that has been styled to suit bathrooms and provide lighting mostly for either side of a mirror to evenly illuminate a face. Bronze, antique brass, chrome and polished nickel finishes paired with glass and sealed to suit a moist environment for some regions of the world. LED has improved bathroom lighting by evenly illuminating the linear glass style of long wall luminaires and loosing the shadowing cast by traditional bulb holders.

Picture

LED picture lighting is styled in 3 broad categories of contemporary, modern classic and traditional, to suit the room and picture. Usually surface mounted but can be frame mounted to the picture for a discrete lighter touch.

Technical

A broad category of luminaires that cover budget choices to high quality architectural wall lights that perform specific funcionality.

The Best LED Wall Sconces

Choices x 12

Learn More About LED Wall Sconces

Wall lights are an important lighting design tool that when used well will become an essential part to almost every room. Some spaces such as bathrooms and showers, reading lights, high output up lighting for example need some more knowledge to choose well.

Andrew Orange , the owner of Orange Lighting qualified and worked as an interior designer in 1993 before specialising in lighting working on high profile projects based in London. Since starting Orange Lighting Ltd in 2003 he has been sharing his knowledge and unique teaching style mostly to his designer clients, offering practical real life advice born from running a busy consultancy and lighting supply business. Launching in 2020, his blog has evolved into Quick & Easy Lighting, curating some 25 years design experience into making the lighting choice and design process achievable and easy to understand for all.