Selecting the Right Lighting Tower | How to Choose an LED Light Tower

Selecting the Right Lighting Tower | How to Choose an LED Light Tower

A lighting tower is ideal piece of equipment to have when you need a light source for performing work or other activities after dark or in poorly lit conditions.

Let's look at how lighting towers work, where they are used and what to consider when choosing one.

How do lighting towers work?

Lighting towers can be either mobile or stationary and are designed to provide you with a reliable and strong source of light, such as for night-time work. They consist of electric lamps, a mast, a lifting system, a diesel or petrol engine, and in some cases, a rechargeable battery pack.

Where are lighting towers used?

Lighting towers can suit a range of situations where you need to improve visibility or safety without casting shadows. This includes:

  • On construction sites.
  • In mining and oil drilling – including in remote areas with rugged conditions.
  • For civil works such as road or tunnel works or rail repair.
  • To perform trade work after-hours or in poorly lit areas.
  • For airport lighting.
  • For night-time electrical work.
  • On sports grounds – e.g. for after-hours games.
  • At outdoor entertainment venues.
  • On military bases, such as for night-time training.
  • In emergency services work – search and rescue for example.
  • In hospitality settings such as hotels or resorts.

How to choose a lighting tower? Factors to consider

Light coverage and brightness:

Light coverage refers to how far the light spread extends and is measured in square metres. Typical lighting tower coverage ranges from 2,000sqm to 8,000sqm.

As well as coverage, you should look at the level of illumination. This is measured in lumens, with one lumen being the equivalent of a birthday candle and a 60w light bulb emitting approximately 800 lumens. Lighting towers can typically range from 75,000 to 250,000 lumen capacity.

Another measure that you might see is ‘lux’ – which refers to the level of light that falls on a surface. In that sense lux differs from lumens, which measure the total level of light emitted in every direction. To get an idea of what lux means, the closer you are to a lamp the higher the lux reading. For a lighting tower, a measure of 10 to 20 lux is usually standard.

Fuel efficiency and eco-friendliness:

For a lighting tower operating from a generator you should consider the efficiency of the fuel by looking at the running hours of a fuel tank. As an example, you should expect at least 200 hours for a 120-litre tank of diesel.

Lighting towers in the past used traditional lamps, but many have now switched to LED lighting. LED is not only longer-lasting and more cost-efficient, but it also gives off far fewer emissions.

Transportability / mobility:

Whether you will be using a mobile or stationary lighting tower, you will need to consider how you will efficiently transport it to your site, including how well it will be protected on the way.

While many units can be individually towed behind a standard vehicle, for long-distance transport involving multiple units, you may need a large truck to avoid too many trips and to protect the equipment. If your situation will involve using a trailer, look for one with a strong protective canopy.

Alternative power source:

Lighting towers can usually be connected to the grid or powered from their own engine. Some lighting tower models can be used as a generator power source in themselves, which means you could have two pieces of equipment in the one unit.

Automation features:

There are lighting towers that operate automatically when required, so look for this feature if you need the tower to come on automatically at a set time.

Noise level:

You may need to consider the noise generated by your lighting tower. For example, if you will be using it in a city or urban setting, look for a model that comes with ‘silence’ features.

Durability and build quality:

Lighting towers are often used in tough outdoor conditions such as in rugged terrain. For this they need to be built to last. Look for models made from non-corrosive materials, and that come with sturdy canopies and long-lasting light bulbs.

Servicing factors:

Lighting towers are built for long use but will at times require servicing. Make sure your supplier can provide the services you will need for this.

How much do lighting towers cost?

Lighting towers prices typically range from approximately $22,000 to $33,000. The price of the machine will depend on the features it offers.

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