Industrial lighting – the all-encompassing term for warehouse lighting, factory lighting, manufacturing facilities and the like, covers a wide range of lighting types and categories. Whether you’re buying for LED or HID, it’s helpful to understand the differences between each option and how they can benefit and brighten your commercial space.  

This is especially important given that lighting accounts for 18-40% of electricity usage on commercial premises – make sure you're getting the most for your money with our helpful guide:

What level of lighting do you need?

Different industrial spaces have different lighting requirements depending on the space type and how it’s used. Are you lighting a processing facility with many factory workers that require a high level of light to see? Or are things mostly automated? Are you lighting a warehouse where lighting helps workers see where they need to stack pallets?

The needed level of illumination will depend on both the size of the area, the height of the ceiling, and how active the area will be for employees.

We’ve created a table below to help give you a reference of how bright (or luminous) your chosen lights should be.


Space Type

Suggested Lumen for Lamp                               

Manufacturing: Employees needing to see details and undertake complicated tasks.

15,000 + Lumen

Manufacturing: Employees needing to see general details.

10,000 Lumen

Warehouse: Inactive storage area that is rarely accessed -

5,000 + Lumen

Warehouse: Active loading area where employees are using machinery

10,000 Lumen


Generally, anything which requires your employees to read small writing or concentrate on small objects will require a higher level of lumen. This ensures they won’t suffer from eyestrain, increases productivity, and also increases the safety of your industrial facility.


Different Lamp Types:

Lighting for facilities with high ceilings is ever changing. Lights differ from technology to life expectancy, costs vary, and pros and cons need to be weighed. With new products coming out on the market every year, it’ll benefit you to know these lamp and light types and their pros and cons.  


High-Intensity Discharge Lamps

HIDs are the best-known option when it comes to choosing lighting for your industrial space. HIDs are more efficient than both halogen and incandescent lighting, and as the name implies, High-Intensity Discharge lamps are much brighter. For example, the Philips Master HPI T, a Metal Halide, can produce up to 32,000 lumens.

Let’s take a closer look at each lamp in this category.


Metal Halide

Pros:  Metal halide lamps, also called MH Lamps, are known for producing high Lumen with decent CRI (From 60 – 70). While this reduces its efficiency slightly, it's still one of the favourites of the HID family.

Cons: If a Metal Halide breaks or explodes, they release UV. They also contain Mercury and other heavy metals, which need to be disposed of carefully at end of life.

Ceramic MH 

Pros: Crematic Metal Halide, also called ceramic discharge metal-halide lamps (CDM) are 10 – 20 % more efficient than common quartz metal technology. This makes then equal with HPS lamps in longevity. Additionally, CMH has the highest CRI of any HID lamp, coming out to 90-92 CRI, meaning they are ahead of LED technology when it comes to colour rendering.

Cons: These lights are, on average, more expensive when compared to other industrial lights on the market.


High-Pressure Sodium Lights

Pros: High-Pressure Sodium Lights (HPS) are another light in the high-intensity discharge (HID) family. They produce and average of 100 lumens per watt, and last an impressive 15,000 to 50,000 hours.

Cons: HPS lamps have a very low CRI. HPS are best used in places where colour quality is not important - and are commonly used for indoor gardening, as well as warehouse and streetlamp lighting. The produce a warm yellow/orange colour

Mercury Vapour Lamps

Pros: Mercury Vapour Lamps are the oldest in the HID family. These lamps have a high lux output and are cheap to install and buy compared to Metal Halide and High-Pressure Sodium lamps. In the past, they were commonly used for street lights and high-bay lighting.

Cons: Mercury Vapour Lamps have a 5-8-minute start up time, and poor colour rendering. These days they are slowly being phased out, and in Australia, Mercury Vapour Lamps may not meet the lumen requirements for warehouse spaces. They have a greenish tinge to their light. 



Pros: HID lights are bright, and come in a range of options and prices.

Common cons: HID lights all produce a large amount of UV radiation. Lumen output will fail over the lifetime of the bulb, so a HID lamp starting at 150 lumens per watt will eventually fall to 90 per watt.

Lastly, some HIDS will have a warm up period, meaning there is a delay between turning on the lights and when they reach full brightness.


LED Lighting

LED lighting has been making ways in the industrial lighting space over the last ten years, and now more than ever, with government subsidized lighting upgrades being offered in most Australian states.

Below, we’ll go over the LED options available to either replace your old HIDs, or install new.


Corn Lights:

Corn lights are the retrofit replacement for old HID Lamps, such as those mentioned above. They can also be installed new.  

Pros: Replacing your old HID bulbs with these will still require some rewiring, however you will be able to keep the same reflector setup as your traditional highbays, and once done it will be as simple as getting a new corn light should one (rarely) fail.

Like all LEDs, they are energy saving, environmentally friendly, and long life – up to 50,000 hours.

Cons: Corns lights on average are lower in lumen than your traditional lights. However, they don’t degrade in lumen over their lifetime like HID lamps do, meaning that on average, the lower lumen will not make a significant impact on lighting quality.


Circular UFO LED Highbays:

Pros: Unlike corn lights, which replace the bulb, a UFO LED Highbay light is a direct switch out from your metal halide or other HID setup. Comparable in shape to a ‘UFO’, these lights have a wide beam angle and high lumen output.


Cons: If you’re replacing an old highbay, the fittings for your HID will be replaced with the new highbay, requiring more time to change out compared to a corn light. The wide angle of the light beam may not be suitable for aisles, and in changing from your metal halide setup, more consideration with have to be taken for placements.

If you don’t require a directional light, then the UFO option is a great way to reduce dark spots in your lighting.



Pros: LED lights last much longer than HID, up to 10,000 hours more on average. Their lumen output won’t decrease overtime, and they produce almost 0 heat and UV radiation.

Cons: LEDs typically have higher upfront costs the HID lamps, although you will see very high energy savings in the long term (and savings on your power bills). The CRI for LED also tends to be in the lower range of 60-70 cri.