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How to choose LED emergency lighting: what are the options and how do they compare?

 

Different types of emergency lights are suitable for different environments. In this guide we will

  • Explain the difference between maintained and non-maintained emergency lighting
  • Run through the different types of lights, what their features are where they can be used
  • Profile the best emergency lights for offices and homes and offer customer reviews
  • Answer some maintenance, legal and testing FAQs

Jump to the section you need:

What is emergency lighting?

Emergency lights are designed to ensure there is still light when a building’s main power supply cuts out. Battery-backed devices that switch on automatically, they are fitted as standard in commercial offices and new-build residential homes.

They are safety mechanism, so that if the main power cuts out people can still see and safely navigate their way through a building. Emergency lighting is often used to lead people towards emergency exits and to safety as quickly as possible.

There are two types of emergency lighting:

Maintained emergency lighting

These lights are designed for continuous normal use in non-emergency situations. They run off the mains supply until that cuts out, which is when they take power from a backup battery. Maintained emergency lights are normally used in public buildings like shopping centres or cinemas where people may not be familiar with the layout of the building.

Non-maintained emergency lighting

These lights use a backup battery and are only active in emergencies. They are normally used without maintained lighting in offices and spaces where the occupants will be familiar with the layout. Lots of public buildings will use both maintained and non-maintained emergency lighting.

Which one do I need?

If you are looking for lights for an office or industrial environment with a simple layout non-maintained should be enough.

If you are looking for lights for a building that has a lot of members of the public coming in who might not be familiar with the layout you should install maintained and non-maintained emergency lights.

There is no legal stipulation to install maintained or non-maintained lights but you must have sufficient lighting if the power goes out. Read more about legal requirements in our FAQs below.

What are the options? Types of LED emergency lights

Click the links to view each range of emergency lighting

How different types of emergency lighting compare:

 

Panel

Bulkhead

Batten

Sign

Twin spots

Downlight

Gear tray

Position

Ceiling

  • Ceiling
  • Wall

Ceiling

Ceiling

  • Ceiling
  • Wall

Ceiling

Ceiling

Locations

  • Offices
  • Warehouses
  • Businesses
  • Businesses
  • Industrial spaces
  • Outside spaces
  • Industrial
  • Businesses
  • Offices
  • Businesses
  • Offices
  • Industrial
  • Modern homes
  • Industrial
  • Warehouses
  • Car parks
  • Homes
  • Offices
  • Offices
  • Businesses

Maintained or non-maintained

Maintained

Both available

Non-maintained

Both available

Both available

Maintained

Maintained

Shape

  • Square
  • Rectangular
  • Rectangular
  • Circular

Rectangular

Rectangular

Box-like

Circular

Circular

IP rating

IP20

IP54–IP65

IP65

IP20

IP20

IP54

IP20

Regular life expectancy

35,000–50,000

30,000 hours

50,000 hours

6 years

50,000 hours

50,000 hours

25,000 hours

Emergency battery duration

3 hours

3 hours

3 hours

6 years

3 hours

3 hours

3 hours

Lumen output ?

Lumens is a measurement of light output (brightness). Lumens are indicated by lm.

3,600lm–6,300lm

80lm–1,150lm

2,400lm

16lm

500lm

850lm

1,440lm

 

Panel

Bulkhead

Batten

Sign

Twin spots

Downlight

Gear tray

Position

Ceiling

  • Ceiling
  • Wall

Ceiling

Ceiling

  • Ceiling
  • Wall

Ceiling

Ceiling

Locations

  • Offices
  • Warehouses
  • Businesses
  • Businesses
  • Industrial spaces
  • Outside spaces
  • Industrial
  • Businesses
  • Offices
  • Businesses
  • Offices
  • Industrial
  • Modern homes
  • Industrial
  • Warehouses
  • Car parks
  • Homes
  • Offices
  • Offices
  • Businesses

Maintained or non-maintained

Maintained

Both available

Non-maintained

Both available

Both available

Maintained

Maintained

Shape

  • Square
  • Rectangular
  • Rectangular
  • Circular

Rectangular

Rectangular

Box-like

Circular

Circular

IP rating

IP20

IP54–IP65

IP65

IP20

IP20

IP54

IP20

Regular life expectancy

35,000–50,000

30,000 hours

50,000 hours

6 years

50,000 hours

50,000 hours

25,000 hours

Emergency battery duration

3 hours

3 hours

3 hours

6 years

3 hours

3 hours

3 hours

Lumen output ?

Lumens is a measurement of light output (brightness). Lumens are indicated by lm.

3,600lm–6,300lm

80lm–1,150lm

2,400lm

16lm

500lm

850lm

1,440lm

Best emergency light for homes

Emergency SOLO All In One 10w LED Dimmable Downlight

The Emergency SOLO All In One is a maintained light, meaning that in normal situations it can function as a standard light source.

However, the All in One downlight is far from standard. The ability to change the colour temperature from ultra-warm through to ultra-cool means it is a great choice for anywhere in the home, from living rooms to bathrooms.

The emergency pack comes pre-wired in a fireproof pack which consists of a 3-cell D Type battery and Lite plan NED/3/80 emergency module. The downlight can run in emergency mode for three hours.

Emergency SOLO all-in-one information

Wattage

10w

Voltage

220–240

Lumens (lm)

850

Switching cycles

100,000

Line frequency

50–60

Lamp diameter

110

Lamp length

110

Colour temperature

3,000k/4,000k/6,000k

Colour rendering index

80

Fire rated

90 mins

Dimming capability

Yes

Beam angle (o)

40

IP rating

54

Lifespan

50,000 hours

Manufacturer

Brite Source

Warranty

5 years

Best emergency lights for offices

Type of LED

Benefits

Image

Emergency 40w LED Panel 600 x 600

  • Suitable to be installed in all recessed applications
  • Maintained lighting
  • 3-hour emergency mode
  • All components are pre-wired and tested
  • Square shape
  • 37.5% energy savings
  • 35,000 hours average life
  • 3,000k temperature

Emergency 72w LED Panel 4,000k–1,200mm x 600mm

  • Custom-made to order
  • 3-hour emergency mode
  • High lumen output: 6,000lm
  • 37.5% energy savings
  • Average life 50,000 hours

LED Emergency Exit Box

  • Comes in maintained function as standard
  • 16 lumen
  • IP20
  • 6-year life expectancy
  • Batteries supplied

Emergency light accessories

Accessory

Information

Image

Liteplan NED LED Emergency module

  • An emergency lighting conversion kit
  • Designed to convert regular LED panel to an emergency panel
  • Provides 3 hours of emergency lighting
  • For use with 2-30 LEDs in series (6–80v).
  • Module size: 165mm x 45mm 29mm
  • Fixing points 155mm

Emergency Battery 3 Cell Stick c/w Leads

  • A 3.6 volt D cell, nickel cadmium rechargeable 3‑cell battery stick for use with emergency lighting
  • The equivalent to a 3DH4-0L4 YUASA

15w LED 2D Emergency Gear Tray—Standard White

  • 15w LED emergency gear tray to replace a standard 28w 2D emergency gear tray
  • Designed to convert existing fittings

LED emergency lights reviews

 
(2 Reviews)

“Brilliant customer service, delivery fast and communication spot on. Many thanks will definitely recommend you.”

Sonya Pws (reviewing: Emergency 40w LED Panel 4000k - 600mm x 600mm – click to buy)

(1 Review)

“Well made and does a job”

John (reviewing: Emergency 14w LED POLO Bulkhead – click to buy)

(1 Review)

“Best price, good product and easy to fit. Can't grumble”

Jez (5w LED Emergency Twin Spot – click to buy)

FAQs

When are emergency lights required?

Emergency lighting is essential for almost every building.

The legal requirement is that all non-domestic/multi-storey residential buildings (hotels, nursing homes, schools, offices, shops, museums, licensed premises etc.) must be safe at all times, even if the main power is cut.

How long should emergency lights stay on?

Emergency lighting should remain lit for at least one hour.

Depending on the size and complexity of the building, it is likely emergency lighting will need to stay on for more than one hour. At least three hours is required if the premises are unlikely to be evacuated immediately—for example, hotels and multi-storey residential buildings.

One hour is simply the legal minimum for emergency lighting—it costs very little to increase that to three hours or more. In these situations, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Who can test emergency lighting?

The occupier/owner of the premises can appoint a competent person to supervise servicing of the emergency lighting system.

When testing the emergency lights, the owner of the building can train one of their employees to carry out the necessary tests. However, if any faults are found in the system the owner would need to hire a trained engineer to fix them, as failing to do so would go against electrical regulations.

How do I test emergency lights?

  1. To simulate a power failure, switch off power from the circuit via the circuit breaker.
  2. Walk through the whole building, checking that the emergency lights are working.
  3. If any emergency lights are malfunctioning, make a note in your building’s fire safety logbook and call out an electrician ASAP.
  4. Switch the main power back on.
  5. Re-walk the route to ensure the emergency lights are now off (non-maintained) or still functioning (maintained).

How often does emergency lighting need to be checked?

You should carry out monthly tests and annual tests.

Monthly emergency lighting test

  • You must test all emergency lighting systems each month.
  • Check that emergency lights and signs are clean and in working order.
  • The test needs to be long enough to check that the lights are working properly.
  • You must record your results and have any issues fixed ASAP.

Annual emergency lighting test

Once a year, you must drain your emergency lights fully—that is, leave them on for their full battery life (this might be one hour, three hours etc.). The lights should stay on for that entire time.

  • Switch off the main electricity supply.
  • Check all the lights. They must still be working at the end of the test.
  • Record results and fix any issues ASAP.
  • Switch the mains back on.

Is emergency lighting a legal requirement?

Yes for all non-domestic buildings and for high-rise residential areas.

For more information about emergency lighting legislation, visit firesafe.org.uuk

What is the minimum lux level for emergency lighting?

The minimum lux level depends on where the emergency light is located.

Lux levels are a unit of illuminance over distance.

1 lux = the illumination of a surface of one square metre that is one metre away from a single candle

Lux levels are important for emergency lighting as they are essential to protect people during a power outage.

Escape route from the building: 50% of the width of the route should be lit to a minimum of 1 lux

Anti-panic areas ? : 0.5 lux

Anti-panic lighting is designed to prevent panic in larger gathering areas in the event of a power failure. They enable people to reach access points to escape the building

The lux levels need to relate to the nature of the premises, with extra care taken for areas such as hospitals, crowded venues and supermarkets etc.

What is self-contained emergency lighting?

A self-contained emergency light contains all the elements required—control unit, lamp, battery etc.—within the unit itself (or within one metre of the unit).

LEDs are normally self-contained to make them as simple to use as possible.

How do I turn off emergency lights?

Emergency lights contain a timer that turns the emergency battery off after 10–15 minutes of the power being restored.

If your emergency light is non-maintained (not designed to run off the mains supply) and is still illuminated, you have a fault. Contact an electrician as soon as possible.