What are the differences between spot and continuous lighting?

What are the differences between spot and continuous lighting
Published On: 3rd December 2018
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This is a question that may seem like a no-brainer; spot lights are fittings that produce spots of light, continuous lighting produce long and unbroken beams of light. So what else is there to discuss about spot and continuous lighting?

Whilst it really is that simple, it’s important to understand when it is appropriate and best practice to use each style of lighting and to be clued up on the benefits of each style before planning lighting in a room.

Spot lighting

In most rooms there is often a need to use spot lighting, whether that is in the ceiling, floor or simply in little spaces that only require a small light. When spot lights contain high quality LEDs they are extremely versatile, having wide and bright beam angles meaning that one spot light can illuminate all the space surrounding it. If low quality spot lights are used the light produced will be poor, often discoloured at the edges of the illuminated area and produce a much narrower beam of light. To see an example of this for yourself watch this video.

Spot lights are more commonly installed into rooms that are traditional in style. The finish produced by spot lights is often suited to and associated with older styles of houses as this would have been the look that was used in situations such as old style kitchens with pelmets. The final appearance looks soft, warm and inviting and, due to the wide beam angles and high light quality, there is no need to overcrowd areas with lots of spot lights. This is a subtle and extremely energy efficient way to light a space.

Another example of an occasion when spot lights are a great option is when you have a kitchen with a lot of natural light. Spot lights have high light output but do not quite match that of continuous light sources. Therefore, if your room is abundant in natural light there may be no need to install such bright lighting and spot lights will be all that you need.

Finally, if a kitchen has light coloured worktops that easily reflect light then spot lights are a great option. Paler worktops, like white, cream and light woods, help light bounce around the area and can accommodate less light output than darker worktops, meaning you will not need to compensate by adding more light and can opt for a softer look.

Check out some of our spot lighting here.

Download a useful PDF guide to planning spot lighting.

Things to remember

  • Spacing is important to consider when planning spot lighting. If you plan your lighting correctly the spread of light will be even and all areas will be sufficiently illuminated. If you do not space your lights efficiently you may leave yourself or your customer with dark areas on work surfaces, particularly over corners. Read this blog for help with planning.
  • As mentioned above, always ensure the quality of your spot lights is high. At TLW all of our spot lights have wide beam angles and come in different styles using various different technologies to produce different desired finishes, such as COB, SMD and CCT spot lights.
  • If a room has a lot of natural light spot lights are a great option, but don’t forget that your room will still need to be of use in at night! Plan your lighting correctly to ensure that at all times of day your lighting is working as hard for you as it needs to.


Continuous lighting

A clean, modern way to illuminate a space, continuous lighting is bright and sleek. There are so many different places that could benefit from the introduction of continuous lighting but it is more often than not used to create a modern or contemporary lighting effect.

As with spot lighting, it is imperative that any continuous light source is made from high quality LEDs or a number of problems can come about. The first potential problem is variances in colour temperature. If the LED lighting has been manufactured incorrectly there can be different colour temperatures within one lighting product, meaning that the light source will have a mixture of warmer and cooler temperatures throughout. This looks unattractive and actually means that lighting no longer looks continuous. All VEW continuous lighting uses LED chips that are 100% consistent so this will never be an issue.

Another potential problem comes when lighting is installed. If LED tape is installed using adhesive on the reverse of the product it is vital that the adhesive is strong enough. Standard LED tape adhesive is extremely poor and will often begin to lose its hold over time and the tape will begin to sag and fall down. VEW LED tape uses 3M VHB tape on the reverse which is the strongest adhesive on the market, meaning it will not fall down, even if it comes into contact with steam or water.

As continuous lighting produces high levels of light in a consistent stream other considerations become much simpler when selecting things like worktops. High wattage continuous lighting is a very useful tool as it can compensate for all sorts of potential issues that require extra lighting, like a room with little natural light, a very dark worktop or a small, cramped space. The only consideration that you need to think about with this style of lighting is just that: the style. If you are your customer like the style and look that is produced then continuous lighting makes for a very easy win!

Have a look at our LED tapes.

Read through our PDF guide to planning continuous lighting.

Things to remember

  • If your chosen continuous lighting source is LED tape, consider how many LEDs per metre it has when selecting your product. The higher the number of LEDs per metre the less visible the diodes become. If you prefer a seamless and diffused look, choose a tape with high numbers of LEDs and consider installing it into an aluminium profile with a diffused cover slide.
  • Again, make sure the continuous lighting source is high quality. This will ensure long lifespan, ease of installation and a consistent colour temperature in the light source.
  • Be sure to consider colour temperature. This should always be a consideration when installing any lighting but particularly when it is continuous as getting it wrong can become a lot more obvious when it is featured in streams around a room. For help with this, click here.


To learn more about spot and continuous lighting watch our video!

If you need more information about spot and continuous lighting, or for help planning your kitchen lighting, please can contact the TLW team on 01302 741941. Alternatively, you can visit our VEWtube channel for informative videos or email us here.

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