Low and High Bay Lights: Choosing the Right Lighting

When replacing or upgrading your high or low bay fixture to LED, there are a few components you should consider. Before choosing an LED bay light, you should determine wattage equivalents and other specs that would make the light best suited for your space.

LED lights are the superior option to incandescent bulbs, providing a brighter light while using less energy. They also retain more light intensity and color consistency over time, with a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours.

How do I know which bay light I need?

The first thing you must determine when choosing a fixture is whether you need a high bay or low bay light. Low bay lights are best for ceiling heights between 12 and 20 feet, while high bay lights are better for ceilings greater than 20 feet tall.

High bay lights tend to have higher wattage and lumen count options than low bay lights. This makes them ideal for high ceilings in commercial and industrial spaces. Low bay lights work better in smaller commercial spaces like retail and grocery stores. Installing bay lights at the proper height is important because improper mounting can cause inadequate illumination or overexposure.

Next when considering bay lights, it is important to look at the required wattage and beam angle. A bay light has higher wattage requirements and usually produces over 8000 lumens to help light large spaces.

When deciding on a beam angle, a good rule to follow is the higher the ceiling, the lower the beam angle, and vice versa. When choosing wattage, bay lights need more watts the higher up they are.

Ceiling Height Chart

To calculate how many bay fixtures you will need to light your space, consult our Commercial Lighting Guide.

From Metal Halide to LED

When upgrading your lighting, you should compare different facets such as lumen output, wattage, beam angle, and ceiling height. Before you choose a light fixture, you must find the LED equivalent that works best in your space.

First, you need to look at the wattage of your existing metal halide light bulbs and find the correct LED replacement. Because LED lights are more energy efficient than traditional bay lights, they don't use nearly as much power. This means that they can produce the same amount of brightness using less watts, and for a longer amount of time.

LED replacement bulbs have many different options for all ranges of wattages. Use the chart below to calculate the exact equivalent you need.

Ceiling height

MH Wattage

LED Wattage

13 ft.



20 ft.



26 ft.



33 ft.



Weighing the Options: Should I retrofit or replace my high/low bay light?

Retrofitting your high bay or low bay fixtures can also be a great option when upgrading your lighting system. Retrofitting allows you to keep the same fixture by simply rewiring the components of the light. This option is more cost effective and often much easier to install.

If you’re still not sure if retrofitting is right for you, here are some pros and cons:


  • Ballast is removable and won’t use extra energy
  • Most retrofits have dimmable capabilities
  • Lower installation and energy costs
  • Less maintenance and labor over time


  • Incorrect installation can damage the entire fixture
  • Not a substitute for maintenance and repair, especially for aged or deteriorated fixtures

LED retrofits are also better than metal halide bulbs because they don't use any extra energy. They also maintain the same color consistency throughout their lifetime.

When deciding how to upgrade, you first need to choose the method. One option is getting a completely new fixture (retrofit kit). Or you can rewire a new fixture (ballast bypass, line voltage, and direct wire). After you make that decision, you'll need to find your LED bulb equivalent.

Finally, choose the form of high bay or low bay fixtures that work best for you.

Retrofit Bulb

To learn more about LED retrofitting, head over to our blog LED retrofitting.

Types of High Bay/Low Bay Fixtures

High bay and low bay fixtures have many different types to choose from. Whether you decide to retrofit your existing fixture or replace it altogether, there is no shortage of possibilities.

Should you decide to go the retrofitting route, you can choose from corn bulbs, shoebox retrofit kits, or new screw-in lamps. Some of the most popular replacement options are LED high bay lights, namely UFO and linear high bay lights.

UFO Light Fixture
  • Popular round light fixture design
  • Easy to retrofit into an existing fixture
  • Ideal for areas that need a wide cast of light
Linear Light Fixture
  • Elongated illumination that eliminates shadows between fixtures
  • Commonly used in schools, grocery stores, storage facilities, and warehouses
  • Great for general lighting purposes and areas with tall shelving

Retrofitting with Corn Bulbs

Corn Bulb Retrofit
  • Easily screws into existing fixtures
  • No ballast required
  • Simple, straightforward installation
Shoebox Retrofit Kit
  • Ballast bypass option
  • Requires wiring
  • Easy to install

Overall, LED high bay and low bay fixtures are incredibly beneficial for lighting large areas of space. Depending on your space’s needs, you can choose which replacement option is best for you. Start saving on cost, maintenance, and energy consumption today with low and high bay lights available at HomElectrical!

Recommended Reading

LED low bay lights work well in areas with tall shelving and ceilings less than 25 feet tall. These lights can even help you save on air conditioning costs because they emit less heat than traditional light fixtures, and require very little maintenance.

Bay lights refer to light fixtures with high wattage requirements. Choose the light fixture shape based on the type of lighting foot-print or coverage you want to achieve.

High Bay and Low Bay make up the two types of bay lights. High bay fixtures go on ceilings greater than 20 feet, while low bay fixtures go on ceilings between 12 and 20 feet.

Converting your high bay lights to LEDs is simple with retrofitting technology. Retrofit kits are versatile and easy to work with yourself, with different pros and cons depending on the fixture and application.

Danielle Abram
Danielle Abram

Danielle is a classic wordsmith and unapologetic user of the Oxford comma. Her experience includes blog posts, technical copy, social media copy, email marketing, product descriptions, scripts, and so much more. In other words, there's no limit to what she can write about!

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