Access Fixtures Bollard Lights


Click for PDF Version of Bollard Lights

Bollard lights are outdoor light fixtures that are ideal for illuminating walkways, streets, and driveways of residential and commercial areas. Having both functional and aesthetic value, bollard lights generally consist of an enclosed light fixture mounted on top of a vertical column or post. They are commonly installed in locations including hotels, schools, housing complexes, churches, and other places where decorative fixtures can accentuate landscaping and create visually appealing, comfortable settings.

Anatomy of a Great Bollard

As outdoor fixtures, bollard light housings need to be durable because they will be subjected to the elements.

A high quality bollard housing shell should be made out of a resilient material such as extruded aluminum. The shell should be treated with a conversion coating to deter corrosion. Chromate conversion coating works extremely well with extruded aluminum because the chromate passivates the aluminum. Color should be applied to bollard lights using a powder coating process, through which paint is applied as a free flowing, dry powder. The powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the paint in a liquid suspension form. It can thus produce much thicker coatings without running. You should choose bollard lights that feature both conversion coatings and powder coating to get the most out of your purchase.

An alternative finish to conversion coatings and powder coating is stainless steel. Stainless steel provides a highly stylized and durable material without requiring an additional finish. The bollard light should be set upon and attached to a mounting base firmly anchored to the ground. The mounting plate is typically bolted to a cement pedestal that has anchor bolts set in while the cement is wet.

The head of the bollard light should be affixed using vandal resistant screws. The holes for the vandal resistant screws should be on the sides, as opposed to the top, to prevent pooling and water penetration.

Additionally, high quality bollard lights will be CSA wet location or UL wet location rated to ensure they withstand all types of weather and wet environments.


Bollard lights are available in different styles. The most common shapes are round and square. This is because these shapes tend to optimize light distribution. Round bollard lights are available with dome tops and flat tops. Square bollard lights come with flat tops. Choose the design that best fits in your space.


Dimensions vary between brands and models. The most common diameters for durable commercial bollard lights are 6", 7" and 8". Typically heights range between 40" and 44". Some manufacturers offer the option of cutting the bollard to achieve to a custom height.


Typical colors for bollard lights are white, black, and architectural bronze. Some manufacturers offer custom colors too, and usually are RAL codes. RAL is a worldwide color standard used by professionals in design and architecture industries. It currently includes over 2,300 colors with 70 metallic shades. Every color has an associated RAL code that enables you to specify your custom color when ordering your bollards. Visit to learn more and view lots of RAL colors available.

Lenses, Reflectors and Refractors

Choose bollard light optics based on the requirements of the application in which you intend to use them. Louver and reflector optics obscure the light source and make the fixture easier on the eyes, but sacrifice efficacy and total lumen output. Type V (type 5) optics provide a view of the light source through borosilicate glass and have higher efficacy, supplying more lumens of light.

Louvers - Bollards with louvers control light distribution by restricting most of the light except the light going down towards the ground or surface. The light source is blocked from direct view. This enables a more powerful light source to be used than with IES Type V.

Adjustable Reflector - Bollards with adjustable reflectors provide an abundance of light around the bollard. The light source is inside the cone on the bottom. Light is bounced off the top reflector and than off the outside of the cone. The light source is hidden from direct view and the light is predominantly projected downward. This reduces light trespass.

IES Type V - Bollards with IES Type V Glass emit light through a prismatic borosilicate glass refractor. Light is projected 360 degrees around the bollard, on the walkway and on any type of landscaping or objects near to the walkway. The effect is similar to a post lamp light fixture, albeit lower and behind prismatic glass. Efficacy is increased. If light trespass is an issue, such as with nearby windows, an optional light shield is available to limit light where it is not wanted.

Lamp Types & Light Sources for Bollards

There are four major lamp type options to choose from when purchasing bollard lights: high-pressure sodium (HPS), pulse start metal halide (PSMH), compact fluorescent, and LED which stands for light emitting diodes. Each option works well in some situations and not in others. There is no best option, so choose the option that best fits your needs. High Pressure Sodium - HPS lamps are commonly used in outdoor fixtures such as streetlights and wall packs. 50w to 100w HPS lamps last about 16,000 hours. A feature of HPS is the yellow hue emitted by the lamp is less attractive to insects than other whiter lamps. A negative is the light is low Kelvin of 2200 and abysmal CRI of about 20. CRI of 20 means colors will only be 20% accurate. HPS lamps require a ballast.

Pulse Start Metal Halide - Low wattage PSMH lamps applications include vandal resistant luminaires, wall packs and naturally bollard lights. PSMH lamps have a Kelvin around 4000K and a CRI of 62, while not exemplary but not bad. Lamps between 50w and100w are rated on average for 10,000 hours. PSMH lamps require a ballast.

Compact Fluorescent - Compact fluorescent lamps for bollards come in two forms. The first is compact fluorescent lamps with an integrated ballast and medium screw in base (CFL) that use 120v line voltage. The other is plug in compact fluorescent (PL) lamps which plug into a socket and require a non-integrated ballast. CFLs last about 8,000 to 10,000 hours while PLs last between 12,000 and 20,000 depending on the wattage and quality. Both types, CFL and PL come in various Kelvin and offer superior color rendition.

LED Technology - LED light sources for light bollards include self-ballasted LED lamps with medium sockets and LED light modules powered by drivers. Subject to the optics, LED is typically far more efficient than any other light source. Energy used can be as little as 17% as compared to even pulse start metal halide. LED offers excellent color rendition. Many LED options have a choice of Kelvin. LEDs last 25,000 to 50,000 for self ballasted LED lamps and over 50,000 hours for LED light modules such as LG and Xicato. Initial cost of a LED light bollard is higher that other light technologies, but considering energy savings, longer product life, and lower maintenance the payback is there.

Installing Bollard Lights

Bollard lights should be installed by a trained electrician. However, understanding the installation process will help you make an educated decision about your bollard lighting purchase. The first thing to consider is that you will need to bury electric wires to power the bollard lights. Make sure that your intended location has this capability.

The mounting bracket that will attach to the base of the bollard must first be cast in concrete. To do this, dig a hole to a depth that will allow the bollard to be flush with the ground. Using a sonotube, run your electrical wire up through the opening and then fill with concrete. Make sure to leave enough slack to attach the wire to the ballast or socket in the top of the bollard light. When the concrete has been poured, place the mounting bracket in the center, ensure that it is level, and wait for it to dry.

The bolts of the mounting bracket will attach to the bottom disc, or mounting plate, of the bollard. Then, the bollard housing unit will slide onto the mounting plate and can be fastened into place with screws. Use your electrical wire to power the ballast or socket, and your bollard light is now ready for use.

It is also possible to adapt Access Fixtures Bollard Lights to existing concrete to help save time and money on your installation. Many times you may have existing bollard lights that you want to replace, but you don't want to rip up the existing concrete and have to re-pour. We have found a solution that allows you to use existing concrete and mechanical anchors to mount new bollard lights. For more information on the mechanical anchors, click the links below to download product PDFs. Check out our blog for an overview of how these products can help make your new bollard installation easier.

Red Head Concrete Anchoring Specialists

Strong-Tie Anchoring System

To discuss your lighting project, contact an Access Fixtures Lighting Specialist.
888-521-2582 .

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