In our latest independent review, we have concentrated on two types of bollard. Those with excellent optical performance and those with a special look or which are made from unusual materials. Some fall into both categories. What you won’t find in this review is a bog standard black bollard with concentric louvres on top.
If you are lighting a path or maybe a small residential car park, economics dictates that you should space the bollards as far apart as possible. However, bollards are often used in environmentally sensitive areas where columns would not be acceptable. This is where design gets interesting.
Professional guidance on obtrusive light or on dark sky parks limits the amount of upward light that the bollards can emit"
Professional guidance on obtrusive light or on dark sky parks limits the amount of upward light that the luminaires can emit. If no upward light is allowed then, obviously, a 1m-high bollard can light people from the waist down only. One can argue that light is reflected upwards off the path and that people’s faces could be seen, but if the path is black asphalt, that’s an academic rather than practical argument.
My personal view is that the benefit of some upward light and being able to see people clearly generally outweighs the constraint of zero ULOR. You must be able to argue your case, though.
Minimising upward light emissions and still achieving wide spacing means you need properly designed optics. The bollards listed here are the best we could find.
Super functionality isn’t always required. Sometimes you need a bollard that will blend in or maybe make a design statement. There are bollards finished in stone, wood and rusty Corten steel. There are also some interesting shapes.
Our price ranges are: £ <500, ££ 500-650, £££ >650.
Aubrilam-Marshalls Natty 3
Aubrilam is a well-established maker of strong, durable, long-life wooden columns; some as high as 16m. They have recently launched a range of bollards called Natty. To retain structural integrity throughout the bollard’s life, the baseplate or root of the bollard are made of powder-coated galvanised steel. You can see from the photo that the bollard is a combination of the two.
This particular unit is quite chunky – the wooden body measures 150 x 250mm in section.
The actual lighting is provided by a Bega wall-mount luminaire that is recessed into the wooden body. This particular Bega model has vertical prisms that spread the light over about 160 degrees laterally. There is also a fair amount of light projected forwards.
- Price £££
Designplan Zelos Pollare
This is a brand new unit that will be available in September. It is based on the successful Zelos wall and pole-mount luminaire that is already used for lighting paths and residential roads. As such, it can be used at wide spacings and has good glare control with almost zero upward light.
As you would expect from Designplan, it is as tough as they come – is is rated at IK16 and resists impacts of 150 joules. In essence, the bollard product range produces 1,400-2,500 lm from 15-21W.
What’s really attractive about this bollard is the shape. The die-cast aluminium head has a rounded shape and this sits on a slim, rectangular body. It is much lighter in appearance than its construction and performance would suggest. It’s also good value; I was expecting it to cost more.
- Price £
DW Windsor Pharola
This may well be the slimmest bollard on the market, being less than 90mm dia. Outside, it almost disappears.
The 12W LEDs are housed in the top, shining down, above a small frosted diffuser, but don’t be deceived, this unit performs surprisingly well. The peak intensity is emitted between 60° and 75° which means that you can achieve wide spacings with good uniformity.
The standard unit emits light through 360° and there is the option of a 180° light shield.
The other aspect worth mentioning is that there is just enough upward light, 8 per cent ULOR, to illuminate people’s faces without wasting any more light than necessary.
- Price ££
This emits a lot of light; five times the amount of some other bollards. Mind you, the delivered efficacy is more than 115 lm/W so, at 27W, it only consumes a little more power than the other bollards under review. What’s more, all the Erco bollards are dark sky compliant – that is, they do not emit any upward light. Apart from dark sky parks and nature reserves, it means you can use them at airports, rural villages and anywhere where there can be no upward light emissions.
The secret is the four prismed lenses set in the top, which give a symmetrical light distribution. It also has an interesting shape in cross-section. The body is cylindrical, but it is cruciform in profile. Light is emitted from the four scalloped sections. This breaks up its rather monolithic form.
- Price £££
Hess City Elements
Hess is a long established German company and the Elements range is the most recent of an extensive catalogue of exterior lighting and street furniture.
It is so called because it is a modular range from which you choose each element of the base section, intermediate and upper lighting section to produce the luminaire you want. The basic bollard is rated at 17W with a symmetric or asymmetric light distribution. The light is emitted mainly in the 60-75-degree zone and there is almost no upward light. It is well engineered and can work in ambient temperatures up to 50ºC.
Hess is renowned for the fine finishes and attention to detail in its products. You won’t find any weld burrs or rough edges. The other aspect that sets it apart is the range of options. Apart from a huge range of colours, it can even be fitted with a charger socket for an electric bicycle.
- Price £££
Holophane Denver Elite
This bollard has an unusual shape: it is tri-lobe in profile. I don’t know of any others with this form. It also uses prisms, a Holophane speciality, to direct the light. We often forget that prisms and lenses are normally more efficient than reflectors at directing light.
This combination means that you can choose the distribution that best suits your application.
Most of the beam is emitted between 55 and 80 degrees, so you can achieve wide spacings between the bollards. About 10 per cent of the light is emitted upwards, so you get just enough on people’s faces without waste.
A nice decorative touch is the clear gasket between the body and top cap. This catches the light and gives a soft, glowing line around the top.
- Price £££
Louis Poulsen Flindt
This bollard got its name from the designer, Christian Flindt. The shape is reminiscent of taking a slice from a wooden pencil as if you were sharpening it. It is simple and, quite literally, pared down.
However, the bollard itself is a lot more technologically sophisticated. The exposed elliptical surface also acts as a reflector pushing out the light forward and downwards slightly.
There are two 7W LED modules in the top and these direct the light laterally so you can achieve fairly wide spacings along a footpath.
In plan, the distribution is just slightly more than 180° and you can adjust the modules +/- 10° for extra flexibility.
- Price ££
This was designed by Terence Woodgate and looks as if it has been carved from a single piece of solid steel. Placed in a landscape, this Corten steel bollard looks as if it has been there for centuries. It’s a matter of personal taste, but I like the complex, rich, varying colours of the steel.
The Aptus has been designed for wayfinding and for highlighting vertical features such as trees or buildings. You can have a powerful, narrow beam LED AR111 or 20W HIT-CE directed upwards and a soft, wider angle light shining down on to the ground. The corollary to this is that you don’t get much light emitted laterally. The Aptus is not so much for functional path lighting as illuminating features and wayfinding in areas where appearance is as important as function.
In the right setting, this would look perfect.
- Price £
The Skeo caught our eye because it is triangular in shape. It looks as if a solid tube of aluminium has had sections removed and these cut-outs are where the light is emitted. It gives an inner glow to the anthracite grey body.
The other thing that makes this particular unit interesting is that it is RGB. You can achieve a whole range of colours and it would be ideal for pathways and open spaces around event centres.
The standard bollard uses 16W 3,000K white LEDs. It has quite a sharp cut-off, about 60 degrees, and almost zero upward light.
- Price £
Most bollards are constructed from metal that has been painted. This bollard has an inner aluminium frame but is clad in 10mm-thick porcelain. This is available in different finishes such as marble and lapis lazuli. It means you can choose a stone finish to match the surroundings. You really need to look at the website to appreciate the range of cladding available.
The shorter bollards, 600-800mm, in the range use LED retrofit A-line lamps. A typical 1m-high bollard has a 15W COB source.
A novel feature is that the outside is completely clear of fixings. To remove the door and gain access to the lamp and gear requires a heavy duty glass sucker lifter; not the sort of tool the average vandal has.
- Price £
Urbis Schreder Pharos
There are two versions of this 11W unit. One has an opal polycarbonate diffuser that gives a symmetrical light distribution. The beam is directed mainly at 50-60 degrees. Apart from a light shield that can be used to block the beam in certain directions, Urbis Schreder offers laser cut stainless steel logos that can be added to give individuality or for advertising.
From the photo, you can see that the clear lens version looks slightly ‘empty’. However, inside are some precision lensed LEDs that direct the beam at about 75-80 degrees. This means you can achieve wide spacings when lighting footpaths. Urbis says you can achieve over 8 lux (lighting class P3) on a 2m-wide path with 12.5m spacings between the bollards.
It weighs 22kg, more than twice as much as other bollards of a similar height. This extra metal may explain why it can be used in ambient temperatures up to 55ºC.
- Price £