A few years ago, there were only a few highbay manufacturers. It was a specialist part of the industry requiring different optics and lamps from the mass commercial market. Nowadays almost every supplier has a highbay in their range but many are poorly designed because they haven’t thought about what the customer wants.
We all know that hot air rises so the temperature near the roof may be 10 – 15C more than at bench level. So why are some highbays designed for office level temperatures?
Dust and condensation can fall from the roof, so why would you make a highbay with big slots on the upper surface?
Cleaning is difficult at high level and liable to be infrequent so why build a luminaire which is only IP20? Of course, in a clean, modern factory, this may be OK.
Since you have to direct the light down in a narrow beam, what is the point of a very wide angle unit which could produce a lot of glare?
All the highbays reviewed deliver more than 25,000 lumens (better than most 400W metal halide) and some deliver a whopping 60,000 lm. In terms of delivered lux, that competes with 1kW high pressure sodium but with the added benefits of white light with good colour rendering.
An interesting aspect to the market is that many suppliers told me that their customers specifically asked for highbays with high colour temperatures such as 5,000K or 6,000K. Admittedly, you get a slightly higher lumen output per watt (than 4,000K) at these values, but it is nothing significant.
We have indicated the cost to an end user for approximately 50 No highbays. One '£' is in the range <£350, '££' is £350 - £450 and '£££' is £450+. Remember that the cost indicated is for the highest output model in each range. Lower output highbays cost considerably less.
When comparing prices, you should also consider the lumen output. Some highbays may be in a higher price bracket simply because they have a higher light output.
The Litex Elite is an object lesson in how to make a good quality highbay from sheet steel. Although 1.7m long, it is rock solid and as rigid as a girder. There are no slots in the top where dust or water droplets could enter. It is powder coated, IP65 and the IK10 impact resistance comes from the TPa polycarbonate lens. It operates from -40C - +50C. There is a wide beam (2 x 60°) version and an asymmetric one for aisles and racking.
- Price ££
I am reminded of a scene in a film where the hero says, 'that’s not a knife, THIS is a knife'. Except that I would substitute 'THIS Glamox i90-P is a highbay'. It weighs 30kg, three times as much as some highbays tested. It emits 60,000 lumens and can operate in ambient temperatures from -40C to + 60C. Four beam widths are available and it is rated at IP65. There is a toughened glass front lens or impact resistant acrylic.
The drivers are in sealed, vertically mounted, finned aluminium enclosures which are totally remote from the LEDs.
- Price £££
Holophane are renowned for their range of their highbays and the IBG is an entry level series with delivered light outputs from 7,000 lm to almost 54,000 lm. It is compact in size and the four runs of LEDs have a clear or frosted acrylic diffuser. It is available in 4,000K and 5,000K. Four beam widths are available. The stated maximum operating temperature is 40C although I suspect this is a conservative figure.
- Price £££
Lampadina are fairly new to the market and this is aimed at the budget sector. It is compact in size being just 380 mm diameter. There are some chunky cooling fins on the underside but they are closed at the top. The quoted maximum operating temperature is 50C so it is good to see that the driver is held in a separate finned housing. There are three beams available from 60° - 120
- Price £
This highbay has been designed so that it can also be used as a floodlight. As well as a central suspension point, there is also a stirrup marked with degrees for aiming. A nice touch is that the stirrup is fitted with two aiming lock nuts.
There are a lot of matt black cooling fins which give credibility to the claim of the 50C ambient. The driver is held in a separate finned compartment, widely spaced from the LEDs. Again, this gives reassurance about the long term reliability of the luminaire.
The only obvious disadvantage to this highbay is that it only has one beam distribution of 70°.
- Price £
This is a fairly compact, budget, unit being 400 mm diameter and 200 mm high. It also produces a lot of light, 34,000 lm. Unfortunately, the standard unit without a reflector, has a 150° beam (2 x 75°) and so it is quite glaring. We would recommend using it with the spun aluminium reflector. The max ambient operating temperature is 40C which is good enough for most applications.
- Price £
This is a simple construction of white painted mild steel. The LEDs and circuit boards are mounted on this and the heat then dissipates through the vent slots on the upper face of the luminaire. As such, it is rated at IP 20. The maximum ambient temperature is 25C.
One advantage over other budget range highbays is the choice of optics. There is a wide beam version (2 x 45°), a narrow beam (2 x 30°) and an asymmetric one for lighting aisles and racking. As a result, it is less glaring than some other budget highbays.
- Price ££
You can see that this is a long (1410 mm) rectangular unit constructed of mild steel and a clear lens. Like many highbays, the LEDs can be clearly seen but there is an opal diffuser option to spread the light more uniformly. There are three light distributions available, 60° x 80° and a 30° x 120° which is narrow beam and used for racking and the opal which is midway. The maximum ambient operating temperature is 40C.
Unsupported, the luminaire flexes slightly but the four mounting points should ensure it is rigid enough when installed.
- Price £££