How to Choose the Right Outdoor Post Lights for Me

Everything You Need to Know Before Making Your Post Light, Lamp Post, or Pier Base Purchase

Published on
April 10, 2023 at 4:43:52 PM PDT April 10, 2023 at 4:43:52 PM PDTth, April 10, 2023 at 4:43:52 PM PDT

Outdoor lighting not only enhances the beauty of your home, but also provides safety and security for your family and guests. Post lights are great for extending your outdoor lighting beyond your porch and illuminating driveways, walkways, and landscaping. But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right type of post light, lamp post, or pier base mount for your outdoor space. In this buying guide, we will explore the several types of outdoor lighting and recommend some of our favorite designs to help you make an informed decision. 

Oak Creek Post Top Light and Black Lamp Post with Cross Arm

Oak Creek Post Top Light and Black Round Pier Base Mount

Features to Look for in Post Lights 

Post lights are mounted on top of posts or pier base mounts and are commonly used for illuminating walkways, driveways, and outdoor living areas. They come in a variety of styles and sizes, from traditional lanterns to modern and sleek designs. When selecting a post light, there are a few essential factors to consider: 

Wet Rating

Do you need wet or damp rated lights and what’s the difference? Most outdoor light fixtures are rated for either wet or damp location use. Wet rated post lights are designed to withstand direct exposure to rain, snow, and other forms of precipitation without malfunctioning or causing safety hazards. Damp-rated fixtures are for use in covered areas not directly exposed to rain and moisture. Because post top lights are often not under any type of coverage, a wet rating is typically necessary.  

Canterbury II LED Post Top Light and Pier Base Mount in Bronze

Weather-Resistant Finish

A weather-resistant finish is also important to look for when shopping for post lights. Post lights with a weather-resistant finish can withstand exposure to sunlight, wind, and other elements that could cause discoloration or damage to the fixture. 

Canterbury II LED Post Top Light and Black Lamp Post with Cross Arm and Outlet

Ease of Installation

Post lights should be easy to install, especially if you’re undertaking a DIY project. A straightforward installation process ensures that the post light can be installed correctly and efficiently, without the need for professional installation. 

Extra Features

Depending on your own preference, you may consider looking for a post light with a timer or sensor. A timer allows you to set the post light to turn on and off at specific times, while a sensor detects when it's dark outside and turns the light on automatically. Sensors can also be built into lamp posts and used with traditional post top lights.  

Mayfield Post Light and Black Round Pier Base Mount

One of our favorite post light designs is the Design House Mayfield Post Light. It features a classic and elegant style with a black finish and clear glass panels, perfect for adding a touch of sophistication to your outdoor space. 

Important Features of Lamp Posts 

So, you’ve decided on your post light, but where will you put it? Post top lights can be mounted on either lamp posts or pier base mounts. Lamp posts can stand on their own while pier bases are mounted on top of columns or some other surface. When shopping for a lamp post, take the following into consideration: 


The height of the lamp post will determine the coverage of the light. Consider the height of your home and other structures in your yard to determine the appropriate height. 


Lamp posts come in a range of styles, from traditional to modern. Choose a style that complements your home's architecture and your personal taste. 

Oak Creek Post Top Light and Black Lamp Post with Cross Arm


Lamp posts can be made from various materials, including aluminum, steel, and cast iron. Consider the durability and maintenance requirements of each material. 


Decide whether you want a direct burial or surface-mounted lamp post. Direct burial lamp posts are buried directly in the ground, while surface-mounted posts are secured to a base or platform. Direct burial lamp posts tend to stand up straighter and are less affected by factors such as wind. 

Extra Features

If having another source of power in your yard is important to you, consider a lamp post with a built-in electrical outlet. Since you’re running power to the post anyway, adding a convenience outlet is an easy step to take. Some lamp posts come with a photo eye as well. This allows the light to take on a dusk to dawn feature, turning on at night and off during the daytime.  

Oak Creek Post Top Light and Black Lamp Post with Photo Eye for Dusk to Dawn Capability

If you're looking for a lamp post with extra features, consider the Design House Lamp Post with Photo Eye Sensor. This lamp post has a built-in dusk to dawn sensor that turns lights on at night and off during the daytime for convenience and safety. It also features a durable black finish and a traditional design that can complement any outdoor decor. 

What to Look for in Pier Base Mounts 

Pier base mounts are used to attach post lights to a flat surface, such as a deck or patio. Pier bases are not for stabilizing lamp posts; they are for lights only. They are designed to provide a sturdy and secure foundation for the post light, ensuring it remains upright and stable.

Black Round Pier Base Mount

Pier base mounts typically consist of a metal plate that is anchored to the surface with screws or bolts, and a post support that fits over the plate and is secured in place with additional hardware. The post light is then attached to the support, typically with screws or bolts as well. Pier base mounts can be a great option for homeowners who do not have a traditional post or need to attach a post light to a non-standard surface. They are also useful for adding extra lighting to an outdoor living area, such as a patio or deck, without the need for a traditional lamp post. Pier base mounts come in a variety of sizes and styles to accommodate different post light designs and come in a variety of finishes to match the décor of your outdoor living space. 

Canterbury II LED Post Top Light and Pier Base Mount in Black

The Design House Pier Base Mount in black features a sleek and minimalist design with a black finish that goes with a variety of outdoor décor styles. This pier base mount is also weather-resistant, ensuring that it can withstand the elements and last for years to come. 

Selecting the right type of outdoor lighting can make a significant difference in the safety, security, and overall aesthetic of your outdoor space. Whether you choose a post light, lamp post, or pier base mount, make sure to consider the size and style of your outdoor area, as well as any extra features you may need. The Design House Mayfield Post Light, Design House Lamp Post with Electrical Outlet, and Design House Pier Base Mount are all great options that combine style, functionality, and affordability. Happy shopping! 

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