Balloon vs. Light Tower: When Diffused Light is Better
Construction contractors who use light towers on the jobsite may find themselves choosing between traditional light towers and balloon lights. What's the difference?
"Balloon lights filter the light through a translucent balloon that lights up the surrounding area surrounding," says Chad Hislop, light towers product manager at Terex Aerial Work Platforms. "Traditional light towers mount each bulb separately inside an adjustable reflective light fixture."
While both light systems can be used on most jobsites, advantages of balloon lights include quiet operation with zero emissions, non-glare light and small size portability, which also makes them ideal for party rentals, utility repair trucks, indoor work and emergency command posts, says Eric Bernier, Wacker Neuson sales Americas, LLC.
"Traditional light towers are still going to lead the way," says Deree Bivins, product marketing manager, lighting systems, for Doosan Portable Power. "However, balloon lights are going to be a requirement on more road construction sites where you're working along traffic at night time. Since there are so many infrastructure projects underway right now, I think balloon lights will increase in jobsite use dramatically based on these DOT specs increasing across the United States."
How do you decide which option is best for your jobsite? Here is a list of comparisons and contrasts between traditional and balloon lights to help you decide.
- Diffused, glare free, reduced shadow lighting.
- 360 degrees of working light on the jobsite.
- No sound or exhaust emissions.
- Can be stand-alone units or mounted onto mobile construction equipment such as pavers and milling machines to move the light along with the equipment operator.
- Balloon light kits are available to retrofit traditional light tower lamp fixtures with balloon lights.
- Often designed as a smaller unit which can be easier to store and transport.
- Requires a separate power source.
- Made of fabric and designed to handle only so much wind speed and stress. These lights will need to be taken down before towing to prevent damage.
- Require some component assembly when attaching and expanding the balloon and setting up supports
Traditional light towers
- Designed to cover large areas with lamps raised up to 30 feet above worksite.
- Allows the option of directing the light to specific areas of the jobsite with adjustable lamps.
- Not designed to be mounted on construction equipment - must be continually repositioned for mobile road construction work.
- May set up and take down faster.
- Completely self-contained with their own on-board generator power.
- On-board generator can also provide power for jobsite tools, etc.
- Can be towed down the road without removing the light fixture.