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How to Buy Post Mounted Lanterns

Buyer's Guide: Post Mount Lanterns Kichler Lighting Rustic Post Mount Light

Post lanterns sit atop a post or pier to create additional lighting in outdoor spaces. Post lanterns are available in either post mount or pier mount styles. Post mount lights typically sit on a slender, round post while pier mount lights sit atop a deck post or similar square surface.

Make Decisions

Do you want a post mount or a pier mount light? Post mount lights can be more versatile, because you can place posts almost anywhere in your yard, as long as you have enough wire to connect them to a power source. Pier mount lights are better suited for flanking a deck or patio using preexisting deck posts.

Going Underground

Since post lanterns are planted in the ground, they provide secure and stable places for lamps to be placed. Wires need to be buried underground to avoid torn wires and to keep a clean and neat look. Most of the posts for post lanterns are made out of aluminum or other metals that will not rust.

You can add a post or pier mount light on an existing surface or purchase a new post for installation. Posts are available in all sizes so there will always be at least one that will suit your needs. Pier mount lights can be installed on existing deck posts with the cords carefully hidden along the deck rails. If you are planning ahead, you can drill into the deck posts to hide the wires inside.

Measure where you are planning to place the pier mount and determine the size that you will need and from there, determine what your options are for styles and different brands. Make sure you get the correct size of post lamp to fit on your post.

Post lantern lights are a great solution for security and accent lighting because of their low voltages, durability, and weather resistance. Be sure to use outdoor lights for post and pier mount lights and select one made of a more durable material if you live in a harsh climate.

Plan Ahead

Measure out how much space you want to illuminate and plan your wattage accordingly. Many post lanterns are for use with standard 120 volt electricity, which you can plug directly into your home's electrical source. Some post lanterns are available in more energy efficient 12 volt, which requires a transformer. If your lights span across 100 feet or more, you will need multiple transformers to prevent the lights from dimming. Post lanterns are available with many different light bulb types, from energy-efficient LED bulbs to standard incandescent bulbs.

Be sure to purchase enough wire and connectors to complete your project. Use waterproof connector caps with lights suitable for outdoor use to avoid safety problems.

Install With Ease

You will most likely need to dig a small little trench for you to run your wires through. Beyond that, there isn't much work that is required to install these. You will need a pier mount to place your post and light on, so be sure to account for that in your budget. Be sure to turn off the electricity before you begin any electrical work and call your local electrician for installation help.

Light Bulbs

There are a variety of post mount lights available which fit incandescent, fluorescent, HID, LED and halogen bulbs. Be sure to check the product specifications of post mount lights you are interested in to ensure that it can accept the wattage you are interested in using. Many post mount lights can only take a maximum of 100 watts.

Necessary Items for Installation

Posts are not included with most post mount lights. It is important to find a post that will fit and match your new post mount light. Generally, there will be a matching post also for purchase by the same manufacturer. Buying this post will provide the most fool-proof match, but if you do not like the corresponding posts you can spend the time to research which other posts will fit your new lantern. Depending on your post and the light you by, you may also need to buy a pier mount. Do your research and make sure you have all required parts before purchasing your lighting.

Material Options

Post mount lights are made to be outside and are often made from aluminum, acrylic, solid brass and glass. These materials are ideal for withstanding the outdoor elements and wet locations.


A with all lighting fixtures, post mount lights are available in every style to match every home. It will be important to consider the style, such as rustic, contemporary or traditional, as well as what finish will match your home the best such as bronze, black, copper or rust.

Going Green

There are many eco-friendly and Energy Star rated options in the post mount light category. Not only will choosing these models provide earth-friendly benefits, but they can also save you money in the long term. As with most outdoor lighting, post mount lanterns are often left on for long periods of time, so any energy that can be saved will help you pinch pennies.

Kichler Lighting Alameda Post Mount Light


How tall should my post be?

The ideal height for a post depends on where you are installing it. If it will be close enough to a walkway or patio that people will be in danger of bumping their heads, it should be tall enough that the light sits around 7 feet high. If it will be father away, it can be lower. The height is mostly an aesthetic decision that you will have to make depending on the location and style of your other exterior lights.

How do I install a post?

The installation of each individual post will vary depending on the style. For example, some posts may suggest that you set them in concrete while others simply need to be pushed into the ground. Before you do any electrical work, make sure the electricity is turned off.

Start by digging a trench for the conduit pipe and wires. If your post comes pre-wired, attach the wires to your post mount light. If it does not, run the wires up through the post and connect them to the light.

Run the wire to your house and attach to your service box. If you do not already have a service box for outdoor lighting, you may want to hire an electrician to help you install one.

Once the wires are all connected at the service box and switch, turn the power back on and turn on the lights.

If you are at all uncomfortable doing your own electrical work, hire an electrician to help you.

Do I need a photo cell in my post?

A photo cell is a sensor that will turn your light on and off as the sky darkens and lightens. Some posts come with an included photo cell while others have the option to purchase on separately. It is ultimately your decision if you want the light to be on a sensor. Otherwise, you can set it to a timer or manually turn it on and off.

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