What brightness LED display do I need?

Posted by Ross Noonan|01 Aug 2023

Selecting the appropriate brightness level for your LED display is essential to ensure optimal visibility and performance in different environments. LED displays are measured in nits, which indicate the amount of light emitted per square meter. Understanding the various brightness options available on the LED market and their respective applications will help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and preferences.

1. Nits Explained: Understanding Brightness Levels

Before exploring the different brightness options, let's clarify what nits represent and how they impact LED display performance. And no... it's not a little blood sucking critter!

One nit equals one candela per square meter (cd/m²) and indicates the display's brightness level. Higher nits translate to brighter displays, making them ideal for use in well-lit environments or under direct sunlight. Conversely, lower nits are more suitable for dimly lit or indoor settings to prevent discomfort or eye strain caused by excessive brightness.

Watch our NIT's / brightness explainer video here

Watch our "difference between NITS & Lumens" video here

2. Different Brightness Options on the LED Market

a. Low Brightness (≤ 800 nits) LED displays with low brightness, typically ranging from 300 to 800 nits, are ideal for indoor use in low to moderate ambient light. This brightness range is commonly found in corporate boardrooms, lecture theatres, control rooms, digital signage (in low light) and even in home cinema. Think anywhere with minimal/low ambient lighting or where ambient light is under full control. These displays offer adequate clarity and colour accuracy without overwhelming viewers in subdued lighting conditions. They are not suitable for window displays or spaces with high ambient light!

b. Medium Brightness (800 to 1200 nits) LED displays falling within the range of 800 to 1200 nits are versatile options suitable for both indoor and semi-outdoor environments. They are commonly used in retail signage (indoor), airport information screens, train stations, atriums and indoor events where moderate ambient lighting is present (not direct sunlight). These displays strike a balance between clarity and visibility in various lighting conditions and are a great choice for the majority of indoor applications.

c. High Brightness (1200 to 2500 nits) For outdoor applications or indoor spaces with significant ambient lighting or environments where the ambient light changes often, high-brightness LED displays ranging from 1200 to 2500 nits are ideal. These displays can combat most challenges posed by sunlight or high ambient light, but not direct sunlight (e.g a south-facing windows). This option ensures content remains vivid and easily readable in areas of high ambient light. They are commonly used in digital billboards and KIOSK's, transportation information boards, bright atriums, reception areas, retail and recessed window displays.

d. Ultra-High Brightness (3500 nits and above) In environments with exceptionally high ambient lighting or direct exposure to sunlight, Ultra-High Bright LED displays with 3500 nits or more become essential. These displays offer unparalleled visibility and are suitable for outdoor applications that demand optimal performance in extremely bright conditions or indoor environment with very high ambient light, direct sunlight or target audiences that are far off. It is worth noting that most outdoor only displays tend to start at 4500 nits and range all the way up to 12,000 nits! Examples of these are digital billboards, outdoor digital signage, rental LED for large outdoor events, sports stadium displays, and window displays with direct sunlight.

3. Considerations for Choosing the Right Brightness

• Viewing Environment: Consider the lighting conditions in the area where the LED display will be installed. If the display will be in a well-lit environment or exposed to direct sunlight, opt for a higher brightness level to ensure optimal visibility. It is worth noting that many of the applications listed above cross over between brightness options. Always think about the worst case scenario, and make sure you have enough nits to combat ambient light, at all times of the day!

• Purpose of Display: Determine the purpose of your LED display and who your target audience are. If it's for indoor advertising or presentations, a low or medium brightness display should suffice, but consider the ambient light levels and how they may change. Some indoor spaces are as bright as outdoor ones! For outdoor billboards or event screens, higher brightness levels are necessary to compete with external light sources and ensuring enough wiggle room for environmental variations. Remember, you can always run a brighter display at a reduced nit output!

• Energy Efficiency: Higher brightness levels generally consume more power. Choose the brightness that meets your requirements without being excessive, as this can help reduce energy consumption and operating costs.

Note: You can save money by setting your display to the correct brightness for each use case!

Product example

Our Award Winning 43” EDGE Pro allows users to choose between 3 NIT outputs (800, 2000, 4000) giving you ultimate product placement opportunities. You can also upgrade the pixels and NIT output when ever you wish!

43" EDGE pixel technologies


Choosing the right brightness for your LED display is crucial to ensure its effectiveness in various environments. Understanding the different brightness options available on the LED market and their respective applications empowers you to make an informed decision. Whether it's for indoor presentations, outdoor advertising, or public events, selecting the appropriate brightness level will ensure your LED display delivers an outstanding visual experience.

Feel free to reach out so we can help you make the right choice on your next LED display project.