8 Factors to Look Out For When Choosing Your Signal Tower Light

Signal Tower Lights (or stack lights) can be confusing.

Conservatively estimating, our Q-Light Tower Light range has well over 1,500+ variants, each promising a unique combination of layers, voltage and application.

For our customers, many of them come to one conclusion: How do I know which is the right tower light for me?!

This prompted us to gather these 8 simple factors you should look out for when choosing your right tower light.

1. Environment

As signal indicators, tower lights are used in a wide variety of environments. This can usually be classified into three main categories:

  1. Indoor
  2. Outdoor
  3. Explosion-Proof Environments

To meet the needs of these distinct environments, the Tower Lights must have a specific IP rating.

  1. Indoor – IP44 Rated
  2. Outdoor – IP65 Rated (for wet and dusty environments)
  3. Explosion-Proof – Tower Lights with ATEX Certificates

Nonetheless, there are also exceptions to the rule. Certain indoor environments, such as when there is a huge amount of dust present, may require a tower light of a higher IP rating as compared to a typical IP44 rated tower light.

Also, do note that tower lights with a buzzer or alarm typically have a lower IP rating as they have small openings to allow for effective sound projection.

2. Diameter

Space on any machine or assembly station is a valuable resource. Yet, while minimising the space used, you would also want to ensure the tower lights is prominent enough to provide a visible signal. To combat this, manufacturers have gone to lengths to produce tower lights of different diameters.

  1. 25mm (STA25SLM)
  2. 45mm (STA45SLM)
  3. 45mm (ST45)
  4. 56mm (ST56)
  5. 80mm (ST80)

Choosing the right size is vital not only to economising the space on your machine, but also to prevent the unnecessary spending on bigger tower lights which you don’t require.

3. Voltage

To meet the different application environments, tower lights typically come in 4 main voltages:

  1. 12V
  2. 24V
  3. 110V
  4. 220V

The 24V model is typically preferred when the tower light is connected to a machine

Alternatively, the 220V model is also a popular choice due to Singapore’s standard voltage.

4. No. of Layers

The number of layers and colours used in your tower light will ultimately be determined by the number of signals you wish to display. Most manufacturers have a standard configuration that are most requested by their customers. For instance, Q-Light’s more common configurations are:

  1. 1 Layer: Red
  2. 2 Layer: Red, Green
  3. 3 Layer: Red, Amber, Green
  4. 4 Layer: Red, Amber, Green, Blue
  5. 5 Layer: Red, Amber, Green, Blue, White

What then if these are not the colour configurations which you are looking for?

Not to worry! You can always contact your vendor and see if they are able to provide non-standard configurations.

Alternatively, many users are also increasingly opting for modular tower lights. Designed in sleek individual modules, modular tower lights offer you the flexibility to customise the colours, arrangement and sound options to your specification.

Better still, they are often of a higher IP rating as compared to normal tower lights, making them suitable for a wide range of environments. You can read more about it here

5. Light Type

When it comes to light types, you can choose from LED or Bulb.

Most users would prefer the LED model for its energy efficiency, brightness and longer lifespan.

Nonetheless, most suppliers understand that some users still prefer to use the bulb models and readily carry them.

6. Direct Mount or Pole

To cater to different height requirements, most manufacturers would have the direct mount and pole tower light models.

The direct mount models are shorter and have three bolts at the bottom to allow you to mount it directly to the surface.

In contrast, the pole models, with an extended pole at its bottom, are much taller. In the event that you need to mount these tower lights, you can still do so easily through a L-bracket or Round bracket

7. Warning Sounds or Buzzers

In any production and fault monitoring, audible signals also play an important role. These signals can be classified into Buzzer, Warning Alarm, Warning Sound and Warning Melody.

If you would like to listen to a sample of these sounds, you can easily request this from the vendors you are purchasing from. Some manufacturers, like Q-Light, provide a list of these sounds on their website for users to easily access them.

For most of our users, a basic tower light with buzzer is more than sufficient in providing a clear audible signal.

8. Special functionality

Other than performing those traditional functions, tower lights are also adopting more up-to-date technologies.

One example is USB Tower Lights, which can be plugged in, powered and controlled by a PC. The Q-Light USB Tower Lights series, for instance, are also able to support programmes such as VC++, VB, Delphi and C#.

Ethernet LED Tower Lights also cater for remote monitoring and control.

In the near future, wireless tower lights capable of ZigBee communication would soon be available.

Given their ability to extend beyond the basic core features of a tower light, it is no surprise that these tower lights are increasingly sought after.


This is definitely a long list of factors to consider when choosing your tower light. But simply by identifying one variable that corresponds to your requirement from each factor, you would be all set in finding your perfect tower light and be able to converse with your vendor like a pro.

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