The Importance of SAE Classification for Beacons and your
Selection or Choice of Beacon for Your Application
The society for automotive engineers (SAE) has established a standardized classification system for vehicle warning lights.
There is some confusion as to what the different classifications mean, and what class of product is best for a particular application.
Part of the SAE classification system for warning lights is a classification of light intensity designed to help determine the best
Application for the lighting unit.
This Tech tip explains in basic terms the difference between the three SAE classifications for warning lights and beacons.
Class 1 Warning Lights
Warning lights in the Class 1 designation have a minimum of 4 times the light intensity of a Class 2 warning light. Examples of
Class 1 warning light applications include emergency vehicles such as police, fire and ambulance – the greatest intensity.
Class 2 Warning Lights
Warning lights in the Class 2 designation have a minimum of approximately 2.5 times the light intensity of a class 3 warning light.
Examples of Class 2 warning light applications include utility vehicles that work along roadsides – medium intensity.
Class 3 Warning Lights
Warning lights in the Class 3 designation have approximately 40% of the minimum intensity of Class 2 warning lights. Class 3
Products are typically used inside of buildings where there is little or no ambient sunlight. An example of a Class 3 warning light
Application is a forklift strobe light – the least intensity.
When selecting the correct Beacon for Your application an important consideration would be, is the Beacon intense enough OR
Could it be too intense for some situations e.g. inside a warehouse?
There are also a number of other criteria that must be passed to meet Class 1 Classification. Lights must be assessed to be able
To meet Vibration, Moisture, Dust, Corrosion and Warpage tests. Other considerations are Flash Rate, Lens Colour, ability to
Withstand Temperature variations -30˚C to +50˚C and Durability.