As its name suggests, task lighting is used to support particular visual tasks as a supplement to the general lighting in the space.

In most cases, the purpose of task lighting is to increase light levels for particular activities such as reading fine print or performing intricate manual tasks, where the general light levels are not sufficient. It may also be used to modify local lighting conditions for visually impaired people, or older people who tend to require higher light levels than younger people performing the same tasks.

In some instances local task lighting on individual workspaces can be used to enable the general lighting levels to be lower, thereby reducing energy consumption.

There are also situations where the task lighting has a more specific purpose, such as improving colour rendering to help with identification of electrical components on an assembly line or assessing the finish of a newly painted car in a paint shop.

Consequently, it is important that the type of task lighting is closely aligned to the specific task by selecting the most appropriate light source and the directional performance of the luminaire.

There are many different types of task light, ranging from the recessed luminaire in the office to freestanding luminaires and spotlights/floodlights mounted above a particular area.