What is UV-C?

Scientists discovered UV-C (also called germicidal UV) more than a century ago. Since then, it's been studied and used in applications like water treatment and preventing the spread of pathogens in hospitals.

The UV-C spectrum includes wavelengths from 200 to 280 nanometers. These wavelengths are known for the ability to eliminate 99.9% of pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and mold spores.

Most traditional UV-C products (like low pressure mercury lamps) use energy from the 254 nm wavelength because scientists found it the most effective. UV-C LEDs, which are relatively new to the market, are generally 260 to 280 nm. Other products use broad spectrum UV, which is a combination of wavelengths found in UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C ranges.

Recently, scientists found UV-C light can kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. More businesses have started to add UV-C products to protect their employees, tenants, and customers.

Pros of far-UVC

  • Safe for skin and eyes – According to most research, far-UVC products are safe for skin and eyes. Far-UVC does not penetrate the outer layer of skin or eyes, so it doesn't cause any tissue damage.
  • Constant disinfection – Because far-UVC is safe for skin and eyes, products can run constantly. They can work at all times to kill pathogens like viruses and bacteria so you are never starting from ground zero. UV-C products only target germs during a timed cycle when no one is in the room.

Cons of far-UVC

  • Limited testing – The biggest concern from industry experts about far-UVC is limited testing on humans. Although studies on mice show no long term effects, there are no studies on the long term effects on humans.

We agree with The International Ultraviolet Association who believes far-UVC is not ready for widespread applications yet. Their argument is based on this limited testing on humans. Because of this we only recommend it's use on a very limited bases.

  • Slow disinfection – Right now, there are limits to the amount of UV energy in a space, which requires far-UVC products to operate at a very low dose over a long period of time. 23 mJ/cm² is the threshold limit value for occupied spaces.
  • Limited product offering – Because far-UVC technology is so new, there is limited product offering. There are only a few manufacturers producing far-UVC products, and you want to make sure you choose a trusted and reputable manufacturer. Even manufacturers producing far-UVC only have a few fixture options. This is likely to change in the next few months and years.

UV-C products vs. Far-UVC products

Now that you know the pros and cons of UV-C and far-UVC, how do they really stack up against each other?

Here's a comparison chart:





254 nm

222 nm

Safe for skin and eyes



Track record

100+ years

10+ years

Product availability

Wide range


We will most likely see more far-UVC products on the market in the months and years to come as more manufacturers focus on the technology. Scientists are continuing their research into safety.

Meanwhile, UV-C products continue to be a solid and reliable source of disinfection for a wide range of industries, including hotels, retail stores, restaurants, schools, and more.

Finding the right UV products

With new products constantly popping up on the market, selecting the right UV-C product is not always easy. 

Our lighting specialists are here to walk you through the process and help you choose the right products based on your priorities. Please do not hesitate to Schedule a Free Consultation.