I'm trying to make a beacon/lighthouse which is visible from a distance at night (on far render). What is the best light source which will provide the brightest light / most visible to the human eye when wandering back home at night?

  • Lava
  • Torch
  • Redstone Torch
  • Glowstone
  • Netherrack Fire
  • Other?

Edit: Alternatively, are there any working mods/plugins that produce better lighting alternatives?

  • Gave an updated answer, adding Beacons
    – childe
    Nov 20, 2012 at 15:09

9 Answers 9


Lava, while potentially more dangerous, might be a better option as it more easily occupies a larger volume. It will be easier to see several bright blocks rather than just one or two.

You could build a glass box on top of a tower and fill it with lava. This should be visible from afar and relatively safe.

  • 1
    I concur. Only fire, lava, jack-o-lanterns and glowstone output the same light as sunlight, and only netherrack fire and lava are easily acquired. Although netherrack is more common, you can only light every other block vertically, unless you build a pyramid. Lava, because it flows down, means you can fill a tall glass by putting a single layer of lava at the top. That said, even torches are visible from a good distance in the dark, and torches are even more common than lava. Aug 28, 2011 at 8:15
  • Pumpkins will be farmable in 1.8, so they might actually end up being easiest to get.
    – Shinrai
    Aug 29, 2011 at 15:47

As of Minecraft 1.4.2, beacons were added, pillars of light that produce a buff when close to it. enter image description here

For materials:

The beacon block itself is made of 5 glass, a Nether Star, and 3 obsidian.

From the wiki:

The beam of light is visible from up to 256 blocks away, and is even visible in unloaded chunks. This provides a useful marker for short to mid-range gameplay.

Here is an image from Jeb:

enter image description here

  • 2
    And they only cost an arm or two.
    – Gnoupi
    Nov 20, 2012 at 15:09
  • More or less :D
    – childe
    Nov 20, 2012 at 15:46

Light in minecraft is pretty limited. In fact, a light source don't really produce light, it just brighten the cubes around it. So, a torch on top of a pillar, seen from far away, will just be a white pixel in the sky, not much different from a star.

The best way to see something from far, so, is not to make is bright, it is to make it large and recognizable, something that will not confound itself with the background. Making a huge ball of glass filled with lava, for example, is a good way to mark a place. But so is a sphere of red wool covered in torches and a large cube of glowstone. The difference is brightness from torches vs. lava is negligible for something like this. For afar, most details will not be visible, but it will still catch the eye as something very different and not natural.

So, in short, to mark a place, make something big and recognizable, not a small, bright light.


Lighting in Minecraft only goes up to 15, and those light-sources only light up to 15 away. If I wanted to make something very visible and cheap, I'd go with lava as you can get tons of lava blocks out of one bucketful if you let it run down aways, like this:

  • I was hoping for a lighthouse in the video :(
    – Warface
    Aug 27, 2011 at 15:02
  • If you want an actual lighthouse, there are plenty of those designs as well
    – Nick T
    Aug 27, 2011 at 15:25

According to the wiki page your could put Jack O Lantern or Glowstone which are safest and the brightest.


For the other question that you added, no you can't change the lightning effect since the max value is 15 and the list in the wiki link above shows it. You could hack the minecraft.jar files for better lightning maybe, but only you will have the effect of that change.


Make a large flat face into a hill with stepped blocks all around. Make a hollow glass cross form and fill it with lava. Then remove your scaffolding. There will be no mistaking it for stars or landscape.


For mods to give more light, Factorization has the Wrathlamp, light traves 8 blocks out to the side before it starts to dim and it travels 27 blocks down before it starts dimming.

If you have high ceilings you can put them at the top of your room and it can light your entire room.

  • The Wrathlamps are very cool. They have a drawback worth noting though: those blocks of full light prevent any other blocks from being placed, since they're invisible "wrathlamp light blocks" rather than air. Jul 19, 2013 at 3:58
  • I have never encountered that, but I am still using the version in the DW20 pack, that might be something from the newest patches (or a old patch) Jul 19, 2013 at 4:08
  • It's been an effect of Wrathlamps since the beginning. See the notes on this page, particularly the way tree growth and quarries are confused/prevented by Wrathlamp invisible light blocks. Jul 19, 2013 at 4:11
  • Huh, I never got bit by that, but I only ever use the lamps for house lighting. Jul 19, 2013 at 4:27

Ideally, you should use a beacon, but if you can't get one, make a netherack fire and suround it with glowstone. This is also a nice way to show how much you've been to the nether.


just take a glass block and and a nether star and 3 obsidian and ur good to go and place them on ur crafting table and u should have a beackan thet shhould be visiable from 256 blocks away

  • 1
    This is simply repeating information that's in another answer. Do you have anything new to add? May 16, 2014 at 19:02
  • that seems like a no @PaulMarshall Dec 22, 2014 at 10:41

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