Torch spacing: how to do it efficiently in Minecraft?

The light level can be crucial in many aspects of the game like the growth speed of various crops or Saplings, how the ice melts and wheter or not hostile mobs are going to spawn in the area.

Learning how to space Torches correctly can be very helpful in order to not leave any dark area while also not wasting tons of them. Let’s see how.

Minecraft Torch spacing

Torch light area

Before studying the perfect distance, we need to see how the light spreads from a single Torch and how it works in Minecraft in general.

Light (in a single block) can range between 0 and 15, the first being complete darkness and the second being the brightest possible. A Torch has a light level of 14.

When you are in a closed space or when it is night, the environment would be at a light level of 0 without light sources. In this cases, light decreases of 1 for every block you move away from the light source. This means that 14 blocks away from a Torch the light level will be 0 (if there aren’t other light sources nearby).

minecraft torch light grid
Torch light level grid

Keep in mind that light decreases also if you move on the Y axis. So if you move one block above or below the light source, the light level will decrease by 1 as well.

minecraft Y axis light level
How the light level changes above and below a light source

How to space Torches to grow crops

Note: the Torch patterns below are made assuming that Torches will be on the ground. Since the light level changes on the Y axis, if you place your Torches at eye-level you will have to consider a starting light level of 13 on the block below your Torch, instead of 14.

Potatoes, Wheat, Carrots, Beetrots, Melons or Pumpkins need a light level of 9 or more to grow. Note that other crops don’t require light at all, so mind the light level only for the crops mentioned here.

Obviously during the day all your crops will grow, thanks to the daily light level of 15, but you’ll have to obtain a light level of 9 on all your farm if you want them to grow overnight as well. In order to have a light level of 9 in all the area, you will need to put your Torches 9 blocks away from each other.

minecraft torch spacing for crops
9 blocks between each Torch
minecraft torch spacing for crops
Light level of the whole area

As you can see the left and the right Torches (which have a light level of 14) have 9 blocks between them. The same is true for the top and the bottom ones. In the example I only used 4 Torches, but you can use this pattern more times to cover every area you want. This way your farm won’t have any light issue.

Before we continue there’s something worth saying: you may think that you should set Torches in a way that makes you not waste any level 9 block provided by them. This would put 10 (not 9) blocks between each Torch:

14 (Torch)13121110991011121314 (Torch)

This option is perfect if you are only taking care of rows of blocks. But if you want to have a 2 dimensions farm, you would encounter the following problem:

minecraft wrong torch spacing for crops

As you can see it would inevitably form a gap. In general, trying to optimize Torches this way creates an irregular shape that is not very efficient. And at the end of the day you are not saving that many resources.

It may look like I’m nitpicking here, but when you want to organize a farm on a larger scale you can’t waste any time checking if every block is receiving enough light. By putting 9 blocks between each Torch you can obtain a much more regular result, there’s no reason to complicate it.

How to space Torches to prevent Mobs spawning

Hostile Mobs can spawn if the light level of the ground (where their “feet” are going to spawn) is 7 or below. So you can use a similar spacing method like the one explained above, the only difference will be that you will have to distance Torches by 11 blocks:

minecraft torch spacing for mobs
minecraft torch spacing for mobs

Something that we can notice is that a farm with a minimum light level of 9 should also be Mobs free, which is good to know.

Torch spacing in tunnels

As stated before, the light level decreases also in the blocks above and below the Torch. This is important to remember if you are going to put your Torches at eye-level (like in the screenshot below). This happens very often in tunnels, where usually players mine 2×1 holes that extend for thousands of block.

minecraft tunnel torch spacing

In tunnels you can have 12 blocks between each Torch IF you place Torches on the ground. When placing Torches on the ground, the light level in the tunnel will be the following:

14 (Torch)1312111098891011121314 (Torch)

If instead you place Torches at eye-level, you will need to have no more than 10 blocks between each Torch.

13 (Torch)121110988910111213 (Torch)

Note: hostile mobs spawn rate on stairs works in a different way

How to check light level

If you ever feel unsure about the light level in a certain block, there are two ways you can chek it: by using a Redstone Torch and by using the debug screen.

  • Redstone Torches have a light level of 8. This means that if you place one in a Mobs free area (and also good for crops) you will not notice a variation in light. Keep in mind that it won’t make you 100% sure that the light level is enough for crops (since they require 9 and not 8).
  • By pressing F3 you will be able to see on the left side of your screen, among many other things, the light level of the block you are standing on (other than the light level provided by the sky):
minecraft debug screen

Video tutorial

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