So a CEO of an energy company walks into a light fixture section… Most would assume he/she picks out the most eco-friendly, energy efficient bulb and still makes it home in time for dinner, right? Not so much. The LED light industry is a tough landscape to navigate, as an industry expert or an everyday consumer.
The emerging technology behind LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights continues to prove its benefits over CFL (Company Fluorescent Lightbulb) and incandescent bulbs. With bulb lifespans of over ten years, the benefits of LED are jarringly obvious; yet, the disconnect between consumers and LED manufacturers is equally as jarring. With unclear labeling and almost too much variety, the benefits of LED are drowned out by the overall complexity of the consumer experience.
Benefits of LED Lighting:
LED lightbulbs are commonly criticized for being expensive, so when shopping, consider the hour power: an LED light lasts up to 100,000 hours, while a traditional bulb will rarely last more than one thousand hours. To be fair, you would have to compare the price of one LED bulb against that of 100 traditional lightbulbs, plus the time and fuel you’d have to waste in order to purchase them. Once you’ve done the math, LED lightbulbs are absolutely the fiscally responsible choice to own in the long run.
The overall savings LED lights can achieve compared to other types of lighting are considerable, too. The heat output of an LED bulb is six times lower than that of an incandescent lamp, meaning that any air conditioning in use will have to remove less heat from rooms, consuming less energy – and with lower wattages available, the energy needed to light a room is considerably less.
Steps to Choosing an LED lightbulb:
While understanding the benefits of LED lighting is crucial, being able to aptly maneuver through the dizzying assortment of LED lights is of equal importance. For first time consumers, or repeat buyers, I have compiled the five most important factors to look for when shopping for household LED lights.
- It’s important to choose the right wattage in order to receive a similar light level as your previous bulb. A good rule of thumb – if you have incandescent lightbulbs, divide their wattage by 6 to get the right LED wattage needed. This means that a 60-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced with a 10-watt LED bulb. If you use compact fluorescent bulbs, divide their wattage by 1.5.
- LED lights’ brightness is measured in lumens. You need to have your old bulb’s wattage to properly convert brightness into lumens. A proficient LED bulb can provide a minimum of 110 Lumens per watt, which ensures lower energy consumption and higher brightness.
- Color is measured in Kelvin. You will see the temperature written on LED lights followed by a K (i.e. 3000K). Choosing the right color is very important when choosing an LED light. Color is done in a scale of warm to cool, and although many may assume a “cooler” light would have a lower Kelvin score, it is the opposite. Warmer lights with reddish, orange or yellow glows are rated lower on the scale than a cooler and brighter bulb. When picking a color, you must consider the color of your walls or furniture occupied in the particular room you are shopping for. For example, a den with darker furniture and walls may warrant a bulb closer to yellow or soft white (2700-3000K), compared to bright rooms needing to be illuminated with bulbs that are closer to daylight in temperature (5000K).
- Bulb Type
|Bulb Type||Description||Sub-Bulb Type|
|Arbitrary||This is the standard household light bulb.||A/Arbitrary- This is the standard light bulb shape. Most often used in standard house lamps.|
|Candle||These are similar to a candle’s flame in shape. The bulbs have small bases and are normally used in chandeliers and other decorative light fixtures.||C/Candle- This bulb is similar to a candle’s flame in shape.|
|CW/Candle Twisted- Again, shaped like the standard candle bulb, but with a decorative spiral around the base.|
|CA/Candle Angular- Similar to regular candle bulbs in size and shape, but goes off to one side.|
|F/Flambeau- Very similar to the candle twisted bulb, but slightly wider and twists in a random pattern to appear more flame-like.|
|Globe||These bulbs are spherical in shape and are used in varying fixtures.||G/Globe- Globe bulbs are spherical in shape and are normally found in bathrooms as mirror or ceiling lights.|
|GA/Decorator- Looks similar to Globe lights, but have different sides on the base. This would be used in ceiling and table lamps or decorative fixtures.|
|Tubular||These bulbs have a tubular shape with a rounded or flat top. They are mostly used in large light fixtures.||R/Reflector- This bulb has a flattish top, with a smaller tubular width as a base. This is mainly used in track lighting and fixtures.|
|T/Tubular- This bulb has a tube shape with a rounded top. It is used in various light fixtures, mainly for lighting large areas at once from an elongated light fixture.|
- An LED lights life span depends on the number of hours it can operate. A good quality LED bulb can last between 50,000 to 100,000 hours. Therefore, if you use a LED light with a 50,000 hour life span, eight hours per day, then the light can operate up to 17 years.