How to Choose LED Bulb? 4 things to consider when choosing LED lights
As more and more LED lights come into the market, choosing the right LED is getting harder. So we have put together some tips for choosing the right LED light and the different aspects to consider when choosing an LED fitting or bulb.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing LED light bulbs...
1. Shop for lumens, not watts
Watts are a measure of how much energy the bulb draws, not its brightness. Nevertheless, we are accustomed to shopping for incandescent light bulbs by their watts, and we know how much light to expect from a 60-, 100- or 150-watt bulb.
LED bulbs also are rated by watts. But that’s no help because there’s no easy way to compare LED watts with incandescent watts. “[T]here isn’t a uniform way to covert incandescent watts to LED watts,” says CNET.
Today (early 2010), LEDs that are in production range in efficiency from about 20 to 60 Lumens per Watt. New developments should increase this to around 80 or 100 Lumens per Watt over the next few years.
2. Get the Right Colour Temperature
Early LEDs were mostly a very much higher colour temperature (ie a bluish light) than the typical 2700K colour temperature of a warm white incandescent lamp. This has led many people to think that LEDs gave a "cold" light.
LED technology has however advanced a great deal in the last couple of years and some types of LED are available in a range of colour temperatures from warm white (2700 or 3000K) up to daylight (6000K and beyond). LEDs with a higher colour temperature do however tend to be slightly more efficient than those with a lower colour temperature so some companies offer these as a way of making their products seem brighter.
Lower Kelvin numbers mean warmer-colored light. The higher the Kelvin number, the bluer the light. EarthEnergy, a retailer, offers this guide to shopping for LED bulbs:
- Yellow light/ Warm white: 2700-3000K.
- White: 3500-4100K.
- Blue: 5000-6500K.
3. Rated Life
The one area where LEDs really score highly is in their rated operating life which typically ranges from 20,000 to 50,000 hours. This is 20 to 50 times longer than a typical incandescent lamp so LEDs are ideal for use in areas where maintenance is difficult or long life is important.
LEDs give off relatively little heat but do run reasonably warm and often incorporate a heat sink to dissipate any excess heat and maintain the LEDs at optimum operating temperature. Compact lamps such as miniature spot lights can thus still get reasonably warm whereas larger bulbs and candles certainly cool enough to touch when operating.