The main reason people choose LEDs is because they emit a good quality light, require low wattage (therefore using less energy) and have a long lifespan making them more cost-effective in the long-run. Here are a few things to consider when choosing LED light bulbs:
Manufacturer’s claims vary wildly about the efficiency of LEDs and can often be quite misleading. The simplest way to ensure that you are comparing “like with like” is to look at the efficiency in Lumens per Watt. That is, how much light do you get for each Watt of electricity used? An example is this B22 GLS OMNI LED bulb. It is 4.6W and gives out 470 lumens. This means it produces the same amount of light as a 40W bulb.
LEDs 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. To replace standard incandescent or halogen lamps, a colour temperature of around 2700K to 3300K is preferred. Some companies use non-standard terms when describing the colour of LEDs such as “natural white” or “office white” which cannot be readily compared with other products. To ensure that you are comparing like with like always check the colour temperature.
The colour rendering of LEDs varies quite markedly between brands. For some applications this is not particularly important but for ambient lighting it is important to check the quality of light emitted. The LEDs that we offer for ambient lighting all have good colour rendering, comparable to that of a good quality fluorescent tube. Many manufacturers do not however quote a colour rendering index for their LEDs so we are rarely able to quote specific figures.
LEDs are cool to the touch unlike other bulbs which can get hot because of the infrared light produced. However, LEDs do produce heat from inside the bulb and should have good heat sinking otherwise there is a risk that the characteristics of the bulb will change.
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.