LED Lighting Buyers Guide – What You Should Know
LED lighting solutions are becoming popular by the day. All the same, some homeowners are still teetering on the fence between LED and incandescent. Are you one of them? Or perhaps you have already decided to make a switch to LED lighting but don’t know much about them.
Well, don’t worry. This post shows why embracing LED lighting is the smart thing to do. We’ll also be discussing different terms associated with LED lighting and their meaning. And in the last section, we’ll take up some of the most common questions that new buyers ask.
So, let’s get started.
Why switch to LED?
In addition to being much more energy efficient compared to both CFL and incandescent options, which in turn means considerable energy savings for you, they have a longer life and don’t contain mercury. What is more, LED bulbs offer far more options for light appearance (cool vs. warm) and brightness. Last but not the least, LED light bulbs come in different shapes, sizes, and forms.
With conventional incandescent light bulbs, you only needed to consider the bulb’s wattage, base size, and shape. That, however, is not the case with LED light bulbs.
When buying LED light bulbs, it’s necessary to have a clear understanding about these 4 concepts:
- Light appearance
- Colour accuracy
Wattage equals brightness — right? Wrong. Most people wrongly believe that wattage equals brightness. Although in the case of incandescent bulbs there’s a direct correlation between the two, things are different for LED light bulbs. And that’s because the latter consume significantly less power than incandescent bulbs. Because of this reason, it is just not possible to compare brightness of LED light bulbs based on wattage.
Lumens is the only factor you need to consider to understand how much light an LED light bulb emits. It is the unit of measure for brightness and correctly tells the brightness level of a lighting source. For your reference, a 60 watt incandescent bulb typically emits around 800 lumens.
Another important marker you need to keep in mind is kelvin. It is a unit of measure for correlated colour temperature (CCT) of light. When you want to know if an LED light bulb emits a cooler or warmer light, check its kelvin number. The higher the number, the cooler and the bluish the light will be. Lower numbers, in contrast, are associated with warmer and crisper light.
Color accuracy of a light source matters since it refers to its ability to display colors of objects correctly. When we say “correctly” we mean as compared to the sun.
The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is used for this purpose. Its scale is 0 to 100. A CRI of 90 and above is considered extremely good as these light sources give out the most balanced light. At LiquidLEDs, most of our LED light bulbs are CRI 90+ because we want to give you the best LED experience.
When it comes to task and ambient lighting, dimming proves to be a critical feature. It allows you to adjust the light level to ensure it matches the desired mood and ambience or to create the ideal brightness required for a task. Also, by installing dimmable LED lights you can save even more energy.
While most LED light bulbs today are dimmable, they might not work perfectly with all old dimmers. When it comes to modern LED light bulbs and old dimmers, you need to remember these three things:
- New LED light bulbs might not work with all old dimmers. Therefore, before making a purchase, check if the bulb is compatible with your old dimmer. Most manufacturers (if not all) provide a compatibility list, which lists all dimmer manufacturers and models that have been tested and are compatible with the LED fixture.
- To ensure an optimal lighting experience, it’s highly recommended to stick to the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Even if an LED light bulb is compatible with an old dimmer, it’s possible that it might not work perfectly. If this happens, you may encounter issues like flickering or insufficient dimming levels. LED light bulbs consume less energy, compared to incandescent bulbs. This is the main reason why LED light bulbs sometimes don’t work seamlessly with old dimmers designed for incandescent bulbs.
- When making a switch to LED light bulbs, it’s best to also invest in the latest dimmers which are specifically designed for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are LEDs available for candelabra bulbs? Can I buy globe-shaped ones for my bathroom vanity?
LED light bulbs are available for just about every type of socket. These not only include flame-shaped or candelabra bulbs but also globe-shaped bulbs commonly used for bathroom vanity.
Are there some places in a home where LED light bulbs are more suitable than CFLs and vice-versa, like in outdoor fixtures? What about indoor lamps?
In cold climates, LED light bulbs are an automatic choice for outdoor sockets. That is because CFLs don’t work well in such climate conditions. In fact, they might not even start. LED light bulbs also make for a better choice in recessed cans as well as downlights since they function better as direction lights and with those sockets that are connected to a dimmer. In addition, given the fact that LEDs last much longer than other bulbs, they are a great choice for those hard-to-reach sockets in your home. On the other hand, for spaces where bulbs are not used very frequently, CFLs may be a better option.
Sometimes LED light bulbs won’t don't dim smoothly. Instead, they turn off before reaching a desired low level. What’s the solution and why does this happen?
More often than not, the problem occurs when you use dimmable LED light bulbs with old dimmers. While these bulbs work with some old dimmers, sometimes you can encounter problems. That said, the solution is pretty simple. Use new dimmers with your dimmable LED light bulbs. New dimmers are designed specifically for LED technology and hence they work seemingly well LEDs.