The Homeowner’s Guide to Buying LED Bulbs
Want to replace incandescent bulbs and CFLs in your home with LEDs, but finding it hard to decide which LEDs to buy? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s all that you need to know before you shop.
Brightness: Don’t Think Watts, Think Lumens
Wattage is no longer an accurate indicator of how bright a light bulb is. So stop giving the wattage reading on a light bulb package the importance it used to be given earlier. When buying LED bulbs, look what the lumen reading on the package says.
Check out the number of lumens listed under ‘Brightness’ on the Lighting Facts label. This reading will tell you how bright the bulb is. Wattage equivalents, on the other hand, just give you a rough estimate. In case you are replacing a 40-watt incandescent bulb, look for an LED bulb that produces roughly 450 lumens. To replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb you should get an LED bulb that produces roughly 1,600 lumens.
Light Appearance: Pick Cool or Warm Depending on Your Needs
Another important heading in the Lighting Facts label is ‘Light Appearance.’ It refers to the color temperature — measured in Kelvin (K) — of an LED bulb. For lighting fixtures in the living room or table lamps, you may want to go with LED bulbs with a color temperature in the range of 2,700-3,000K. These bulbs emit warm light much similar to what incandescent bulbs emit. If you need task lighting, go with bulbs with a color temperature of around 5,000K.
Enclosed Fixtures Require Special Bulbs
The thing about enclosed spaces is that they entrap heat. Heat is not good for components inside an LED bulb and can make the bulb fail before its time.
Solution? Well, some LED bulbs are designed for fully-enclosed fixtures and some aren’t. Read the packaging before you pay. If you want to use an LED bulb in an enclosed fixture, make sure it’s approved for such a use. LED bulbs approved for use in enclosed spaces have a far efficient thermal design than other LED bulbs. They also use components that can stay functional in higher temperatures.
Ensure Your New LED Bulb is Compatible with Your Old Dimmer
Most LED light bulbs are dimmable. And they usually work well with most old dimmer switches designed for incandescent bulbs.
However, LED bulbs may not work with some old dimmers or they might not work perfectly. Therefore, make sure the LED bulb you’ve selected is compatible with the old dimmer in your home. If you are unsure, you can check the light bulb manufacturer for a list of compatible dimmers. Alternately, you may want to consider switching to new dimmers designed for LEDs.
Some additional tips
- Don’t use an LED light bulb inside your oven. Use an incandescent bulb, instead. The high temperature inside an oven is likely to damage the internal components of your LED bulb quickly.
- Go for LED bulbs with a CRI90+ rating. These bulbs give the most balanced light. At LiquidLEDs, we only sell CRI90+ LEDs.