LED Guide to buying the right LED lights
LED lights are something completely different from what we are used to when it comes to lighting solutions. Imagine:
What if the light bulb you put in your baby's nursery didn't have to be replaced until Junior is off to college? That's the promise of LEDs, or light-emitting diodes. These bulbs rival the look, dimming ability, and light quality of traditional light bulbs; contain no mercury as compact fluorescent light bulbs do; and last up to five times longer than CFLs and 50 times as long as incandescents light bulbs.
There are a few things you'll need to know before buying any energy-saving bulb. You might want to start by looking after the Energy Star classification. Energy Star-qualified bulbs meet high standards for brightness, color, and energy use, and the mercury content is capped in CFLs light bulbs.
If you are not very familiar with the feel and look of LED light bulbs it is a good idea to check out some stores where LED bulbs are on display to understand their specifications. Also be sure to:
Consider the LED fixture
When replacing a LED light bulb, make sure to check the size of the bulb required and choose a new one that's the same size or smaller to be sure it fits the fixture. Dimmers require dimmable bulbs and lights used outdoors must be designed for exterior use. Remeber to pay attention to manufacturer-recommended uses of LED lights - and any lights!
Look at lumens
Select LED lights that provide the desired brightness at the lowest wattage (watts indicate energy use). Brightness is measured in lumens. When buying LED lights look for at least 450 lumens if you're replacing a 40-watt light bulb; 800 lumens or more for a 60-watt light bulb; at least 1,100 lumens for a 75-watt light bulb; and 1,600 lumens or higher when replacing a 100-watt light bulb. For R30 floodlights, look for at least 10 times the watts of the bulb you're replacing, 650 lumens to replace a 65-watt bulb, for example.
Choose a color
Color of LED lights is connected to measuring Kelvin temperature of the light. Therefore when chosing a color it is the Kelvin (K) indicated on the package you need to look after. Standard incandescent bulbs produce a warm yellowish light and have a color temperature of about 2,700 Kelvin (K). If you like that warm color, look for LED lights with about 2,700K. At 3,000K, the light is whiter and comparable to a halogen's. For a cool, bright white light, look for light bulbs in the 3,500K to 4,100K. If you want to mimic natural day light go for LED lights with a light temperature between 5,000K to 6,500K.
The Color Rendering Index, or CRI, tells you how accurately colors appear under the LED bulb's light. The CRI ranges from 0 to 100 where natural daytime sunlight reaches 100. Incandescent bulbs score around 100 as well. A CRI of at least 80 is generally recommended for interior LED lights. A difference of fewer than five points is insignificant. To compare LED bulbs, look at the CRI of bulbs with the same Kelvin temperature.
Understand LED light bulbs
Despite the various shapes available, LED light bulbs all consist of the same three basic components: optical LED components, electrical LED components, and mechanical/thermal LED components. The heart of the LED is the diode, the component which allows current to flow only in one direction. Light is created when electricity is passed through the diode, exciting atoms within a semi-conductor chip with a specific mixture of materials unique to each manufacturer, illuminating what we see as warm or cool light.
Therefore you have to remember that it is not the brand that makes a certain LED light bulb a good fit for your needs but the technical characteristics. Of course, quality of material matters so just as always - be careful which manufacturer you trust and why. From that point on you do not need to do anything else but enjoy your LED lit life.