How to select the right LED bulb for you

1. Why Choose LED?
  • Long Life
  •  The life of an LED is defined as the average number of hours until light falls to 70 percent of initial brightness.  The life of a high-power white LED is projected to be from 35,000 to 50,000 hours, however the bulb won’t actually go out until about 100,000 hours.  Incandescent bulbs on the other hand will last only 750-2000 hours before they go out, CFL bulbs die after 8,000 to 10,000 hours, and a linear fluorescent bulb will last from 8,000 to 30,000.  This means that 1 LED will last longer than 17 times the life of an incandescent, and at least 3 times the life of a CFL.
  • Lower Temperatures
Incandescent bulbs waste 90 percent of their energy as heat, which is why they heat up so quickly and can make an area warmer.  CFLs waste 80 percent of their energy as heat, which is better but not ideal.  LEDs waste less than 10 percent of their energy as heat and will remain cool to the touch.
  • Efficiency and Durability
The biggest thing that has deterred people from buying LEDs has been price, however now the price of a 6w LED that can replace a 40w incandescent is only $9.  Business that have a much larger lighting expense will recoup the upfront cost of the bulb very quickly because of the savings on the electricity.  Some homeowners may still wait for the price to drop even lower, they may not have to wait long.  Lighting Science Group, a company that develops and manufactures LED lighting is estimating a 50 percent price reduction within two years.  This price is expected to continue to drop by 50 percent within two years. 
  • Price
The biggest thing that has deterred people from buying LEDs has been price, however now the price of a 6w LED that can replace a 40w incandescent is only $9.  Business that have a much larger lighting expense will recoup the upfront cost of the bulb very quickly because of the savings on the electricity.  Some homeowners may still wait for the price to drop even lower, they may not have to wait long.  Lighting Science Group, a company that develops and manufactures LED lighting is estimating a 50 percent price reduction within two years.  This price is expected to continue to drop by 50 percent within two years. 
2.  Look at Lumens, Not Watts
Though you may be used to determining how bright your light is by looking at the number of Watts it consumes, this is not an effective way to determine how bright a light is.  Lumen is the measure of how much light you get from a bulb.  The higher lighting efficiency brings more lumens per watt.  LEDs vary in their lumens per watt, as the technology is still new and improving; therefore we cannot simply use the wattage to compare different LED bulbs.  For example, one 8W LED bulb with 80 lumens per watt can bring 640 lumens to replace 60W incandescent bulb while another 8W LED bulb with 60 lumens per watt only can replace 40W incandescent bulb.
3.  Choose the Right Color Temperature
Color temperature is the type of light that is emitted from the bulb; it’s the difference between the soft and warm color light in your house, and the cool and crisp light in an office.  Light color is measured in Kelvins.  A temperature of 2700K is the light that an incandescent lamp light gives you, 3000K is the light of a Soft White CFL, 5000K is the light from tubular fluorescent lamps.  6500K is the color temperature from natural daylight.  It is important to consider this when buying a light, because the mood of a room can be affected by the type of light that fills it.  LED’s are able to project light in all of these spectrums.
4.  Choose the Right Bulb to suit your needs
As with any light you need to select the bulb that fits your needs.  For example; if you want to replace an incandescent bulb in your lamp with an LED, you wouldn’t want to use a PAR light because it directs its light straight up and will not light up the room.  Similarly you wouldn’t use an A-Shaped bulb in a spot light because you want light directed in 1 direction.  This chart shows what fixtures properly maximize the effectiveness of these LEDs.
5.  Choose the Right Base
Don’t forget to choose the bulb with the base that fits your fixture, not all fixtures have the same base.  E26 is the U.S. Standard base, these are usually in table lamps, and many light fixtures in your house.   A GU-10 base is what you may find in spotlights or track lights.  A MR-16 base is also found in track lights and recessed ceiling lighting.
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