5 things to think about before buying LED bulbs

Before visiting the store, learn about the specs to look for when purchasing LED bulbs.

Chris Monroe / Tips Clear

If you have not switched on LED bulbs, now is the time. Reasons why are forced. For starters, LED bulbs last longer than incandescent bulbs, and they use the same amount of light Low energy. This is great for the environment, and it can save a lot of money over the long term on your electricity bill.

If you are smart home-inclined, LEDs open the door All kinds of interesting and meaningful features, Including sync and color-changing bulbs with your security system or voice assistant of choice. In addition, many incandescent bulbs – including 100-watt incandescent – is being phased out, so you’ll need to make the switch eventually, anyway.

Buying the right LED is very different from buying incandescent bulbs. Before you shop, however, there are some things you need to know.

Read more: The best LED floodlights you can buy in 2020

Lumen, not wat

Forget what you know about anomalies – your watts are not good here.

When shopping for bulbs, you are probably accustomed to looking out for watts, as an indication of how bright the bulb will be. The brightness of the LED, however, is determined slightly differently.

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Contrary to popular belief, wattage is not an indication of brightness, but is a measure of how much energy a bulb draws. For incandescent, there is an accepted correlation between the formulated watt and the brightness produced, but for LEDs, watt bulbs are not a great predictor of brightening. (The point, after all, is that they attract less energy.)

For example, an LED bulb with a brightness comparable to a 60W incandescent is only 8 to 12 watts.

But don’t bother to do the math – there’s no uniform way for LED watts to cover up incandescent watts. Instead, a different form of measurement should be used: lumen.

Lumen (LM) is the actual measurement of brightness provided by a light bulb, and is the number you should look for when shopping for LEDs. For reference, here is a chart showing the watt-lumen conversion for incandescent and LED.

Read more: The best LED light bulb for every room of your house

Sharon Walkin / Tips Clear

As you can see in the chart above, an incandescent can draw up to five watts for the same number of lumens. Get a sense of glow before you go to the store (in the lumen), and throw away your intimacy for watts.

Here is more information about wat vs. lumen.

Choose the right color LED

Incandescent bulbs usually have a warm, yellow color, but LEDs come in many colors.

As shown Philips Hue, LED bulbs are capable of displaying an impressive color range, from violet to red, to white and yellow spectrum. However, for the home, you are probably looking for something similar to the light that produces incandescent.

The two most popular colors available for LEDs are soft white (also called warm white) and bright white (also called daylight). Not confusing at all?

Soft white and warm white will produce a yellow, candle-like glow, close to incandescent, while bulbs labeled as bright white or daylight will produce a white light, closer to daylight and as you do in offices. And see in retail stores.

If you want to get technical, the color of light on the white light spectrum is called the color temperature, and is measured on the Kelvin scale. Low number, warm (yellow) light. Your typical, soft white incandescent is somewhere between 2,700 and 3,500K, so if you’re looking for the color you’re going for, look at the range when shopping for LED bulbs. Want some daylight? See bulbs rated 5,000K or higher.

You’ll pay more for an LED bulb (but you’ll save in the long run)

LED bulbs are like hybrid cars: more expensive upfront, but cheaper to operate.

It used to be that you could get an incandescent bulb at a hardware store for a buck. Then, LEDs came along – most of them cost a lot. Thankfully, many years of development and competition have pushed prices to where you will find plenty of LED options in the light bulb corridor available for $ 5 or less.

But dollars and cents do not stop there. You must factor in the cost of using bulbs – and the great thing about LEDs is that they do not cost at all. For example, a traditional 60-watt incandescent light bulb will add about $ 7 to your energy bill each year if you use it, on average, 3 hours a day. A 60W-replacement LED that emits the same amount of light will draw as little as 8 watts, and will only add a buck to its energy bill over long intervals of the same year.

In other words, even if the LED costs $ 5 and the incandescent is a freebie you found wandering somewhere in a drawer, after less than a year, LED is a less expensive option. In the meantime, you will enjoy less heat production, longer life and even options Controlling them with your smartphone – And it won’t burn out after a year, either.

Watch out for non-dimming LEDs

Due to their circuitry, LEDs are not always compatible with traditional dimming switches. In some cases, the switch must be replaced. At other times, you will pay slightly more for compatible LEDs.

Most of the existing dimers in homes today were probably designed to work with incandescent. People like Dimmers work by cutting down the amount of electricity that is sent to the bulb in rapid-fire succession, faster than the eye can detect. LEDs draw very little energy, so they don’t always work well with such dimers (here it is) An easy guide That goes a little deeper into reasons).

The first thing is that if you are buying LEDs that you want to use with a dimmer switch, make sure that you are buying bulbs that are, in fact, dim. Most manufacturers offer non-dimable LED bulbs with no on-board dimming hardware, and as long as you want to save a buck or two on the bulb for non-dimable fixation, they’re fine, they want the last thing. . If you like lights less.

My second recommendation? Start with a bulb from a major manufacturer and hang on the receipt. Try it with dimmers in your home, and if it works, feel free to buy as much as you need. If not, most major retailers will be happy to allow you to return the bulbs and exchange them for something else. At some point, you may also consider upgrading your dimers to a new model designed to work with LEDs. Big names like Lutron and Levitan are your best bet.

One final point: If dimming is really important in your home, then you should really consider smart bulbs. Most use their own, built-in mechanisms to handle damming, so you don’t need a dimmer switch. As such they won’t flicker or buzz, and you’ll usually be able to sync things with voice assistant like Siri or Alexa, such as “set lights up to 20%”. “

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All lighting fixtures should not use LED

Knowing where the LED is properly placed will ensure that the bulb does not go ahead of its time.

You probably know that LED bulbs run much cooler than their incandescent cousins, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t produce heat. LED bulbs are heated, but are pulled away by the heat sink in the base of the bulb. From there, the heat is transmitted to the air and the LED bulb remains cool, helping to keep its promise of long life.

And therein lies the problem: the bulb needs a way to circulate heat. If an LED bulb is placed in an enclosed housing, the heat will not have to go anywhere, sending it right behind the bulb and causing a slow and painful death. Remember, LED bulbs are electronic devices – such as with your phone or your laptop, not good for heating them.

This is why it is okay to stick with incandescent, fluorescent and halogen bulbs for attached fixtures. LEDs will also work, but in some cases, heat build up inside the fixture will shorten the bulb’s lifetime.

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