So now you've figured out what LEDs are (they're not energy saving bulbs!) and how they "Do The Job".
You might want to just browse some good LEDs
Or read an illuminating (*ahem*) guide by A Lazy Girl Goes Green on what LEDs are and what they're about.
Or, you might need a bit more help on what makes and good LED and how to spot one?
If so, you're in luck: we've put together an easy-digest guide, just for you...
How can I tell a good LED and how do I know you’re selling them?
Just as with every single product in the world quality ranges and the old adage rings true: you get what you pay for.
- We test them ourselves (and have most varieties installed at HQ);
- We only sell bulbs with a minimum 3 years warranty: guaranteed savings. Besides, if a bulb is supposed to last 10, 000s of hours then why would it only come with a one year warranty…?
- The quality of the light will also vary- we only offer ones where the quality of light means that it is as close to daylight as you can get.
Selecting the best LEDs
Here are the 7 main areas we look at when deciding which LEDs to recommend:
1. Heat sink:
One of the most telling aspects to a LED bulb when it comes to quality is how well the bulb dissipates heat.
LED bulbs don’t get burning hot and waste heat light conventional bulbs, but since power goes into the LEDs, they do get a little warm and this must be drawn away from the LEDs.
LEDs don’t radiate this heat away in the same way as an incandescent bulb – instead, the heat is drawn away from the LEDs by a heat sink normally located in the base of the bulb. The heat sink absorbs the heat produced and then dissipates into the surrounding environment. There are lots of different designs from aluminium fins or ceramic heat sinks.
2. Chip set
The chip is used to convert electricity to light.
Better bulbs will use chips from better manufacturers, which convert more energy to light and don’t overheat. You get what you pay for: if you buy an LED GU10 for £3, you should probably question the quality of the chip set used.
3. The driver
The driver regulates the power entering the LEDs, ensuring that the bulb operates optimally and does not overheat- some will be internal, some external.
At the moment, MR16s have an external driver meaning they are slight more difficult to install. GU10s have internal drivers and, for this reason we’d recommend either changing the fitting or, really simply, just using an ending adaptor.
4. Colour temperature
Unlike traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs that tend to produce a warm white light, LED lights are available in many different colours – this is known as the colour temperature of the bulb. To replicate the colour temperature produced from a halogen GU10, you would need to opt for a warm / daylight coloured bulb. If you prefer the cooler light often associated with office spaces, then you would probably prefer the cool light bulbs.
5. Bulb brightness- lumens, not watts
We’ve all been conditioned to think of bulb brightness in watts, but this simply doesn’t make sense. As LEDs are far more efficient, they give out more light at fewer watts. A 50w halogen GU10 spotlight can be replaced with an equivalent 5w LED GU10 spotlight – the lower wattage is the main reason households can achieve such massive energy savings from LED bulbs. It’s clear that this is not a reliable measure of brightness. What is the same for all lights, however, is the lumens which has nothing to do with the power put in but rather the light produced.
So, the more lumens a bulb is producing, the brighter it is (regardless of power/ wattage usage). Naturally, LEDs come with varying brightness and you’ll need to check to make sure you get the correct light. In the meantime, we have given an indication on our LEDs what their conventional equivalents are.
6. Beam Angle
LEDs are very directional in order to not waste any energy through unwanted side light, though they can be any angle you want. So when you’re buying your LED, just make sure you get the same beam angle and your existing light (if you want it the same!). If you’re not sure, check the old box. As a rule of thumb, if you’ve got a high ceiling you can have a lower beam angle.
7. Quality is key:
With LED lighting, as with many products, quality is absolutely key. Whilst you may be able to find an LED in the shops for £3 a bulb, chances are that it will produce poor light and pack up within the year. We recommend spending a little more on a quality bulb and getting one that will last for years, give off a quality light and save you money.
Please let us know if you have any more questions - just get in touch.
If there are any terms you are unsure with any terms please see the Glossary.