Your Guide to Buying LED Light Bulbs
Right, you’ve decided that you want to swap out your halogen light bulbs to low energy LED light bulbs – but where on earth do you start? You’re confused by all the LED light bulb terminology. Does this sound like you?
This guide will explain all the buzz words that are used in the world of LED lighting and help you make sure that you buy the right LED light bulb.
What fitting do you need?
There are many types of light fittings in our homes. It’s important to look at the object that you are looking to buy an LED bulb for and to identify what fitting type it is. Below is a diagram of the most common fittings in the U.K.
Although you don’t need to know what the codes mean (‘B’ is for Bayonet, ‘E’ is for Edison Screw and ‘GU’ G means the method in which it is inserted and U is for the U shape of the lamp) it’s important to refer to the diagram and make sure you know which fitting you’re looking for.
What LED light bulb shape do you want?
The shape of the LED light bulb is not to do with how it looks but how it throws the light across the area that you are trying to bring light into. The diagram below shows the most common shapes and below that is an explanation of what the most common uses are:
For a ceiling light you might want to use an omnidirectional LED light bulb such as the arbitrary, stick or spiral shape. If you are replacing a whole light fitting on a ceiling you could consider using a down light which will provide better light coverage and will require less lights. For a lamp you might want to use a candle or a globe bulb as this shape emits a large sphere of light. A spot or reflector light bulb are used for recessed down lights. Consider what beam width you are looking for when buying your spot or reflector light bulb.
How bright do you want the light to be?
When you bought incandescent light bulbs you just had to think in wattage. Now, with LED light bulbs this is entirely different. You now need to think in lumens. The more lumens, the brighter the light.
The chart below shows the watts for each type of light bulb versus the amount of lumens (level of brightness at the top of the chart) to help you understand the differences and to determine what light brightness you might be looking for from your LED light bulb:
Just one thing to note, when you are buying LED spot light bulbs, you can afford to go with slightly less lumens than other light bulbs because of their shape.
How warm do you want the light colour to be?
Now you need to decide how warm or cool you want your LED light bulb colour temperature to be. The ‘degrees Kelvin’ is often used to illustrate the differences between a very warm light (low Kelvin number) to very cool light (high Kelvin number).
The diagram below shows the Kelvin light temperature scale, what type of LED light bulbs can be used for this Kelvin reading and also the effect this light colour will have:
Most people use warmer light for living rooms and bedrooms but a cooler light for kitchens and bathrooms.
Value for money LED light bulbs
LED light bulbs are still seen as an expensive option for lighting your home. The upfront costs of LED light bulbs are more than others but this cost is recouped very quickly by reduced energy requirements and longer lifetime hours.
Shop around for the best value for money on your light bulbs. Make sure however, that you don’t sacrifice on quality by buying ‘cheap’ LED light bulbs.
Final guide round up
We hope you now understand what ‘lumens’ and ‘Kelvin’ means in the world of LED lighting. Below is a little summary of how you should buy the right LED light bulb for your home:
- Check the light fitting that you need
- What light bulb shape will emit the light best for you?
- Decide on the brightness of light
- What colour temperature are you looking for
- Search for the best quality LED light bulb at the right price