By David Burpee, Contributor, BizLED Bureau
Mar 12, 2017: When you are looking for an ideal LED light bulb for your home or office, it is important to first know what actually your requirement is, then look for one that provides the right light and the right colour that you need. You may like to find a replacement for the common 60-watt incandescent bulb. When looking for an LED light bulb, it is important to consider how the light emits from the LED bulb, the base of the bulb and its dimension. An important aspect about LED bulbs is that it lasts for a much longer period than a conventional bulb or an CFL. Also, it does not contain mercury, so it is not harmful; you do not have to take care to dispose them off at a safe place due to its hazardous material.
Low wattage, high lumen
The first thing you should consider is how to save electricity and cut down on your electricity bill. A light is brighter if it has more lumen, and LED light bulbs provide many lumens for few watts as compared to incandescent bulbs. So, you need to find a bulb that has low wattage but high lumens as it will save on your electricity bill.
On an average, a 12 watts LED bulb can give the same amount of light as a 60 watt incandescent bulb. This means you save a lot on electricity and hence on your electricity bill.
The second feature that you should look for in an LED bulb is one that offers a long lifespan. Most LED bulbs offer between 25,000 and 50,000 hours of light if it is used for three hours per day each day of the year.
Colour and CRI
The third important feature to look for is the colour of the LED bulb. The good thing about LED is that the light can be adjusted to the full spectrum of colours. Depending on the colour temperature spectrum, LED lights can be of red, yellow, green, blue and shades of white?warm to cool white. The temperature is measured in kelvin. The lower the colour temperature, i.e, the lower the Kelvin, the more yellow the white light will appear. If the light is higher on the colour temperature, it will appear bluish hue. For warm colour, look for LEDs with about 2,700K. At 3,000K, the light is whiter like that of an halogen. For a cool, bright white light look for bulbs in the 3,500K to 4,100K. And 5,000K to 6,500K bulbs mimic natural light or daylight.
Another aspect of the colour is the colour rendering index (CRI), which tells you how accurately colours appear under the bulb’s light. The higher the CRI number, more number of objects lit by the LED bulb will appear natural.
Spread of light
LED bulbs emit light in a specific direction. So it is important to figure out the right spread of the LED bulb in degrees. The spread of light is called beam angle. LED bulbs that are available in the market have beam angle 15, 30, 45, 60 and 100, and very few with 120 and 180 degree. Beam angles less than 30 are good as spotlights. Their brightness or lumens per watt is highest. Most of them have wattage of less than 5 and are good for shops, where focused lighting is needed on products, or at home, where a specific area needs to be highlighted.
Beam angles greater than 30 are suited for high power LED lamps usually used for downlighting. They can be put on ceiling to illuminate the room. They are usually of more than 5W rating and multiple such downlights can be used to illuminate a room.
A 30-45 degree beam angle is good if the ceiling is high (more than 10-11 ft). If the ceiling is less than that, then it is better to use 60-100 degree beam angle.
Increased beam angles are achieved by putting reflectors and diffusors, but the problem is that lumens (or brightness) decrease if beam angles increase.
LED lights are a little heavier than conventional bulbs, so you should check if the existing light fixture can support the extra weight of the LED bulb. And since these bulbs are little longer, they usually don?t get covered by the lamp shade that you may be using with your conventional blubs. But you have to keep in mind that an LED bulb cannot be fully enclosed in a light fixture because heat decreases the life of the bulb. In case you want to use the LED light bulb outside, then it should be either weatherproof or be able to withstand damp outdoor conditions.
It is very important that the LED bulb meets some safety standards. It is also an added bonus if the LED bulb is Energy Star qualified. Energy Star qualified bulbs have high standards for brightness, colour, and energy use.
Since LED bulbs are expensive as compared to the conventional ones, you should choose a branded one with manufacturer?s warranty. A good LED bulb should come with at least a three- to five-year warranty.