LED Buying Guide

Click on the links below for a complete guide to LED light bulbs:

  1. Introduction to LED Light Bulbs
  2. Advantages of LED Light Bulbs
  3. High Performance LEDs
  4. Which GU10 LED?
  5. Which low voltage LED and which power driver?
  6. LED Light Fittings
  7. LEDs for Retail
  8. LEDs in other Commercial environments

 

 

1. Introduction to LED Light Bulbs

The pace with which LED lighting is moving is amazing. Although LED light bulbs have been available for many years as display or accent lighting, the technology has moved forward and now greater light output has become available from LEDs. Strong, durable light bulbs containing no filaments and no mercury, there is no chance of shattering, breakages, contamination. With superb rated lives of up to 50,000 hours and reduced energy costs up to 90%, LED bulbs have already proven that they are the future of lighting. LEDs provide robust, durable and the massively energy efficient solutions compared to any other lighting currently available.

It is now possible to compare the light output from LEDs to that of halogen bulbs and as such LEDs will soon become the favoured option for all energy saving light bulbs. They have been in use for other lighting applications including vehicle lights for some time, but have failed to break through into general lighting for residential and commercial purposes. This is until now, with the advent of high powered LED bulbs.

High powered LED light bulbs have opened the door to extremely low energy consumption without compromising on top quality light output, and this is in addition to amazing life spans, showing that LED lighting will become a fit-and-forget solution, with huge reductions in energy and maintenance costs. Without any doubt the future of lighting is LED bulbs. The high powered models are now replacing halogen light bulbs as like for like replacements and there really has never been a better time to switch to these excellent bulbs, especially now that LEDs have become standard replacement products for existing lamps, bulbs and tubes.

Due to the amazing efficiency of the new high powered LED lights, and the fact that they can act as direct replacements for standard incandescent bulbs, LED light bulbs will soon be used in almost all lighting, which will ensure we are no longer dependent on wasteful lighting.

Lighting counts for a significant amount of an average electricity bill and therefore it also has a significant impact on the carbon footprint of a home or business. With the increased efficiency associated with LED lighting, this presents itself as an excellent opportunity to substantially reduce carbon emissions and help the environment. The Energy Saving Trust advises that if everybody in the UK changed their lights to LED where possible, we would be able to save enough energy to light 5 million homes!

LEDs will soon overtake low energy CFL lamps as the lighting of choice due to their increased efficiency, quality of light output, lifespan and reduced carbon emissions.

All LED bulbs which we offer for sale have been tested to high quality British standards as required.

2. Advantages of LED Bulbs

The operational life of a LED lamp (up to 50,000 hours) is in contrast to the average life of an incandescent bulb, which is approximately 1000-2000 hours. For lights in very inaccessible places, using LEDs would eliminate the need for difficult bulb replacement for many years. It really is simply a case of fit-and-forget!

The cost of LED lights compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.

The main advantage of LED lighting is clearly in the energy savings (and therefore money savings!) which are achieved. The way in which LEDs achieve this energy saving is by the amount of heat they create. Traditional incandescent bulbs lose up to 90% of their power on creating heat which is wasted. LEDs save on power consumption by generating considerably less wasteful heat.

The cost savings are considerably higher than just the energy saving if you consider the cost of 30-50 replacement incandescent bulbs. With LEDs, there would be no replacement bulbs required for many years and they often pay for themselves in energy savings in less than a year of use.

For commercial premises like retail outlets, hotels and offices, there is a significant maintenance cost in replacing light bulbs which can be virtually eliminated. This is an important point, especially where there are a large number of bulbs in place. Eliminating the constant need to replace bulbs by changing to LED options can be very attractive, and after the cost of replacing halogen bulbs is taken into account, LED bulbs really are the ultimate energy saving bulb.

Compact Size

As the LEDs which provide the light in the bulbs are so small, the high powered LED bulbs are direct replacements for halogen bulbs in terms of size. This gives LEDs a distinct advantage over energy saving CFL bulbs which are generally larger than their halogen counterparts, and can look unsightly in some elegant light fittings.
When it comes to display or accent lighting, the compact size of LED light bulbs, as well as the availability of coloured lighting provides for very versatile lighting which is appropriate everywhere from retail displays to Christmas lights in homes.

Practical Advantages

LED light bulbs represent the safest form of lighting and even when they go wrong, they are still not dangerous to be around, unlike incandescent bulbs which generate lots of heat when in use and have even been known to explode when things go wrong.
LEDs are not strictly light bulbs, they are an electrical circuit (semiconductor). They do not contain filaments and therefore are not prone to the usual light bulb problems associated with incandescent bulbs.

LEDs will invariably last 30 to 50 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs, whilst using an average of 90% less power which makes them ideal for places where lights are switched on for lengthy periods of time. More durable with no fragile parts, the bulbs generate virtually no heat and are therefore safe in almost all areas around the home. The cool running temperature of LEDs could reduce air conditioning costs, and the fire risk associated with overheating incandescent bulbs is not an issue with LEDs.

As LEDs are very strong and durable, they are able to endure vibration so they are appropriate for use in many places where existing bulbs are subject to regular failure, eg around heavy machinery. They are also able to tolerate low temperatures and therefore allow more flexibility in their use.

LEDs do not produce any UV (ultraviolet) or IR (infra red) radiation, and can thus be used to light paintings or other precious artefacts without causing any fading. Unlike CFL or fluorescent lighting, LED lighting also does not flicker, and this reduces eye strain and other problems associated with flickering lighting solutions.

Taking Care of the Environment

Taking care of the environment has become a way of life in the 21st century, and we all have a duty to try and reduce our carbon footprints, be it at home or in our businesses. An easy way to make a start in improving the efficiency of our homes and businesses is through LED lighting.
Environmental specialists list improving energy efficiency as an important factor to reduce our impact on the environment. LED lights use up to 90% less electricity than standard halogen bulbs and have an extremely long lifespan which equates to considerably reduced carbon emissions and less waste because fewer lamps need to be disposed of.

Have you seen the light yet?
 

3. High Performance LED Light Bulbs

The new generation of high performance LED bulbs come as either single or clusters of LEDs within the bulbs to provide general light for the first time from LED lights.
An example of this is the high performance GU10 LED light bulb which contains 3 x 1W LEDs, placed precisely in one light bulb with each LED generating a very high level of lighting.
The technology is moving forward so that high powered LED bulbs are now available in candle bulbs and also golf ball bulbs. However, the advent of LEDs in classic or GLS bulbs is very exciting, and soon 60W and 100W replacement LED bulbs will be available with all of the benefits associated with LEDs and the light output we are all familiar with.
High performance LEDs will soon become very versatile and will meet the needs of any light fitting in any room within the home without compromising from traditional light bulbs. This will be with all of the benefits we now know are associated with LED lighting.
 

4. GU10 LED Bulbs

GU10 and MR16 bulbs are the most common light bulbs in the UK, and can be found in virtually all homes and businesses. The common problems of high power usage, constant need for replacements and high heat output mean that the new LED technology is a perfect replacement for the bulbs. In fact, the only consequences of LED GU10 bulbs are the massive financial savings and significantly reducing your carbon footprint!

The choices when it comes to energy saving GU10 bulbs needs to take into account a number of factors including:

• Life of the bulb
• Energy saving achieved
• Size of the bulb
• Dimmable or not dimmable
• Colour of the light output*

*Light output is usually defined in one of three colours, Warm White, Cool White and Daylight. Warm White is usually used in domestic capacities and is the normal colour associated with a standard halogen bulb. Cool White is a cooler white colour often associated with fluorescent tubes in offices or retail environments. Daylight colour is a very white light, almost with a tinge of blue to it, and provides the very best colour rendering.

By far the best energy saving GU10 bulb available and the choice for the future of GU10s is the GU10 LED bulb. The GU10 LEDs are up to 90% more efficient than standard halogen GU10 bulbs, so a 5W bulb can provide up to 50W of light output. The lifespan is up to an amazing 50,000 hours and put into perspective, at 4 hours use per day, this equates to well over 30 years of use!!
Although there are dimmable versions of these (the Philips version is available here) the high powered GU10 LED bulb is recommended by LEDBulbs.co.uk as the GU10 bulb of choice. They are available in warm white and cool white colours and some options are also available in daylight. The bulbs are available by clicking here.

Finally, the GU10 LED bulbs are also available in many different colours and are ideal for accent or display lighting, by clicking here.


5. Which Low Voltage LED and Which Driver?

LED light bulbs are now available in a range of low voltage replacements, and our range is constantly expanding as new products become available. We currently offer LED bulbs in MR16, MR11 and G4 capsules and care should be taken in the choice of power supplies for these bulbs. A lighting transformer (also known as a Driver, or with LED bulbs, they are called LED Drivers) is required to reduce the voltage from 240 volts to around 12 volts. Standard transformers operate with a minimum load requirement usually around 20W, and there is normally one transformer per bulb. Therefore a traditional transformer will not start if an LED bulb is fitted because LEDs operate on less than 20W. The transformers will either need to be replaced with LED Drivers which operate down to zero watts or connect several lamps into one transformer to meet the minimum load requirement.

The 0-10W LED Driver we offer is ideal to drive only one bulb or eg 3 x 3W LED bulbs. We highly recommend that LED bulbs and halogen bulbs are not run on the same circuit.
The 0-10W LED Drivers replace your existing transformers for individual or very small clusters of bulbs, and the 0-30W LED Driver can feed multiple LED Bulbs. Both are available here.
 

6. LED Light Fittings

LED light fittings are about to change the future of some light fittings altogether. In contrast to existing light fittings which constitute a separate light fitting and a separately purchased bulb, LED light fittings are designed to replace the whole existing light fitting including the bulb, and the bulb is not changeable, you simply replace the whole unit when it expires, but they often usually come with 10 year guarantees!

There are now High Performance downlights, uplighters and other light fittings as direct replacements for many existing fittings which allows you to reduce your energy consumption without compromising on the light output of standard lighting. LED light fittings are also available in Warm White and Cool White colours.

 

7. LEDs for Retail

Let's be honest, image sells, and nothing is more important when marketing your business. It is vital that merchandise in retail outlets is illuminated correctly. Well illuminated merchandise is critical to sales. The range of LED lamps we offer maintain around 90% of their light output over the life of the bulb ensuring the best illumination for products even after the lamps have been in use for many years.

LEDs offer no glare and excellent colour rendering and the quality of light minimizes colour distortion so customers can see products in their true colours. This is vital to giving the best impression and allowing customers to provide the most accurate indication possible of the products.

There is also the obvious reduction in lighting costs. This should be calculated in not only up to 90% cost reduction of electricity for lighting, but also in the price of replacement bulbs. Retail premises often require maintenance teams to change light bulbs and this expense can be nearly eradicated by switching to LED bulbs.

The amazing long life of LED bulbs is one of the biggest factors retailers take into account when switching to LEDs. With lighting which can be on for 24 hour periods, expired bulbs are unattractive and can leave a shadow on important product displays. The replacement of bulbs can be expensive and disruptive to the work place and LED bulbs will substantially save in time and money associated with changing bulbs.

We can provide the right LED lighting to attract customers to your store, and intelligent use of light displays can draw customers to certain areas of interest where products can be targeted to drive sales.

The future of retail lighting really is in LEDs. There are literally thousands of pounds to be saved by switching to LED lighting today.
 

8. LEDs for other Commercial environments

Offices, warehouses, factories, it doesn’t matter what type of commercial premises you have, all commercial environments need lighting that provides high quality, glare-free and reliable lighting. With its amazing economical power usage and lifespan, and meeting the strictest Health & Safety requirements, LED lighting provides all of this and more. From a health and safety perspective, LED bulbs remain cool so there is no excessive heat build up and therefore no real fire hazard associated with standard incandescent bulbs.

Take a moment to think about how many light bulbs your business uses each year. More and more businesses are looking at ways that they can help the environment. The new buzz word for businesses striving to be green is carbon neutral status. LED lighting makes significant contributions towards reaching this objective by lasting much longer than standard halogen and incandescent bulbs and therefore massively reducing replacement and maintenance costs. Going Green is also a great way of showing your customers you care.

In certain other commercial environments like restaurant or other leisure environments, lighting creates atmosphere. A well designed space radiates with well considered lighting. Lighting can also help to set the mood, providing a focused environment, relaxed or playful feel to an area. Thus lighting is vital to leisure environments, be it a hotel reception area, bar or room, swimming pool or sauna, art gallery or garden, LED lighting is perfect to highlight the areas you need with excellent quality light output and still reduce replacement and maintenance costs as well as your company’s carbon footprint.

There are many thousands of pounds to be saved, even by a small commercial premises switching to LED lighting.
 

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