Things to Do Before You Buy LED Light Bulbs
Things to look out for when you buy include:
What fixture do you need?
This may seem obvious, but we have seen plenty of people return bulbs because they have ordered the wrong type of fittings. The first thing to check is what fittings your existing bulbs (the ones you aim to replace) use. If you don't know a lot about light fittings you can usually find a lamp-type code on the original packaging. For example, some of the most common light fittings are the Edison Screw, which is abbreviated to E27. Others include GU10, MR16 and B22.
Will the bulb fit?
This question is only usually relevant if you are replacing recessed ceiling lights. Because these fixtures are designed to the exact specifications as a halogen bulb you will need to make sure that your new LED Lights will fit. Most LED Light Bulbs are classified as 'retrofit,' which means they will swap straight over, but you will find some exceptions. To be safe we recommend always checking the product specifications for the exact dimensions of the bulb you are buying and comparing these to the dimensions of your fixtures.
There are two primary colour temperatures to choose from and the type you decide on depends on a combination of personal preference and context. Warm White bears the closest resemblance to traditional incandescent lighting and is suitable for use in residential areas such as living rooms and bedrooms. Cool White is a sharper, brighter looking light and is generally used as task lighting. Getting the right colour temperature is very important so don't neglect to check which you are buying.
Wattage and Wattage Equivalence
This is one of the most important checks when buying a bulb. The first thing you need to do is find out what wattage bulbs you are replacing. This information can be found on either the bulb itself or the original packaging. Next you need to find a suitable LED replacement. As LED Lights use such low wattages we now rely on something called an equivalent wattage, which is usually expressed something like 4.5W = 50W. This will give you a rough idea of the wattage of the halogen or incandescent bulb the LED Light is designed to replace.
This is important for calculating the 'actual' cost of a light bulb. The initial cost of a bulb might be cheaper for example, but if it lasts a fraction of the time it is not cost effective in the long term. LED Lights will typically last anywhere between 30,000 and 50,000 hours, depending on the type you buy.
This refers to the angle at which light emanates from the face of a bulb and is also called its spread. Checking the beam angle is only relevant if you are buying Multi Reflector (MR) lamps, such as GU10 or MR16. Anything with a beam angle less 90 degrees is generally considered a spotlight and is suitable for directional lighting schemes. Anything more than this will be classified as general illumination, which includes floodlighting and single-bulb schemes. If you're not sure about the beam angle on a bulb or if it is not specified, give your retailer a call.
This might seem obvious, but this is a general rule of thumb for all online shopping. Don't just check the price of the bulbs you're buying, compare them with other models on the market for an accurate interpretation of their value for money. In the case of Compact Fluorescents and LED Lights it may also be worth calculating the savings you make overtime, as this is where their principle worth comes into play.