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How to Choose an LED Light Bulb

Some people say that the perfect light bulb is one that costs very little, lights up very bright, emits very little, lasts forever and isn’t dangerous if it breaks.


The LED bulb industry is almost there. The last hurdle to complete acceptance of LED bulbs seems to be the price in many cases. The industry itself thinks that the $10 price point will be the magic number by which consumers judge LED bulbs to be as affordable as their cheaper, somewhat less long-lasting counterparts such as Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) halogen bulbs and the soon-to-be phased out incandescent bulbs, the real energy hogs of the group.


You could already make the argument LED bulbs are less expensive than all other forms of lighting if you actually do the complete math on the subject. LEDs are known to last as much as 50,000 hours and are quite durable compared to many other forms of lighting. The cost of a lighting solution that lasts 50,000 hours and around 20 years of use is pretty easy to amortize, so long as the light itself is easy on the eyes.


Because the subject of how to choose the right LED bulb isn’t just about price, but quality of light, warmth and tone. And that is why we’re here: To help you choose the right LED bulb for your purpose.


Equal measures of light


It doesn’t help to get too technical however in the search for a good quality LED bulb that gives you clean, clear light. In fact now that LED bulbs match the same light quality and brightness as 100 watt equivalent bulbs, people are finding they can trust LEDs for the same light ranges as incandescent bulbs. It’s fairly easy to shop by wattage equivalent however, as LED bulbs now have matching light ranges to traditional bulbs.  


Watts versus lumens is like miles versus kilometers


Just don’t expect to pick up 100 watt LED bulbs. They just aren’t measured that way, an issues similar to the differences between miles and kilometers. You’re still measuring distance using kilometers, it’s just a little more precise measure.


The “kilometers” in LED parlance are known as lumens, the measure of how much light a bulb emits. So a 100-watt equivalent LED emits 1600 lumens.


Full explanation on What are Lumens?


Color your world


Color is also important in choosing bulbs, and that’s a question of Kelvins. The higher the Kelvin the cooler toned is the light. So a 3000 Kelvin bulb is going to look a little whiter or bluer while a 2700 Kelvin LED bulb will appear warmer.


The technical issues behind achieving these qualities are actually immense. That is why LED bulbs have taken a while to “measure up” to incandescent bulbs. The process hasn’t always resulted in cheaper solutions, either. So to get LED bulbs to imitate warmer tones of light where desired has been a less than straight line. But the industry is closing in on  compatibility.


Full explanation on Color Temperature and Value


Quality counts


There’s term known as color rendering index (CRI) that further measures the quality of light. A reasonable amount of experimentation may be necessary to find the CRI that pleases your eye and brain for each given situation.


Direction counts too


Directional qualities also factor in. LED bulbs were originally great at focusing a light beam in a single direction. Now there are designs that spray or diffuse the light for a broader and more sensitive coverage area.


Looks count for something


You’ll see that some LEDs look immensely different than any lights you have purchased before. But if you start with the more conventional A19 LED bulbs the appearance shock won’t set you back so far.


The sticker price might set you back at first. A Kobi Electric Cool 75-75 Watt Equivalent Cool White LED Light Bulb sells for $23.99. That seems like a lot for a light bulb. But stop and think for a minute: It’s going to last 20 years! How many incandescents would you buy during that same time period? Lots. And those old bulbs would chew up a lot more energy in the form of electricity, increasing both your electric bill and your carbon footprint.


See, it’s that simple. It’s like buying the most modern versions of a hybrid car. It costs a little more upfront, but you visit the pump a lot less often. So the savings are spread over time.


The diversity of LED bulbs includes:

  • LED Can Lights,
  • Flood LED Bulbs
  • Dimmable LED Light Bulbs
  • LED Appliance Bulbs
  •  LED Bug Light Bulbs,
  •  LED Grow lights.
  • LED Track Bulbs


There is even a revolution going on in the municipal world where LED Roadway Light Bulbs are saving millions in energy and maintenance costs. That means governments are deciding to amortize their costs over the long term by biting the bullet now. Makes sense even for homeowners smart enough to know a good value, and a good savings, when they see one.


Choosing an LED bulb is getting easier every day as prices drop and the value and quality of LED bulbs becomes even better known.

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