The ABCs of LEDs

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When we think of lightbulbs, we think of a certain shape – the traditional 60W incandescent bulb. Used in homes around the world for decades, until recently the incandescent bulb has been the only option for illuminating homes and small buildings.

In recent years, however, the innovations in the lighting industry have seen the incandescent bulb replaced with more energy efficient substitutes, namely LED lighting. This article will look at LEDs in detail, from how they work to what the terminology surrounding them means.

Lumen replace Watts for brightness

LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes have their brightness measured in a different way to traditional bulbs, using lumen instead of watts.

To compare lumen with watts, the following conversion has been produced:

2600 lumen – 150 watts

1600 lumen – 100 watts

1100 lumen – 75 watts

800 lumen – 60 watts

450 lumen – 40 watts

Watts is actually a measurement of the energy that a bulb draws, rather than the brightness. For a 150W incandescent bulb, the equivalent wattage for an LED is 25-28W. This shows just how energy efficient LEDs are.


Blue LED lights

LED lights are available in a wide range of colours, but striking colours are probably not the ideal choice for a living room or kitchen. For lighting that matches the colour emitted by an incandescent bulb, LEDs offer different levels of ‘warmth’ in the colours that they emit.

LED white - cool, warm, pure

The most popular choices are ‘warm white’, ‘soft white’ and ‘pure white’, with the latter being closer to natural light and the same lighting that you see in shops.

The colour of the light, or temperature, is measured in Kelvins. The lower the amount of Kelvins, the warmer the light will be. Warm light gives off a yellow hue, and incandescent lightbulbs have a Kelvin rating of between 2,700 and 3,500K, which is why they give off a brighter, whiter light.


Shelf with price label

On the face of it, LED lightbulbs are more expensive to buy than incandescent bulbs by a considerable margin, but if you replace every incandescent bulb in your house with an LED, the upfront expense will soon seem like a great investment, yet this is cancelled out after a couple of years thanks to the longer lifespan of the LED lights.

Prices can be anything from £4 to £40 – considerably more than an incandescent bulb but for that money, you get a much longer lifespan and much better efficiency from the lights.

LED bulb lifespan compared with incandescent bulb

LED lights, if used for five hours a day, will last for an incredible 26 years. In comparison, an incandescent bulb will last for 1-2 years if used for the same amount of time.


The efficiency side of lighting is where LEDs really come into their own. LED lights are a staggering 90% more efficient than their incandescent counterparts, with their efficiency making it possible to pay for themselves in only a few short years.


Philips Hue LED lights controlled by smartphone

Certain companies have taken to LED lighting and added their own twist, improving the versatility and ease of use of the lights. The example at the forefront of these innovations is the Philips Hue, which works in tandem with the Philips LED lights in your home and a smartphone app. Using the app and a router called a ‘bridge’, the Hue allows you to change and set automated lighting temperatures from your phone, even when you’re not at home. If you want to have a nice, warm light in your bedroom when you wake up, simply set it on the app and it will light your room that way every morning.

Which brands can I trust?

Most lighting companies are now in the LED market, and there are some that are performing better than others. According to Which?, the GLS 5W LED lights from Crompton’s Manor House range are the market leaders, followed closely by Diall’s 4W GLS and 9.5W GLS bulbs. Other household name such as IKEA, Tesco and Phillips provide LED lights for homes and businesses.

What is important to remember, however, is that there is no universal regulator for LED lights yet, unlike the market for incandescent lights. The quality of bulbs can vary, and they will not have the CE mark that is on incandescent bulbs, so it’ll pay to research reviews of the different bulbs before purchasing.

As the lighting market continues to be the subject of innovation and technological advances, LED lighting will be improved upon and soon there may be an even more efficient source of lighting your home. For now, LED lighting is a fantastic way to light your property, and the savings you can make over the years make it an even more attractive prospect.


VHL provide the highest quality electrical services for customers in London and the Home Counties. To find out more, please get in touch with us today.

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