Choosing The Right LED Lights

So you have read about the multiple benefits of LED lighitng and have decided that switching to LED lights in your home or business is a great way to save money on your power bills and get more life out of your lights!  

Here we have provided a practical guide on how to choose the correct lights for your home or business. If you aren’t interested in learning more about LED lighting you can start browsing our great range of LED lights online as the individual product pages will tell you what each light is made for and where to use it.

There are 5 things you should consider before buying led lights:


What are you trying to achieve?

High power LED lights have given a flexibility and functionality to lighting which has previously been unrealised. Beautiful lighting displays are now affordable for all businesses and homes thanks to advancements in LED lighting technology. All you need is an imagination and chances are LED lights can make it reality.

When choosing the right light, keep in mind what it is being used for. You don’t need a 20w LED spotlight to light up a small painting in the hallway when a 4 watt LED downlight will do the job. Also think about where you need to put your lights. Will they be exposed to the weather? You may want to consider weather proof LED strip lighting or fitting. With so many choices available today, it is worth thinking about what you want your LED lights to do first.

Watts

Watts is how people think about power usage and how bright a light will be. However when working with LED lights, we all have to change our thinking from watts to “lumens”.  Why?

The simple answer is that a 10 watt LED bulb manufactured by 5 different manufacturers will likely have 5 different light outputs. In fact some LED bulbs can be twice as bright at the same wattage. The reasons for this are numerous, but we will mention 3 here:

  1. The brand of LED chip contained in the light will directly affect brightness
  2. The colour of an LED (even with the same brand chip) will significantly affect light output
  3. The quality and type of materials used to make the light housing will greatly affect brightness

Below is a basic guide on how to choose the correct wattage you'll need for different uses and circumstances: Notice the large variance in light output.

Some LED chips will give 50 lm/w while others can give in excess of 100 lm/w. The figures below are conservative.

Watt Power(w)

Lumens range (lm)

Used for:

3w

150 to 240

Candle bulbs and spotlights.

Used in lamp shades, garden fittings, under benches. Where the light source is located close to the object being illuminated.

4w

200 to 310

Used for the same as 3w when a little more light is desired

5w

250 to 380

This is used a lot in led downlight fittings, led bulbs for bedside lamps and wall fittings. Colour changing bulbs often come in this wattage.

6w

300 to 480

Good middle of the range wattage used for general lighting in domestic homes for hallways & bedrooms. Can also be used for accent lighting of paintings. Also commonly used in LED bulbs for lamp shades.

7w

310 to 500

7w is used for the same reason as 6w when more light is desired. A very common wattage for MR16 and GU10 LED spotlights to replace 20w or 35w halogen downlights.

9w

320 to 600

This is the most popular wattage for downlights and spotlights where general lighting is used. Can be equivalent to or greater than a 35w halogen.

10w

350 to 760

A 10w LED spotlight such as an MR16 or GU10 will produce light output equivalent to 35w to 50w. This makes it a popular choice for retro-fitting.

12w

550 to 1000

Used mostly in downlights for higher ceilings or in kitchens where more light is desired & floodlights.

15w

680 to 1300

Many brands use this wattage as a 50w halogen replacement. Although a better quality fitting with a lower wattage can also do the job.

 

Lumens

Lumens are the measurement of the total amount of light emitted from a light source. You may hear the term ‘lux’ thrown around as well. Lux is simply the amount of lumens in a specified area.           1 lux = 1 lumen/m² 

Beam Angles

LED strip lighting and LED bulbs commonly use 120° beam angles. However, if you are purchasing LED spotlights and downlights, you will want to consider which beam angle to use. Below is an easy guide on how to choose your beam angle when choosing lights:

LED Beam Angles

General lighting – Make sure you choose the correct wattage based on how many lumens you want.     

If your ceiling is average height 2.5 to 3.5 metres high, use 60° beam angle

If your ceiling is 3.5 to 4.5 metres high, use 38° or 40° beam angle

Ceilings higher than 5 metres, use 24° to 30° beam angle

If you have an area like internal stairs where you want to light the whole area over two levels, you will want to raise the watts and have a beam angle of 60° or even 90° if the fitting has that option. Something like a 15w 90° downlight fitting would do an average internal staircase.

Remember; if you use a narrower beam angle, you will increase light intensity but reduce the size of the area being illuminated for the same height.

Spotlighting – For accent lighting such as highlighting paintings or decorative items such as vases where the spot light is on the ceiling, you first need to take into account how large the object you want to light up is, and how far away from the light source it is.

The further away the light source, the narrower the beam angle needs to be. If your light source is directly above a large item such as a table you need a wider beam angle like 60deg.

Colour

The most obvious and exciting advantage of LED lighting is the colour variations available. The clarity of those colours is also an amazing benefit of LED lights. When we talk about colour in relation to general lighting we are talking about ‘colour temperatures’ within the ‘White colour spectrum’ which is measured in Kelvin. 2700k to 7000k. In other words the colours ranging from warm white through to super daylight.

LED Colour Spectrum2700k – Interna – A very warm ambient colour

3000k – Warm white – halogen bulbs are this colour

4000k – Cool white – Once this was the only colour you could get fluorescent in

5000k – Natural white – This is a good working colour which is specified in hospitals

6000k – Daylight – Also known as pure white or cool daylight

6500k – Super daylight – People went crazy over this colour when it came out in fluorescent

So how do these different colours within the white colour spectrum affect light output? The simple answer is whiter = brighter. A daylight led will give significantly more light than a warm white colour led. We are not just talking about a perception of colour that makes it seem less bright. The ‘actual amount of light’ which is measured in lumens is noticeably less for the warmer colours.

Why is this important? If you change from a daylight colour in LED to a warm white colour you may need to raise the watts to get a similar light output. Also some manufacturers will only give lumens in daylight, leaving us to guess if the warm white will be bright enough. Don’t worry! Here at Planet LED we make it easy for you on our product pages by giving advice surrounding each product.

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