As LED technology has marched on it has become very easy to get bamboozled by all the different terms and jargon, which is why we’ve demystified it in this at-a-glance guide!
1 – Lumens
For a long time, everybody measured the brightness of their light bulbs using ‘Watts’ but it’s actually calculated using ‘LUMENS’.
While the OED defines a Lumen as: The SI unit of luminous flux, equal to the amount of light emitted per second in a unit solid angle of one steradian from a uniform source of one candela…but we prefer to say it’s a unit of measurement that lets you know how bright your bulbs are!
The greater the number of Lumens the packaging of your bulb states, the brighter your bulb will be. It’s important to go for a bulb that achieves the highest number of Lumens for the lowest number of Watts, so if you stick to that rule you can’t go wrong!
2 – Luminous Efficacy
Following on from the point above, ‘Luminous Efficacy’ is a measure of how well a Light source such as an LED bulb performs its task of producing visible light.
It’s measured in Lumens per Watt (l/w) in the International System of Units (SI) and can be calculated very easily using the simple equation outlined below:
LED light bulbs, you’ll be happy to learn, can give you as many as 100 Lumens per Watt, compared to an incandescent bulb that will only generate between 12 and 17 Lumens per Watt. This is great news for anyone thinking of replacing their old incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving LEDs, as it means you’ll get just as much light for a lot less power!
3 – Watts
We’ve all heard of Watts, but most people probably believe it’s the surname of a former Coronation Street character. Watt it actually refers to is the amount of power consumed and the rate at which energy is drawn from an electrical system.
Light bulbs with a high w/lm (Watts to Lumens) ratio consume a great deal of energy, however, an LED will run on around 10% of the power of an equally bright incandescent bulb meaning they’re a lot more economical and cost-effective.
4 – Volts
Volts are a standard measurement of electrical potential and, as such, they thrust an electrical current through a conductor. Most of our household bulbs like the massively popular, retrofit GE LED GU10 operate at a mains voltage of between 230 and 240V.
5 – The Colour Temperature
In lighting, the term colour temperature refers to the colour of the light produced by a bulb as it is perceived by the human eye. It’s measured in degrees Kelvin (K), which is actually a measure of physical heat.
One way to think about it is the lower the colour temperature number, the more relaxing and laid-back the light, whereas the higher it is, the brighter and more clinical the light.
There is, at present, no hard-and-fast rule about exactly which number corresponds with which colour mode, however, generally speaking, LEDs are available in three colour temperatures, each of which will allow you to tailor the ambience of your room according to a room’s specific function. Therefore:
- Warm White (2700 – 3000K) is the most popular choice for living rooms as it’s a mellow, relaxing form of light.
- Daylight (3500 – 4000K) is a very close approximation of natural daylight and is very often used in offices and classrooms.
- Cool White (6000K) is best suited to work or activity rooms like the kitchen or bathroom, as it’s quite a bright, sterile type of illumination.
6 – The Beam Angle
Never really an issue with the previous generation of incandescent light bulbs, the angle of an LED bulb such as the GE LED Energy Smart MR16 is all-important. At 35° the MR16 is a highly directional spotlight bulb that will focus its beam (perhaps unsurprisingly) on a particular ‘spot’. This makes it a very good choice to use in display cabinets or to position above a painting where it will highlight the art. The GE LED Energy Smart E27 11W Omni with its wide 240° beam angle, on the other hand, is better suited to providing more generalized illumination.
7 – The CRI (Colour Rendering Index)
The CRI, or Colour Rendering Index measures a bulb’s ability to simulate natural daylight. Things seen with the aid of a high CRI light bulb like an LED will appear brighter and more vivid. As the technology continues to improve, LEDs with a score of 80 or more on the colour rendering index are not uncommon, however, there have been recent reports of LED CRI scores of 96 or more! Take a look!
8 – The Luminaire
A Luminaire is fancy way of saying ‘a light fixture with a fixed bulb inside it’. As such, they differ from regular light fittings as they’re all-in-one units with an integral light source (bulb). As a rule, they’re built to last a lot longer than bulbs that are sold separately because when they go, it’s necessary to purchase a whole new lighting unit (Luminaire). Clear? Good!
9 – The Fitting
The Fitting or ‘base’ is the part of the bulb that’s connected directly to the appliance, and there are a great many to choose from. They’re generally designed to make it easy for you to uncouple and replace the bulb, but some, like the good old E27 LED (Edison Screw) and the E14 LED are easier than others we could mention!
10 – The Life Hours
Simply put, the Life Hours are the length of time a light bulb is expected to last, and can generally be found both in the specification table on a website and on the packaging of the bulb itself.
In the case of old-school incandescent bulbs, their life hours were calculated by observing the point at which 50% of a group of samples began to fizzle out.
An LED’s life hours are worked out differently because they don’t expire suddenly like incandescent bulbs. Instead, their Lumen Maintenance is discovered over a pre-decided period of time. LEDs outlast traditional incandescent many times over, with life-expectancies that can range from 15,000 to 50,000 hours, or between 6 and 17 years in real money!
No Lighting Problem is Too Great for LED Solutions!
If you’d like a chat with a member of our customer service team about switching to LED Lighting, please don’t think twice about calling us on 0116 262 5933. You can also e-mail your query to: email@example.com as well as popping over to our Facebook and Twitter social media pages. We can’t wait to hear from you!