Are You Getting Quality LED Lighting for your Money?
It may seem that all kinds of LED lights are the same. After all, they may look very similar. But the truth is that LED lights have a large number of differences, albeit subtle, that directly affect their quality. Why is this important? Because if you are spending a lot of money on LED lighting for your home, business or event, then the quality of these lights will be a definite priority.
The Wild West
One of the most important facts to realise about LED lighting is that it’s only just entering the lighting industry as a contender. That being said, there are not many rules or standards to govern the manufacture and sale of LED lighting. As you search for the right lighting solution for your needs, you may find many who are genuinely interested in improving LED products and furthering this technology. However, you may also find those who are only interested in making money.
The only solution to avoiding the latter is to educate yourself on the markers that indicate quality lighting for your home or other application.
Product Documentation and Testing Standards
Regardless of the LED lighting you purchase, you will find that it comes with documentation from the manufacturer. This documentation contains a lot of information about the type of testing as well as minimum standards.
Some of the items you should look for in the documentation that accompanies LED lighting include photometry, which offers information about the light output of the product such as total lumen output. Be wary of manufacturers who only quote light output in Watts as this only informs the user of the power consumed, where the total lumen output, or total brightness, can change from fixture to fixture by as much as 100% for the same quoted power output. . Another standard to check is lumen depreciation, which gives information about how long the LEDs lasted over a number of hours when installed in or on a product.
Correlated Colour Temperature
There are many ways to describe the colour of the light that LEDs emit. For example, the colour white can differ from one manufacturer to another. One company may refer to white as ‘cool white’, where another may call it ‘warm white’. However, colour temperature offers a more absolute way to describe the colour of LED light. Colour temperature is measured in Kelvin (K). The higher the colour temperature, the ‘cooler’ light will appear to be.
If possible, testing LED lighting yourself is always a good idea. If you are unable to use your own space for testing, choose a similar space to test several products. Ensure you test them in different conditions as well as different ambient light situations. For example, you may wish to see how bright an LED light is in pitch darkness. When testing, it may help to consult with a lighting expert, which may be able to offer you additional information about your desired lighting solution.
Finally, the cost of the lighting you choose is important. Be wary of lighting that costs far less than it should, as this could indicate poor manufacturing.
While it is true that the LED lighting world can be incredibly complex and challenging to understand, there is much in the way of education available online. Seeking out viable resources like the Lighting Industry Association (LIA) can eliminate much of the guesswork associated with choosing the right type, colour, strength and longevity of lighting you need for your unique applications.