The benefits of using LED lighting in the home, office or workplace are becoming increasingly apparent. Despite the obvious cost savings, increased lifespan and improvements in the light quality some people are reluctant to change from traditional incandescent/halogen lights.

The way a bulb looks is a key factor in getting people to change from traditional light bulbs to new LED bulbs. With technological advances over the past few years, manufacturers have been able to develop light bulbs using LED technology which resemble the appearance of traditional incandescent bulbs. Using new “filament” LED bulb technology it is now possible to manufacture LED light bulbs which mimic the incandescent “clear” bulbs, which are perfect for use in situations where the bulb is visible (i.e. used in chandeliers). The bulb can now be used as a decorative piece, without the need for shades to hide the bulb from view.

LED bulbs are now available to suit any environment and so you can be assured that by changing from traditional bulb types to LED will not only save you money, use much less electricity but will also provide a better quality of light. With LED lights you can choose the type of light to meet your specific requirement simply by selecting the appropriate colour temperature.

Why Choose LED Bulbs

By switching to LED bulbs from traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs you can save on average 85% on your electricity usage and 18% from Compact Fluorescent bulbs. At the same time making an impact on the environment.

Almost all of the traditional types of bulb has an LED equivalent so there is no reason not to switch. LED bulbs also have a longer lifespan so you will be saving money by not having to replace bulbs as often. A typical 35W halogen spotlight will last for 2000 hours, whereas the equivalent LED bulb may last for 50,000 hours.

How much can I save?

With a typical LED bulb using 85% less electricity the savings can be very high when compared to the cost of using incandescent/halogen bulbs.

The example below shows the savings that can be made by switching from a 35W halogen spotlight to a 6.5W LED spotlight.

Estimated savings based on electricity cost of 14p/kWh and usage of 3 hours per day (giving LED bulb lifetime of 22.8 years).

These savings do not take into account the cost of replacing the bulbs – you will need to replace the halogen bulb TWELVE times during the lifetime of only ONE LED bulb. So when you add this cost into the calculation the overall savings will be much greater.

Reasons to switch to LED bulbs

  • LED bulbs come on immediately - CFL lights take time to reach full brightness
  • LED bulbs are Mercury Free – traditional CFL bulbs use mercury
  • LED bulbs look the same as traditional bulbs
  • LED bulbs use less energy and hence cost less to run
  • LED bulbs generate little heat
  • LED bulbs are more flexible

Different Types of LED Lights

Spotlight Bulbs

These have either GU10 or MR16 (GU5.3) fittings and are commonly used in recessed ceiling downlights.

Capsule Bulbs

These are smaller bulbs with G4 or G9 fittings and are commonly used in light fittings, cooker hoods, fridges, etc.

Globe, Candle and Golf-ball Bulbs

These are the more traditional incandescent bulbs used in ceiling pendants, chandeliers and floor/desk lamps. They generally use a bayonet (B22/B15) or screw (E14/E27) type fitting.

Tube Lights

These are generally used in commercial environments and are traditionally fluorescent tubes either fitted to a batten mounting or housed in a recessed ceiling light fitting. Replacing these usually requires some re-wiring of the light fitting.

Panel Lights

These are either small round or square light sealed light fittings and can be surface mounted or recessed into plasterboard ceilings. Larger versions are available to replace tube light fittings which are mounted in standard suspended ceiling grid installations found in offices and commercial premises.

Strip Lights

LEDs can be mounted onto a plastic backing strip to form a flexible strip of bulbs. These are usually supplied in standard lengths and can be cut to length. These are ideal for mounting under kitchen cabinets and inside cupboards and can be used to create stunning effects.

Colour Temperatures Explained

With traditional incandescent/halogen light bulbs you did not have a choice as to the “colour of light” emitted by the bulb. With LED bulbs this is a different matter. LED Bulbs can be manufactured to produce different “light colours” and can be used to affect the appearance of the room being lit.

Colour Temperature is indicated in units called Kelvin (K) and its value determines whether light bulbs produce warm or cool light. The higher the number, the closer to blue daylight the light appears.

Colour temperature is based on how the colour of a heated metal changes as its temperature is increased - turning from red to yellow then blue. You can then determine the temperature of a heated metal by its colour. This range of colours at different temperatures has become useful for describing the colour tint of white light. The colour of light from an LED lamp is approximated to this scale.

Colour Temperature Scale


Choosing the Correct Colour Temperature

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing the colour temperature. Most of the time it is all about personal preference. If you like the more traditional yellowish colour of a conventional bulb then Warm White around (2700K-3000K) would be the ideal choice, this is the most popular choice for homes. If you want a modern, clean look, you may prefer the cleaner, brighter feel of a Cool White light (4000K-5000K).

Typical uses for the more common colour temperatures:

  • Warm White (2700K-3000K) – Living Rooms, Bedrooms, Hallways and Stairs
  • Natural/Cool White (4000K-5000K) – Kitchens, Bathrooms, Offices, Retail Spaces
  • Daylight White (6000K-6500K) – Commercial, Retail Spaces, etc.

Brightness & Lumens

With traditional incandescent/halogen light bulbs, the brightness was always determined by the Wattage (W) of the bulb. A 100W bulb would be brighter than a 60W bulb of the same type. With LED bulbs the Wattage is less relevant as it is possible to get more light output for less power usage. When selecting LED bulbs, the Lumens rating indicates the brightness. The higher the number the brighter the light.

More Light for Less Power Usage

With LED bulbs more light can be produced using substantially less power than their incandescent/halogen equivalent. An LED bulb using only 6W can generate the same level of light output as a 50W halogen bulb. A typical LED bulb will use more than 85% less electricity than the equivalent incandescent/halogen bulb, as very little heat is generated. In some cases, over 95% of the electrical energy is converted into light. It is easy to see that by switching to LED bulbs, you can save a large amount of money on your electricity bills.

How to Choose the Correct Brightness

Most LED bulbs will state the equivalent Wattage of the incandescent/halogen model. Below is a guide to help you choose the right LED bulb.