Tuesday, January 5, 2016

LED Light Bulbs--Things to Consider

Ever since CFL (compact fluorescent lightbulb) bulbs became available, there has been the issue of equivalency. Since a 13-watt CFL bulb can produce the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb, the bulb makers put "60 Watt" on the CFL package in larger type than the actual wattage used by the bulb.

But that's not the actual equivalency, especially with LED (Light-Emitting Diode) bulbs. The correct way to compare light bulbs (incandescent, CFL, and LED) is by (1) lumens, which measures light output and (2) color temperature, which measures how much like daylight the hue or color of the light is. The lumen measure is especially important with LED bulbs because some of them claiming a 60-watt equivalence are not nearly as bright as an incandescent bulb.

Compare bulbs, all described as 60-watt equivalent:

Standard 60 Watt Incandescent Bulb  60 watts  800 lumens  2700-5500 degree color
Utilitech LED bulb                                9 watts  750 lumens  3000 degree color
Sylvania LED bulb                              8.5 watts  800 lumens  2700 degree color
Feit Electric bulb                                  4.2 watts 466 lumens  2200 degree color
GE Brite Stik                                         10 watts 760 lumens  2700 degree color
CREE LED flood                                  9 watts    655 lumens  2700 degree color

I noticed this discrepancy when shopping for LED flood light bulbs. Many said "60-watt equivalent," but few produced the full 800 lumens that a 60-watt incandescent bulb produces. So be careful out there. Check the light output in lumens before you buy.

Regardless of the actual watts drawn by either a CFL or an LED bulb, to be equivalent  the bulb must produce the output listed here:

40-watt or equivalent = 450 lumens
60-watt or equivalent = 800 lumens
75-watt or equivalent = 1100 lumens
100-watt or equivalent = 1600 lumens
150-watt or equivalent = 2600 lumens

Final word: LED bulb technology is still in transition, and some of the older bulbs have a shorter life or produce a lot of heat. So be wise when you see a super bargain on LED bulbs.