Guide written by:
Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton
Nevertheless, choosing an LED bulb can be tricky since factors like shape, base type, power and CRI all vary between bulbs. Picking the right LED bulb comes down to identifying your needs in terms of:
Please note: LED technology can be used to make smart bulbs and/or decorative bulbs.
LED bulbs come in all different bulb base types:
Please note: LED bulbs are wider than halogen bulbs so be sure to check you have enough room to install an LED bulb.
It's important to take note of the beam angle when choosing a bulb. The narrower the beam angle, the more concentrated the light will be. A narrow beam angle can therefore be used to highlight an object or specific area you want to draw attention to. If you are installing a downlight, for example, there's no point in fitting a bulb with a 360° beam since these bulbs are limited to a beam angle of about 90°. On the other hand, if you are installing a main light (a pendant light for example) or if you are fitting a bulb without a lamp shade, it's best to go for a wide beam angle to ensure every corner of the room is lit up.
Traditionally, energy use was measured in watts. But since LED bulbs are low watt, this is no longer a reliable metric. Instead, energy-efficient LED bulbs are measured in lumens which indicates brightness.
Light output is measured in lumens (lm). This value indicates the amount of light a light source can emit.
Light output in lumens
≈ 300 lm
≈ 30 W
≈ 500 lm
≈ 40 W
≈ 700 lm
≈ 60 W
≈ 1000 lm
≈ 75 W
≈ 1250 lm
≈ 120 W
≈ 2000 lm
≈ 250 W
The light intensity of a bulb is indicated in lux (lm/m²). This value should be chosen to match your lighting needs which will vary depending on the room. To pick the right bulb, remember the following:
Visual comfort also depends on the colour rendering index which is based on a scale of 1 to 100 (100 being the closest to natural light and providing the most faithful rendering of colours).
LED bulbs usually have an CRI of 70 to 80.
Colour temperature determines the colour emitted by your light bulb and is measured in Kelvins. This is important when it comes to thinking about the kind of atmosphere you want to create in a room.
Be careful – not all LED bulbs are designed to work with dimmer switches. For this, you'll need dimmable bulbs. This information will be noted on the box, usually as a circle containing an arrow. This logo indicates that the bulb is designed to cope with changes to the voltage waveform.
Using a standard LED bulb with a dimmer switch may cause the bulb to burn or flicker, and its lifespan will be greatly reduced.
Some bulbs can be controlled via remote control or using a smartphone. This allows you to adjust the intensity of the light to any situation.
This system can also be used to change the colour of your light bulb which is ideal if you like to switch up the feel of the room to match your mood!
These days, light bulbs also play a decorative role in the design of a room. With this in mind, you'll find a range of models designed to look just like old-fashioned filament bulbs. These transparent bulbs leave the wire coil of the bulb on show and produce a warm orange light for a cosy feel.
Guide written by:
Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton, 69 guides