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We know how confusing it can be to select the best light bulbs for your home. Who cares about lumens, watts, base types, and adapters, anyway?
We make it easy to select new bulbs without needing to know these terms, but just in case you’re one of those people who likes to dig a little deeper, we’ve got you covered.
Interior designers often upgrade a room by installing new light fixtures, but did you know that the quality of the bulb itself and be the difference between a warm welcoming living room, and one that feels like a science lab?
Light bulbs may lack the glamour and allure of brushed bronze, crystal refraction and art deco printed lamp shades but are equally important to the aesthetic of your home.
Here are 5 things to consider when choosing your bulbs:
Shape - Bulb shape determines where the light is directed. The most common shapes are A-line (what everyone thinks of as a light bulb); Candelabra (meant to look like the flame of a candle); Globe (a prettier version of the A-line intended to be used without a shade); and, Reflector (meant to send light in a single direction).
Size - Bulb size is usually determined by how big it needs to be to contain the "parts" it needs to create light. When combined with shape you get the Letter/Number combos that are the industry's secret code language. But you don’t need to worry about that. Especially if you take advantage of our free Try Light Kit.
Base Type & Size - Screw bottom bulbs dominate the US market but certain bulbs use pins or are "twist-and-tighten." Edison screw-bottoms in the U.S. are called "Standard" (also known as "Medium"). Smaller bulbs may have "candelabra" bases that are also smaller.
Brightness is exactly what it sounds like, while it’s commonly been thought that brightness is dependant on how many watts the bulb is, a more accurate measure is “lumens.”
Watts are a measure of energy consumed.
Lumens are a measure of brightness.
What is just right in one setting might be too bright in another ... the best way to find out it to try multiple options. Hence, our Try Light Kit. ;)
Light Appearance is also called the color temperature, or hue. For example Warm White--the most common light bulb "color" in our homes--is the one most folks like, is rated 2,700 on the kelvin temperature scale (2700K).
An LED bulb is powered by a computer chip so they are programmed to create light of any hue. An incandescent bulb creates light by literally burning a piece of tungsten metal.
LED stands for light emitting diode. LED lighting products produce light approximately 80% more efficiently than traditional, incandescent light bulbs.
How do they work? An electrical current passes through a microchip, which illuminates the tiny light sources (diodes) we call LEDs and the result is visible light. To prevent performance issues, the heat LEDs produce is absorbed into a “heat sink,” therefore LED bulbs produce much less heat than traditional and even compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) bulbs, even after being on for hours.
Lifetime of LED Lighting Products
The useful life of LED lighting products is defined differently than that of other light sources, such as incandescent or compact fluorescent lighting (CFL). LEDs typically do not “burn out” or fail. Instead, they experience ‘lumen depreciation’, wherein the brightness of the LED dims slowly over time. Unlike incandescent bulbs, LED “lifetime” is established on a prediction of when the light output decreases by 30 percent.
The average lifespan of an LED bulb is often over 20 years.
How are LEDs Used in Lighting
LEDs are incorporated into bulbs and fixtures for general lighting applications. Small in size, LEDs provide unique design opportunities. Some LED bulb solutions may physically resemble familiar light bulbs and better match the appearance of traditional light bulbs. For examples of these, check out our filament and vintage styles.
LEDs and Heat
LEDs use heat sinks to absorb the heat produced by the LED and dissipate it into the surrounding environment. This keeps LEDs from overheating and burning out. Thermal management is generally the single most important factor in the successful performance of an LED over its lifetime. The higher the temperature at which the LEDs are operated, the more quickly the light will degrade, and the shorter the useful life will be.
LED products use a variety of unique heat sink designs and configurations to manage heat. Today, advancements in materials have allowed manufacturers to design LED bulbs that match the shapes and sizes of traditional incandescent bulbs. Regardless of the heat sink design, all LED products that have earned the ENERGY STAR have been tested to ensure that they properly manage the heat so that the light output is properly maintained through the end of its rated life.
How is LED lighting different than other bulbs, such as incandescent and Compact Fluorescent (CFL)?
LED lighting differs from incandescent and fluorescent in several ways. When designed well, LED lighting is more efficient, versatile, and lasts longer.
LEDs are “directional” light sources, which means they emit light in a specific direction, unlike incandescent and CFL, which emit light and heat in all directions. That means LEDs are able to use light and energy more efficiently in a multitude of applications. However, it also means that sophisticated engineering is needed to produce an LED light bulb that shines light in every direction.
In a CFL, an electric current flows between electrodes at each end of a tube containing gases. This reaction produces ultraviolet (UV) light and heat. The UV light is transformed into visible light when it strikes a phosphor coating on the inside of the bulb.
Incandescent bulbs produce light using electricity to heat a metal filament until it becomes “white” hot or is said to incandesce. As a result, incandescent bulbs release 80% of their energy as heat.
LEDs last longer than both incandescent and CFL bulbs, let off less heat, and do not contain mercury like CFLs.