Pros and Cons of LED Lights

Welcome to our guide to the pros and cons of LED lights including different types of bulbs and color temperatures.
Replacing cfl bulb with led light bulbLighting is an important part of your home, not just for the obvious practical reasons (you need lights to see when it gets dark) but also because the right type of light can help create the proper ambiance for your rooms.

Lights can also be a huge energy drain as, depending on the type of lights you install, they may use more or less energy. One way to control and bring down your overall energy bill is to make sure that you use energy-efficient light bulbs.

In this post, we’re going to look into the reasons why some people choose to use LED lights for their home lighting needs.  Hint? LED lights are popular because they last longer and are energy efficient.

Let’s look further into what they are and what are the pros and cons of LED lights for your home. [toc]

What are LED lights?

Bathroom with recessed led lightsLED is an acronym for “light-emitting diodes”. These light bulbs have begun to replace traditional incandescent light bulbs in popularity for home lighting.

To explain what LED lights are and how they work, let’s contrast them to how incandescent bulbs work. With an incandescent bulb, the light was created when electricity passed through a wire filament in the bulb. With an LED bulb, there is a semi-conductor within that creates light when electricity passes through it.

LEDs are 90 percent more efficient at producing light than incandescent bulbs. They also last longer as LEDs don’t burn out like candescent lights. Instead, they experience “lumen depreciation” which means that the LED will start to dim slowly over time.

An LED’s lifetime is a prediction of when lumen depreciation will make it useless, which is when the light that an LED bulb produces has decreased by 30 percent. This often takes years, which is why LEDs last longer than conventional lights.

LED Lights Pros and Cons

Tray ceiling with recessed led lightingLED Lights Pros

Long lasting – The two biggest pros that people will mention about LED lights is the fact that they are more energy-efficient and longer-lasting than traditional light bulbs.

Energy efficient – Less energy needs to run through the semiconductor of an LED bulb to produce light, which means less energy consumption and a lower electricity bill.

Consistent brightness over time – As we mentioned, it takes a longer time for a LED light bulb to fade or dim, with some commercially produced bulbs reportedly having lifespans of 10 years or more or about 10,000 to 50,000 hours of use.

Very heat efficient – LED lights emit little or no heat when they are used, this means the bulb does not get hot to touch. This reduces the risk of fire, even when you keep the bulb burning for long periods.

Provides great focused light – LED lights are also a great option if you are looking to provide directional lighting. They work well when you want to spotlight something such as recessed ceiling lights or as work lights. They are also great for recessed lighting, like over kitchen counters or bathroom mirrors.Shelving with led light strips

LED Lights Cons

Not great for providing diffused lighting – They are still a little weak when it comes to providing diffused lighting, like if you want a light fixture that can illuminate a whole room.

Manufacturers are working to fix that, and there are also types of light fixtures with reflective surfaces and other features that can improve an LED bulb’s ability to provide a diffused glow over a large area.

Emits large amount of blue light – You might also want to hold off using LED lights for your bedroom as they emit a lot of blue light. Blue light is similar to midday light, as well as the lights from the screens of smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions.

The problem with blue light exposure is that it can “trick” your system into thinking it’s still daylight which disrupts your circadian rhythm and affect your ability to fall asleep and your sleep quality. Because of this, you should choose amber or soft white LEDs for your bedroom.

Flickers when combined with dimmer switches – LED lights don’t work very well with dimmers. You might find some LED bulbs that say that they are “dimmer compatible” but even these will occasionally flicker when paired with a dimmer. This flickering is often the result of incompatibility between the dimmer, the fixture, the transformer, and the bulb.

May not last as long as specified – While LED lights are supposed to remain functional for 10,000 hours or more, they can fail. This is because the bulb circuitry can overheat and lead to the bulb burning out ahead of time. 

Different Types of LED lights

If you go to a hardware or home furnishing store looking for LED lights, you are bound to find several options, here are a few of the more common types and some tips that will help you choose the best type of LED lights for your light fixture.

Standard LED lights

Standard led light bulbThese can be used in almost any type of room, just make sure to check how much blue light they emit if you want them for your bedroom. If you have a flush mount or semi-flush mount light fixture, these bulbs will work well with those types of fixtures.

Recessed/Can LED Light Bulbs

Recessed led light bulbThese bulbs are best used for recessed lighting sockets. If you are looking for spotlighting, a bulb that will shine light straight down on a workspace, this is a good choice.

Globe LED Lights

Globe led light bulbThese types of bulbs are good if you want to cast a wide soft light over a big area. These work great in pendant light fixtures.

Decorative & Accent LED Lighting

Antique style hanging led Edison light bulbsThese bulbs come in a variety of attractive and decorative styles. You can find these bulbs for use as Edison lights or in track lighting. Another form of accent lighting is LED light strips such as found with kitchen under cabinet lighting.

Popular LED Light Bulb Colors

Aside from this, LED bulbs are also classified according to the color of the light emitted. You should also look into this when deciding which type of bulb to buy.

Here are the three most common colors, though different manufacturers may have different options.Light bulb kelvin color temperatures

Warm White LED Bulbs

The light from this type of LED bulb is the closest to the light you get from traditional incandescent bulbs. These have a brightness level of about 2700k to 3000k (kelvins) on average and a yellow hue.

Cool White LED Bulbs

Cool white LED is a bright light similar to that from fluorescent tubes found in commercial establishments. Cool white bulbs provide from 4100K to 5000K (kelvins) and have a slight blue tint.

Warm and cool led light bulbsStark White

Stark white LED bulbs or daylight color are meant to mimic natural light. While attractive, this is the type of LED that has a blue light, so go for something else if you want LEDs for your bedroom. A stark white “daylight bulb” provides about 6500k (kelvins.

For more related content visit our page about dining room lighting ideas.

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