The two most important things an LED light needs to do is perform as indicated on the specifications and to last as long as possible. Lights that don’t perform or fail prematurely result in downtime and additional costs to replace the product even if the product is replaced for free under warranty.
It is, therefore, crucial to know what to look out for when shopping for the right LED product for your project. With so many choices on the market and many products looking almost identical, it is difficult to discern which products will offer the best performance, cost, and energy savings over the long term.
This quick guide will help you make better buying decisions and achieve better long term results for your LED lighting projects.
The longer the product lasts, the less you will spend in replacement and maintenance costs. It is definitely worth paying more upfront for a longer lasting product as this will save more money long term. It sounds obvious, but it still surprising how many people still buy products that are, for example, 20% cheaper but last only half as long.
LED luminaires and LED Tubes should have a rated lifespan of at least 50,000 hours. Shorter rated lifespans is often a sign of inferior components being used.
LED Retrofit Lamps such as GU10s, Candles and Globes should ideally have a rated life of 25,000 hours.
Lighting Fact: The rated lifespan of an LED is defined by the amount of time it takes for it to reach 70% of its initial lumen output. This is also called L70.
The rated lifespan of an LED Lamp or Luminaire is only as good as the warranty backing it up. It is extremely imported to purchase products from a supplier that honours its warranties and will replace a product hassle-free when a legitimate warranty claim is made. Always check the warranty terms and conditions of your supplier before making a purchase.
Warranty periods generally follow the rated life of the product. If the warranty period is shorter than what it should be according to the lamp life, this could be a red flag.
Rated Lifespan – Typical Warranty Period
15,000 hours – 1 Year
25,000 hours – 3 Years
50,000 hours – 5 Years
80,000 hours – 7-8 years
100,000 hours – 10 years
Efficiency is the most important factor in energy cost savings. A lights efficiency is indicated by lumens per watt (lm/w) – The amount of light output per unit of energy consumed. LED products come in a wide range of efficiencies. Buying a product with poor efficiency will result in less energy saving. It best to invest in a more efficient product as this will yield more energy savings.
LED efficiency has been improving steadily over the years. At the time of writing, the following efficiency ratings are useful to assess the products you are considering:
Lumens per Watt – Rating
60-80lm/w – Poor – This indicated old technology or cheap LEDs being used.
100lm/w – Good – This is fairly standard currently for many products on the market.
120lm/w – Great – Above average efficiency.
160lm/w – Excellent – This is now becoming more common in quality LED products.
180-200lm/W – Not widely available commercially yet. The costs are currently too high. Be skeptical if products are rated at this efficiency.
It’s also very important to find out if the efficiency of the product provided in the specifications is the rating of the complete luminaire of if it is the rating of the LED chip(s) before losses from the driver, lenses, reflector etc. You can read more about this in our other article: Think Efficiency, Not Watts!
While the cost of the products you are considering is important, it should by no means be a primary factor in the decision-making process. In the LED lighting business, it is generally true that you get what you pay for. Plain and simple. In fact, in most cases, buying a longer lasting and more efficient product at a higher price will end up saving more money than a cheap inefficient product that fails prematurely due the costs and labour associated for replacements.
The best advice is to first understand what your requirements are and then to find the products that will meet those requirements. The selected product specs can then be compared closely to assess strengths and weaknesses. If you find two products with close or identical specs, it is then a decision between the service, support, and warranty from the supplier as well as the cost.
We hope this quick will help you with future buying decisions. If you would like further advice, you are welcome to contact our experienced sales team. You can also use our product comparison tool to quickly compare specs of products you are considering.
Author: Callum Grant