The're out there , in growing numbers--- people considering buying a LED lamp or bulb.

Quick show of hands - who has had several years of buying ,using, evaluating the product?

Very few, so lets look at the trends in- 2010 or 2011 era Solid state lighting-! Its pointless discussing

 the merits of  LED luminiares from two years ago thats is like talking about your second VCR

or which brick phone performs best.


1- QUALITY- especially in the chips , drivers and things like the capacitors & especially in

  the lumeniare's design and construct-Quality really varies by mfg & often by batch - sadly.



2- Certifications- accrededation is very valuable UL - Energy star- Ligthing facts - then

     there is the product vetting it starts with "lm 79s" which detail performance & construct info.

      Doing one's due dilegence is a process- but do it right & light bulb changing goes to once/11yrs


3 - What performance metrics are you using? a Led can have substantial degradition that

     often hinges on the light engines design and how well it handles the thermal realities.

       Already some who have been early adopters regret buying poorly constructed LED lamps.   

       If its a 2lb moster with giant fins - the design is close to 5 years old typically.Caveat emperer.

        Economics should be based on performance over many years not weeks!


4 - Which measure is your primary one - economic- photometric? What motivates one to buy a LED

      How important to you are secondary features- each month the list of attributes grows/ improves.

      The savings ideally would be illustrated by accurate ROI,s that are based on solid lighting

       surveys or audits. After all by assessing your needs you should be able to identify solutions.


5 - Some recommended names in SSL ( based on my 16 years selling / using/promoting them)-

        Sylvania, Traxon,Xicato( including subset brands like Firefly) MSI , PolyBrite, Philips, Acuity

         Ledtronics, Qnuru, Nexxus , WAC , - The best performers use great chips - Nichia - Osram

          Citizen, Cree, Seoul Semicondutor, LynkLabs - its quality in gets quality out- usually !


6- Research - its a click away - Lighttimes Online, LEDs magazine - LED review, LED Journal

& Linkedin forums  Even Consumer Reports are good stores of knowledge.  Reading books  about 

new SSL developments  is not a great idea unless published in the previous month -

      . Developments in the SSL biz happen weekly.Learning about what

       components are found in quality LED lamps is very enlightening.


 7 -  This step is optional- After replacing your old tech lighting with LED/ SSL enjoy your energy

savings - Try and gloat responsibly - My example ; the use of LED lighting has factually reduced my household Kw use- it used to be 800 kWhs monthly for 4 - now its typically 300 kWs( again for 4) energy waste is crazy - doing lighting right makes sense !


That means using great LEDs !




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Thank you for the post.


It would seem you have a pretty good handle on this quickly changing industry.


What about spread and spectrum. Which company is providing light that is most compatible with incandescent users?




Iincandescents typically have 'soft CCTs- ie 2900K - although they can by definition

run the CCT range- the chromacity is 1 of several metrics but LED makers favored

 producing most A lamps ( pear shaped ) or B-10's in CCTs like 2900k 

 . Many of the concerns listed have the ability for an A -19 to put out

near omni directional light,in the appropriate CCT + have it stay "true" over a decade.


Although I'm not using the brand much- the short answer current best  -a Philips Endura.

Thanks for posting this. I hope all can agree that LEDs are the future of commercial, industrial and residential lighting. One thing that I like to stress when touting the many benefits of LED lighting, is to explain a bit about the rated life. According to IES LM-70 (step 2 above), it's worth mentioning what is meant by the long rated life of an LED product. If you're saying an LED is rated for, say, 50,000 hours, that means that at that point, the light output is at 70% of original. So it doesn't mean that, like an indandescent or fluorescent, it will burn out. You're still getting some light output even after years and years of use.





 When rating a LED lamp it is critical to question the driver and other components true lifespan.

Long before concerns of whether the products are delivering 80% most will be replaced

because of  MTBF in the supporting components Thats why I'm a big proponent of

having luminiares use AC/LEDs.There is a huge operational gain in designs that aren't

burdened with Dc drivers + the many capacitors of the common brand LEDs- ie; the

stuff found at most big boxes.

Thanks Dennis, always a pleasure.

I'm still on the fence.  If we didn't have CFL's, jumping into LEDs would be a simple choice, even at today's prices.  But when I estimate my ROI on replacing a CFL that is only 3 years old and working fine it doesn't make the cut.  I do have a couple of incandescents hanging around, but they don't even justify a CFL.  So, have I boxed myself into a corner by switching the house to CFL's too early?  Perhaps yes, and that is the point I want to make with LEDs, is it still too early?

Justifying a rather expensive lamp just because it will last 11 years means you need to keep it for 11 years and in today's fast paced technology, who knows what will be available even 5 years from now.  Between the bottom dropping out on the prices and new technology already in progress I'm just not sure when to jump.  If I wait and struggle along with my curly little lights for another year or two I have the feeling what I will buy then will be a lot better than what I would buy now.

As for our customers, well they are all different and what will fit their budget and their requirements has to be determined one at a time.  I'm anxious for LEDs to become the lamp of choice, but at $30 a pop, even I hesitate.



 The process that will see mass adoption is already happening - its an insidious plot by us LED guys-

we've got people clamouring for LED TVs, the're commonplace in the automotive application realm.

People more often than not are looking at a LED display or are under solid state lighting with increasing

frequency.LED lighting is more about lamp/ task cost.Its not a $30 lamp after rebates it's usually about

half of retail for a savvy LED buyer. A couple of considerations to add the- maintenance factor + the

cost of multiple CFLs needed in the time frame- and soon CFLs could be $15 each- LEDs similar costs

and decreasing- in 2 yrs many will be under $20 & eligible for rebates, tax deductions + daily cost of use

around 1 cent a day for the electricity,All indications are by decades end the use of SSL will be at

 80% through out the developed world !

Nice article.  I see you didn't mention some of the brands found at the big box stores, like Feit or Home Depot's EcoSmart house brand (think they're using Lighting Sciences).  Do these tend not to have as good components (I like the Cree lamps and they sell these as well)?  


By the way, I did a quick and dirty comparison of purchasing LEDs now vs. waiting (using a certain big box store's product information).  I didn't discuss quality, which is certainly a very important attribute.


Thanks again.


 That final statement you made really resonates with me, I am an LED quality zealot-

Any comparitive analysis should definitely look at component performance - The 2 brands you

mention are held in low esteem by me . Feit more so than LSG , it really has to do with critiqueing

lumeniares. The chips used are rarely  the top tier components, then even those using

great chips have weak links beyond the light engine- there are variables like encapsulates,

thermal mgmt, or even optics. The better quality - some of which can be found at * some *

big boxes would be Sylvania for average LED lights that pass rigorous QC checks or

Nexxus products those are a "better" quality line--- Its typical great stuff has superior design

good components, and comes from a concern with a proven track record.The trouble with

LED production /sales is the high cost now relative to what it will be in 2015 - the advatage

is all will migrate (except the amish) to SSL + with the big advances in nanotech and advanced

materials - there are now many various compelling reasons for adoption now - some are

ready for the trade off, the value is there but sophistication is lacking.


 -The ones comin down the pike

are like the equivalant of concept cars at an autoshow, much cooler with more features.

So, what do you think of the Lemnis Pharox bulbs that Ikea says they're going to begin offering?


Meh - under powered - not evolved or sophisticated - but as the're going

for the residential market - the're servicable- hemispheric - updated older

style - B+ kind of LED luminiares. Better optics than most and both

better  price points and availability then most though.


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