Are More Expensive LED's Really Worth It?
LED, or light emitting diode, bulbs have definite advantages over CFL, HID and incandescent bulbs. However, within the LED industry, prices vary greatly from one bulb to another. Are the pricier LED's worth the increased initial investment?
The short answer is yes. As with many products, you get what you pay for when it comes to LED lighting. The difference in quality can be quite noticeable. An initial investment for high quality LED lights can actually cost less in the long run when you factor in maintenance, light quality and energy savings.
Let's look at a few of the things to consider when comparing LED lighting.
Heat Management System
Contrary to what many believe, LED's do emit heat and how that heat is managed impacts the life of the components, as well as the brightness generated by the LED. LED's have a 'heat sink' and housing that help to dissipate heat. The style of heat sink can vary greatly from LED to LED, and some are better than others. Be sure to check the lifespan of the LED, for example, LED lights from Atlas can achieve 200,000+ hours , or 22.8 years. Many cheaper bulbs achieve 50,000 hours, or 5.7 years. That means you'll buy 4 "cheap" bulbs for every one quality bulb.
Chips are the component that actually generates the light in an LED bulb. Chip quality is what determines light color and light output, so high quality chips are of the utmost importance to the quality of light. The price of LED chips on the market varies greatly, but reputable LED manufacturers will only use the best quality chips.
Power Management Systems
Power management systems are similar to ballasts, in that they convert the current and voltage from the socket to the chip. If the power management system is poor, the light could under-perform, or even fail if it the chip is overpowered.
LEDs are “directional," meaning they emit light in a specific direction, which is different than incandescent bulbs. The lens in an LED bulb directs the light to the desired area, and will determine how well light is dispersed from the LED to the area being lit. A high quality lens will disperse light more effectively and efficiently.
Lumens per Watt
All of the above components will determine how many lumens per watt can be generated by the LED light. Lumens are the units used to measure the brightness of a bulb. The more lumens per watt, the more light is generated per energy used. Look for a high number of lumens per watt to get the most energy savings.
Correlated Color Temperature (CCT)
There are a wide range of color temperatures in the LED industry. Color temperatures of 4200K - 4600K are the whitest light in the light color spectrum and most natural to the human eye. The higher the number, the warmer the light. If you want to avoid green or blue hues associated with some LED's, be sure to choose from the higher end of the spectrum.
Reputable LED manufactures will generally offer some type of warranty on their products. Look for a company that stands behind their products and is easy to work with should you ever need to use the warranty.
Yes, they really ARE worth it.
As you can see, there are many factors that make up the quality of LED lights, and can impact both the short and long term costs. A higher initial investment for quality LED's can save actually save more in the long run that using so-called "cheap" LED's.
Still have questions? Contact our friendly staff here or call 800-767-1576 and we will be happy to help you.