Upgrading to LED lighting can be a daunting proposition. Where we used to have short flings with traditional bulbs and fluorescent tubes, LED lights last such a long time that it is more like a committed relationship. To make things easier, we have listed out our top 5 LED light buying tips.
1) RCM or C-Tick
Buying online in Australia and New Zealand you must always check that the product has the correct electrical safety approvals for Australia and New Zealand. While many untested products from around the world will work without issue in the two countries, there are also a huge number of products that fail prematurely or create a safety hazard. Unless they have done the testing, neither you nor the manufacturer (despite any claims they make) can be confident that you won't encounter problems.
2) Colour Temperature
Make sure that you choose an appropriate colour temperature for the environment. A lot of people complain about the harsh light of LEDs, but the truth is that the problem mostly comes down to poor selection on the part of the buyer. Unlike traditional lighting where bulbs have fairly standard colours dependant on the electrical / chemical process creating the light, LED lights are highly configurable and can produce just about any hue. See my article on colour temperature for a fuller description.
3) Be Creative
LED lighting is so much more flexible than traditional lighting that simply replacing bulbs one for one is a bit of a wasted opportunity. Consider ideas like highlighting features with LED strip lighting, using panel lights to replace fluorescents or to illuminate a wall.
4) Light is Directional
Compared with traditional lighting, LED lighting is highly directional. This is part of what makes the system so energy efficient, but also means you need to think a little more carefully about what kind of bulbs will work best for your situation. For example, installing a directional LED bulb in a side table lamp will often only project light on the ceiling. If you want a more traditional light distribution, think about using an LED filament bulb that will project light in all directions.
5) LEDs Last a Long Time
LED lighting will save you money, but the bulbs themselves may set you back a bit more than you would pay for an equivalent incandescent or fluorescent. If you buy good quality bulbs, they will likely last 10+ years in a residential environment. That is a lot of savings, but also a long time between replacements if you cheap out and buy something inapropriate. Take a bit of extra time to