LED Lights: The Ultimate Guide (2019 Update)

LED Lights The Ultimate Guide

A Few Things You Probably Don’t Know About LED Lights

You’ve noticed it, haven’t you..?

… that most people, nowadays, are using LED lights at home, work, and even out in the streets.  

Now, you are might be wondering;

Why?

Well, that’s because they know about the lighting and cost benefits that come with LED luminaries.

The question is:

Do you?

If not, you are in the right place.

This post is all about LED lighting; a little history about these fixtures; how you benefit from them; their setbacks and so on.

Basically, at the end of your read, you’ll have known everything you need to know about LED lights in 2019.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

The Lazy Man's Guide on the Timeline of Lighting Technology

How much do you know about the timeline of artificial (manmade) light?

It’s a tricky question, right?

In fact, there is a high probability that only one person out of a million can give you a straight answer.

Anyway:

The first form of lighting was fire. It became widely used around 125,000 BC.

As time went by lighting advanced to Oil Lamps (around 4,500 BC) and, later on, candles (around 3,000 BC)

timeline of lighting technology

Many years passed and lighting technologies kept on evolving and advancing.

But:

It was not until the year 1809 when Humphry Davy presented a 10,000-lumen electric lamp to the public.

Thereafter, A. E. Becquerel came up with the first fluorescent lamp in 1867. And later on, in the year 1880, Thomas Edison came up with a 16-watt light bulb that could last for up to 1500hrs.

In 1927, Oleg Losev invented the first Light Emitting Diode (LED). Then in 1953, the halogen light bulb was created by Elmer Fridrich.

Almost three decades later, Phillips introduced their first Compact Fluorescent Energy Saving Fixtures into the Lighting market.

Basically,..

The twentieth century saw the invention of most of the light technologies that we know of today including halogens, HIDs, SIDs, Fluorescent tubes, OLED, Metal Halide lamps and so on.

However, before the end of the 20th century in 1995, a Japanese engineer named Shuji Nakamura invented a better, high-brightness type of LED lighting at Nichia Labs.

And that marked the beginning of the LED boom.

For a more detailed timeline, check out this Wikipedia page later on.

Moving on:

Now that you are up to speed with the history of lighting technologies, it’s time to dive into the best part about the evolution of lighting – LEDs.

What are LED Lights?

First things first, LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.

Therefore:

LED lights are fixtures that use light emitting diodes to produce light.

Now, the thing about LED lighting is that it’s better than all other kinds of technologies present today.

You are probably wondering:

How?

Well, for starters LED fixtures often last longer than other fixtures with lifespans ranging from 30,000hrs to 100,000 hours.

Impressive, right? Well, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

LED lights are also super-efficient when it comes to energy consumption and luminous output.

Consider this:

An LED light is more than 80% more efficient than an incandescent bulb. That means that – with LEDs – you can spend up to 80% less than what you are currently spending to keep the lights on at home or work.

And it gets even better…

Modern LED fixtures are designed to replace incandescent and fluorescent tubes, hence, mitigating upgrade costs.

Fun Fact:

Did you know that the LED industry is expected to grow 12 times bigger by 2023 compared to how it was in 2014?

These are just a few of the many benefits that come with the use of modern LED lighting.

If you’d like to know more about the perks of these amazing fixtures, you are going to enjoy this next part.

9 Things That Make LED Lighting the Best and Most Viable Lighting Option Today

Are you still stuck trying to decide whether or not to invest in LED lights?

Don’t worry. It’s natural to be skeptical.

However, with LEDs, you can make huge profits not only from selling but also by using them.

Still in doubt?

If so, maybe these benefits of LEDs can help you to make an informed decision:

1. LEDs are Very Energy-Efficient

This is probably the biggest benefit of using LED lights.

Yes!

They are super-efficient.

LED fixtures can output up to 135 lumens per watt.

And to show you how efficient that is here’s a simple example:

So…

Typically, a 100 Watt incandescent outputs up to 1330 lumens.

That means that it has an energy efficiency of ~ 13.3lm/W.

However, at 130lm/W, its LED equivalent would be ~ 10 Watts (derived from dividing 1330 by 130).

Do you know what this means?

In this instant, upgrading to an LED fixture reduces power consumption by 90 Watts; or 90%.

Amazing, right?

2. LEDs Last Longer

Longevity is also a critical factor to consider.

On average, LED fixtures can last up to 50,000 hours.

That’s more than 50 times longer than an incandescent bulb that lasts for only 1,000 hours.

Imagine this:

An LED light can cost around $3.50 and end up lasting for 50,000 hours, while an incandescent bulb only costs $0.50 and lasts for 1000 hours.

If you do the math, you’ll see that you need 50 incandescent in order to match the lifespan of a single LED fixtures.

50 X $0.50 = $25, right?

Therefore, you’ll end up spending $21.50 more on lighting fixtures if you use Incandescent bulbs instead of LEDs.

Now, multiply that figure with the number of incandescent light bulbs you’re currently using.

Surprised?

3. LEDs are Extremely Resilient

Let’s face it!

The chances of breaking or damaging incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes are high as compared to LED lights.

Why?

LED technology is unique in that there are no filaments, tubes, or bulbs that make the fixture easy to damage.

That’s why LEDs are also referred to as “Solid State Lighting (SSL)” because they are made of strong solid materials.

4. LEDs Don’t Take Time to Light Up

One of the most annoying things about fluorescents and mercury lamps is that they take time to fully light up.

And truthfully speaking, no one enjoys waiting for fixtures to switch on.

Time is money, right?

Luckily, that’s something you don’t have to worry about when using LED fixtures.

That’s because they switch on/off instantly, hence, making sure you spend every second of your time doing something productive instead of waiting for a light fixture to warm up.

5. LEDs are Almost Immune to Sub-Zero Temperatures

Unlike other lighting technologies that won’t switch on when it’s too cold, LEDs are not affected by extremely low temperatures.

In fact:

These lights work best in low temperatures.

Basically…

You can still use some LED lights even at -200 C. Now, that’s not something you hear every day.

6. LED Light Can Be Directed To Specific Parts of a Room

Do you want to light up specific parts of your space?

If so, LEDs are exactly what you need.

Why so?

LED lights come with different beam angles.

Hence, you can easily find an LED that can be directed to light a specific area of a room; thus, reducing light wastage.

Therefore…

LEDs are not only efficient in energy consumption but also in which parts of a space need lighting.

These lights work best in low temperatures.

Basically…

You can still use some LED lights even at -200 C. Now, that’s not something you hear every day.

7. LEDs Have Excellent Color Rendering

Yes!

Unlike fluorescents and other types of light sources, LEDs don’t wash out colors. That makes them ideal for displays and advertising in retail shops and billboards.

8. LEDs are Very Environmental Friendly

Another great benefit of using LEDs is that they are kind to the environment.

How?

Well, for one, they don’t contain any toxic chemicals or hazardous substances like mercury.

Also, they use up less energy.

Hence, LEDs can be comfortably used by people who rely on green energy power sources like solar and wind.

Impressive, isn’t it?

9. LEDs are Easily Controllable

Last, but not least… Controllability.

LEDs offer you more control over the quality and amount of lighting you can get from these fixtures.

That’s because you can manipulate the brightness and color of your LED lights thanks to features like dimming and so on.

These are just a few of the many upsides to switching to or investing in LED lights. There are so many other benefits you get to enjoy from these luminaries.

But:

Before you whip out your checkbook and start placing orders on LED lights, you should also consider their downsides.

LED light with contorller

What are the Disadvantages of Using LED Lights?

As good as they may be, LEDs also have their fair share of cons.

And:

A wise buyer always considers the pros and cons of the products they intend to buy.

That’s why it’s only fair to cover LED light disadvantages too; just to make sure you have everything you need to make an informed decision.

Here are the demerits of using LED lights:

1. Blue Hazard

So:

There are a few concerns about the safety of blue and cool-white LEDs.

Experts say that these lights are now capable of exceeding the safety boundaries defined safety specifications like the ANSI/IESNA RP-27.1-05.

Basically…

This means that these lights may pose a threat to people and other living organisms.

But, that’s yet to be proven.

2. Light Quality

Another demerit about LEDs is that sometimes they can affect the appearance of certain colors.

Cool-white LEDs are often the main culprits of color misrepresentation.

Generally, some objects may look different under cool-white LED light as compared to sunlight or incandescent illumination.

And, to some extent, that can cause inconveniences.

3. Temperature Dependence

It’s true that LEDs “like” cool temperatures.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about high temperatures.

Note:

The performance of LED lights is always highly dependent on the surrounding environment’s ambient temperature.

And while low temperatures don’t affect LEDs, prolonged usage in high ambient temperatures can lead to damages as a result of overheating and failure.

Therefore, adequate heat-sinking is a necessity in places where the fixture operates under high ambient temperatures like restaurant kitchens, welding shops, food trucks and so on.

That way you get to preserve the fixture’s longevity and performance at the same time.

4. Blue Pollution

What is blue pollution?

It is the emission of excessive blue light by an LED fixture.

And as is the case with the “Blue Hazard” disadvantage, cool-white LEDs also take center stage here.

Why?

Cool-white LEDs are mainly characterized by their bluish appearance.

And it is believed that these fixtures often emit more blue light than most outdoor light sources. Hence, causing blue pollution.

That’s why the Dark-Sky Association advises against the use of cool-white light with color temperatures of above 3,000K.

5. Voltage Sensitivity

This is a bit tricky.

That’s because LEDs require a higher voltage than their threshold and a lower current than their rating in order to function properly.

That means that you may have to find series resistors or to regulate the power supply to keep your LEDs from getting damaged.

6. High Initial Investment Cost

If you are going to use LEDs, then you must be ready to pay more for them.

On average, LEDs cost at least 5 times more than incandescent bulbs.

In fact:

Some may argue that these lights are the most expensive light fixtures on the market.

Therefore, the initial capital may be a bit steep. But you shouldn’t lose sight of the long term cost benefits of using these fixtures.

7. Area Light Source

Lastly, you should note that, with LEDs, it’s not easy to approximate the “point source” of light; only the distribution.

Therefore, you cannot use these light in place of lasers or when you’re looking to get a spherical light field.

And like staring at the two faces of a coin, you now know the merits and demerits of using LED lights.

Notably:

The perks seem to outweigh the downsides. And with new technologies emerging, you should expect to see even better LED lights hitting the market.

In summary…

With the LED market rapidly growing, you may find it hard to keep up with current trends. However, with the information above, you are one step closer to making a profitable and worthwhile investment decision in the LED industry.

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