Buying Guide for LED Lighting Products

Lighting Introduction

Here at Pure Energy we get a lot of questions about our LED lighting products, but several in particular come up more often than not, "Can and should I replace all of my lighting with LED bulbs and what kind do I use." Well the short answer is yes usually you can replace them all, but no you probably don't want to replace every last one. it depends on the application. As far as what bulb to use, well that's why we wrote this guide to LED lighting.

First let's start by saying unlike most websites that carry the same products from many many different manufacturers. We try to carry only a few for each class of products we sell. Why? Well let's face it, there are a couple of good brands in any category of retail items, the rest of them are either going to be overpriced or just too cheaply made. We test products from several manufactures to determine the best value and quality for our customers. Currently our lighting line is from a company called FEIT Electric. The lighting is of good quality and you will find we provide the lowest pricing in the U.S. So you can shop with confidence that you are getting a good value for your money.

Color Rendering Index (CRI) and Correlated Color Temperature (CCT)

To figure out what type of light a person wishes to use for a particular application, let's give short explanation of both the CRI and CCT.

The color rendering index (CRI), sometimes referred to as the color rendition index, is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source such as sunlight. It is defined by the International Commission on Illumination as follows: Color rendering: Effect of an illuminant on the color appearance of objects by conscious or subconscious comparison with their color appearance under a reference illuminant. Basically the higher the CRI, the more accurate the color of an object will be represented. Incandescent and Halogen lighting have the highest CRI with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and LEDs coming in second and third. So if you are engaging in activities such asphotography, cinematography or gemology, light sources with a high CRI are desirable in these color-critical applications.

The CRI by itself doesn't tell us what the color temperature of the reference light source is; therefore, it is best to look at the correlated color temperature (CCT). Color temperature is a characteristic of visible light that has important applications in lighting, photography, publishing, manufacturing, astrophysics, and other similar fields. Higher color temperatures (5,000 K or more) are called cool colors (bluish white); lower color temperatures (2,700 to 3,000 K) are called warm colors (yellowish white through red). For reference, the old style incandescent light bulbs have a CCT of around 3000K. Daylight has a CCT of about 6000K. If you are not engaging in the application above, selection of whether you want a higher or lower CCT in your home or business is personal preference.

Accent vs High Power LED

Our LED Lighting generally falls into two categories Accent  (less than 4 watts) and High Power (over 4 watts) Typically Accent lighting is best for accent lighting and for near distance illumination. The more lights in a fixture though will increase the throw distance of the lighting. High Power LED Lighting is considered a one for one direct incandescent or CFL replacement. Feit Electric is very conservative when it comes to rating their high power bulbs incandescent equivalence ratings. In short these bulbs put out A Lot of light.

LED Lighting Descriptions

The product names and descriptions of LED lighting can be a bit confusing such as a BPCFC/LED 28-LEDs 120-Volt Accent Clear Bent Tip, Candelabra Base bulb or a PAR30/HP/LED 120V High Power LED Flood Reflector. Whoaaa those are some mouthfuls. Let�s go through those product listings. Think of the BPCFC as simply a product name lighting guys use; you really need to look at the description to see the use of the bulb. The PAR 38 on the second listing refers physical size of the light. The bigger the PAR the bigger the size. HP refers to the second bulb being a high power direct incandescent or CFL replacement. LED means they are using Light Emitting Diodes. 120v is for standard household lighting and Candelabra Base is the size of the base where you screw it in.  Lastly, don't get hung up over the number of LEDs in a light. They come in different sizes and emit different amounts of light. For example our 28-LEDs Candelabra bulb puts out alot less light than our PAR/30/HP Reflector with only five LEDs.

Candelabras are usually found in some chandeliers, ceiling fans and nightlights. Standard bases are the ones you are used to seeing in most of your lights. The MR16 have pin bases used in some recessed and landscape light fixtures. The GU10 are used primarily in track lighting. Also if you are using a dimmer, most LEDs and CFLs are not designed to work with them.

Buying the Right LED Light

Appliance Lighting: Stick with OEM or equivalent lighting products for these applications.

Kitchen Lighting: You want a high CCT for kitchen light and hands down we recommend LEDs. The right led depends on the fixture. Here are some general recommendations: For ceiling track lighting go with the MR16/GU10/HP/LED 120V High Power MR16/GU10 Base. For under cabinet track lighting you can choose the previously mentioned light or select the BPMR16/GU10/LED 21-LED 120V GU10 Base.

Recessed Lighting: First keep in mind you don't want an air tight fixture to use an LED in. Second it depends on the size of the fixture or "can". Here are the widths of our lights as related to their PAR size. PAR38 = 4.5" PAR 30 = 3.6" Par20 = 2.4". It depends on how much light you need in the area. If you are not doing direct work under them you can choose an accent light. Our accent PAR38 Flood Light does put out a lot of light for its class. If it's in the kitchen or living area you will probably want a High Power LED such as a PAR38/HP/LED 120V High Power LED Flood Reflector.

Chandelier: LEDs will work fine in a chandelier. Check to see what kind of base you have. We carry the small candelabra bases as well as the standard bases. Visit our chandelier LED section to determine what is right for you.

Reading Lights: If you have a table lamp that you work, read by or is the only light used in the room, we suggest sticking with a CFL with a low (warm) CCT rating.

Ceiling Fans: You have a couple of choices here, however if there is only one central light in the fan you should choose one of our High Power LEDs. Our chandelier, A15 and A19 LEDs will each be equivalent to about a 20 to 30 watt bulb. For more light or a lower CTT you can mix and match them using two LEDs and two CFLs. The color of the light themselves will be different, but you will get more light, color and energy savings this way instead of going with straight CFLs. If maximum visibility is needed then all High Powered LED bulbs can be utilized.