January 06, 2021 8 min read

Most of us grew up with filament light bulbs in our homes and we were reminded and warned not to touch them when they were on because of how hot the glass got but it was fascinating seeing the filament glowing red for sometime after the bulb was turned off. But in recent years the old timey atmosphere created by light bulbs has been replaced by energy savers and most recently with LEDs. The latter are used in a wide variety of objects from aviation lighting, camera flashes, traffic signals to advertising, horticultural grow lights and medical devices. LEDs can emit wavelengths along the visible spectrum, ultraviolet (UV), and infrared, with high light output. But they weren’t always this diverse. The first visible-light LEDs were of low intensity and only emitted red colored light. LED is an abbreviation of Light Emitting Diodes and light is produced by a process called "electroluminescence.” So why is everyone moving away from traditional lighting and installing LEDs everywhere? Here are the 10 (of many) reasons why: 

1. LEDs Are Energy Efficient

  • These light sources were made to be more energy-efficient. They do this by using a semiconductor to convert electricity into light.
  • LED bulbs produce light up to 90% more efficiently when compared to incandescent light bulbs and 80% more efficiently compared to CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) bulbs.
  • LED bulbs require a lot less wattage compared to incandescent light bulbs or CFLs.
  • While Fluorescent lights use 5% of the energy to generate light and waste 95% as heat, LEDs have it completely switched with 95% energy used to make light and 5% wasted as heat. Explains why they need less amount of power.
  • LEDs basically generate more light for the amount of electricity they take in. Technically, this is called luminous efficacy or useful lumens.
  • The main reason for the difference in heat produced is that incandescent bulbs work by heating the filament to a certain temperature at which it starts to generate light whereas an LED bulb emits electromagnetic energy as light when a current passes through it. It skips the step of producing heat and directly produces light.
  • This also means that LED bulbs are able to work at a much lower temperature and in cooler areas unlike other light bulbs.
  • The small amount of heat produced is absorbed by a special heat sink and dispersed safely away from the diodes.
  • Most LEDs don’t emit infrared radiation in their beam hence can be used to light up objects or areas that will be damaged by heat for instant artwork or computers.
  • In a few cases when all the lights were upgraded to LEDs there have been improvements of 60 to 90% in energy efficiency. 

Energy Efficient

2. You Will Have Lower Electricity Bills

  • When LEDs were first introduced they were much more expensive than they are now (roughly 80% more). They still cost more than traditional light bulbs but…
  • In the long run you save money.
  • According to a study by the Consumer Federation of America the average American household could save about $1,000 over a ten year period by switching to LEDs.
  • So the one time cost of LEDs is relatively higher compared to traditional bulbs but for the rest of the bulb’s life, a traditional light bulb will cost you approximately 5 times more each month. So your electricity bill will end up higher. So it’s a pay more once vs pay more each month thing. You do the math.
  • The reason they won’t wreck havoc on your electricity bill is that they use less voltage.
  • Added bonus of low voltage: they can be used in outdoor locations in places that might be in a flood zone because they would meet the code requirements.

3. LEDs Last Longer And Are More Reliable

  • LEDs, unlike incandescent or CFLs, do not burn out completely. Instead they lose their glow slightly over time.
  • This longer life adds to the cost saving aspect of LEDs.
  • You will also be saved from the hassle of having to change a bulb that has suddenly blown out or fused. That can feel like it is straight out of a horror film.
  • Average lifespan of a LED bulb is 50,000 operating hours to 100,000 operating hours or more. That is 40 times longer than an incandescent bulb and 2-4 times more than fluorescent, metal halide and sodium vapor lights.
  • Even though when the LED bulb has only 30% of its glow left you are meant to change it, if it is in a place where you don’t have to do any detailed work or stay in for a long time you can easily continue to use it for longer.
  • LEDs are durable and reliable because they can work in colder temperatures and withstand more vibration and impact as compared to filament bulbs which have a glass around them. Perfect for outdoor use or to put in ceiling fan fixtures.
  • Because you don’t have to keep replacing these often there is a lower maintenance cost. For one, you won’t need to use up your labor or hire someone to fix an intricate appliance. For two, you won’t have to spend money on replacing entire parts.
  • There is no warm up (or down) period like in metal halide lamps. LEDs turn on and off instantly.
  • The best part is, frequently changing the settings or turning these lights on and off will not cause any degradation or damage to the device.

4. LEDs Are Much Smaller In Size

  • Depending on whether the devices are small or large power the size changes starting from less than a tenth of a single mm2 and going up to a mm2. This is incredibly small.
  • The small size of LEDs makes them significantly adaptable to a large number of lighting applications. They can be used in circuit board lighting, traffic signals, modern mood lighting, residential, and commercial property applications, and even major stadium lighting.
  • LEDs are solid state lights which means that the traditional glass bulb surrounding the light is entirely unnecessary as it doesn’t need to be filled with a specific gas.

5. High Brightness And Intensity

  • LEDs are measured in the unit lumen which means ‘light’. The higher the lumen the higher the brightness of the bulb. Because LED bulbs can release very bright beams, wattage is not a good measurement of brightness, especially considering that they are energy efficient.
  • An LED bulb will produce a lot more light than most other bulbs at the same amount of wattage. In other words it will use less power to be brighter.
  • Let’s look at figures. For a 40 Watt bulb an incandescent bulb produces 450 lumens, a CFL bulb produces 2,400 and a LED bulb produces 4000 lumens.
  • This is one of the reasons why LEDs lights are now used in stadiums. For lights needed during a sports match it is not enough that the light source be bright but also that it reaches the ground i.e it travels a longer distance without diffusing or scattering. With LEDs this becomes possible.
  • This explains why these are also used in traffic lights so that people can see the light color from afar and appropriately react. Did you know the color red is used for stop for the same reason? It can be detected better than other colors from afar.

6. You Can Mix LEDs To Make Different Colors

  • LEDs have a really high CRI rating. CRI stands for Color Rendering Index. It is a measurement of the ability of a light source to display the actual color of objects as compared to natural light. Higher CRI is considered better obviously.
  • The range of possible CRI values for LEDs is between 65 and 95.
  • Incandescent bulbs require gels or filters to create different colors and shades which can burn out or fade over time. On the other hand it is the diodes in LEDs that emit colored light which means it will stay the same shade the whole time it lasts.
  • RBG LEDs are ones that have red, blue, and green light producing diodes. Different brightness settings and combinations of these produce a large variety of other colors.
  • LEDs are used in bias lighting which are put up behind a TV so that your eyes don’t experience as much strain. With some of these bias lightings you can attach it to the TV screen so that they change colors with the screen content for maximum enhancement of the viewing experience.
  • You can set these up in your room as well and change the colors depending on your mood or occasion. You can also connect these lights to a sound system so that they switch with the music.

7. LEDs Are Dimmable

  • Unlike most other bulbs LEDs are very easily dimmable, using a specific remote or even just by connecting them to your phone.
  • LEDs can operate at pretty much any percentage of their rated power.
  • Metal halide bulbs get less efficient at lower power and most often they cannot be dimmed at all. But LEDs get more efficient the less power they are given.
  • It also increases the lifespan of the light itself.
  • There are two ways that LEDs can be dimmed: the pulse width modulation or analog dimming.
  • Pulse width modulation means that if you want the LED dimmed it will be off for longer in the pulse cycle. The reason why we don’t notice the LED flashing or pulsing is because it happens too fast for our eyes to pick up on it so we just see a steady beam of light. So if you want to dim the light by 50% the LED will be off for half of the cycle.
  • Analog dimming is simpler: it just reduces the amount of electric current being supplied to the LEDs which reduces the light intensity.

8. LED Bulbs Are Better For The Environment

  • As discussed above LED bulbs are energy efficient and long lasting which means that less electricity is wasted and less raw materials are used to keep up with the demand of rapidly changing bulbs.
  • Since LED bulbs offer better quality light fewer light bulbs in a general area are needed compared to traditional bulbs which again lowers energy consumption and carbon emissions.
  • LED bulbs also do not contain any toxic ingredients. They are better for us as well as for the environment. Fluorescent light strips in comparison contain mercury and other chemicals that eventually end up in landfills.
  • Long exposure to fluorescent lights may also cause headaches and eye discomfort in a lot of people which is not associated with cleaner LED lights.

9. Safer

  • For use in homes especially safety is very important especially if you have small children. LEDs produce very little forward heat but traditional bulbs get dangerously hot.
  • As discussed above LEDs use less power which means they can work just fine in low voltage systems which is just generally safer.
  • It is also better to use LEDs when lighting things such as equipment or machinery that needs to stay cool while working like high processing computers.
  • LEDs don’t emit any UV light which can cause a wide array of health issues like premature aging, and eye problems among various other issues.
  • LEDs are less of a fire and burn hazard. Even if you leave it on for long periods nothing should go wrong.

10. LEDs Have An Exciting Amount Of Design Flexibility

  • LEDs are much smaller and brighter which means they can be used in pretty much any application.
  • LEDs can be combined or used singularly. Combinations can include groups such as in stadium lights or in a string like in LED strip lights for decorating any room.
  • LEDs only emit light in 180 degrees instead of the 360 of traditional bulbs. This directional nature makes LEDs perfect for applications such as ask lighting and recessed downlights. Think of lighting the underside of your cabinets with these.
  • Because of this directional light, there is no waste of light which with other bulbs can get wasted or trapped within reflectors and diffusers. All the light produced is useful.

So ten pretty important reasons for why we should be switching to LEDs from traditional lighting. Whatever your motivation may be these are generally better in all the ways we can think of. So if you are looking to update your office lighting or decorate any part of your house or apartment LEDs are what you should be considering. There are many different varieties and compositions of LEDs available so we are sure you can find one that suits your needs perfectly.

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