#BuyingGuide 10 Buying Tips For LED Lights (Beyond Bulbs)

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LED lights come in all shapes and sizes, not just bulbs. Ceiling LED lights, down-lighters, up-lighters, wall lights and many more can help you create beautiful lighting effects for your home or office. Before you consider buying an LED light, here are a few things to consider:

1. Look For Lumens Per Watt – Lumens is the amount of light produced by the bulb, so higher lumens means brighter. Lumens per watt is used to denote the efficiency. While buying, look for a higher number, such as 90 to 110 lumens per watt. Also, avoid lights that produce less than 70 lumens per watt as these will cost you more in energy bills.

2. LEDs Produce Focused Light –  LEDs are unidirectional in nature, which means they tend to produce a more focused light. LED bulbs come fitted with good diffusers that makes the light spread around. If you want a focused light on a painting or photo frame, LEDs with simple lens are perfect. Buy LED frame lights of ultra low wattage (0.5 – 1 watts).

3. Fix Them To Avoid Direct Glare – The unidirectional nature of LEDs produces a glare if you look at them directly, so fix them away from direct gaze. For subtle effects, you can use concealed indirect LEDs that are hidden behind the false ceiling and light up the ceiling or the wall. Ceiling down lights are not a good idea for bedrooms where you have to face them lying down.

4. Concealing More Will Reduce Light – The more you conceal the LEDs the lesser light you will get, so choose your colours with care. Bright lights are good for work spaces, whereas warmer hues are more soothing for home interiors. Also, LEDs are great in reproducing colours and some can even change colour. These are great mood enhancers, as you can set it at a bright white light while working and reduce it to subtle while relaxing. Various enhancers come as colours noted by the colour temperature denoted by Kelvin (K). 6500K is bright white. 4000K is daylight and 2700K is warm white.

5. Lights On The Sides – As LEDs are unidirectional, they often produce light in a straight line. If you need lights on the sides, get an LED bulb that faces the sides, so that it doesn’t throw out light that is dim on the sides and bright at the bottom.

6. LED Tubelights – These are a direct replacement for fluorescent tubes and are slightly more expensive than LED bulbs, but provide a good light spread.

7. Demo And Warranty – Always ask for a demo before you buy an LED light or fixture to check the lighting effect. Check that the warranty is at least for 1 to 2 years. Most fancy LED lights are unbranded, so make sure you check the warranty of the light and the drivers attached. If possible, stick to reputed brands such as Philips, Syska, Havells, HPL, Bajaj, Osram, GE, etc.

8. Metal Heat Sink – LEDs are sensitive to heat so make sure it has a good metal heat sink and is well vented.

9. Replacement Options – Check whether the LED light in a fixture can be replaced or not. Some may be directly soldered, such as in certain chandeliers. Replacing the whole set can be expensive and would generate unnecessary waste. Prefer metal bodied fixtures over plastic ones. Metal is easy to recycle while plastic is not.

10. Solar LEDs – As LEDs are low on power they are also available as solar lights which you can use outdoors without any wiring connection. They charge themselves in sunlight, turn on automatically from the battery when the ambient light reduces and are virtually maintenance free. These are great as garden or path lights.

LED fixtures tend to be expensive. If you are on a budget, buy LED bulbs for INR 85 (UJALA scheme of the government) and use scrap items to create DIY lighting fixtures.

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