5 easy steps to choose the best LED Downlight
1. The temperature of the colour carried must be 2700k
When buying LED Downlights for your home, you want the same warm feeling and atmosphere you are used to getting halogen and incandescent lamps. The "hot white" sounds ideal – but it's just a description, and not very accurate. To get the effect you want it is much better to look for the actual color temperature, which is measured in Kelvin (K). To recreate the warmth of halogen and incandescent lamps you need a rating of 2700K.
Both lamps are described here as "warm white": the image on the left is 2700K and the right is 3000k.
2. Choose a LED with a 95+ cri
Color Rendering Index (CRI) The CRI informs you about the "quality" of the light you are receiving. It is a measure of how well the light source will reproduce the true range of balanced colors of the objects it illuminates.
So if you have a beautiful brown leather chair or shiny cushions and want your best look, you need a high CRI score.
Traditional halogens and incandescent lamps have a CRI score of 99 out of 100, which means we are all accustomed to exceptional light quality.
Most LED downlights have a color rendering index score of 80. That's fine for many home uses, but if you don't want a 20% drop in light quality when you switch to LED, you need lamps with a CRI of at least 95.
In these images, the high-light CRI highlights the vibrant colors on the child's play mat and the floor. Both look so good under the CRI 99 incandescent lamp (left) and the 97 CRI of our 11w LED bulb (right). But the CRI 80 light makes everything look boring and flat.
Don't make up your life
See the color difference in the two images below. The image on the right looks more vibrant and bright, it is particularly obvious on the brown leather chair, the red shot and the wooden floor. The High CRI Lighting in the image on the right is taking the true colors out of the items, while the low CRI LEDs are making everything more dull and sterile in the left image.
As shocking as the use of images like these is, the effects of CRI are much more visual and obvious in person.
3. Get a lifetime guarantee on the entire bulb carried
When it comes to indicating the lifespan of a lamp, LED companies often allow optimism to get the best of them. A good quality LED chip can last up to 50,000 hours, but the LED focus you buy will last only while its other components – which essentially means the power supply. Most power supplies have a lifespan of 10,000 – 20,000 hours. At Well-Lit, we have tested a lot of LED products. We have not yet found an LED projector that is built to last 50,000 hours. What we do find are stains with components that are simply incompatible with the claimed service life. Tip: make sure the warranty you get is for the entire LED lamp and not the LED chip alone. This avoids problems if the lamps fail, but the LED will continue to work, as it usually is.
4. Choose a Downlight Led with great heat dissipation
Without effective heat dissipation to protect critical components, high temperatures will have a severe effect on performance and reliability. Designing and building an effective heat dissipation system requires specialized skills and high-quality materials. Cutting corners in this area is a safe way to produce cheaper LEDs, but at the cost of long-term reliability. As we will see shortly, the capacitors within the power supply may be particularly susceptible. But for now let's find out what good and poor heat dissipation you see in practice.
The first image shows an LED dot that is widely available in the UK. The red color indicates the hottest areas. The heat dissipation system is practically non-existent, and the heat generated is retained in the worst possible place – in the LED area just below the lens assembly. After a few hours of use, the heat will begin to compromise the longevity of the chip. The chances of this LED projector reaching its estimated life are remote.
5. Choose a Downlight Led with a high-quality power supply
Many new converts to LED lighting are disappointed to find their lamps fail completely within a year or two of the purchase. When we have these lamps in the workbench, we find that the cause is usually the capacitors of the power supply – not the LED itself. These capacitors have a maximum temperature rating from anywhere from 80 degrees C to 130 degrees C. The higher the rating, the higher the cost to the manufacturer – you can probably guess the rest. Continuous operation at maximum temperature will reduce product life. Trading above the maximum ratings is even worse. Here you can see a wide range of power supplies that we have recently taken out of LED lamps for general sale in the UK. A good, rest a mixture of low cost, poor quality components and even some potential fire hazards.
Making your choice
Of course, some of these five differences are easier to check