Tag Archives: Lighting

LED Bulbs – Yes, there is a difference in quality

I went to a great seminar about LED lighting and learned some very interesting things about LED bulbs: that is, why cheap ones are cheap and expensive ones…. well you get the point. It’s all about the color of the light.

Without launching into a bunch of technobabble let’s just say the lighting color standards for LED lights are a little loose. For example, let’s say you want to buy a bulb that has a 3000K color temperature. Bulb A is $19.95 and Bulb B is $49.95 and they are both 3000K, so save the money and go with the cheaper bulb, right? Not necessarily. The standards for what constitute a 3000K bulb allow bulbs that vary in color from each other in a visible way to be all called 3000K. Guess which ones are more precisely near the standard? The more expensive bulbs are usually closest to the listed standard.

How does this happen? When LED chips are manufactured each one is tested. Based on the results of the test they are sent to one of about ten different bins based on how close to the color standard they are designed for that they come. The closest to the color standard command a higher price and go to high end lighting suppliers. The ones farthest away end up in your uncle Bob’s baseball cap with led lights built into the brim.

Why should you care? Let’s say you have a ceiling full of LED lights. If you want the color to be consistent between each bulb then you want to buy the best bulbs so that the color matches. If these bulbs are going to light your garage then you may not be so picky about the quality. I have less expensive LED bulbs in my outdoor lights and they look fine.

Ultimately, I think technology will resolve this issue. But for now, be warned. These bulbs last a long time, and you don’t want to live with a mistake for years!