Five things to consider before buying LED bulbs

Know what you’re getting into before investing in LED light bulbs

As your incandescents burn out, it’s a good time to consider switching to LUZLED bulbs.

LEDs have an impressive lifespan (20-something years!) and are very cost-effective.

Now’s the right time to switch to LEDs. These bulbs have made significant advances over the last few years, finally delivering the warm light incandescents have comforted us with for decades.

Because there are so many LED varieties, choosing an LED is entirely different from picking up an incandescent. Before you head to the store, find out what you need to know about choosing the right LED bulbs.

Lumens, not watts

Forget what you know about incandescents — your watts are no good here.

When shopping for bulbs, you’re probably accustomed to looking for watts, an indication of how bright the bulb will be. The brightness of LEDs, however, is determined a little differently.

Contrary to common belief, wattage isn’t an indication of brightness, but a measurement of how much energy the bulb draws. For incandescents, there is an accepted correlation between the watts drawn and the brightness, but for LEDs, watts aren’t a great predictor of how bright the bulb will be. (The point, after all, is that they draw less energy.)

For example, an LED bulb with comparable brightness to a 60W incandescent is only 8 to 12 watts.

But don’t bother doing the math — there isn’t a uniform way to covert incandescent watts to LED watts. Instead, a different form of measurement should be used: lumens.

The lumen (lm) is the real measurement of brightness provided by a light bulb, and is the number you should look for when shopping for LEDs. For reference, here’s a chart that shows the watt-lumen conversion for incandescents and LEDs.

As you can see in the chart above, an incandescent can draw up to five times as many watts for the same number of lumens. Get a sense of the brightness (in lumens) you need before heading to the store, and throw away your affinity for watts.

Choosing the right color LED

You can always count on incandescents providing a warm, yellowish hue. But LEDs come in a wide range of colors.