The Quality of LED Lights: What You Need to Know


There is a huge amount of LED lights available on the market today. They are made by a number of companies, have different characteristics and quality. Although LED lights are generally better than incandescent or fluorescent alternatives, knowing the distinction between different LEDs will help you choose really high-quality products and forget about replacing them for years. In this article we'll take a closer look at the various factors to consider before buying LED lights for your house.

the packaging of high quality led lights
the packaging of high quality LED bulb by Cree

Look at the product packaging and labels

The packaging of high-quality lights made by well-established brands will be flawless, with perfect printing and good materials. The labels contain all the necessary information like rated voltage, wattage, color temperature, brightness in lumens, and even years of warranty. On the other hand, makers of the low-quality bulbs rarely invest in packaging, so the materials will be cheap, the printings may not be clear, labels may not include all the needed info, and the packaging in whole will be poor.

the high quality LED tape
the high quality LED tape

Check the working temperature

Before buying LED Strip Lighting check its temperature at work. The temperature of high-quality LED tape doesn't noticeably change during the work process, the heating is even throughout the length of a strip. If these conditions are not met, the light won't last long.

LED strip lights
LED strip lights

Know the brightness of LED lights

Traditionally we estimate the brightness of a light bulb depending on its wattage. Well, it doesn't work with LED lights. Look for the brightness value (specified in lumens) usually marked on the packaging. If there's no brightness value on the packaging, ask salesman about it. For example, 800 lumens LED light equals 60W incandescent bulb.

high-quality LED chips nichia
high-quality LED chips by Nichia

The LED chip manufacturer

The quality of LED light depends on a LED chip. The best chips are made by the USA and Japan based manufacturers (such as Cree, Nichia, Toyota Gosei), yet in these latter days some of the largest Chinese and Korean companies (Epistar, San'an Opto, Seoul Viosys, ETi, TongFang) also produce good-quality LEDs. The material of the chip as well as its size makes the main difference. Larger chips are brighter and more stable, they live longer, but obviously are more expensive.

the color temperature of LED lighting
the color temperature of LED lighting

Check for the color temperature of LED lights

The color temperature is specified in units of Kelvin (K). Opt for the lights with higher color temperature (over 5000K) if you need the cool bluish white light, and if you prefer warm yellowish illumination - choose low color temperatures (2700-3000K). To determine the quality of LED lights, switch on several bulbs with the same color temperature at the same time. Good-quality bulbs will emit the light of the same color, while low-quality products will give the light that can slightly differ in color.

high CRI realistic LED lights
high CRI realistic LED lights

Color accuracy of the LED lights

Color accuracy, or color rendering index, is also one of the factors to consider when shopping for quality LED lighting. The bulb with higher CRI reveals colors more realistically. The best CRI of 100 have incandescent bulbs, while LEDs have CRI just about 80 (some best models have 90). This factor will improve with time as technology is advancing each year, but now try to look for LEDs with the highest CRI available. This characteristic is rarely specified on the packaging, so you'll have to ask salesman or search online for it.