Last week there was a post on another blog I read that touched on the light value of LED bulbs. I commented there, but thought I’d expand my comments and add pictures here.
First, let me say that I am so glad that fluorescent (of all sorts) are basically out of our lives. We wrote that into the contract for the new house as I don’t want to be dealing with the mercury and other chemicals those entail.
We’ve had many LED bulbs. These days one can use them for any sort of lighting fixture, but you do have to choose more carefully that I feel like one had to with incandescent bulbs. Today one can buy many fixtures with integrated LEDs. We have a bunch in this house so hopefully they’ll last a long time as I’m not entirely sure if one replaces the entire fixture or just the bulb when they do finally fail.
Regardless of location/type, the Kelvins are critical. For us, 4000 K is too sterile; we like 2700 K or thereabouts. I also feel like many of them are just ugly – whether its the cooling base or the shape of the LED itself. In the picture below, I put a typical incandescent bulb, my favorite LED bulb (though they’re out of business now since they had leaking problems with other models), and a more readily available LED bulb. The Duracell is on the cool end of the spectrum and has too industrial looking a base for me – though I’ve seen worse. But, it will be fine when we need to replace the bulbs in the garage and I only have a few. The Switch bulb is the level we prefer, we have lots of them, and have had no issue with ours leaking. We also only have a handful of free standing lights that don’t have integrated LEDs so I expect our Switch supply to last a long time.
We use Edison bulbs in all the fixtures that don’t have integrated LEDs. By some trial and error I discovered that it is a bit challenging to find a dimmable, LED Edison light bulb. Adding to this problem, antique-styled bulbs come in many shapes and filament patterns. We preferred Edison squirrels nest. On the left I what I bought first. It was accidentally not LED, and its not dimmable. But, we’ll use it in a few locations until the bulbs give out. The center is the dimmable LED I found, which we’re very happy with, and its box. On the right is a chandelier bulb, which we tried and found weird in our chandelier because of the short cylinder shape the light emanates from. We don’t have another chandelier so I’m not sure if/where we’ll reuse these.
I tried to take a few pictures of the bulbs in their fixtures, both on and off so you can see the differences. As you can imagine it is challenging to take a picture of an on light bulb, but here they are.
The kitchen light fixtures have the incandescent Edison. When on, its just a ball of light.
We put the LED Edison’s in the dining room after discovering the incandescent bulbs didn’t support the dimmers. As an aside, it turns out non-dimmable bulbs can overhead the dimmer even if they’re fully on. As you can see, with the LED bulbs, the “filaments” are more distinct when on and more visible when off.
A couple of other miscellaneous notes. I’m not sure they make sense economically for three way bulbs as 3-way LEDs are very expensive. It is possible they’ve dropped in price since I looked a few years back, but they were way up there at the time. I don’t have any three way lights anymore so this is now a non-issue for us.
Some people do notice a flicker with LED bulbs. I don’t, but I have been told it is the case. I don’t think its enough to cause problems, but it can be an annoying revelation.