LED – lightbulbs of tomorrow

Don’t you hate it when you know technology is moving on, but hasn’t yet got to the point you’d like it to be? This post relates to some lights that I just bought for our kitchen. We currently have 8 50W halogen lights (GU10) in our kitchen, but within a couple of days 4 of them have blown! So, I was looking at just switching technology and going to LED ones which have a massively increased lifetime, lasting around 10 times longer, and an opportunity to save massive amounts of energy. You see, instead of using 50 watts of electricity, LED GU10s use between 1 to 5 watts.

The problem lies in light output. The most common LED GU10s around have around 2W power consumption, but only give off? the equivalent of a 15-20 W light bulb (depending on colour temperature). Higher wattage LEDs are starting to become available, an I even found a place that sells 5W LED lights (giving off the equivalent of a 50W light bulb). These however are based around a single high-power LED which has a lower lifetime expectancy that the LED cluster GU10s. They also cost around 3 times as much as other LEDs! I’m sure that prices will come down on these, but we’re not there yet.

One thing to keep in mind when buying LED GU10s is to make sure that you get the right type. One importact factor to consider is the colour temperature and beam angle. Beam angle can vary between 20degrees and 60 degrees. Narrow beams are perfect to highlight features. For example, if you were a real estate agent and had a shop showing, say, models of properties you were selling, narrow beam lighting could be used to focus on the models. This sort of light however wouldn’t work well in a kitchen for example, where you need wide angle lighting. There’s a good description (with pictures) here.

P.S. Yes, I did consider Energy Saving GU10s which use CFL technology,but they stick outquite a bit from the lamp fixture and look really ugly. They’re still a good option if you want something that lasts longer and saves power over normal halogen lighting.

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