Buyers Guide To Energy Efficient Lightbulbs

Things To Remember When Buying Energy Efficient Lightbulbsgreen bulb

Over the last few years there has been a real shift in awareness and attitudes surrounding energy efficient lighting. LED lights currently spearhead the way, whether it’s a company building or a family home, LEDs are being applied all over with the promise of reducing energy consumption as well electricity bills.

With production costs stooping lower than ever before, the LED lightbulb market has hit a real commercial boom. More and more electrical stores, as well as general retailers are providing people with great alternatives to energy hungry fluorescent and halogen bulbs.

Energy efficient lightbulbs are a relatively new choice for consumers, so naturally there’s still a little uncertainty. Issues such as effectiveness and what models to buy are still being asked. So to answer some of these questions we’ve compiled a small breakdown on what you should always consider before buying LED lightbulbs.

The Fitting

It’s nothing to stress over because it’s easy to find out BUT it’s definitely something you need to know. It’s extremely important to know what lightbulb design your light fittings will home, if you don’t find out then you’ll be wasting not only your time but your money as well. The most common domestic bulb fittings are as follows:

You don’t need to understand what this mix of letters and numbers represent, you’ll simply need to note down what the fittings are before you start shopping for bulbs. You’ll need to make sure that the bulb will fit as well as being compatible with the correct voltage.

The Shape

bulb shapesNow you may want to buy a lightbulb with an attractive shape but narrowing down your light bulb shouldn’t be focused on aesthetics, instead it should be selected with light distribution in mind. The design of the bulb will determine what direction the light will travel in, so depending on your fixture, be it a table lamp or a pendant ceiling light, you need to work out how you’d like your light beams to travel. The most common domestic bulb shapes are as follows:

  • Arbitrary
  • Spot
  • Reflector
  • Candle
  • Stick
  • Spiral
  • Globe

For ceiling pendants selecting an ‘omnidirectional’ lightbulb such as arbitrary, stick or spiral design will probably be your best bet. Alternatively for something like a desk lamp you’ll need a candle shape bulb in order to deliver a wider berth.

If you are installing a spot into a recessed downlight you will require a reflector to distribute the appropriate light beam. Placing the wrong shaped bulb into a downlight can really disrupt the beam angle resulting in a poor distribution of light, potentially becoming the catalyst for annoying glare and under performance.


Wattage is no longer the determining factor to how bright your lightbulb will be. With LED lighting lumen brightness is the important figure to contemplate. So how many lumens do you need? Below is a table instructing the estimates:

brightness chart to use

The top of this chart shows the brightness of the bulb in lumens – the vital numbers you now need to look at. If you want to replace a 75w bulb but still receive the same amount of light then you’ll need to get at least 900 lumens to achieve a similar brightness. Understanding your lumens will mean that you’ll be acquiring the exact amount of brightness you need.

Warm Vs Cold

The beam colour is an important factor to how the room feels. Selecting the correct light beam colour can have a huge effect on the rooms atmosphere. Warm light and natural light are generally the two most common colour options. Warm white gives off a comforting yellow glow, similar to traditional incandescents and halogens, whereas natural white provides a more clinical and clean light.

Warm white light bulbs – Usually found within bedrooms, front rooms and hall ways. The best colour for a welcoming and homely setting.

Natural/Cool white light bulbs – Usually found within kitchens and bathrooms. A natural white bulb produces a clean and bright light for great visibility.

How to measure the colour temperature?

The temperature of light is measured with ‘kelvin’. A low kelvin score is usually warmer, with around 2000 – 3500 kelvins delivering a ‘warm white’ glow. A higher kelvin reading, from anywhere between 4000 – 6000 kelvins will produce a cooler colour.

kelvin scale colour tempIf you are yet to make the jump to LEDs, a great way of deciding which bulbs you’ll need is to trial just one individual bulb before you make a bulk buy. LEDs are expensive compared to their cheaper counterparts so making sure that the fitting, shape, lumens and kelvins are all sufficient is well advised before you make a big purchase.

A 10w LED for around £10 is a reasonable starter. Keeping your eyes out for special deals on LED bulbs can also save you a bit of bob. Just keep reminding yourself to check the fitting, shape, lumens and kelvins and you’ll be well on your way to greener and cheaper living!


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