How to Select LED Light Bulbs for the Home

Collection of LED Lights

Replacing household bulbs with LEDs is becoming a viable option for people as LED prices continue to drop. The more difficult decision is how to pick suitable replacements. Ideally, after you replace your current bulb with an LED bulb, you won’t be able to see any difference in the quality of illumination.

To get this result, the first rule is don’t think “watts”. Think “lumens”. Look on the packaging of your last purchase of 60W or 100W standard bulbs. You should see “Lumens” or “Light Output” listed with a number like 850 or 1600. This is the number to compare to the “Lumens” for an LED bulb.

LED Light Bulb

Check out all of Topbulb’s energy efficient LED replacement bulbs.

Most reputable manufacturers use a standardized label called Lighting Facts that clearly calls out the lumens (see a sample label). Select LEDs with lumens within a 5% difference of your existing bulb.

Next, make sure you choose an LED bulb in a “color temperature” close to 2700K (also on the Lighting Facts label). Most people like a warm appearing light in their table/floor lamps, downlights and other general lighting applications.

However, if you are replacing a PAR halogen type flood or spot with an LED, the closest color temperature is 3000K. Above 3000K you will be getting more blue color in your bulb that you may find undesirable (example, many LED outdoor landscape lights that have an icy blue appearance).

LED bulbs come in dimmable versions, but you will pay more and you will need to read the fine print on which model dimmers will work.

Finally, look for at least a 3-year warranty. Some brand name companies offer 5-year.

Our best advice: for each type of bulb in your home, buy only a single replacement LED, install it and make sure you are happy with the appearance and functionality before you replace other similar bulbs.

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Dave Burtner

Dave has been active in the lighting industry since 1994. Formerly a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and certified by the National Council On Qualifications for Lighting Professionals, Dave now writes blog posts, lighting tips and provides lighting product assistance for the Topbulb website.