There are some aspects of buying a light bulb that you have to know in order to make sure that you buy the right one. Then there are aspects of the bulb that might vary from one light bulb to another even if they look the same. It makes sense to put these into their own bucket as features.
Most people are used to only turning their light bulbs on and off, but some people enjoy being able take a bright room and tone it down to set the right mood and vice versa. The problem is that not all LED light bulbs are dimmable and even those that are dimmable don’t work with every dimmer. Realizing this, manufacturers provide a list of dimmers that they’ve tested to ensure compatibility. If you have older dimmers in your home or office, there’s a good chance you’ll have to try a few different brands of LEDs to find one that’s compatible with your dimmers if you aren’t looking to upgrade them. If you’ve heard of someone upgrading to LED and then hearing a humming sound, it’s due to the bulbs and dimmers not working well together. Since not everyone needs the ability to dim, you can save money by buying LED bulbs that don’t dim.
Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a scale from 0 to 100 that measures the ability of a light bulb to reproduce colors. Incandescent bulbs are rated at 100 and most LED bulbs are usually rated somewhere between 80 and 85. This means that if you were to swap an incandescent for an LED bulb the colors wouldn’t look as good, but the savings outweigh this trade off in most circumstances. Due to changes in regulations and customer preference some companies are bringing LED bulbs to the market where the CRI is higher than normal and may be 92 or even 95. These high CRI LEDs carry a premium and will continue to do so until demand increases around the world.
No one knows when a light bulb will stop working, but manufacturers do provide an estimate for how long it should work. For LED bulbs, that rating is decided based on how long it will take to stop producing 70% of its lumen output. Many LED bulbs are rated for 15,000 – 25,000 hours. Some bulbs on the market will last as long as 50,000 hours. These differences could account for years of use from an LED light bulb, so it’s good to know what this number is since a lower number of life hours could explain why one bulb is priced differently than another.
Regardless of the life hours of an LED bulb, there are time when it stops working prematurely. To give buyers a sense of security as they upgrade to LED, light bulb manufacturers provide warranties on their products that range anywhere from 2 to 10 years. Each manufacturer has a different criteria to request service when a bulb goes out, which ranges from filling out a form or calling a number or just walking into a store, but a warranty helps you feel good knowing you aren’t taking as much of a risk when buying an LED bulb as you might think.
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1) Bulb Shape