How to interpret LED lamp data

LED lamps are now rapidly replacing conventional incandescent lamps and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in domestic and commercial lighting. Understanding the data that is presented with respect to lamp performance and operating life is the key to making informed product choices.

Jeanine Chrobak-Kando, Business Development Manager for LED lighting at Verbatim considers how to interprete LED lamp data

Data on LED lamps is to be found on their packaging, or in data sheets.  Some of the information is based on verifiable facts but some marketing claims may not be based on sound engineering principles. A number of major global brands are now competing for a share of the general LED lighting market. Prices are falling as the technology matures, manufacturing process become more refined and the economics of high volume manufacturing and supply chain management come into play.  For a given product, prices from these reputable suppliers will be found to be within a range of perhaps ±20%.  Products from lesser-known brands, or even those of unbranded LED lamps, may at first appear to be significantly lower.  However, to be able to sell at these lower prices, compromises will have been made in the quality of materials and components employed - it is unlikely that significant cost advantages in manufacturing can be realized.  The quality of components in the electronic circuits inside LED lamps are critical in determining product life, so you can expect early failures in cheap lamps and a poor return on capital outlay.  The reputation of the whole LED lamp industry is dependent upon consumers understanding this argument.

A typical lamp specification will include its power rating, the equivalent incandescent lamp rating, the power savings available with respect to incandescent equivalents, the LED lamp’s operating voltage and frequency, the light colour emitted, its colour rendering index (CRI), luminous flux, operating life time and fitting type. The data should also indicate whether the lamp is dimmable and, in the case of directional lamps, the luminous intensity and beam angle may also be quoted.

Classic A E27 10W warm white

Product Features
  • LED retrofit bulb as replacement for 40W standard incandescent lamps
  • dimmable
  • energy savings up to 75%
Wattage 10W
Voltage 220-240V
Operating Frequency 50-60Hz
Light Color Warm white - 3000K
CRI >80
Luminous Flux 480lm
Luminous Efficiency 48
Lifetime 35,000 hrs = 16 years**at 6 hours per day

Figure 1: A typical data table for an LED lamp


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