Buying LED Light Bulbs (When You’re Used To Incandescent)

LED Light BulbsThere’s nothing quite like the glow of an incandescent light bulb. It’s warm. It’s flattering. It’s familiar.

When you buy an incandescent light bulb, you know what to look for. You know how bright the light will be by looking at its wattage. You know what shape and size to get. You know any incandescent light will work with your dimmer switch.

Incandescent lights are easy. But if you’re still using them in every light socket, things are about to get real. As part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), incandescent light bulbs are slowly being taken off the market. In an effort to conserve energy, consumers are encouraged to use more efficient, longer-lasting light bulbs like CFLs and LEDs.

Long story short: You might have to give up your beloved incandescent lights.

While this change might seem daunting at first, can be a great opportunity to save money on energy bills and light bulb replacements.

But what about that incandescent glow? Or those familiar features? Are they gone forever?

Thankfully, no. After years of research and testing, manufacturers have finally found a way to make LED light bulbs that mimic incandescent light bulbs to near perfection. If you’re looking to replace your filament light bulb with an LED, here’s what you need to look for:

1. For that warm, inviting glow, you need an LED with a warm color temperature. An incandescent’s color temperature is normally around 2,800 degrees K. 

2. To make sure your LED doesn’t distort any colors in your space, make sure it has a good CRI (over 85 if possible). Usually LEDs have more trouble rendering reds, but incandescent lights struggle to render blues, so if you find a high quality light the trade off will be marginal.

3. If you always look to your light’s wattage to estimate how bright it will be, you need a new system! LEDs use much less energy to generate the same amount of light, so you can tell how bright they will be by looking at their lumen output. A 60W incandescent emits about 615 lumens of light.

4. Incandescent lights are exceptional at dimming. An LED, on the other hand, will probably malfunction if you use it with an incandescent dimmer. If you want to be able to adjust the light level of your LED, make sure that it’s created with the ability to dim, and that you’re using it with the proper dimmer switch.

5. When you hold an LED light bulb next to an incandescent, they look nothing alike. Incandescent light bulbs are simple. They use simple tungsten filaments, and when they glow, their light goes out in all directions. LEDs have more variables. Some look like computers, some are unexpected colors, and some only emit light in one direction. If you’re planning to use your LED in an exposed place, make sure it’s omni-directional and looks simple enough that it won’t scare the children.

Annie Josey

Annie was the E-Commerce Marketing Specialist at Pegasus Lighting from June 2012 to October 2013. She has a background in English literature, and loves using language to help illuminate the world. So covering lighting news and tips naturally fit her interests. In her personal time she enjoys painting, biking, and reading.