How to choose the right light – Three ways to compare.
Lights are simply an essential part of a home for some but for others, they may be considered a piece of art and can really add atmosphere or design to a room.
Regardless of your emotional attachment and level of love for lights, we’re all likely to need to purchase a new light or two at some point in our lifetime.
So how do you work out what the difference is when they all look the same but there is a significant price difference from one to the next?
There is more to choosing a light than the wattage so here are our top three key things you need to know to not only compare lights, but choose the right light for you.
1. Lumen’s – What are they?
We’ll start with the most important and most overlooked specification first – Lumen’s (lm). Lumen’s refers to how much light output you actually see. Put simply, the greater the lumen rating, the brighter the light.
To give you some perspective, one lumen is considered equal to the light of a candle from one foot away. For example, the quality LED down-lights Bluegum most commonly recommends and supplies, provide 700+ lumen’s per down-light. The lumen’s can vary depending on the temperature of light chosen, but we’ll talk about that later.
So please don’t be fooled by a cheap fitting – places like Bunnings may have cheap down-lights for as little at $16, however they usually have a lumen rating of less than 100 which is very low light and certainly not worth the installation cost giving a very poor result.
If you don’t have a particular design or style in mind, such as down-lights or security lights, it’s most likely that your electrician can supply a better quality and at a cheaper price than anything you can buy. So why not consult them first? Keep in mind that design and style specific lights such as pendants, are a personal choice and something you will need to select to suite your own personal style and home.
There is no magic number to lumens, it really depends on your home and your specific lighting needs. These include: room size and shape, height of ceilings, colour scheme, type of lamps or light fittings and tasks to be preformed in particular areas. For example, your kitchen usually requires more light than the TV room. The beam angle will also need to be considered in order to choose the right light for your particular space, however we’re just sticking to the basics here. Your electrician can advise you on the right lumens for your needs but if you are selecting them yourself, they are usually represented by “lm” on the box.
It’s important to note you can not assume that the brighter the light, the more energy it will use or that the more energy, the brighter the light. This is simply not the case – you need to consider both the energy (watts) and light output (lumen’s).
2. Watts – What are they?
Watt is a unit of power, corresponding to the rate of energy consumption in an electric circuit. It is measured using the volts and amps of a particular light fitting. The main thing you need to know is that the more watts, the more ‘power’ a light will use and hence the more it will cost you to run. It’s as simple as that! Just note that with the great technology available today, watts are not an indication of anything other than power use.
3. Colour Temperature – What is this?
Colour temperature is expressed in Kelvin (K) as a scale. This tells us about the colour of the light being produced by a particular fitting or globe. There are two key light colours you need to be familiar with in order to choose a new light – warm white & daylight.
Warm white is typically what old halogens produced. It’s a warmer colour and used in living areas and residential applications. More than 95% of domestic lighting is warm white. This is usually represented by 2700K – 3000K.
Daylight is more of a white light and is more common in a commercial setting such as retail shops and office spaces rather than around the home. However, it is suitable for use in work areas in the home such as the office, bathroom or garage. There is no right answer, just your personal preference.
Our Bluegum technicians carry a LED down-light display board, so they can show you the difference of light colours and the finished look to help your decide the right colour for your space.
So next time you’re out light shopping don’t just think watts, remember to also look at the lumens and the Kelvin!
Author: Chantel Gilbert
Chantel brings her professional qualifications, entrepreneurial edge and passion for customer service together in her role as General Manger of Bluegum Electrical Solutions. She is challenging the stereotypes in the tradie industry and surprising their customers with quality and kindness.
Along the way, Chantel has bagged multiple Excellence in Customer Service Awards on behalf of Bluegum and is the proud recipient of the 2016 Young Business Person of the Year.
Whether she is on the netball court, at the gym or out bushwalking, Chantel is always thinking about the next innovative step for Bluegum and how they can continue to raise the bar and exceed their customers expectations.