The most important factors to consider for your next commercial LED purchase
You might think that lumens or even wattage are the leading factorsthat matters when choosing a LED light for your business, but that’s not the case.
Think back to the first time you were adulting and bought your first lightbulb. As you scanned the isle, you may have just looked for the lowest price, but if you were an educated buyer, naturally, your eyes searched for the highest wattage or lumens. The brighter, the better, right?
It turns out, neither are the most important factors for making a lighting purchase for full color LEDs, however. While lumens matter for some purchases, when it comes to full color RGB or RGBW LED lighting, the number of lumens a light produces is not the most important factor to consider.
But how do you know what factors to consider when choosing LED lighting? Let’s take a deeper look.
What are lumens and wattage anyway?
Lumens measure the amount of visible light from a bulb, and wattage measures the amount of energy consumed by said bulb–neither of which necessarily determines how bright or cost-effective the LED light actually is.
While lumens and wattage may have been useful for purchasing traditional bulbs in the past, LEDs have completely transformed the way we think about lighting. When shopping for LED lights, lumens and wattage won’t tell you much. Though lumens are a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted by a source, and that factor may matter to your purchase, they do not take into account the quality of the light or its ability to produce a specific color.
You don’t have to disregard lumens altogether for a bright white LED purchase; instead, look for luminaire efficacy (measured in lumens per watt) which will give you a more accurate understanding of how bright your LED light can be.
The case for color rendering index (CRI) and color temperature of LED lighting
In the world of full-color LED lighting, it is often more important to focus on the color rendering index (CRI) and the color temperature of the light.
CRI is a measure of a light’s ability to accurately reproduce the colors of objects in comparison to a natural light source. A higher CRI indicates better color rendering.
Color temperature, on the other hand, refers to the hue of the light and is measured in Kelvins (K). Lower color temperatures produce warmer, yellow tones, and higher color temperatures produce cooler, blue tones.
For full-color RGB or RGBW LED lighting solutions, both CRI and color temperature are important because they allow the user to fine-tune the appearance of the light to suit their specific needs. For example, a high CRI and warm color temperature might be preferred for a living room or bedroom, while a lower CRI and cooler color temperature might be more suitable for a kitchen or office.
Consider quality and appearance reign supreme over lumens and wattage for full-color LED buying decisions
If you’re still stuck on lumens, we get it. It takes time to learn new concepts, especially for something that has been conditioned for us over a lifetime.
Above all else, just remember this:
While lumens are an important factor to consider when choosing any lighting, they are not the only factor to consider when it comes to full-color RGB or RGBW LED lighting. The quality and appearance of the light are just as important and should be carefully considered when making a purchase. “Color rendering index” or “color temperature” may not exactly have the pizazz of the old school two-syllable words lumens and wattage, but your vocabulary – and customer experience – will thank you for including these new terms in your buying decision for new LED lights!