Some Advantages and Disadvantages of the LED lighting technology today

Some Advantages and Disadvantages of the LED lighting technology todayThe recent and continual developments of the LED lighting technology makes us not only be glad about its amazing properties but also wonder, what are the advantages and, if any, the disadvantages of the LED technology? CP Electronics put out a report recently outlining the main advantages and disadavantages of this revolutionary technology, and we are quoting some of their points below.

The Efficiency of the LED Lights

The efficiency of an LED light depends very much on the quality of the LED. The greater the efficiency, the less electricity is used for a given light output. It is possible to broadly compare the LED lights with other light sources. A more thorough look at the different light sources tells us that the most efficient one is the T5, then the CFL, and lastly the incandescent light bulbs.

The most efficient T5 fluorescent tubes are widely used in offices and high bay lighting – they are either the same or slightly more efficient than an equivalent LED light source. However, there are clear efficiency benefits of the LEDs over the incandescent and the compact fluorescent (CFL) light sources.

The Lifetime of the LEDs

Without a doubt the LEDs provide the best lifetime of all the common light sources, offering as much as 50,000 hours for a light bulb. This is clearly beneficial where the cost of replacing the fitting is prohibitive, like the street lighting, hazardous areas etc.

Please note that the rating on most LED lights means at the end of life, they will only be giving 70% of rated output. Furthermore, consider the control gear for the LED light bulbs – it is not much use to have control gear rated for fewer hours than the LEDs.

The LED Lights Controllability

Unlike the fluorescent lights, the LEDs start instantly at the rated brightness and can be dimmed using various techniques to give almost any level of brightness. This means that they are far easier to control than their equivalent fluorescent light source, although nowhere near as good as an incandescent light source.

A relevant feature is the use of “light bulb” replacement products. Normal incandescent light bulbs are dimmed using standard low cost triac dimmers. There are a few manufacturers of dimmable CFL replacement bulbs, but these do not work well. Some LED replacement bulbs on the market dim, some do not, and others claim to dim but do a very poor job.

The Cost of the LEDs

This is the biggest factor restricting the use of LEDs. Across the board, all the LED light sources cost more, from light bulb replacements right through to spotlights and standard office lights. Not only is the cost of the LED element more expensive but the luminaires or the bulbs they are fitted into are more expensive to design and make, because of the optical and heat characteristics of LEDs.

4 comments

  1. I disagree about LEDs. It’s still horses for courses and there are many applications where a good T5 will be very superior and where a PL-type 11 W CFL will be superior. LEDs only excel where very directional lighting is needed.

    For several years the colour rendering of many LEDs has been dire (CRI about 70-75). Many sold have actually been the wrong colour for indoor use i.e. a blue-ish light with CCT 6000 K. No-one one wants that in northern countries.

    Also the luminous efficacy is still being quoted for the start of their life not the end of their life. At the end of their life, the efficacy quoted should be almost 30% less. That turns a 70 lm/W LED product into a 50 lm/W product.

    T5 fluorescents’ quoted efficacy is achieved even when they have been in use for 15000 hours or so. Their rated life of 20000 h is almost as good as the 25 000 h of most LEDs on the market.

    LEDs are now improving and some really good ones are available but the crap that’s been sold hasn’t improved their image one bit.

    1. You’re right, we agree with you, there are so many things about the LED technology that needs to be improved. We are currently working on an article about some of the recent development of the LED technology, and how much they still need to go to catch up with the current fluorescent fittings or even incandescent lamps. Do subscribe to find out more!

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