The 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.