Top LED bulbs
Author: Paul Marchant
Published: September 17, 2013
If you want light bulbs that will last for years of solid use without packing in, LED bulbs are what you need. They tend to cost a little more than the incandescent bulbs of old, but with much greater lifespan and increased efficiency, you'll save a significant chunk of change in the long run. However, there are hundreds of different LED bulbs out there, so which should you go for?
We're going to tell you a little about some of our most popular bulbs, to give you an idea of where to start in the world of LED light bulbs.
1. Standard LED bulbs
The easiest way to switch from standard incandescent bulbs is with a GLS bulb. This type uses the same kind of shape as the stereotypical light bulb. One of the most popular is the eminently affordable Philips CorePro LED GLS.
It comes in the equivalent of 32W, 48W and 60W power versions, while sucking just 6W, 9.5W or 10.5W of power. As a straight swap for old fashioned light bulbs, the Philips CorePro LED GLS is hard to beat.
Slightly pricier options do have benefits, though. The Philips is non-dimmable, and for a few pounds more the Megaman Dimmable 8W LED GLS packs this feature and a few more besides. Its lifespan is greater at around 25,000 hours and it's a particularly good-looking bulb.
Philips does offer some truly high-end bulbs too, though. The professional series Philips Dimmable MasterLED GLS offers dimming, fantastic lifespan and an attractive look to boot.
2. LED Candle Bulbs
A perhaps more elegant LED bulb type is the candle, which has an elongated design. Top of the popularity chart on our books is the 3.7W LED Candle Bulb. It costs less than £7, has a 30,000-hour lifespan, comes in dimmable and non-dimmable editions, and an array of fittings.
Again, there are a few downsides to going for one of the cheapest options, as good value as this hugely popular bulb is. It's not the best-looking candle bulb out there, and at 220 lumens, it's not the brightest either.
The GE 4.5W Dimmable LED Clear Candle Bulb is rated at the same 25W output as the 4W but adds dimming and ups the brightness output from 220 lumens to 250 lumens. It also comes in a clear and opal finish for a more striking or calmer effect.
If 25W just isn't enough, though, the Megaman 7W candle is the only way to go. It offers 40W light output, while consuming just 7W of power.
3. LED Golfballs
We also offer a Golf bulb equivalent to the budget candle bulb, and it too is an LED bargain. The 4W LED Golf Ball Bulb lasts for up to around 20,000 hours and provides the same 25W/250 lumens of light. Golf bulbs are perfect for smaller light fittings, with a compact golf ball-shaped enclosure. Like the budget candle bulb, though, this isn't the prettiest golf bulb on the block.
And just like the budget candle bulb, there are two higher-grade options. The GE 4.5W Dimmable LED Golf Ball Bulb ups both the power, to 250 Lumens, and the style, while the Megaman Golf Ball bulb brings 40W of power instead of 25W for far greater output.
Where the benefits of LED bulbs really come into their own is with spotlights, when traditional halogen equivalents are famed for dropping dead in real-world use – because often so many are required.
4. MR16 LED Bulbs
The two main types are the GU10 and MR16, both available as LED bulbs. The Philips 5.5W CorePro LED MR16 spotlight is one of the most affordable ways to convert a spotlight rig to LEDs. This hugely popular light uses a trio of LEDs to supply light equivalent to a 35W halogen.
The Philips CorePro is a huge hit, but spend a couple of pounds more and you'll get access to more features and more flexibility. Where the Philips is non-dimmable and only offers a single beam angle, of 36 degrees, the GE Lighting 7W MR16 is dimmable, offers three light throws. Plus it comes in a high-powered 50W edition as well as standard 35W.
If longevity is more important than power, though, you can't beat the Philips 7W Dimmable MasterLED MR16. It's rated for up to 40,000 hours of use, making it one of the longest-lasting lights on the market. It lasts for up to twice as long as the budget MR16.
5. LED GU10s
The other main type of LED spotlight is the GU10, the version of the MR16 light that doesn't need a separate transformer. The Philips 4W LED GU10 is our most popular basic model, and like its MR16 equivalent it outputs the equivalent of a 35W halogen, with a 36-degree throw. It's cheap too, but spend a little more and you can get much better stamina.
The Philips 4W LED GU10 is rated at 10,000 hours of use, where for a couple of pounds extra the 6W Dimmable LED GU10 will last for up to 30,000 hours. Philips also offers its own higher-end GU10 LED bulb. The Philips 4W Dimmable LED GU10 offers dimming, a choice of 25-degree or 40-degree throws and is rated for 25,000 hours. It's worth the extra cost over the budget GU10 if any of these mean much to you.
Need a few more options? Take a look at our full selection of LED Light Bulbs.
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