The internet is a very powerful thing, and can be the gateway to many brilliant online stores.

LED lights are very much a part of this, with many people buying them because of their reliability and energy efficiency.

These same qualities can’t be said of all online retailers though. So make sure you’re not wasting your time and money.

The Risks When You're Online

Given how popular online shopping has become, it’s only natural that everyone wants a piece of the market. This applies doubly so to a progressive market such as LED lighting.

This has led to a rise in the number of retailers online that aren’t up to scratch when it comes to delivering a quality service.

This can include exaggerated specifications on products. Although some customers come away satisfied, a small percentage still find themselves subject to substandard products and poor quality service.

Imagine if your bulb stops working and you don’t have anyone to contact about a refund or replacement – you wouldn’t be happy would you? This happens more commonly than you think!

Some of the other mishaps that occur frequently are undelivered items, unsatisfactory goods, delays and hassles, poor after sales service and misuse of personal details, including credit and debit card information.

Ultimately, these things can cause you to waste time and money, so you’re better off investing some time into making sure you’re shopping from a reputable retailer. We’re going to look at some of the things to look out for when buying different kinds of LEDs.

Rating Stars

Bulbs And Spotlights

These are most commonly used for domestic purposes. Given that they’ll be going into your home, you won’t want anything but the best.

Keep an eye out for the energy efficiency as this is one of the main appeals of LEDs – more specifically how many lumens you’re getting for the wattage compared to an equivalent incandescent.

Generally, LEDs use around 90% less energy than incandescent lights as they lose considerably less energy to heat wastage – just 10%. Your average halogen loses up to 80% of its energy to heat though, making them far less efficient.

This saves you a lot of money on your electricity bills. This is why special attention should be given to this particular spec – many unreliable retailers may exaggerate these claims, promising even greater savings.

Keep your eyes peeled for the range of colour temperatures available too. Many LED bulbs are available in warm white (3000K), cool white (6000K) and day light (4000K). Unreliable retailers may not be able to offer these kinds of options.

Our Dimmable 6W GU10 LED Bulb 27 SMD is a shining example of this. It uses just 6W, whereas a similar incandescent would use 60W to provide the same 450 lumens. It’s available in all 3 colour temperature options too, so you can be sure that this is a quality LED product.

Strip Lights

For really creative lighting, LED strip lights are a popular option. They are a bit pricier than other kinds of lights, so for this reason, you want to make sure you’re getting the absolute highest quality, as there are a lot of subpar offerings on the market.

The first thing you’ll want to be sure of is the quality of the adhesive on the rear of the tape. All our LED strip lights are equipped with commercial grade 3M adhesive. This ensures that your tape sticks down securely.

If you’re not sure about the quality of the backing, get in touch with the retailer and find out before making a decision.

Also key to recognising a good strip light is the beam angle. Given the open nature of the LEDs themselves, LED tape should always generally have a wide beam angle – typically at least 120o.

Anything less would suggest that the LEDs are of an inferior quality, as they are unable to distribute their light properly.

Our Single Colour 7.2W LED Strip Lights showcase these qualities really well. It comes with the aforementioned commercial grade 3M adhesive, and has a beam angle of 120o, so you know your light will be distributed well.

Commercial Lighting

Warehouse Lighted By Commercial Lights

When buying for offices or warehouses, there are some attributes you’ll want to pay particular attention to, in order to get the best end product for your money.

One of these is the lifespan of the light. Most LEDs typically last between 30,000 to 50,000 hours. This is because of the considerably lower levels of wear and tear on the bulb from the lower levels of heat we discussed earlier.

As a result, LEDs will last 2 times longer than fluorescent tubes, and up to 20 times longer than halogen lights, impacting your maintenance costs massively.

This gives you an indication on what is realistic to expect from the lifespan. Any claims that massively exaggerate this, or conversely give you a figure less than this should be disregarded as low quality.

The colour rendering index (CRI) is also a huge indication of quality – especially when it comes to panel or tube lights.

This tells you how close objects appear to their true colours under a given light. Ideally, you’ll want a CRI of at least 70. Incidentally, this is why many prefer LEDs to fluorescent lights, as fluorescents typically make objects appear dull and washed out.

Avoid buying LED panel lights and tube lights with CRIs of less than 70, as the quality of the light itself will be compromised.

Verifying the quality of an LED light is relatively easy if you know what you’re looking for. This ultimately helps you save time and money, and gives you the best end product too.