In some countries, there is some talk on banishing the classic (incandescant) lightbulb. I think this whole discussion is needless. The only reason why it exists, is that the fluorescent bulbs are often of mediocre quality, and certain people are here to enforce their bad tastes upon us “for a greater purpose”.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like trees and birds around my house, and I would be more than happy to install energy-efficient appliances in my home, even if they cost me slightly more. But especially if I’m paying more, I expect to get a certain level of quality.
Because of the inefficiency of incandescent bulbs, and the number of bulbs in my household, I decided to look around for energy efficient solutions. Particulary LED lighting caught my interest, because it is not only energy efficient, it’s also dimmable with normal (cheap) floor dimmers. They even stay cold enough so that children touching them do not burn their fingers.
I went online, and looked around for LED bulbs which would fit in a normal E14 (small) socket. It was a long and hard search, because information on LED lighting is sparse, as if manufacturers don’t want to sell them. I found this “Parlat” lamp at ledgloeilamp.nl which promised to be “Warm White”, with a color temperature of 3000 Kelvin. Some Googling learned that a 2 Watt LED lamp is considered to be roughly equal to 30 Watts of incandescent light.
The Test Results
In the picture on the right, you can see the result. The topmost bulb is a normal Phillips 25Watt “Warm White” lamp, which produces the expected “Incandescent” lighting. The wall behind is yellow by the way.
The bottom bulb is a 25Watt “Terracotta” lamp, also from Phillips. This is the warmest color you can buy, and it’s even slightly to yellow for my taste, but better than the normal white bulb.
The middle bulb is the Parlat “Warm White” 2Watt LED lamp. As you can see it is nowhere near “warm”. It produces an ugly green-blue-ish color which has a colder color temperature than the incandescent “Warm White”. The 2 Watts is not nearly enough to even maka the wall behind it light up in the photo. Because of the plastic LED housing in the bottom of the bulb, it is unable to produce an even light pattern, and results in ugly shades in my lamp cover.
Additional Field Work
Last weekend I got a tip from my dad, a local shop had some LED bulbs on display. To rule out the possibility of having bought a faulty lamp, I drove to the shop to take a look for myself. The result: I didn’t even buy a lamp, I snapped a picture with my iPhone instead. The dark banding is caused by interference between the camera and the light.
On the left are fluorescent bulbs, which look quite ok. On the right: LED lighting, again in the ugliest of all colors, even more blue than the one I ordered online. The lamps in the middle are also LED lights, but have more LED’s in them and produce more light, and are slightly less “blue/gray”.
How to Improve
I think the lighting industry needs someone with authority who can think, has authority, and some taste. LED lighting would be(come) a lot better if it did:
Laboritory employee, proudly showing LED lamp: “Look boss, we made this beautiful lamp. Here, let me turn it on for you”
Boss: “Ehm. right. What kind of color did you say this was?”
Employee, looks at the lamp and tries to lie at his boss the same way he is planning to lie to the customers: “Warm white ofcourse. We measured it at 3000K”.
Boss: “It’s not “Warm”, it’s not “White”, it’s not “3000K” and it’s not beautiful. Do you know what this is?”
Employee, feeling like he has been caught: “No, what boss?”
Boss: “The reason you are fired.”
I think LED lighting is the future, and I really hope that it becomes a lot better. But until then, you have been warned. Don’t buy LED (or any other) bulbs “unseen”. Don’t go by the temperature or “equivalent watts” crap. Use your eyes and your brain.
For now, I’m holding on to my beautiful incandescent lamps, and I will buy boatloads of them if the Dutch governement is stupid enough to think about banishing incandescent lamps without accurate, usable, affordable alternatives.