LED Home Lighting What Watt?

LED Home Lighting is confusing!


LED Home Lighting can be confusingHaving seen that LED home lighting can save you a lot of money, not to mention that the light bulb standards in USA are phasing out incandescents – and course you want to be green! – it’s time to go and buy some LED home lighting.


“But everything’s different, and the new information on the packaging seems to be designed especially to confuse us!”

I agree.

Here’s what you need to know.

It’s actually surprisingly simple, once you know.  You need to look at 4 things, and once you’ve done this exercise, you’ll know for the next time:

  • Colour
  • Wattage
  • Angle
  • Manufacturer

1.  Colour

This is really simple.

For LED home lighting, just choose “warm white”.

Not sure?  Check the packaging – you want Kelvin (K) of around 2500 – 3000.  (Higher K figures are ‘colder’ white light).

But most packaging will say “warm white”.

2.  Wattage

You could get finicky here (because it’s comparing-apples-with-oranges), but I like to use an easy rule-of-thumb.  In general, a 4W or 6W will be perfect LED home lighting.

You could also buy a higher-watt LED, (9W for instance), but you may find it just too bright for home use.  Remember, LED light is much more concentrated that the light from incandescent bulbs.

3.  Angle

As you know, LEDs are at their best as spotlights.  If you want a nice soft, diffused light, then shine them onto a wall or ceiling, so that the reflected light is softer.

A 30 degree angle is pretty tight – that would be good for a focussed small reading lamp, for example.

A 100 or greater degree angle will give you a wide wash of light.

A wider wash is less intense, and so you may feel that there is less light overall than from an incandescent which was there previously.

It really depends on what you like and want in your home.  Some people prefer wider angle LEDs, others prefer narrower.  There’s no right or wrong, it’s what you prefer that counts.

4.  Manufacturer

As with CFLs, there are different quality bulbs for LED home lighting.

Well-known brands such as Phillips, Osram and Edison are normally reliable.

You may see the name Cree on the packaging, this refers to the LED component manufacturer (NOT the light bulb maker).   Mostly this will be good but if it’s not a reputable light bulb brand, they may be doing things like using old Cree stock.

Ideally, LEDs should have both CE and RoHS certificates (quality standards).


LED stair lights I love how old and new meet in the photo above!

Bonus Tips

Tip:  When you buy, check that the store (online or physical) gives a guarantee.  Ideally, look for a 24+ month warranty – some places offer 5 days and you don’t always get to test them in that time.

Tip:  An LED should never get hot, nor should it hum.  If it does, return it right away.

Tip:  Don’t flaunt the actual LED bulbs – you want  to see the effect of the light, not the light itself.


As an overall rule of thumb, LEDs may initially appear to be less bright than incandescents, particularly if you’re replacing an old-style bulb with an LED.  Yet often, people find that although it seems less bright, they can in fact see or find things easier, because the light is ‘clearer’.


P.S.  KuleKat have a great site with loads of useful advice on LED home lighting – if you need more detail than I give here, visit their site.

P.P.S. KuleKat recommend that you always turn a light off at the switch before changing an LED bulb – I think there was some wry experience there!

Next:  Watch these cool videos for an example of LED


Other Lighting Articles – you might find these interesting

New Light Bulb Standards in the US

Light Bulbs Types

CFL Pros and Cons

LED lights at home and how best to use them

Bedroom Lighting Ideas

Bedroom Reading Lights

Harley LED Lights – Harley Davidson go Green (Video)

LED Kitchen Lights – Ideas

Example of LEDs (Video)

Photo Credits:  Man = microsoft / corbis.

Stairs = KuleKat