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

18 comments… add one

Your thoughts and opinions are important to me! Do tell me in the comments below!

  • Michael D Walker 11th May 2012, 9:47 AM

    Thanks for the useful LED Home Lighting tips! You’ve really helped get me up to speed on this.


  • The 7 Steps To Amazing Health 11th May 2012, 7:01 AM

    Thank you for this post. It helped me greatly. Since these are new to me I didn’t want to go to the store without more information.

    Yours In Health!

  • Bryan 11th May 2012, 6:22 AM

    Great points about being green and saving money.

  • Dan 10th May 2012, 9:07 PM

    good to see someone spell colour like a Canadian! 😉

  • ShaneAric 10th May 2012, 8:31 PM

    LED is the Best kind of fashlight too!
    Great tips it can ve confusing. Amazing about the wattage needed is so LOW!

  • Annie @ Care for the Caregiver 10th May 2012, 12:57 PM

    Where is the best place to source LED lighting?
    Looking forward to tomorrow!

  • Will 10th May 2012, 8:47 AM

    Lots of good tips and especially the 4 rules for purchasing. I definitely agree that buying from a good manufacturer (even if slightly more expensive) is the way to go.

  • Lyle R. Johnson: The Sales Wizard & Mentor 10th May 2012, 4:17 AM

    Thanks for the 4 characteristics; very helpful for LED buying.

    Lyle R. Johnson

  • Body Language: 9 Tips To Successful Job Interview 9th May 2012, 10:42 PM

    I like to use the LED lights as spotlights on the side of stairs. This picture brings a great idea.


  • Suzanne Laramore 9th May 2012, 7:34 PM

    My only concern about phasing out the incandescent bulbs is that I use them to keep my pump from freezing in the winter. (Yeah, it gets cold enought to freeze pipes in the northern part of Florida.) LED’s do not put out much heat. Guess I better either stock up or come up with an alternative.

    • Clare Delaney 9th May 2012, 8:35 PM

      Hi Suzanne, I don’t have a lot of problem with freezing pumps where I live right now, but perhaps I could suggest using thermal mass instead of electrical light for heat (or, lack of freezing). If you surround your pump by concrete or earth, it will absorb heat during the day and release it slowly at night. High thermal mass items are stone, concrete, earthen floors, and big jugs or barrels of water, any of these should work well. And then once they’re in place, there are no running costs!