LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are very small, energy efficient lighting modules. They are often seen on LED strips for architectural installations, built directly into lighting fixtures, or used inside LED bulbs. For our nostalgic style LED light bulbs, multiple LEDs are configured to mimic the filaments of an incandescent bulb. Since LEDs require a consistent DC power level, a small circuit is usually contained in the base of the bulb that converts Alternating Current (AC) to Direct Current (DC) and precisely regulates this current. DC is a very low voltage hence far more energy efficient!
Is there a difference between an LED fixture and a fixture that uses LED bulbs?
An LED fixture comes with an LED light source already built into the fixture. They are usually designed to provide a specific color and brightness and do not have typical bulbs that can be replaced, whereas fixtures that use LED bulbs are often compatible with incandescent bulbs too. Our fixtures are traditionally wired luminaires, which allow you to pick and change the bulbs based on your desired color and brightness. We retail and recommend LED bulbs for our fixtures for their energy efficiency and unique look! You can view our bulb options here.
How bright are LED bulbs?
Contrary to common belief, wattage is not necessarily an indicator of brightness but a measure of how much energy a bulb uses. LED bulbs use significantly lower wattage than their incandescent counterparts, but can produce similar amounts of light. For example, an LED bulb with comparable brightness to a 60W incandescent bulb may only consume 4-8 watts. When considering brightness, it’s time to forget watts and focus on lumens, the universal unit of measure for radiant brightness which was not largely used on packaging until LEDs came around. This chart will help you find the LED bulb similar to the incandescent brightness that you’re used to:
What color are LED bulbs?
Light color, also known as color temperature, is measured in Kelvins (K). The lower the number, the warmer the light, and the higher the number, the cooler the light. LED bulbs are available in a range of colors, the most common ones available are Warm White (2700-3000K), Bright White (3000-4500K), and Daylight (5000K+). The most popular color, and the ones that we retail, are Warm White which is also the closest to a typical incandescent bulb, between 2700-3500K.
Can LED bulbs use a dimmer?
Traditional incandescent dimmer switches or "Leading Edge Dimmers," work through restricting the flow of electricity and oftentimes require a higher minimum voltage load to function. This works for dimming the simple circuits of incandescent bulbs, but is at odds with most LED bulbs since the dimmer interferes with the precise regulation of current needed to power LEDs. The use of these dimmers with LED bulbs can result in flickering, buzzing, or even ghosting (where the bulb doesn't shut completely off).
The best option for LEDs is an Electronic Low Voltage (ELV) Dimmer, sometimes referred to as a "Trailing Edge Dimmer." ELV dimmers work with a low minimum voltage load which creates a smooth dimming control experience for both incandescent and LED bulbs, retaining the full color and glow of the LED bulbs, and running cooler which prevents thermal shock and increases the longevity of your bulbs.
All the bulbs we retail are dimmable, but watch out for non-dimmable LEDs. The circuitry in the base of some LED bulbs are not compatible with dimmers. Check that bulb packaging indicates that the bulb you are purchasing is dimmable.
Which dimmer should I use?
We and our clients have found the Lutron Diva DVELV-300P to be the best fit for the bulbs we retail. You can visit Lutron's dimmers and switches here. Though there are many compatible ELV dimmers on the marketplace today and most LED bulb manufacturers will have a list of tested and compatible dimmers available.