Last updated: August 5, 2021

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The LED bulb is the type of bulb manufactured with the most advanced technology currently available on the market. As a result, it does not contain any substances that are harmful to health, consumes significantly less electricity and has a much longer lifespan than bulbs made with other technologies.

With our LED bulb test 2021, we want to help you find the LED bulb that meets your requirements as well as possible. We have compiled the most important facts and information for you, so that the purchase decision should not cause any problems.

Summary

  • In contrast to conventional light bulbs, an LED light bulb consumes considerably less electricity, which can significantly reduce household electricity costs in the long run.
  • The service life of an LED bulb can be almost 15 to 20 times longer than that of a conventional or halogen bulb. And for a less frequent replacement period, household electricity costs will be even lower.
  • Since most LED bulb sockets are identical to conventional bulb sockets, you can easily upgrade the lighting in your home with LED bulbs.

The Best LED Bulbs: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for LED bulbs

You can choose from a range of sizes, brands and performance of LED bulbs. However, in order to be able to adapt to the multitude of LED bulbs on the market, we have summarised the most important criteria you should pay special attention to when buying.

Note the following criteria:

The following sections go into more detail on the criteria mentioned.

Power consumption

Unlike traditional light bulbs, LED bulbs have a much better efficiency. In terms of energy consumption, they use much less electricity than their traditional counterparts. As a result, the electricity bill is also lower.

One of the most important factors is the brightness for a light bulb. This value indicates how many watts it consumes in one hour. The lower this value, the lower the electricity consumption.

The size of the room does not play a negligible role either. The larger the room to be lit, the more and / or more powerful lamps are needed.

For example, there is a big difference between the power consumption of an LED with the same power and a conventional light bulb.

Most LED bulbs can deliver the same power as a conventional or even a halogen bulb with 3-4 times less power consumption. LED bulbs not only have lower power consumption but also a much longer life.

Type of socket

Like conventional lamps, LED bulbs are available with different types of sockets. However, two of the many types of sockets are very common. You will find light bulbs with such sockets in almost every household. These two types are the E27 and E14 sockets.

These two types of sockets have been on the market for almost 10 years and in the vast majority of cases can be installed in all appliances and lamps without any problems.

The E27 corresponds to a "normal light bulb", while the E14 is a "small candle". Only in very special or exceptional cases is a bulb with a different type of socket required.

Other less common socket types such as GU10, G9 or R7S can also be found in any shop. In addition to the different socket types, the size and shape of the bulb can also differ. Today, however, you can find a bulb with a combination of almost any size and socket type.

Before buying a light bulb, however, it is important to check which socket your bulb is compatible with. You can easily find this out as it is indicated on the bulb socket inside the bulb.

Light output

In contrast to conventional lamps, the light output of LED bulbs is not measured in watts but in lumens. By watts we mean what we invest in electricity, but lumens is what we get in light at the end.

It is important to know this difference because a wattage value is given on the packaging. However, since an LED bulb uses much less electricity, the energy consumption does not correspond to the amount of light emitted.

There is a rule of thumb that you can use to calculate the lumen value of an LED bulb. You simply take the old wattage you want and multiply by 12 to get a value that is very close to the lumen value. But this is only an approximate value.

The following table lists some approximate values that can help you choose the optimal light output of a light bulb:

Output in watts lumen value
25 watts circa 300 lumens
50 watts circa 600 lumens
75 watts circa 900 lumens

Basically, the easiest way is to take the wattage of a conventional light bulb you used before and multiply the value by 12. This will save you unnecessary guesswork and money.

Lifetime

The lifespan of an LED bulb is influenced by a number of factors. It is a general truth that better quality bulbs last much longer than the noname, cheap LED bulbs. Most quality LED bulbs promise a value of 80,000 to 100,000 operating hours, which is a very outstanding value.

However, this value is not the actual life of the bulb. In reality, 20,000 to 40,000 hours is the service life of a high-quality LED lamp.

The frequency of switching on and off as well as the temperature of the bulb have a big influence on its actual lifetime. The more often you switch the lamp on or off, the shorter its life.

Compared to different types of bulbs, an LED bulb promises to last almost 15 to 20 times longer than a conventional incandescent bulb. Moreover, their power consumption is much lower. In an average household, an LED bulb usually shines for at least 8 to 10 years before it breaks.

However, manufacturers claim a much longer shelf life, often 40 years. However, this is only true in very exceptional cases. Most manufacturers calculate the lifespan of LED bulbs at 3-4 operating hours per day with minimal on and off switching. In reality, however, we use these bulbs quite differently.

Features

Nowadays, you can't just choose from conventional plain bulbs as many manufacturers offer LED bulbs with various additional features. With the proliferation of smart devices, you will find more and more of these new types of bulbs in homes.

Here are some of the additional features of these new bulbs:

  • Dimmability
  • Remote control
  • Colour change

LED bulbs with adjustable dimming are becoming more popular as they bring the flexibility of multiple different bulbs. These bulbs are special in that you can adjust the amount of light emitted by the bulb depending on your lighting needs.

You can adjust all this with a special light switch or a remote control for the bulb.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are lamps that you can control with a remote control. Thanks to this function, the light bulb can be activated from almost anywhere if you have the remote control.

In addition, many light bulbs can now be controlled via an application. These are called SMART light bulbs.

The smart bulbs mentioned above have a number of special features depending on the type. Ambient lighting is increasingly popular these days, almost everyone wants to adjust the colour of the light emitted by the bulb to suit their current mood.

Most of these bulbs communicate with your mobile phone via a WLAN connection. However, a smart bulb is a much simpler solution than many LED strips. Just screw it into the socket and download the app to your phone.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying LED bulbs

Usually before you buy an LED bulb, there are some questions you may not be able to answer. In this section, we have collected and answered the most frequently asked questions that you can ask before buying an LED bulb.

What is special about an LED bulb and what advantages does it offer?

The word LED stands for light-emitting diode. In terms of composition, it is a much more modern and at the same time more complex product than a conventional light bulb.

The popularity of LED bulbs has grown extremely fast in recent years. This is because in many ways it is a much better and more beneficial solution than a conventional, halogen or even energy-saving light bulb.

LED Birnen

LED lamps use the most advanced technology known today. They are not found in homes, but in many other places. (Image source: Evan Smoger / unsplash)

One of the most obvious advantages of an LED bulb is its low energy consumption. In general, an LED bulb uses about five times less electricity than the old conventional bulbs. It is also a much more durable and reliable technology, which means LED bulbs promise a much longer lifespan.

Although it is more complex than a conventional light bulb, it is much safer and contains almost no components that are hazardous to health.

Another advantage is the smart bulbs that have already been introduced. With their help, we can make our home much more atmospheric and comfortable at the same time.

Since these bulbs are controlled via WLAN, you can make sure during your holiday that you have really switched off the light, and if not, then with one click the bulb is switched off.

What types of LED bulbs are there?

Almost all LED bulbs are available in two versions: high voltage or low voltage. In the following sections you can find out the differences between the two and their advantages and disadvantages in more detail.

High-voltage LED bulbs

The main feature of a high-voltage LED bulb is that it can be tied together with the normal 230-volt mains voltage. With high-voltage bulbs we are talking about alternating voltages, which is usually between 30 and 1000 volts.

The high-voltage LED bulbs can be easily connected to the mains voltage. In this case you don't need to buy an extra transformer. If you have used normal light bulbs until now, but now want to change to LED bulbs, then a simple high-voltage bulb with retrofit will work without problems.

Such bulbs lose more power than the low voltage bulbs. Because of the higher power, the bulb can heat up faster, which can shorten the life of the bulb. As these LED bulbs work with 230 volts mains voltage, there are stricter regulations like the VDE safety regulations that have to be followed.

Advantages
  • works without an extra transformer
  • easy to change from a conventional light bulb
Disadvantages
  • more power loss
  • shorter life
  • strict safety regulations

A high-voltage LED bulb is the right choice in almost all cases because there is no need to add an extra transformer, so installation is easy everywhere.

Low-voltage LED bulbs

Low-voltage LED bulbs operate on 12 volts, in some cases on 24 volts. A distinction is made between direct voltage and alternating voltage; depending on the lamp, one of the two may be required. A transformer is used to reduce the mains voltage from 230 volts to 12 or 24.

Low-voltage LED bulbs work with 12 volts, in some cases with 24 volts. A distinction is made between direct voltage and alternating voltage; depending on the lamp, one of the two may be required. A transformer is used to reduce the mains voltage from 230 volts to 12 or 24.

Light bulbs that operate on 24 volts have one advantage, their lower power loss, but only if the cable runs are long enough. They are rarely used in normal households, as the cable runs between the transformer and the lamp are not long enough

The advantage of low-voltage LED bulbs is that they have only two main components: the LED and its driver. They have an excellent efficiency because they do not have an integrated power supply.

A suitable LED transformer is necessary for low-voltage LED bulbs. However, it is only recommended if you want to install several LED lamps or spotlights. You should adjust the power level of the transformer to the LED bulbs, otherwise you will lose the higher efficiency of the low-voltage lamps.

Advantages
  • simple construction
  • good efficiency
Disadvantages
  • transformer necessary
  • more thorough planning

In our opinion, low-voltage lamps are strongly recommended for cable systems or in rooms with a lot of moisture such as bathrooms.

Who are LED bulbs suitable for?

An LED bulb may be the right choice for you if you want to reduce your electricity bill or if you are looking for a more durable and modern alternative.

Simply put, we can only recommend LED bulbs to everyone. They should be in every household because of the benefits mentioned above.

LED Birnen-0

Whether it's a house party or just a romantic evening, you can use LED lights to create the right atmosphere. (Image source: Randy Fath / unsplash)

In addition to reducing costs, these lights contain almost no harmful ingredients, unlike traditional lights. If health is also very important to you and your family, we definitely recommend an LED bulb.

An LED bulb can also be an excellent choice for those who want to add a unique atmosphere to their home. Thanks to the newly released Smart LED bulb, you can find the perfect colour that best suits your mood.

How much does an LED bulb cost?

The price of LED bulbs ranges quite widely as there are many products for sale with different wattage, size and brand.

Most bulbs are sold in multi-packs, which means in a pack of at least 3 bulbs. Therefore, it is not very worthwhile to compare the unit price of light bulbs with each other, as we rarely buy just one light bulb.

Compared to the price of the conventional, halogen and energy-saving light bulbs, it is easy to see that the price of one LED bulb is many times the price of the others. The main reason for this is technological advancement and durability.

We have already mentioned that an LED bulb promises a much longer life and therefore needs to be replaced less often.

The following table shows the price difference between the different types of light bulbs:

type of light bulb average price
incandescent lamp circa 1 euro
halogen lamp circa 3 euro
LED lamp circa 10 euro

As you can see, an LED bulb costs much more than the other two types of lamp. However, you only have to pay this price difference once. After you have bought an LED bulb, you will save much more money in the long run than you had to pay as a surcharge when you bought it.

How do I dispose of an LED bulb?

Although an LED bulb has a long enough lifespan, it must be replaced once. However, an LED bulb must not be disposed of with household waste! This is because an LED bulb contains a plastic housing and a glass bulb in addition to the metal socket. Based on these, it is classified as an electrical appliance, so it is not household waste.

Such bulbs can only be collected in designated places. There are three ways to hand in used LED bulbs:

  • Collection boxes in shops
  • Recycling centre
  • Mobile hazardous waste collection

Choose one of these 3 ways to safely dispose of LED bulbs.

What are the alternatives to an LED bulb?

In the sections above, we have tried to show you the main advantages and features of LED bulbs. However, if for some reason you don't want to use an LED bulb, don't worry as there are some alternatives.

A traditional incandescent bulb

can be a proven alternative. It is a popular choice mainly because of its low price. We recommend it especially in places where the light is not switched on and off very often, e.g. in basements. In terms of life and energy consumption, these types of lamps have the weakest performance.

Halogen lamps

are recommended for those looking for an intermediate solution. Their energy consumption is about 30 percent lower than conventional lamps, but LED bulbs still consume less energy. The service life and price are in between the two types of lamps mentioned above.

Energy-saving bul bs are also very popular, and not without reason. Compared to conventional light bulbs, they promise a ten times longer life span, and in terms of price, they are offered for a cheaper price than LED bulbs. Their special feature is that they need a few minutes' time for the bulb to warm up in order to give off its maximum brightness.

Image source: Rotjanaporn / 123rf

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