LED Bulbs Guide
Nowadays, the term “LED” is commonplace when talking about lighting and even electronics. You may have come across LED televisions or monitors, as well as LED light bulbs. In today’s guide, we will be discussing the latter. However, to really understand LED bulbs, you have to understand what “LED” means and the underlying technology that defines it.
So, what does LED stand for? What differentiates LED bulbs from other types of light bulbs? Finally, where can you find high-quality LED bulbs for your home or place of business?
Today, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s examine what “LED bulb” really means.
What Is An LED Bulb?
An LED bulb is an electric bulb that uses light-emitting diodes to produce light. If you hadn’t already guessed it, this also answers our first question: what does LED stand for? LED stands for light-emitting diode and it is a completely different alternative to the traditional methods of producing light with electricity.
Many of the standard bulbs that people have relied upon for decades are incandescent bulbs. An incandescent bulb works by using a tungsten filament housed inside of the bulb. When electricity makes contact with the base of the bulb, it travels upward into the filament, which is highly resistant to electricity. This causes the filament to heat up and this heat, in turn, produces light.
LED bulbs work much differently. First invented in 1962 by an employee of General Electric, the LED bulb uses a process known as electroluminescence to produce light. While the process of incandescence is essentially a way to produce light using a small and highly-controlled fire, electroluminescence is far more complex. In essence, when the base of the bulb is connected to a source of electricity, the electric current passes through the diode. The diode is a type of semiconducting material that produces photons (i.e. light) when combined with an electric current.
Types Of LED Bulbs
There are many different LED bulb types, depending on how you choose to categorize them. For example, there are different bulb sizes and shapes that have their own designations, but there are also types of LED bulbs categorized by their chip and diode setups. We will cover both of these distinctions below:
Bulb Shapes & Sizes
If you have ever gone shopping for light bulbs of any kind (LED or otherwise), you know that there are a lot of options to choose from. Sometimes, bulb shapes and sizes are only distinct for aesthetic purposes, but other times they differ to fit into different types of lamps. In any case, here are the most common LED bulb types based on the bulb shape and size:
- Standard - The Standard bulb has the traditional pear shape that you see with most incandescent bulbs. It is designed to fit into lamps, indoor lights, or typically any light fixture that works with an E26 base.
- Can - The Can bulb has a wider mid-section and a partially flattened top when compared to the Standard bulb. These designs are often used for ceiling lights and typically use a slimmer base size like an E12 or E17.
- Flood - The Flood bulb has a wide top that is completely flat. They are almost always used for exterior lighting because they produce a stronger beam of light that can also cover a large area. Like the Can bulb, Flood bulb base sizes are usually either E12 or E17.
- Track - Like the Flood bulb, the Track bulb has a relatively wide brim and a flat top. However, its design is better for workspace lighting or directional lighting. Additionally, Track bulb bases do not typically use the traditional screw-in design. Instead, they have two prongs that twist into a locked position.
- Tube - The Tube bulb (sometimes known as the Linear bulb) is very long, thin, and cylindrical. These are commonly used in office buildings, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Each end is fitted with smaller prongs that must be set into place and locked.
Chip & Diode Designs
While bulb shapes and sizes may be easy to spot, chip and diode designs are more subtle. This typically refers to the inner workings of the bulb, so you probably won’t notice anything different just by looking at a bulb. Nonetheless, there are three primary designs used for LED bulbs:
- DIP - Dual In-Line Package (DIP) is the oldest chip and diode design for LED bulbs. This design is less common today, but you can still find it in many bulbs and electronics due to its small size. However, this design does not produce as much light as more modern alternatives.
- SMD - Surface Mounted Diode (SMD) is a more recent innovation that is now one of the most commonly-used designs on the market. In essence, small chips that can hold up to 3 diodes each are mounted on the circuit board separating the base from the rest of the bulb. The SMD design creates more light and offers greater color variations than the DIP design.
- COB - Chip on Board (COB) is the most recent development in LED bulb technology, with chips that can fit up to 9 diodes each. This means that you can get even greater brightness while using less electricity. However, while the COB design is brighter and more energy efficient than previous designs, it does not offer a wide range of colors like the SMD design.
Advantages Of LED Bulbs
There are many advantages to LED light bulbs, particularly when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Here are some of the most important benefits to consider when deciding what type of bulbs you need:
- Long lifespan
- Energy efficient
- Functional in hot and cold conditions
- Reduced heat and UV emissions
- Improved safety
- Enhanced directional light emission
Are LED Light Bulbs Dimmable?
Yes, LED light bulbs are dimmable. You just have to ensure that you have a dimming switch that is correctly installed and an LED bulb that fits the corresponding light fixture. If you just have a traditional light switch, you will only be able to turn your LED bulbs on or off. With a dimming switch, your LED bulbs will adhere to the brightness that you choose.
Do LED Bulbs Get Hot?
Yes, LED bulbs do produce some heat. However, they do not get nearly as hot as incandescent bulbs. This means they are generally safer to have around the house and far less likely to cause any kind of burn damage. That said, some LED bulbs can get as hot as 212 degrees Fahrenheit (the temperature at which water boils), so you should still avoid touching LED bulbs that have been on for more than a few minutes.
How To Dispose Of LED Light Bulbs
LED bulbs do not contain harmful chemicals or substances, so if you just want to throw away your bulbs when they no longer work, you can. However, many of the components in LED bulbs can be recycled. So, if you are willing to take the extra step, you should consider taking dead LED bulbs to your nearest recycling center.
We hope you found this guide on LED bulbs both fun and informative! Are you interested in learning more about LED bulbs? Are you ready to purchase high-quality light bulbs at affordable prices? If so, be sure to check out the products available at Bulb Center today!