Reviews of energy saving lamps (LED and CFL)
Brief reviews of some energy saving lamps we've used.
A 12volt fitting. We have ten MR16 fittings in our kitchen ceiling and one above our shower.
Very impressed. Lovely quality of light; genuinely looks like a tungsten light. Dims very well on our cheap TRIAC dimmer (I currently have it installed in parallel with 9 50W halogens). Only 47 lumen per watt, which isn't great. Would probably get the 36 degree version. update 25/4/2013 We have now replaced all 10 of our kitchen halogens with Philips 10W LEDs. I do prefer the 36 degree version. Works very well. A few small things to be aware of:
- Our dimmer has a push-button to turn it on and off. If the dimmer is in a low setting when you first turn it on then the lights will flash brightly and then dim, which is a little unpleasant in the evenings. I think I dimmer is also designed to smoothly ramp up the lights (which is quite a nice effect when using tungsten lights) but this confuses the LEDs a bit when they first turn on.
- You can't use the full range of the dimmer. If you dim below a certain level (20%?) then the lights flicker. But that's fine. The lowest stable setting is pleasingly dim.
- These lights do include a very small fan. I didn't notice the fan noise when we only had 3 lights installed in our kitchen during testing. With 10 LED lights, the noise is noticable when there is no background noise in the kitchen. I would object to this noise if the lights were in a room with little background noise (e.g. our home office) but our kitchen is generally quite noisy anyway (we usually have the radio on; or our daughter is playing etc) so the noise of the lamps genuinely doesn't bother me in the kitchen. To try to put this into context: with all 10 lamps, the sound is comparable to a quiet laptop fan.
- Overall very impressed.
Lovely quality of light; genuinely looks like a tungsten light. Not a huge quantity of light though. Expensive! Flickers a tiny but when used with a normal dimmer. Only dims down to about 30%. Does not flicker at all when used with a normal (non dimmable) 12v transformer.
Megaman Dimmable LED Reflector MR16 ER1708d-50H24D
8W, 2800K, 24 degrees, CRI=82, 400 lumen Produces a nice quality of light. The Megaman closely mimics the design of a tungsten MR16 lamp. Specifically: unlike the Philips LEDs, the Megaman's two LEDs are positioned in a similar position to a tungsten filament in a tungsten MR16 reflector lamp. The Megaman also uses a reflector, so the Megaman produces shadows which are a closer approximation of the shadows produced by tungsten lights. But the position of the Megaman's LEDs also means that, at certain angles, if you look directly up at the ceiling then your eye will catch the light directly emitted from the LED, which is very bright and quite distracting. The Megaman also flickers a little on our dimmer at certain dimmer settings. No fan so it's totally silent. We're currently using this light in the single MR16 fitting above our shower.
Not very impressed. Flickers when using a "normal" 12v transformer (even when used without a dimmer). Probably needs a proper LED driver.
MR16 NxtGen LED Non-Dimmable (22 piece SMD 5050, 390 Lumens, 50 watts equiv.) from SimplyLED for £11.99
- 370 lumens (for the warm white) / 5 watts consumption = 74 lumens / watts (which is pretty good)
- non-dimmable (at least not using a standard TRIAC dimmer)
- Update 24/2/2012: I've now received this bulb. It is indeed very bright. But it has a poor CRI. Skin looks distinctly ghostly when illuminated by this lamp. Overall it produces quite an "ery" light, even when warmed up with orange lighting gel (CTO 1/4).
Bayonette / screw cap
Very impressed. Nice and warm, natural light. Dims very smoothly, no flicker even at minimum dim setting. Not a huge quantity of light though. We're using this light for our daughter's bedroom pendant and reading light. It just about produces enough light for the pendant light but we won't use this lamp in our master bedroom because it doesn't produce enough light to fill the room.
- Good price (£15.95)
- High CRI (90)
- 54 lumens per watt
- Lovely packaging(!)
- British company
- Cold light (the website doesn't quote a colour temperature but it feels like it's about 4000-5000K). We tried the Groove Bulb in our bedroom for a few days but we really miss the lovely, warm glow an incandescent produces when dimmed down. So we aren't using the Groove Bulb at the moment, which is real shame because there's a lot to like about the company.
- I suspect the Groove Bulb flickers at 50 or 100Hz. If the room is lit only with a Groove Bulb and if you move your hand quickly then you can see the "multiple still images" effect you'd expect from a 50 or 100Hz light source. I find this a little distracting even in a domestic setting, and something I really didn't expect from a modern bulb. Probably best not to use this bulb anywhere you have fast-moving machinery like a saw. Even our fluorescent bulbs have high frequency ballasts.
Dims well and produces lots of light. But the light is rather "ghostly" which I would suspect is indicative of a low CRI. We aren't using this light at present.
Tesco, 8 watt, 470 lumen, "mini spiral" E14, 2700 Kelvin
Starts producing light instantly but does take about 30-60 seconds to get fully up to speed. Decent quality of light once it has warmed up. We're using this in our bathroom.
Ikea, 15W, 820 lumen, spiral, dimmable, model ES0810S15
Not very impressed. Flickers when dimmed. Produces a very cold light when dimmed. Died after a few months. Replaced with the vastly superior Philips MASTER Glow LEDBulb MV.