Choosing LED light bulbs

LED light bulbs are climate-friendly and will save you time and money.

Watch: The benefits of LED lightbulbs | 1:38 min

Benefits of LEDs

  • Climate-friendly because they last so much longer than old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs (based on manufacturer's claims).
  • Waste less energy – they are very efficient and very long life: use up to 85% less electricity than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
  • Most LED's cost less than $10 per bulb, some as little as $3.
  • Each LED bulb you buy to replace an incandescent light bulb can save you between $100 and $300 over its life (depending on the wattage of the bulb you replace).
  • Good for all general lighting around the house.

Features

  • Available in many different types, including as standard lightbulbs, candles, spotlights and recessed downlights.

  • Instant full brightness.
  • 'Warm white' and 'cool white' light colours to choose from. We recommend warm white as a more comfortable light suitable for homes.
  • For recessed downlights, replacing the whole fitting with a dedicated LED downlight is recommended.
  • Better quality of light than CFLs (the spiral shaped light bulbs).
  • Available as dimmable and non-dimmable bulbs that can change their light colour or brightness even without the need for a dimmer switch.

Where to buy

Most hardware stores, supermarkets and specialty lighting stores sell LEDs.

Hold on to your receipt. With LEDs costing a bit more to buy, keep your receipts in case you happen to buy a dud.

Keep in mind

  • Base: Make sure the base of the new bulb is the same as the one you're replacing. For standard light bulbs, check if you need a bulb with bayonet or screw fitting. To replace halogen spotlights, check if you need a low-voltage (12 V) MR16 (also called GU5.3) bulb with two sharp pins at the bottom, or a mains-voltage (240 V) GU10 bulb with two studs at the bottom - they look very similar but are not interchangeable.
  • Brightness: If you want to replace an existing incandescent bulb with an LED, use the wattage of the old incandescent as a guide. The packaging of LEDs usually indicates the equivalent wattage of incandescent bulbs that produce a similar brightness. If you want to buy an LED to replace a standard incandescent bulb, chances are the LED will appear brighter than the equivalent incandescent. This is because the beam angle of LEDs is narrower, so the light comes out more focussed.
    You will also find a lumens number on the packaging. While wattage (W) measures the energy a light bulb uses, lumens measure light output - the higher the lumens, the brighter the light. Both will appear on most light bulb packaging, which can be helpful when you want to find out which bulb uses the least energy for the most light output.
  • Colour: Choose a warm white LED for most rooms in your home for a more comfortable light. Cool white LEDs are good for task lighting where contrast is important e.g. workshops, garages and offices.
  • LEDs shouldn't be used in closed fittings as they need good ventilation to ensure their long life. If they get too hot, they are likely to fail early. Check the LED packaging for details.
  • For recessed downlights, replacing the whole fitting with a dedicated LED downlight is recommended.
  • Dimmable? If you want to use LEDs with dimmer switches, check the packaging to make sure you choose a model that suits dimmable light fixtures. Also ensure your dimmer switch is compatible with the dimmable LED bulb (it will say on the packaging).