Why not buy cheap LED light bulbs?

For the sake of saving money, we sometimes buy cheap LED light bulbs, in hope, that they will last a long time and will work normally. We will give 6 reasons, why you should not take cheap LED lamps.

They say, that LED lamps pay for themselves due to low power consumption and, as a consequence, economical power consumption. Everything is so, but on one condition: these should be high-quality LED lamps. We tell you, why not buy the cheapest models.

1 Low-quality LEDs

Several LEDs are installed in each lamp. If they are of poor quality, but pretty soon they will start to burn out of course, not all at once. As a result, the luminous flux decreases, the lamp starts to shine worse. Of course, LEDs can be replaced (read, how to do it), but hardly anyone wants to mess with it.

Lamps of leading manufacturers usually serve for a really long time without loss of luminous flux, but they are much more expensive. However, most often they pay off because low-quality lamps for the same 15,000 hours of work will have to be bought several at once. 

2The light stream does not match the power

On the packaging with a light bulb, the manufacturer always writes power and luminous flux, which corresponds to it. On many cheap products, the luminous flux often does not correspond to the declared power. For example, we came across 10-watt bulbs (should correspond to 90-watt incandescent bulbs) with a luminous flux of 900 lumens, which, in terms of light output, barely reached 75 watts of an incandescent lamp. Overestimated power and light output is an outright marketing ploy, which subsequently spoils the impression of the work of the light bulb.

3 Low color rendering index

The color rendering index is a value, showing, how well the colors are distinguishable in the spectrum of the light illuminated by the lamp. That is, if the lighting allows you to distinguish the colors of objects well, so the color rendering index is high. This index is indicated by the CRI symbols. For the normal perception and difference of colors of objects with our eyes, it is necessary, so that the CRI of the lamp is from 80 to 95. For example, yIEK LLE CRI 80

The vast majority of LED lamps on our market have a color rendering index of CRI 80. However cheap, frankly ‘Chinese’ devices can have a CRI of 70 and below, which leads to, that some colors for us may merge or differ not clearly. At the same time, CRI 80 is indicated on the package, who will check?

4The right color temperature

The color temperature is characterized by the intensity of light transmission. For example, the lamps may have a warm (yellowish), neutral or cold colors the color temperature is responsible for all this. The illustration below shows, which color temperature corresponds approximately to which color. From 3500 to 4200 K is a natural white color, at which it is most convenient to read newspapers and books. From 5000 K and above can be put in work zones, for example, to the kitchen or bathroom.

The problem with cheap analogues is, that the wrong color temperature is indicated on the package. For example, you are buying a product with a temperature of 3000 K, waiting, that it will have a warm color, and in the end you get a white neutral, like the light bulbs in the subway. It is impossible to say, that this is a big trouble, but when you get the wrong, what I paid for, still disappointed.

5 The ripple effect does not meet the standards

Any LED device has pulsations, which affect the perception of light by the eyes. The ripple coefficient is considered normal, not exceeding 20 %, in which the amount of flickering will not affect eye fatigue.

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Unfortunately, a huge number of manufacturers simply do not indicate this coefficient or intend to underestimate it. It happens like this: I bought a light bulb, which initially shone perfectly without any problems. After a month, it starts to flicker a little, and the eyes get tired faster. Depending on the amount of time, spent in a room with such light, you will feel it in one way or another.

6Croc services

This is the most important reason, for which it is not worth buying cheap products. For some reason, the Chinese (or domestic importers) like to overestimate the lifetime of LEDs, whereas their ‘death’ comes faster. If you see, that the cost of the lamp is about 100 rubles, and the claimed service life of 25,000 30,000 hours is an outright deception, an example of which you will see below. Such lamps burn much faster and it turns out, that we don’t save anything on buying them. It is better to buy one device for 250 rubles, and it will last its 15,000 hours, than two for 100 rubles and throw them out in a couple of months.

Personal experience: how long do LED lamps last?

To understand, what is the actual service life, it takes time. About 5 years ago, our editor bought a pair of LED lamps in one of the construction shops, and another energy-saving one (for comparison). Each of the bulbs cost about 120 rubles (today there are cheaper options). 

Ergolux and Enerlight bulbs have a claimed service life of 30,000 hours when working no more than 3 hours a day, and the energy-saving ‘Our Power’ has 8000 hours. The lamps were used in ordinary home conditions in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations (whoever they were).

As a result, the Ergolux product worked the least for about 5000 hours, Enerlight mastered a little more about 8000 hours, but ‘Our Strength’, oddly enough, works to this day, although the working time has already exceeded 8000 hours. But LED lamps are presented to us as the most reliable and ‘long-lasting’! 

Anyway, budget LED products have worked much less than the stated period. And this once again confirms our hypothesis, that it makes no sense to buy such lamps, it will not be possible to save on them.

Want to know, how to save on light bulbs and other devices? 

  • Counting kilowatts: which energy-saving light bulbs are better for home?
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