Choosing LED Bulbs

Although I’m keen on saving energy (hence the heating control project) I’ve never been much impressed with the various kinds of light bulbs that have come along purporting to be the energy-saving solution.

The first era was the compact fluorescent lamp:


There are loads of different types of these, as shown above. The earlier ones were straight (top left) and then there were various spiral designs. Although these clearly used a lot less power than old fashioned incandescent bulbs I didn’t like the colour of the light, and I particularly didn’t like the fact they took quite a few seconds to come on. Also of course you can’t use them with dimmer switches, and they don’t play well with the various home automation switches that I’ve been using.

More recently bulbs based on LEDs have been coming in. They have been around for a while but initially were quite expensive and couldn’t be used with dimmers. Also the colour of these was also a bit variable.

What has really prompted me to look at this properly has been the fact that it is increasingly difficult and more expensive to get hold of incandescent bulbs (around £1.50 each or more), and also the ones you get seem to last no time at all. I’m sure in the past they used to last for ages… but now seems only a few months at a time.

We have a lot of chandelier / candelabra light fittings, each of which uses at least 5 candle bulbs. These seem to be blowing all the time and not only does this lead to a dimly lit room it feels like it’s costing me a lot of money.

So I thought it was time finally to address the issue. It seems the market has moved on a lot since I last looked. I wasn’t keen on the ‘no name’ Chinese import brands and I also didn’t really like the ‘frosted’ look of the bulbs. Whilst you can find ‘filament’ style ones these are quite low wattage.

After a lot of digging around I finally found the Philips Master LED DiamondSpark:

There’s a lot to like about these – they are dimmable, they look good and in many ways resemble a real bulb (with the ‘DiamondSpark’ filament), and they weren’t very expensive. I got the 6W version from whom I’d really recommend, and they were £4.50 each and actually cheaper because I bought a load of them plus had a discount code.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the results are really good – indistinguishable to my eyes from the candle bulbs they replaced, and the whole fitting now consumes less energy than a single one of the incandescent bulbs in it before. Also and just as importantly they work well with the Fibaro Z-Wave dimmers that I have scattered around. This is true for both the older v1 and new v2 versions, and I haven’t needed a dimmer bypass because the fittings have enough bulbs to be above the minimum load of 25W.


So all in all I’m very impressed and am glad to have finally made the switch. I’m hoping it will save time and money, especially given the bulbs are rated at 25,000 hours each!

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