You can read a lot of information over the web and in the media about the advantages of LED (light emitting diode) semiconductor lighting over halogen – or other more traditional forms of lighting. LEDs are often cited as “no-brainers” both financially-speaking (the pay-back period is usually anywhere between 14 months and two years) and environmentally-speaking (lower energy consumption, longer lifetime etc.).
But what about flood-lighting requirements using LED technology; do the advantages in these applications sufficiently outweigh the increased initial outlay costs? The shorter answer is “yes”, but there are pros and cons to consider – and the financial situation isn’t quite as clear-cut as with run-of-the-mill home and office requirements etc.
Firstly, there are manifold floodlighting requirements, from enormous football stadiums to small portable lights for working in your garage, so it’s not always easy to compare like with like. But the broad principles are the same. We’re generally talking about extremely powerful, bright light, where it is usually required for limited periods of time; working under the bonnet of your car, lighting up a music concert – or simply a dark car park.
Most traditional floodlights are halogen lights. The vast majority of lights used to light up the areas around homes and offices will currently still be halogen. But this is beginning to change as LEDs take greater market share due to various advantages of LED technology.
What are those advantages exactly? Well, LEDs offer extremely long life, which is particularly important for difficult to access applications. Typically, an LED floodlight will last up to somewhere around 50,000 hours – a roughly ten-fold improvement over traditional halogen lights.
LEDs are also far more eco-friendly. They consume far less electricity, saving money on bills, which means the pay-back period is an average 15 months after purchase of the admittedly more expensive LED lights. In other words, after around 15 months, the LEDs are “free”, having effectively paid for themselves on bill-savings.
The situation is slightly different for LED floodlights as, of course, it depends on usage. On the whole, though, their greater usage over short time periods mean they’ll pay for themselves over an average two years – so the on-going running costs are far less and the floodlights far more durable. Online electric supply wholesalers such as RS Components and Maplin are good suppliers for buying these products. If you buy an LED floodlight online, you should be able to work out, roughly, the cost-saving over time depending on the exact application requirements, since the site gives full technical specifications and energy use details.
One of the other main advantages of LED floodlights is that they’re brighter. This has been a criticism of LEDs for general indoor use, but is a benefit for floodlights. Because they’re far brighter than halogens, you need fewer of them – and the light is also more directable, whereas halogen bulbs tend to spread light in all directions, making them less efficient where targeted light is required.
In short – they’re worth the extra cost, but prices are falling too as competition is fierce – so keep an eye out for special offers.