LED lights have been a very efficient way of producing light for the last 4 years and each year the technology gets better. The LED manufacturing companies themselves have really increased the Lumen per watt ratios and are now increases the available applications of LED lights with the advent of globes, tubes and LED grow lights. These new LED applications not only replace the inefficient incandescent lights they also replace fluorescent lights and HID grow lights as well with lower wattage and less heat.
LED lights are known for their drastic reduction in power used to produce the same effective light when compared to HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights. The LED is the most efficient way to produce light and can be used with power from the grid or off-grid applications such as solar and battery power. The reduction in power is usually hard to see with the sticker price of an average LED application well over the price of a regular incandescent or HID light. This high cost can be offset by the long life of the LEDs however.
The average life of a florescent light is around 1 year before the bulb needs changed. The average life of an HID grow light is or incandescent light is about 6 months with daily use of more than 12 hours. Compare this to the average life of a quality LED light at more than 5 years. This long lifetime is another benefit of LEDs over others but is almost completely reliant on the quality of the LEDs themselves. If you buy a low cost LED light and save money upfront it is almost certain you will be losing some of the time the light will be usable due to the lower quality parts and workmanship.
Quality vs Cost
The most important factor when you purchase an LED light is the quality of the LED and the quality of the heat sink used in the light. A heat sink is a finned aluminum part used in LED lights to dissipate heat from the LED chip itself. All LEDs need some sort of dissipation device (heat sink) or the LED would burn out very quickly. When you look at LED lights you should look for the heat sinks fins, or lack thereof. If the LED light has a simple flat aluminum sheet, this is a sign of poor quality and inferior parts that will lead to a lesser quality of light in a shorter period of time.
The Latest LED Technology
The latest advancements in LED technology have been in two fields, high powered LED grow lights and LED street lights. Although there are many new applications these two types of LED lights are growing quickly and have some top quality suppliers that offer great warranties. These new types of LEDs feature long lasting components that make the initial investment a win for municipalities, retailers (Wal-Mart is testing LED lights in there parking lots), and greenhouses that can now use LED grow lights that replace HID lights.
LED lights are a great choice to replace your old lights but only if you are able to purchase a quality light that will pay for the large upfront cost of LED lights.