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LED Specifications- What Do They Mean?

Simple LED FAQ

In lighting, there are a lot of specifications that give insight into how a light works, the quality of the light, and how you should expect the light to work in its environment. We've created a list below to help explain what all of these terms mean so that our customers can have a full understanding of the products they are buying.

 What is Beam Angle?- The degree of width that emits from a light source. Used to determine how focused a light will be. For example, a 50 degree beam angle is very focused on one area, while a 240 degree beam angle is used to light up a larger area in multiple directions. 

What is CRI? (Color Rendering Index)  - The ability of a light source to accurately render all frequencies of its color spectrum when compared to a perfect reference light at the same color temperature. The CRI scale is out of 100. For example, a CRI of >90 is fantastic, and is better than a CRI of >80.

What is CCT? (Correlated Color Temperature)- A measurement of the color appearance of the light emitted by a lamp, correlating its color to the color of light from a reference source when heated to a particular temperature, measured in degrees Kelvin (K). 3000K is a much warmer, yellow-ish color, while 6000K lights are cooler and have a blue-ish tint. 

What is LED Efficacy?- A measurement of how efficient a lamp's light output is compared to its wattage output. Measured in how many lumens a light puts out per watt. Anything over 100 lumens per watt is fairly efficient, but many LED lights go as high as 150 lumens per watt for maximum efficiency. 

What is an LED IP (Ingress Protection) Rating- A scale that determines a light fixture’s resistance to intrusion from outside sources. Represented with two numbers. For IPXY, the X (first digit in any IP rating) is the degree to which equipment is protected against solid foreign bodies such as dirt or gravel. This digit is on a scale of 1-6, with 6 being the best. The Y (second digit in any IP rating) is the degree to which the equipment is protected against harmful entry of moisture, usually rain or snow. This scale is out of 8, with 8 being the best possible score (waterproof).

What is an LED Type/ Chipset- Simply explains the size of the LED chips being used in the light or strip. For example, SMD2835 can be interpreted as surface-mounted diodes (SMD) with 2.8mm long and 3.5mm wide LED chips. 

What is LED Lifetime- In the LED industry, the lifetime hours signal how long an LED lamp will last until it has depreciated to 70% of its original lumen output. This is because testing has showed that the human eye typically does not detect a decrease in light until 30% of the brightness is gone. 

What are LED Lumens or LM/W- Measures the light output of a light. The higher the lumens, the brighter a lamp or fixture will be. Typically, it is best to look for lamps that have at least 90 lumens per watt to ensure that your lights are outputting the most light with the least amount of power. Check "Efficacy" for more information. 

What is an LED Rebates- the amount of money that Xcel Energy (or your local utility company) will provide to help your facility make the leap to LED. IES Distributors specializes in Type C systems, which grant the highest possible rebates, saving you the most money (and helping to increase efficiency even more) along the way. 

What is Typical LED Warranty- The amount of time typical LED manufacturers will refund or replace an LED product that fails before its rated lifetime hours. Many warranties cover the first three to five years of the product's life. However, these warranties do NOT cover failures that are related to incorrect installation (one of the top causes of early failure for LED products). The warranties also usually do not cover the cost of labor for replacing the faulty product. If a product you've purchased from IES Distributors fails early, contact us and we can explore your options for replacing the product. 

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