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Top Of The Best Lighting Sets Reviewed In 2018

Last Updated November 1, 2018
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Adrian HoffmanHi! My name is Reginald Meyer. After putting in 50+ hours of research and testing, I made a list of the best Lighting Sets of 2018 and explained their differences and advantages.

In this article, I will be categorizing the items according to their functions and most typical features. I hope that my Top 10 list will provide you great options in buying the right fit for you.

 

 

Feel free to explore the podium, click on the pictures to find out more.

 

 

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You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the Lighting Sets by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.

 

 

№1 – Globe Electric Parker 5-Piece All-In-One Bath Set, Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish, 3-Light Vanity, Towel Bar, Towel Ring, Robe Hook, Toilet Paper Holder, 50192

 
Globe Electric Parker 5-Piece All-In-One Bath Set, Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish, 3-Light Vanity, Towel Bar, Towel Ring, Robe Hook, Toilet Paper Holder, 50192
Pros
ALL IN ONE: update your bathroom easily with a matching 3-light vanity fixture, towel bar, toilet paper holder, towel ring and robe hook with a vintage oil rubbed bronze finish
VINTAGE REFINED DESIGN: with a clean, simple, updated vintage design, this set will modernize any bathroom décor
 

 

№2 – Emart 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit

 
Emart 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit
Pros
Complete Photo Studio Lighting kit for Portrait Photography or Shooting Video
(3)x 45W 5500K Full Spectrum Energy Saving CFL Continuous Photo Bulb丨(3)x Single Head Photo Light Holding Socket
(2)x 33 inch Black/Silver Reflector Umbrella丨(2)x 33 inch Translucent White Soft Umbrella
 

 

№3 – Hollywood Style LED Vanity Mirror Lights Kit for Makeup Dressing Table Vanity Set Mirrors with Dimmer and Power Supply Plug in Lighting Fixture Strip, 13.5 Foot, Mirror Not Included

 
Hollywood Style LED Vanity Mirror Lights Kit for Makeup Dressing Table Vanity Set Mirrors with Dimmer and Power Supply Plug in Lighting Fixture Strip, 13.5 Foot, Mirror Not Included
Pros
10 LED bulbs produce a soft and bright glow. 6,000K white light closely simulates natural sunlight, providing a professional color-correct lighting for makeup.
Securely attach on a mirror, mirror frame or wall with the supplied double-sided tapes in a few minutes, and plug and play with the included 12V power supply.
 

 

Color temperature

After lumens, the next concept you’ll want to understand is color temperature. Measured on the Kelvin scale, color temperature isn’t really a measure of heat. Instead, it’s a measure of the color that a light source produces, ranging from yellow on the low end of the scale to bluish on the high end, with whitish light in the middle.

An easy way to keep track of color temperature is to think of a flame: it starts out yellow and orange, but when it gets really hot, it turns blue. You could also think of color temperature in terms of the sun — low, yellowy color temperatures mimic the tone of light at sunrise or sunset, while hotter, more bluish-white color temperatures are more akin to daylight (sure enough, bulbs with color temperatures like these are commonly called “daylight” bulbs). This is also why a lot of people prefer high color temperatures during the day and lower color temperatures in the morning and evening.

Generally speaking, incandescents sit at the bottom of the scale with their yellow light, while CFLs and LEDs have long been thought to tend toward the high, bluish end of the spectrum. This has been a steady complaint about new lighting alternatives, as many people prefer the warm, familiar, low color temperature of incandescents. Manufacturers are listening, though, and in this case they heard consumers loud and clear, with more and more low-color-temperature CFL and LED options hitting the shelves. Don’t believe me? Take another look at those two paper lamps in the picture above, because they’re both CFL bulbs — from the same manufacturer, no less.

Sylvania often color codes its packaging. Blue indicates a hot, bluish color temperature, while the lighter shade indicates a white, more neutral light.

Bulb shape

As you’re probably aware, light bulbs come in a fairly wide variety of shapes. Sure, it’s easy enough to tell a hardware store clerk that you want “one of those flamey-looking lights,” or “just a normal ol’ bulby light bulb,” but knowing the actual nomenclature might save you some time.

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Let’s start with the base of the bulb, the part that screws in. In the US, the most common shape by far is E26, with the “E” standing for Edison and the “26” referring to the diameter of the base in millimeters. You might also see E2bulbs from time to time, which is the European standard. Those should still fit into common American fixtures, but keep in mind that voltage ratings are different in the two regions, with American bulbs rated for 120 volts compared to 220-240 volts in Europe. For smaller sockets, like you might find with a candelabra, you’ll want to look for an E1base.

As for the bulb itself, the typical shape that you’re probably used to is an A1bulb. Increase that number to A2or A23, and you’ve got the same shape, but bigger. Bulbs made to resemble flames are F-shaped, which is easy enough to remember, as are globes, which go by the letter G. If it’s a floodlight you want, you’ll want to look for “BR” (bulging reflector) or “PAR” (parabolic aluminized reflector). Those bulbs are designed to throw all their light in one direction only, which makes them useful for spot lighting, overhead lighting and the headlights in your car.

Your automated-lighting options

It used to be that if you wanted your lights to turn on and off automatically, then you had to rely on a cheap wall socket timer, the kind you might use to control a Christmas tree. These days, with a modest boom in smart lighting currently under way, it’s easier than ever to dive into the sort of advanced automation controls that can make any home feel modern and futuristic. Use the right devices, and you’ll be able to control your lights in all sorts of creative ways, and make your life a little bit easier in the process.

The most obvious way to get started with smart lighting is with the bulbs themselves. You’ve got plenty of intelligent options from brands both big and small, and to find the one that’s best for you, you’re going to need to understand what sets them apart.

Connect with these 3IFTTT-friendly smart devices (pictures)

The first thing to look at is how the bulbs communicate with you. Some offer direct connections with your smart phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, which makes setup as simple as screwing the thing in and following in-app pairing instructions.

Others transmit using a distinct frequency like ZigBee or Z-Wave. Bulbs like those might be a better fit for bigger smart home setups, as it’s typically a little easier to sync them up with things like motion detectors and smart locks. Setup can be slightly more advanced, as you’ll need a separate hub or gateway device capable of translating that distinct frequency into a Wi-Fi signal your router can comprehend.

Some smart bulbs come with their own gateway. Others, like the Cree Connected LED, require a third-party control device, like the Wink Hub.

Color control

If you’re looking for a little more color in your life, then be sure and take a look at a product like the Philips Hue Starter Kit. Aside from being fully automatable via a mobile app and control hub, the Hue LED bulbs are capable of on-demand color changes. Just pull out your phone, select one of millions of possible shades, and the light will match it. And if you’re into voice control, Hue bulbs hit the compatibility trifecta — they’ll work with Siri, Alexa, and the Google Assistant.

Because Philips opened its lighting controls to third-party developers, you’ll also find lots of fun novelty uses for Hue bulbs, like changing the color of your lights in rhythm with whatever music you’re playing. There’s even an app that’ll sync your Hue lights up with certain TV programming.

Hue lights are also directly compatible with the popular web service IFTTT, with recipes already available that will change the color of your lights to match the weather, or to signal a touchdown from your favorite football team, or even to indicate when your stocks are doing well.

Features of a mountain bike light

Lamp body (head unit): This houses the LEDs, the lens in front, the reflectors behind, the circuitry that makes it all work and the fins or ribs that radiate away as much heat as possible.

LEDs: Most lights now use LEDs (light emitting diodes), because they produce more light for less power than a conventional bulb and are far less fragile than HID lamps. Technological advances mean performance has leapt forward in the past few years and each new season brings significant upgrades.

Optics: The reflector and lens in front affect how the light is thrown down the trail. Focused spot beams are great for seeing a long way for a given output; wide flood beams give good peripheral vision.

Mount/bracket: How you attach the light to your bike. Most mounts use clips and spacers but O-rings are a great simple solution. If you are thinking of using a helmet mounted light, you need a lamp that’s light enough to be comfortable and secure on your lid, rather than a neck snapper. You’ll need an extension cable and helmet mount too, so check if that’s included or an optional extra.

Battery: The bit that powers the light. Lighter, tougher, far more random charge resistant lithium ion (Li-Ion) chargeable batteries have revolutionised mountain bike lighting compared with older lead acid and NiMH batteries — but battery and lamp efficiencies still vary dramatically. Most brands sell extra batteries (often at a discount if bought with the light) so you can always swap halfway. Check your batteries are properly prepared for maximum performance (this should be in the instructions) and take a back-up until you know you can rely on their run times.

Switchgear: The switch not only turns the light on, but also lets you change power output levels. It needs to be easy to operate while riding, even with gloves on, but hard to operate accidentally. Many lights now use backlit switches that double as mode and/or run time indicators using traffic-light-style colour changes. Switchgears now range from a simple push button sequential mode switch with low battery warning light to wireless bar-mounted units or switches that can also change the different output levels and menus.

Head or bars

Most lights come with both bar and helmet mounting options. Which is better comes down to personal preference, but here are the pros and cons of each.

The result — it’s a draw! In reality the best solution is to use helmet and bar-mounted lights, even if you have to buy lower powered units to afford both. It also means you have a backup should one battery die.

Jargon buster

Amp-hour — A measurement of battery capacity. The bigger the capacity, the longer your lights will run. You need to divide this value by the amperage the light operates at in order to get the theoretical run time

Bag — A cloth pack that holds the battery onto the bike’s frame

Bar mount — Light bracket that fits around oversize (31.8mm) and/or older 1in (25.4mm) diameter handlebars

Battery cell — The single units that wire together to create a battery pack

Bottle — Plastic water bottle converted to hold a large capacity battery

How we test mountain bike lights

Being stuck on a wet winter’s night, miles from anywhere with a failed light or everything suddenly going pitch black halfway down a technical descent is a really serious matter. That’s why we take our lights testing extremely seriously.

There’s no substitute for time on trail in all weathers to find out this crucial stuff — and we’re not just talking about lights used in the past few months. We also reference the sets we’ve run long-term to get in-depth, worst case use feedback that’s directly relevant to the riding you do.

Product reviewer Guy Kesteven tests run times and cooling

The science side

As is often the case with mountain biking, the scientific part of the testing is the easiest bit. Lights (lamp body plus handlebar bracket) and batteries are weighed on our scales.

We then measure the useful maximum power run time (to when the output fades and low battery warning lights come on) with pre-conditioned (used and recharged) batteries in the highest power setting on an air cooled rig to mimic the cooling effect of riding at night. We also measure the maximum casing heat of the lights with a thermal probe to see if any get dangerously hot.

Light output is calculated using a lux (a measurement of one lumen per square metre) calibrated industrial light meter placed 5m from the lamp in a blacked out workshop. (If the light has more than one beam or head unit we measure both separately and their combined output.)

This method does favour spot beams over flood beams, but it’s still a more trail translatable measurement than the lumen potential of LEDs. The coverage, density and other specific characteristics of the beam are often more important than the peak brightness though, so we also take beam photos to make it easier to compare the lights.

The practical side

It’s the feedback we get from real world usage that really sorts out often very similar lamps in terms of trail performance. When it comes to our test conditions we’re talking serious sorties, often two or three times a week all year round in every trail condition imaginable. Baked hard river bed runs that’ll shake a poor bracket or fragile circuit board apart in seconds or leave a badly bagged battery hanging by its lead; sub-zero tundra trudges that freeze a battery to horribly low maximum power run times; drownings in downpours and hip-deep bog crashes.

Most of our lights have seen it all and, if the most recent versions have only been hammered through summer, we’ve certainly put the models preceding them through the most testing ride schedule possible. Repeated group riding, bike switching, recharging and battery flattening gives us the perfect comparative testing cluster too, so any failures or fading is immediately obvious rather than going unnoticed in isolation.

In other words, if a light scores well, you know it’s gone through some proper optical and electrical purgatory to prove itself. For that reason, for all of our latest lights testing we’ve deliberately stuck with established (at least a year old) lights manufacturers to ensure anything we recommend is a fully supported product.

Light output is calculated using a lux calibrated industrial light meter placed 5m from the lamp in a blacked out workshop

Efficiency of LED Lighting

It’s not just a buzzword—efficiency is the name of the game with LEDs. LEDs are more than five times as great as its incandescent counterparts. They use only about 20 percent as much electricity to product the same amount of light.

A quality LED lamp can last anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 hours. If you operate the lamp for hours per day, 36days a year, your LED lamp could last 20 years.

Brightness of LEDs

Brightness is measured in lumens, while the energy a bulb consumes is measured in watts. To produce similar amounts of light, LED and fluorescents bulbs consume far fewer watts than incandescent or halogen bulbs. A standard 60W incandescent produces 800 lumens, whereas LEDs consume 13-1watts to produce 800 lumens.

LEDs Versus Fluorescent Lighting

Both LED and fluorescent lighting are more efficient than incandescent: LEDs consume up to 90% less energy and fluorescents consume up to 75% less. Fluorescents are made of glass tubes and can shatter if dropped, whereas LEDs are more durable. Also, fluorescents contain trace amounts of mercury and several states have special recycling rules.

Moving lights are a load of fun!

Whether you’re a band, church, DJ or in the theatre world, the dream for most people is to own or have access to moving lights.

How awesome would it be to have the ability to move a light wherever you need, change colors and project patterns, all automatically?

Other Options & The Hidden Costs of Moving Lights

A Conventional Lighting Console. From John Lemieux on Flickr.

The other option you have is to rent moving lights, if you’re only going to use them for theatrical productions once or twice a year, or for special events.

More expensive moving lights that you can rent inexpensively for a short term will give you really nice results and have features that cheaper fixtures don’t have.

In addition, you don’t have to worry about fixing the lights when they do break, which will happen.  Anything with moving parts will break eventually, lighting included!

I’m updating this post now in 2018, and I would recommend only buying LED moving lights if you’re just starting out – not only do you get to miss out on costly lamp replacement, but LED’s put out a whole lot less heat – which is a lot nicer to the components inside of the moving head!

Cheap vs. Expensive Moving Lights

The biggest question that I get from people when it comes to moving lights is this – “Why would I buy an expensive moving light, when the cheap moving lights have the same features?”

Lower end fixtures  will tend to have louder fan noise, and are generally louder when they are moving.  Nicer units tend to be very quiet compared to cheaper units.

If you’ve a bar band or DJ, you should probably buy the moving lights that are aimed at your market – units by Chauvet, ADJ, Elation, Blizzard and Martin are great examples.

If you’re a professional production company, and you’re going to use the fixtures often and setup/tear them down a lot, you’ll benefit from the easier repair-ability of pro-grade fixtures.

But whoever you are, please do stay away from the directly-imported fixtures – the lack of customer support and inconsistent quality control make them lose my recommendation!

Pros & Cons of LED Light

LED stands for light emitting diode, which are semiconductors that produce light when charged. LED bulbs have an average lifespan of over 50,000 hours, compared to a little over 1,000 for conventional incandescent bulbs. As a LED ages, the amount of light it gives off dissipates over time. 

Pros & Cons of CFL Light

CFL stands for compact fluorescent lighting, which is simply a smaller version of a fluorescent tube. CFL bulbs contain a mercury vapor that lights when it is energized. Because CFLs contain mercury, they must be disposed of carefully, at designated drop-off site (Home Depot, Lowes, recycling centers, etc). An average CFL bulb should last 7,000 hours.

Pros & Cons of Incandescent Light

Incandescent light is an electric process that produces light with a wire filament that is heated to a high temperature by an electric current which runs through it. This is the type of lighting which was the standard in homes up until the 1990’s.  Due to its poor energy efficiency, it is being replaced with the newer technology of LED and CFL bulbs. Incandescent bulbs last roughly 1,000 hours.

Pros & Cons of Halogen Light

Similar to incandescent light bulbs, halogen bulbs use a similar electric-filament technology with one important difference; with incandescents the filament degrades via evaporation over time whereas, with halogens, filament evaporation is prevented by a chemical process that redeposits metal vapor onto the filament, thereby extending its life. Halogen bulbs have a lifespan of roughly 3,000 hours.

Color Temperature & Lighting  Color temperature is a characteristic of visible light. The temperature of light refers to its warmness or coolness, or hue. This temperature is measured using the Kelvin scale, which for most use ranges from 2,700°-7,500°K. Incandescent and halogen lighting are the most limited in the temperature range at 2,700°-3,000°K. LED and CFL have each expanded their color range to now offering warmer options. Most task lighting, however, benefits from cooler lighting options which include LED, full spectrum, and CFL.

Understanding Lumens & Brightness  is a measurement of light output from a lamp, often called a tube or a bulb. All lamps are rated in lumens. For example, a 100-watt incandescent lamp produces about 1,600 lumens. 

The distribution of light on a flat surface is called its  illumination  and is measured in footcandles. A footcandle of illumination is a lumen of light spread over a one square foot area.

The illumination needed varies according to the difficulty of a visual task. Ideal illumination is the minimum footcandles necessary to allow you to perform a task comfortably and efficiently without eyestrain or fatigue. According to the Illuminating Engineering Society, illumination of 30 to 50 footcandles is needed for most home and office work. Intricate and lengthy visual tasks — like sewing — require 200 to 500 footcandles.

1,000-1,400 Lumens is a commonly accepted range for most applications of task lighting. An average of 50 Lumens per square foot is a common measure. efficacy. Efficacy is the ratio of light output from a lamp to the electric power it uses and is measured in lumens per watt.

Demystifying LED Light

When comparing the raw lumen output of traditional lamps with the lumen output of many LED lamps, it may seem that LEDs deliver less light than the conventional counterparts. These comparisons, however, are inaccurate and misleading, since they fail to account for the amount of wasted light in conventional lighting. 

Therefore, lumen output is a poor measure of the suitability of a lamp for a given task. The better measure is delivered light — how much light a fixture delivers to a surface, as measured in lux (lx) or footcandles (fc). You can make comparisons between conventional and LED lighting fixtures on the basis of delivered light, as it measures how much of a light source’s raw lumen output reaches a surface or area you are lighting. 

Determining the amount of a conventional lamp’s raw lumen output reaches as area, you must discount any light lost in the fixture housing (at times over 30%), as well as the light lost as a result of shading, lensing, and filtering. Since incandescent and fluorescent lamps often emit light in many directions, you must also discount any light cast away from the target area. 

Reading area or den

The reading area should have a bright task lamp. A bright desk lamp can prevent eye strain which is helpful in preventing eye damage in the long run. With bright task lamps in the reading area, you can keep headaches away. Thus, you will surely enjoy reading as well as other activities like writing letters or completing puzzles.

Kitchen

Your kitchen is another part of the home that requires task lighting. The dangerous nature of the activities you do in your kitchen is reason enough to get additional task lighting. More importantly, you need enough light to read recipes and to see the ingredients as they cook as well as other practical things. For kitchens, common task lighting fixtures are under cabinet lights that provide extra illumination to supplement the ambient light.

Important notes before getting your project started

Step 1: Get a clear vision! Because each project is unique, there is no all-in-one solution. Different projects require different types of LED strips. 

Do you want to dim your lights or control them with a remote or wall switch? 

Wattage consumed per strip of LEDs

Power consumption is one of the reasons we as a society have begun switching to LEDs. Wattage tells us how much power we are consuming while these lights are on, and in turn how much we’ll have to pay at the end of each month. Once again, be sure to verify the wattage per foot, meter, or reel before you buy.

Some may read “2watts” on a reel and then get home and realize this is per meter or per foot, meaning the whole reel actually uses much more. Making matters worse, they have bought a power supply that covers 30 watts, thinking that would be enough. This often occurs when a seller doesn’t properly list important information in an easy to read format.

PENDANT LIGHTS

Modern pendant lighting is all about being understated – the focus is on the form, with simple shapes on show. When hanging your pendant light, consider its purpose. Over a dining table, your light should be lower to create intimacy. In heavy traffic areas, such as hallways and living areas, use the tallest household member as a guide to check you’re not creating a collision course.

FLOOR LAMPS

Hit new heights with these illuminating show-stoppers that can take centre stage or create a cosy corner. Be conscious of scale when picking the right floor lamp for your space, advises Mardi. “It needs to relate to the size of the room or furniture near it,” she says. “A large sweeping floor lamp can smother a small room, whereas a well-proportioned piece can really enhance a living space.”

DOWNLIGHTS

Contemporary lights will suit the practical areas of your home – think kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. Modern downlights can bring a seamless sophistication to your kitchen, bathroom or living areas, allowing your hero pieces to shine. They are particularly useful if you are dealing with separate work areas, such as kitchen preparation benches, allowing you to direct the light source to the most practical areas. As with other lighting choices, choose energy-saving options, such as LEDs and fluorescents. These options, while initially more expensive, will save money and need less maintenance over time.

OUTDOOR LIGHTS

Integrated outdoor lighting schemes will make a dramatic impact to your backyard, deck or patio come nightfall. There are two important considerations when choosing outdoor lighting – safety and design. Coordinate your choices with your garden design to showcase the elements in the space, such as large trees, fragrant plants, stone walls or water features. Nat Corrigan from Gardens At Night says that it is important to look at where the garden is viewed from. “You may view the same feature from dif erent areas – multiple light fittings may be required so one aspect doesn’t appear in shadow,” he says. Nat also recommended fittings that are constructed of brass, copper or 31marine-grade stainless steel, to ensure that fittings will last longer. In terms of safety, make sure uneven pathways are well lit and stairways are highlighted. Check that any transformers are situated in convenient locations.

LED TRACK LIGHTING

Highlight your home’s architectural elements with this energy-ef icient, easy-care option. LED lighting has become the new darling in illumination, especially for kitchens and bathrooms. Sales manager of Superlight, Gordon MacVicar says that demand for the strip lighting has steadily increased over the past few years. “We have been doing LED track lighting for about six years and as the cost has come down, the demand has increased,” Gordon says. He adds that when people are investing in spectacular kitchen splashbacks or bathroom fittings, it is only natural that they want to highlight them with some clever lighting. LED track lighting is energy-ef icient, versatile and generates very little heat, making it also ideal for subtle lighting along stairways, windows and floors. The strips are manufactured to length, allowing lots of flexibility for homeowners. Gordon says that most residential projects choose a warm light option or, if it’s going in a clean white kitchen or bathroom, a 4000 kelvin light will provide a slightly cooler colour tone. Another great thing about LED strips? They are virtually maintenance free, says Gordon and usually don’t need replacing. “You can just set and forget them,” he says.

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Extended Downrod

A non-standard downrod is used when the ceiling height is greater than feet. See our downrod sizing guide to determine which length you will need for your ceiling height.

A sloped application is intended for room where the ceiling slants at 3degrees or higher. The fan installs into the ceiling with the use of an adapter, like this Modern Fan sloped ceiling adapter.

Lastly, look for a ceiling fan with a blade span that matches the room’s square footage and height. If you choose a fan that is too small for the space, it will struggle to move air. If you choose a fan that is too large for the space, not only will be off putting, but it will waste too much energy.

Sizing Tips: Here are some additional dimensions to consider when you buy a ceiling fan a new ceiling fan.

CEILING FAN LIGHTS

To add lighting or not to add lighting, that is the question. Choosing a ceiling fan with lighting is a matter of personal preference. If you plan to install the fan in a space with good natural lighting or sufficient light fixtures, buy a ceiling fan without a light kit.

If the space could use a boost of general lighting, choose a ceiling fan with a light kit. Today’s fans offer a range of lighting sources, including halogen, fluorescent, and LEDs.

Fluorescent

Fluorescent light sources use 7percent less energy than incandescent light sources and have an average lifespan of 10,000 hours. Ceiling fans with CFL bulbs emit cool or warm lighting.

LED light sources consume very little energy and have an average lifespan of 50,000 hours. These ceiling fans with energy-efficient bulbs emit cool or warm lighting.

Antique Ceiling Fan Designs

Antique and vintage style ceiling fans complement traditional and vintage home decors. They often feature decorative filigree and scrollwork on the motor housing and blade brackets. Many light kits include a warm globe light. To achieve a vintage-inspired look, buy a ceiling fan that features an antique-style and pair it with American Empire furniture, floral prints and textiles, and warm brass and copper finishes. A warm pastel palette ties the space together.

Contemporary Ceiling Fans

Contemporary ceiling fans are a great addition to any modern and transitional space. The modern style ceiling fans feature clean lines, smooth metallic finishes, and minimal adornment. Buy a ceiling fan with a contemporary feel and pair it with casual contemporary furniture (avoid wood carving and adornments), natural textiles such as cotton, linen or wool, and chrome, nickel or stainless steel hardware. A bold color palette and geometric accents bring the look together.

Rustic Ceiling Fans

Rustic ceiling fans pair well with country, mission and western interiors. These rustic-inspired ceiling fans feature straight lines and dark wood finishes with homespun accents. To achieve this look, buy a ceiling fan with a rustic look and pair it with lodge-style furniture, checkered or striped prints, handmade accents, such as baskets, carved wooden bowls, and pottery, and hand-forged metal accents. Soft, muted colors, rough hewn wood and hand-forged metal accents round out this look.

Tropical Ceiling fans

Tropical ceiling fans complement coastal, island, and nautical home interiors. The island-inspired fans feature bamboo, natural palm leaf, and rattan blades with distressed wood finishes. To achieve this look, buy a ceiling fan with a tropical feel and pair it with rattan furniture, bright colors and natural patterns, tropical flowers and plants, and handcrafted items.

CEILING FAN EFFICIENCY & AIRFLOW

The motor is the heart of any ceiling fan, and it determines the airflow and efficiency of your ceiling fan. You don’t have to have to be an electrical engineer to understand a fan motor, but it’s the most important part of any fan. Consider the factors below the next time you buy a ceiling fan:

High Airflow

High airflow ceiling fans circulate more air and consume less energy than standard fans. These fans are ideal for garages, warehouses, and outdoor spaces, such as your patio and porch. When you buy a ceiling fan with high airflow you get an added bonus: high-airflow fans are known to drive away mosquitoes and other backyard pests.

Ceiling Fans with Remote Control

The handheld remote control offers the most convenience of all the fan control options. The lightweight and portable control operated within a 30 to 50-foot range, making it ideal for high ceiling fans and hard to reach places. Handheld remote control ceiling fans are also ideal for bedrooms.

Wall Control

The fan speed wall control option allows you to operate the fan speed, direction and lighting with the press of a button. The stationary remote has a range up to 40 feet, making it ideal for families with kids. A wall control is ideal for kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms and multipurpose rooms.

Assessing Your Lighting System Needs

In putting together your lighting system, it’s useful to consider what you want to achieve. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Regarding the last question, if you’ll be handling your own lighting during performances, features such as remote control, foot pedal control, and programmability will be important considerations.

LED vs. Conventional Lighting Fixtures

Inexpensive LED fixtures typically have smaller, low-power LEDs while larger, high-end fixtures are equipped with one-watt or three-watt diodes for much more impact. Smaller LEDs are often designated by their sizes—typically 5mm or 10mm. A 10mm diode is proportionately much brighter than a 5MM LED.

Light-emitting diodes or LEDs have revolutionized all kinds of lighting fixtures from those used in autos and homes to even the humble flashlight. For many good reasons, the LED’s impact on stage lighting and effects has been huge. Major acts such as Radiohead have recently toured using LED lighting exclusively. Let’s look at LED lighting’s advantages and disadvantages in comparison with traditional lighting:

Strobe and Laser Effects

Strobe effects use a pulsing white light beam to create a visual stuttering effect similar to viewing old-time films. They’re very popular in dance clubs and are available with both traditional filament bulbs as well as LEDs in a range of power levels to match various venues. You can choose from standalone models or DMX-controlled strobes that can be programmed with custom patterns. Sound-activated models can create a particularly exciting ambience on the dancefloor. Note that many LED PAR cans and effects lighting fixtures include strobing functions that may be adequate for your needs.

Laser effects produce very intense single-color beams and often include built-in display programs as well as sound-activated functions using a built-in mic. Motorized units allow scanning and burst effects, and the inclusion of gobos can create patterned laser beams. More advanced laser effect fixtures can produce 3-D effects and detailed backdrops, skyscapes, and much more. Lasers are especially effective when used in conjunction with fog machines.

Black Lights and UV Lights

These fixtures are a simple, low-cost way to add a special ambience to performance spaces and other venues. They enhance the appearance of white and fluorescent colors in darkened spaces creating a ghostly glow. Black lights are available in standard fluorescent tube and incandescent bulb formats that use standard lighting fixtures as well as newly developed LED fixtures.

PAR Can Lighting Fixtures

These lights are a staple of stage and live-sound lighting. These basic fixtures have a metal housing, mounting bracket, reflector, and socket that can accept a variety of different lamp types. They’re often used in large numbers to illuminate certain performers or stage areas and are usually mounted on overhead trusses. They do not offer a true hard-edge beam; the width of the beam is determined by the shape and positioning of the PAR can’s reflector.

PAR cans come in a wide range of sizes and are identified by their diameters in eighths of an inch. A PAR64, for example, has an 8″ diameter (because 6eighths of an inch equals 8″). Most include a holder allowing colored gels to be mounted in front of the lens.

Note that PAR3lamps are sometimes designated as simply SP (Spot) or FL (Flood).

The power requirements of PAR cans with incandescent lamps can add up fast. Those for smaller stages are typically in the 75-150 watt range. PAR3cans typically run between 50-150 watts. PAR46s usually have 200-watt lamps, PAR56s usually range from 300-500 watts, and PAR 64s range from 500-1000 watts. This is where the LED technology really shines (pun intended). They not only use a fraction of the power required by incandescent  fixtures, but also reduce the number of fixtures needed in order to create a wide range of color options.

A common lighting setup for bands involves the use of a pair of light trees on either side of the stage, each holding enough PAR3cans with spot lamps and amber or light pink gels to light each frontline band member. Drummers are usually lit from the back and sides. Mounting the light trees to the tops of your main speakers is a space-saving strategy.

PAR cans and other lighting fixtures that have a double-yoke support system are something to look for if you want maximum placement flexibility. Double yokes allow mounting the fixture from a truss or placing it on a floor, speaker, or stage without a separate mount.

Today, many PAR fixtures are equipped with LEDs instead of traditional incandescent bulbs, giving them multi-color and color-mixing options. As noted above, PAR cans with LEDs generate much less heat, require far less power, and don’t require the use of dimmer packs.

The Thinpar6from Venue uses 100 bright LEDS to generate intense static or pulsing colors plus sound-activated and automated programs with master/slave or DMX-controlled operation.

Dimmer and Switch Packs

PAR cans with incandescent lamps require dimmer packs to control them. They operate in the same way household dimmer switches function, allowing you to set the relative brightness of connected lights. Most small bands and DJs use satellite dimmer packs with several channels that are typically mounted to the T-Bar or truss holding the PAR cans. The cans are plugged into the dimmer and they’re connected to a DMX controller. Dimmer packs are available with various numbers of channels, and some include built-in programs or chases.

Some units offer both dimmer and switch capabilities. Switches only provide on/off functions, and should be be used on LED and non-DMX effects fixtures to avoid shortening their life.

Lighting and Effects Packages

On the Musician’s Friend website you’ll find affordable lighting and effects packages that range from economical multi-PAR can packs to full systems that include a complete set of stage lighting and effects fixtures plus a controller, stands, and cables—everything needed to light your show. Aside from the savings these packs offer, you can be sure each fixture is compatible and designed to maximize the overall visual impact of your performance.

Non-DMX Lighting

Non-DMX lighting fixtures have their own on-board controllers. Many such fixtures are designed to react to sound picked up through an internal microphone. Sound-activated fixtures usually include settings allowing the unit to create effects when insufficient or no sound is present.

Selectable, built-in programs allow you to automate non-DMX fixture operation—an advantage for bands and DJs who handle their own lighting. Fixtures in this category with incandescent lamps are often manufactured to operate for a specified period of time before they must be turned off, which may make it necessary to use multiple fixtures to create a continuous show. Look for the duty-cycle specification to determine if a specific model makes sense for your needs. This is another advantage of LED fixtures—they have no duty-cycle limitations. Examples of common non-DMX lighting include beam effects, flower effects, and gobo projectors.

DMX Lighting Fixtures

Also called intelligent lighting, these fixtures can be controlled via DMX-51controllers or interfaces. A DMX controller allows you to program stage lighting and effects remotely, ideal when you want complete control of the look and timing of lighting effects. DMX fixtures offer more control attributes or “traits” than non-DMX fixtures.

DMX-512

DMX-51is the communication/cabling protocol that most entertainment lights and controllers use to communicate with each other. DMX acts like a post office. For control, you assign an address between and 51However, unlike your house, which only has one address, your fixture needs a number assigned to each of its channels. A 6-channel DMX fixture uses addresses, or channels on a controller. Each channel on the fixture handles a specific control attribute such as pan, tilt, color, etc.

DMX Controllers

Controllers run the gamut from simple non-DMX switchboxes and relay packs that allow you to power multiple lighting and sound channels to highly sophisticated DMX units that provide control over every aspect of multiple lighting systems composed of hundreds of DMX-compatible fixtures. Some simpler controllers have a dedicated purpose such as controlling specific effects such as strobes or fog machines. Some controller models allow foot control—a great feature for solo acts and small bands who control their lights in realtime during performance.

The basics of DMX controller operation are generally quite simple. Each slider on the controller corresponds to a channel on the fixture being controlled. DMX fixtures have specific values that correspond to their various control settings such as color, gobo, pan, tilt, strobe speed, etc. By moving a slider on the controller to a specific value, the fixture follows suit. The various control values of each button or slider used to create an overall effect can be saved into a “scene”, which triggers the specific action or state you set. The scene is then saved into a memory bank. Numerous scenes can be combined into an entire program, which, for example, can be synchronized with cues for a show. This is called a “chase.” Chases can be adjusted via a myriad of input functions, depending on the controller being used. Examples of control triggers include MIDI and clock/calendar events.

Software-Based DMX Control

As with software-based audio recording and performance functions, there is a revolution in progress involving a shift in lighting control from hardware-based controllers to PC software and mobile device apps. That said, also as with audio functions, there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.

Dedicated hardware lighting controllers with physical sliders, buttons, switches, and legible displays offer intuitive and tactile control and workflow without delving deeply into menus and mastering steep software learning curves. On the other hand, software-based lighting control offers enormous control potential with nearly unlimited creativity in designing elaborate lighting programs. Software may also be more affordable route.

The compact Chauvet Xpress 51Controller and USB Interface works with Windows or Mac computers and gives you powerful software-based control over an unlimited number of shows.

Many hardware lighting controllers come bundled with their own proprietary software and/or are compatible with other lighting software. Deciding which approach to lighting is right for your needs comes down to the complexity of your lighting and your willingness to master sophisticated lighting programming.

The Elation Show Designer 2CF DMX Controller offers 102channels of controls and has a huge fixture library for simplified effects programming.

DMX Controller Features and Specs

Here are some features and specs to look at when shopping for a DMX Controller:

Number of channels: Much like calculating the connections needed on an audio mixer, count the number of devices and each device’s number of channels in coming up with an adequate channel count. You’ll of course want to allow some additional capacity for future needs too.

Number of channels per fixture: Some fixtures have many control attributes or parameters. If you plan to include such fixtures in your lighting system, a controller that can handle up to 3channels per fixture will make sense. However, if your system will be largely comprised of simpler effect fixtures and PAR cans, a smaller, DJ-type controller is likely to be adequate.

Number of programmable scenes: As noted above, a scene is a set of control values or slider positions that can be saved for instant recall. Some controllers allow scenes to be saved on external memory devices while software-compatible controllers offer scene storage and editing on external computers or tablets.

Number of programmable shows: A complete sequence of chases and other settings that comprise a complete performance that can be saved and recalled.

Number of universes: Each DMX network is called a “universe” and has up to 51channels. Smaller controllers usually have a single OUT connector allowing control of a single universe. More complex lighting systems may be composed of several networks or universes thus requiring multiple controllers, or a single controller with multiple OUT connectors.

Fixture libraries: These collections of fixture profiles streamline the process of setting attributes and functions.

Tap/sync: This function allows the operator to sync lighting effects with the music by tapping in the tempo.

Joystick/trackball controls: These make tilt/pan and other positional functions easier to control.

Keyboard input: Allows connection of a computer keyboard for faster programming and naming of scenes, chases, and shows.

MIDI I/O and control: Allows control of the lighting system with a MIDI-enabled pedalboard, keyboard or other controller—a valuable feature for performers and DJs who control their lights in realtime. MIDI in and out connectors also facilitate programming on external computers and other MIDI-compatible devices.

USB Connectivity/Software-based DMX control: A USB connector plus MIDI implementation opens up a world of control possibilities using PC software and/or mobile apps to program and control your lighting.

Wireless operation: Some DMX controllers are compatible with wireless adapters so as to deal with situation where very long cable runs would otherwise be needed. Such systems have a wireless transmitter at the controller and receivers located near lighting fixtures. These systems convert DMX control messages to radio frequencies at the transmitter then convert the signal back to DMX signals at the receivers which are connected to the fixtures.

Lighting Strategies

Each fixture produces output at a specific beam angle, which denotes the width of beam being produced. Assuming that you have two fixtures with the same wattage lamps, the fixture with the smaller beam angle will appear brighter. This is because the same amount of light is being focused into a smaller area. In addition, because a smaller beam angle creates a more focused and intense projection, the light can be placed further from the subject being illuminated. The larger (wider) the beam angle of a fixture, the larger the area that can be covered by the unit.

Fixtures should also be placed in proximity to the subject based on output. Lights that have a lower output need to be placed closer to the subject than a high-output fixture in order to be perceived as having the same brightness.

Having a combination of wash and spot fixtures illuminating an area will greatly enhance the look of any show. By using contrasting colors, the spots will pop out more, appearing brighter within the wash effect than if used alone.

Assigning Effects and Programming Shows

The key to good lighting design is to mix and match fixtures and tones to create a desired mood and effect. When programming, use color schemes that complement or contrast with one another, depending on the mood you want. Using a wash to create an ambient light in a color that will complement your spot, or effect, will make it appear brighter and richer. Clean, crisp complementary colors, along with fluid movement and symmetry produce an air of professionalism. Contrasting colors add high energy and drama to a venue. The best way to increase your design skills is by visiting different venues and shows to see what other designers have done. Note the elements that struck you as the best, and attempt to emulate and improve on them.

Connecting a Controller to Lighting Fixtures

A DMX signal begins at the controller and follows the path of the cable to the first fixture and then to each fixture in line down the cable run. The following diagram shows the proper method and order for connecting multiple fixtures to a single controller. The DMX line pictured here runs from the controller to the “DMX In” connection on the first fixture. From the “DMX Out” connection of the first fixture, a cord is connected to the “DMX In” connection of the next fixture in the line, and so on until all units have a cable connected to the “DMX In” connection. The last fixture in the line should have a DMX terminator installed to maintain the quality of the DMX signal.

Method for connecting DMX lighting fixtures to the controller

Lighting Hardware

When setting up your lighting, you need hardware that will safely and securely position and hold your fixtures where you need them. Raising your lighting fixtures increases their coverage and keeps them safe from accidental contact and damage caused by vibrations. Musician’s Friend offers a broad selection of clamps, mounting brackets, and safety cables to accomplish this.

If you perform in a variety of venues, it’s likely you’ll run into challenges in setting up your lights. Having an assortment of lighting stands can help make setup simpler. Basic T-bar stands with tripod bases make a good all-around lighting support. A pair of such stands with an integrated truss affords more positioning options, support, and stability. Read specs carefully to make sure that the light stand or truss system you choose is rated for the weight of your fixtures.

Lighting Cables

The fixtures you select will determine the cables required to connect your system. In general, you will need one power cord per fixture, along with the appropriate extension cords (if needed). In addition, if you are connecting your fixtures via DMX cable, you will need one DMX cable per fixture. DMX cables use XLR connectors and come in 3- and 5-pin varieties. Check the user’s manual of your fixtures and controller to determine which type will be needed for your application. It’s a good practice to have extra cables on hand to deal with failures and venues requiring longer cable runs. That goes for extension cords, switchboxes, and AC power strips too.

Lighting Glossary

Attribute » a controllable parameter on a fixture such as gobo selection, color, tilt, pan, etc.

Barrel scanner » This effect fixture, also called a rolling mirror scanner, has a moving mirror that rotates around a drum with a beam that can be panned across its axis

Beam angle » The width of a beam of light, often designated by the number of degrees; the greater the number the wider the beam. Sometimes designated with qualitative terms such as narrow, medium, and wide.

Chase » A sequence of lighting effects or on and off sequences. A simple example is the apparent movement of theatre marquee lights along a string, caused by the rapid sequential illumination of each fixture.

CMY » System of light color mixing using Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. This system entails the use of colored gels or filters to create a wide palette of colors. Also see RGB.

Color temperature » A measurement of how relatively blue (“cold”) or amber (“warm”) a given light is.

Color wheel » A circular metal disc containing colored glass filters and is motorized to rotate in front of a light source.

DMX51» The protocol used to control lighting systems and individual DMX-compatible effects.

Fixture » In lighting systems, any lamp or lighting effect is considered a fixture.

Focus » A qualitative statement of how relatively hard or soft a gobo’s projected image is. The hardness of a projected image is largely a function of the distance that the beam is projected; the greater the distance, the softer the image. Focus may also refer to the X/Y position of a moving light in relation to the performance space or stage.

Gel » Also called a color gel or color filter, it’s a transparent colored polyester or polycarbonate sheet used in stage lighting in front of a light beam to alter its color.

Gobo » A usually spherical glass or metal template containing patterns that are projected by light sources mounted behind or within the gobo.

Gobo wheel » A disc within a moving light fixture that has several gobos placed around its perimeter. A motor steps through each gobo pattern in sequence, or fixtures may be programmable to select custom sequences.

Joystick » A device that allows control of a moving light’s pan and tilt functions. See trackball.

Kelvin » The measurement of a lamp’s color temperature. Incandescent lamps typically range between 600-3200 Kelvin. Arc and discharge lamps range 6000 and 9000 Kelvin. The sun has a temperature of 577See color temperature.

Moving head fixture » A lighting fixture in which the entire optical system, including gobo wheels, lamps, prisms, etc. move with the emitted beam(s).

Moving mirror fixture » Often called scanners, these lighting fixtures employ a mirror to animate and project beams of light. They typically offer faster movement than moving head fixtures.

How dental operatory lights work

The oral cavity is a dark and secluded field. Because of this, the operatory light is a crucial part of the daily armamentarium for every dentist and hygienist. Better visibility means better treatment for the patient. While halogen lights have been popular historically, newer LED technology is making its way into the field, providing brighter, more functional lighting for your treatment room.

Blackburn 2’Fer XL

One of the chunkier lights we have is the 2’Fer XL. Its aluminium body gives it a weight of 80g yet it’s loaded with clever stuff.

Blackburn has designed 2’Fer to be used either as a front or a rear mounted bike light via the silicone strap, or alternatively clip it to your person or bag via the metal clip – it has ample options.

Four light settings keep things simple with either solid or flashing in either white or red light, this gives an expected battery life of either two or six hours and four or 1respectively.

And like several others here, the electronics include a ‘fuel gauge’ to tell you how much battery life you have remaining.

Lezyne Zecto Drive

If there is one thing Lezyne takes seriously, it’s lights, offering nearly a dozen front options and the same at the rear, plus combination sets of the two making for a whole lot of choice even before you get into coloured cases.

Thinking of the case, that used for the Zecto Drive is a chunky, durable version that adds a few grams to the weight bringing them to a total of 95g for the pair, but giving the option to attach either via a silicone strap or by clipping to a bag. They are listed as drop-resistant to one metre, too.

Front and rear lights have seven and eight lighting modes respectively to give anywhere from 3.hours to over 1hours of burn time and three to 1hours from a single charge.

Infini Sword Super bright 30 COB Lightset

COB or Chip On Board lights have been around for several years. With multiple light sources – in this case 30 – all acting as one unit, they provide the look of a lighting panel rather than a specific point of light.

They are also slimmer so sit more inline with seatpost or bars, giving a cleaner line to the bike. Both Sword lights provide five modes of operation with two constant modes lasting two or six hours, two low output flashing options that apparently give 200 hours of use and four-hour pulsating mode.

Cateye Orb

You won’t find many lights smaller than these latest editions to the vast Cateye range. Weighing in at 53g for the pairing they’re about as lightweight as you’ll find too.

Non-rechargeable, each Orb runs on two CR203watch batteries – the same as most power meters – and measure just 22mm by 26mm for the main body.

Switched on by depressing the lens, everything is trimmed down yet they still manage to run for up to 50hrs in constant mode and 100hrs in either of the two flashing options, making them a great option to fit to your bike and forget about until the light output reduces.

The impressively small design, low price and long battery life makes these a great fit-and-forget option – 7.5/10

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS

When shopping at a local hardware store, homeowners should consider a number of factors when selecting the best solar path lights for their property. • Color: Most solar path systems emit a soft white or amber-colored light; in fact, amber lights tend to use less energy and last longer than their white-light counterparts. Colored lights in hues like red, green, and blue are another playful option to consider. • Design: As for appearance, solar path lights are available in a wide variety of styles. Whether you prefer classic craftsman designs, Victorian vibes, ethereal-looking orbs, or a quirky custom look, there’s a light on the market to suit your taste. For a more high-tech lighting solution, consider buying motion-activated lights, or ones that glow in a flickering pattern like candles.

BRIGHTEST OF THE BUNCH

We’ve rounded up our top three picks for the best solar path lights on the market, taking into account customer reviews, expert opinions, and the criteria outlined above. Lighting up your outdoor space has never been easier!

Brightness

Magicshine lights start at around £100 and are popular with value-conscious riders.

This is what really matters with a set of mountain bike lights: how much illumination they provide. As a rough rule, 150-200 Lumens is enough for a helmet mounted light while anything over 300 will let you keep a decent pace on trails you know.

Keeping spending and you literally turn night into day, its not uncommon to find lights producing in excess of a 1000 Lumens.

Batteries

Most of the brightest lights still use a separate battery however, which might be encased in a fabric pouch or plastic housing and Velcro-ed to the top tube or similarly convenient place.

Exposure pioneered the single-unit lamp. This the self-adjusting Reflex which dials down its output when you slow down.

Charging

With Li-Ion batteries charging is a fairly straight-forward process, and many lights come with ‘smart chargers’ so you don’t have to watch the clock – just leave it on charge through the night and the charger will take care of everything. Some use USB cables which are handy for charging your lights from your computer or at work.

Mounting

Easy to overlook but the bracket can really make or break a lightset. You’re looking for a bracket that’s easy to use, preferably doesn’t need any tools to use (handy for swapping quickly between bikes) and most importantly holds the light securely in place – the last thing you want is the light wobbling all over the place when you’re dropping into a tight techy descent. A good, solid attachment to the bars is essential. Hinged cam-locking clamps are common and effective.

Check what fittings you get with the system. Some include bar helmet and bear head mountings, some have just one, with the others as optional extras.

Housings

Dual-beam systems like the Niterider Pro 3600 combine flood and spot for versatility and can put out huge amounts of light.

Robust and waterproof housings are essential, as are connectors that keep out the wet. Poor connectors can lead to the light cutting out at the most inconvenient possible time.

Run times

Run time of lithium-ion-powered lights will decrease with age as the battery deteriorates. In theory, this deterioration can be slowed down by storing the battery at a low temperature, so if you put your lights away for the summer, store them in the fridge.

Incandescent

The most recognisable type of bulb, and the easiest to replace. Let’s say you have a standard 60W incandescent bulb which you use to light your lounge and replace it with a 12W Verbatim LED bulb. This is overkill, if anything, as the replacement will be noticeably brighter (producing 1,100 lumens – the equivalent of a 77W incandescent bulb and representing 8percent energy saving).

Using some average figures – 15p per kWh of electricity – you’ll save around £per year.

They’re said to last for 25,000 hours – the same as the Verbatim – and you’ll break even in roughly two years.

There are various types of incandescent bulb. The common version – in the photo above – is an E2screw, but it can also have a traditional bayonet fitting. Most LED bulbs offer a choice of either fitting.

You may also have R50 spotlight bulbs (also known as SES or E14) in ceiling light fittings. These are fairly widely available as LED versions.

However, using the same SES / E1screw fitting are many ‘candle’ bulbs. Again, these are easily available in LED.

Halogen

All of these are inefficient and can be replaced with LEDs. Halogen spotlights are perhaps the worst culprits as although they use less power than incandescent bulbs, they’re rarely used singly. Typically there will be up to six or eight per room, and if each is a 35W lamp, that’s between 200 and 300W. Halogens are notoriously inefficient, such that you can buy ‘energy-efficient’ halogen bulbs, but even these save only around a third.

Halogens come in two main types: GU(mains voltage) and MR1(low voltage – 12V). Just because some are low voltage doesn’t mean they use less power. They don’t.

Don’t forget your outdoor lighting. Halogen floodlights – which have lamps which consume between 120 and 500 watts – can be replaced with 10- or 20W LED versions for around £to £20 per light: you replace the entire light fitting. This 10W model costs only £9.9from Toolstation.

Colour temperature

Colour temperature is crucial: most people prefer the warm white, which is very similar to halogen, rather than the ‘cold’ bluish tint of white or cool-white LEDs. Look out for the actual colour temperature in Kelvin: 2700-3000K is a good warm white. Higher values, say 5000K or 6000K will look cooler. If you want a whiter look, be careful as you can end up with a very clinical look.

Beam angle

Next up is beam angle. This determines the spread of light the bulb produces. A narrower angle means light will be concentrated on a smaller area, like a spotlight. A larger angle is better for lighting a larger area, but don’t forget this means it could appear dimmer overall. For replacing Halogen downlights, look for a beam angle of around 40 degrees. Incadescent replacements should have a much larger beam angle, say 140 degrees.

CRI is another spec you should see (if you don’t, it’s worth asking for the CRI figure). Here’s why: CRI stands for Colour Rendering Index and is a measure of the light quality from 0 to 100. In other words, the CRI score tells you if objects appear the correct colour when lit using that bulb. Incandescent bulbs had a brilliant CRI, but not so with fluorescent tubes. If you want to avoid bad-looking lighting, it’s crucial to go for LEDs with a high CRI.

Technology

Not all LEDs use the same technology. Cheaper bulbs will tend to use multiple SMD (surface-mount device) LEDs, but newer or more expensive ones will use COB – chip on-board LEDs.

COB offers a higher light output per watt, and tends to be used in smaller bulbs such as MR1COB isn’t necessarily better than SMD, though. It depends on the form factor of the bulbs you’re buying and your priorities in terms of budget.

Existing equipment

If you are replacing low-voltage halogen bulbs, there are no guarantees that LEDs will work on your particular transformers which may require a minimum power draw to work properly. If the draw is too low from your super-efficient LED bulbs, they may flicker or not work at all. In this case, you would need to either replace the transformers with proper LED drivers, or change the fittings from MR1to mains-voltage GUfittings and buy GULED bulbs instead. Fittings are cheap, and it may be cheaper to go down this route than buy an LED driver for each MR1bulb.

Battery and charging

USB charging offers a quick, easy and convenient way to keep your battery topped up

Batteries have improved dramatically in recent times, too. After all, what’s the point in having a super-bright light if its limited run time leaves you stranded on a dark road with a battery that has run dry?

Almost all bike lights use lithium-ion batteries, which are far more efficient than the old lead acid or NiMH batteries.

Battery run times vary dramatically. Never judge a book by its cover. Treat the manufacturer’s claimed run times with a little caution – they represent the best possible scenario (a brand new light, with a fully charged battery and an LED which is right on spec, for example). Lithium-ion batteries will also deteriorate with age.

Run time is, of course, extended when less power is used and most lights offer a range of settings, either reducing the output or turning the beam from steady to flashing.

USB charging is all the rage and offers a quick, easy and convenient way to top up the battery’s juice. Just plug in your lights when you get to work to top them up before the ride home.

Robust and waterproof housing is essential

Most lights are controlled using a single button which will allow you to turn it on/off and cycle through the various settings.

You’ll spend much of winter wearing thick gloves so look for a button which is easy to control with fat fingers. We prefer a button which scrolls through the settings with a single click, and then requires a long press to turn it off, thereby avoiding being plunged into momentary darkness.

The most sophisticated lights are programmable, either offering adjustment of the light level through a built-in system or via a computer.

A battery life indicator – which often comes in the form of a tiny LED where the colour represents the amount of charge left – is important if on a long training ride and always useful to check how much charge you have left.

Commuting lights

Unless you commute on deserted country lanes, commuter lights are more than sufficient

With an increased lumen output, ranging anywhere from approximately 50 Lumens to 300 Lumens and above, good commuter lights will be waterproof and easy to attach to the bike. Many will be charged via a USB port. Commuter lights needn’t be only for riding to and from work; they’re also useful for training rides at dawn or dusk, or on overcast winter days.

High-powered lights

Lights at this end of the market are often powered by a removable, rechargeable battery (like the Gemini Xera Flashlight reviewed here) or a separate battery pack which is strapped to the toptube (such as the Hope R4), but an increasing number, including the 800-lumen Light and Motion Taz, can be charged via USB, which removes the charger (the easiest bit to lose or forget) from the equation.

Beam patterns vary a lot – some, particularly those designed for off-road use, have a very wide spread, while others have a more focused beam. A beam pattern somewhere between the two is ideal if you do most of your riding on road as you want to avoid blinding drivers while ensuring there’s enough light to pick out any hazards across the road. Also, make an effort to point the beam on the road, rather than into the eyes of oncoming drivers. After all, you want them to be able to see you, and for you to be able to see where you’re going.

Headlights

Think of your OEM headlights as that suit you wore to your high school prom. That powdered blue tuxedo was cool back in the day, but it’s hardly fashion forward by today’s standards. The same is true for your car’s headlights. While most OEM lights provide adequate illumination, most times their style is straight out the 70s. Thankfully, you can pull your car’s exterior out of the past with a set of aftermarket headlights. Replacement headlights go above and beyond the uninspired design of OEM lights to enhance you car’s look and attitude. These exterior accents range from the sleek and sophisticated to the rugged and race ready, and our diverse catalog of automotive lights are sure to please drivers of all tastes.

Aftermarket headlights do more than just alter the look of your exterior – they can also enhance your car’s light output.

Helpful Tip

If your factory headlights aren’t meeting your standards, consider picking up a set of Spyder headlights. LED headlights produce a significantly stronger beam than regular OEM headlights to increase your visibility at night. Plus, they use less power than OE lights and stand up to weather and water damage better than Halogen bulbs. In addition to LED headlights, you can upgrade your front end with Euro headlights or Halo headlights. Euro lights, like Spyder Euro headlights, are ideal for import cars seeking a more continental style. Additionally, Euro beam patters are significantly wider than normal beam patterns found on factory lights, improving visibility at night and in bad weather. However, if state-of-the-art performance and style is what you want, take a look at Anzo halo headlights. Halo headlamps feature CCFL technology, which means they burn more efficiently than other lights on the market and add a super-modern style to your front end.

Tail Lights

Sure, your tail lights’ primary responsibility is to illuminate your back-end, but they also help determine your car’s look. Unfortunately, most OEM tail lights fall short in the style department. You can bring your car’s backside looks into the 21st century with a set of replacement tail lights. From bright and bold LEDs to subtle designs inspired by European luxury, aftermarket tail lights give you the freedom to add any look to your vehicle.

Bumper Lights and Corner Lights

Bumper and corner lights are the small but essential accents that tie your car’s style together. If your car’s front-end still looks frumpy even after installing a set of new aftermarket headlights, it may have something to do with your bumper lights. In the same way a chipped tooth can ruin a perfect smile, cracked bumper lights, parking lights, and corner lights can diminish your front-end looks. Pick up a set of Anzo bumper lights to fill out your style. These bumper lights come in a variety of styles and feature a cosmopolitan design that adds sophistication to any bumper. For cars suffering from outdated corner lights, consider a set of APC Amber corner lights. These cool amber corner lights are custom designed to your vehicle, making them the easy-to-install way to brighten up the sides of your vehicle.

Helpful Tip: Need help finding the best LED headlights for your car? Take a look at the customer reviews on our site while you browse and see what people are saying about our aftermarket lights.

Third Brake Lights

Third brake LED lights take your rear-end lighting system to the next level. These lights provide drivers with an instant, cost-effective lighting upgrade, and most 3rd brake lights install easily with hand tools or automotive-grade tape. Truck and SUV owners should take a look at the Anzo LED third brake light. The Anzo 3rd brake light features a set of long-lasting LED lights and adds a rugged look to the back of your cab. It’s ideal for domestic trucks and SUVs, and comes in multiple colors. Truck owners in search of an attention grabbing light accessory should check out the Putco tail light bar. This light bar is constructed with striking LED lights that are custom fit to your truck’s tailgate. For budget conscious truck owners, this lighting accessory is a no-brainer.

How To Install Your Car Headlights

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a seasoned mechanic to install a set of replacement headlights. In fact, adding a new set of lamps to your car is easy, regardless of your experience with do-it-yourself projects. Check out this video and see how you can install a new pair of Spyder Euro headlights to your vehicle in under an hour.

Off-Road Lights

Trucks, SUVs, and Off-road vehicles have different needs than regular automobiles. When you’re fording through dark trails or cruising through the campsite, those high-beam headlamps aren’t going to cut it. Off-road lights are designed to meet the specific needs of heavy duty vehicles and enhance the style of your exterior. They come in a variety of designs to increase your visibility and truck’s rugged look. Before you start browsing, take a look at these popular off-road lighting options to find the best set of lights for your vehicle.

Flood Lights

If you’re facing inclement weather while off-roading, you may need additional illumination to get to your destination safely. In these situations, rely on a set of car flood lights. These flood lights have a wider beam pattern than OEM headlamps and make for a great exterior ornament for any truck or SUV. If you’re interested in mounting a set of flood lights onto your vehicle, take a look at KC HiLites off-road lights. Heavy rain and inclement weather are no match for these lights. These KC Hilities flood light kits come with impressive HID lights and feature a compact design that’s perfect for Jeeps and SUVs that are short on space.

Fog Lights

Fog can spell major problems for drivers. Driving through heavy fog can make the straightest paths seem uncertain, and even the most experienced drivers could get lost in the haze. You can see past heavy fog, however, with a set of high powered fog lights. Car fog lights are different from flood lights in that their beam shines at a downward angle to avoid your beams reflecting off of hazy weather. Drivers who face fog on a daily basis should pick up PIAA 2000 Series Fog Lights. These compact fog lights fit most vehicles and produce a wide 55-degree light beam to increase your visibility on the road. If these lights don’t suit your style, then check out Anzo LED fog lights. The LEDs on Anzo Fog Lights add over 400 Lumens to your existing light system and are available in multiple sizes and styles. In addition to the safety they provide, fog lights can also enhance the rugged style of your truck or SUV. For drivers looking to enhance their Jeep’s style with a set of mountable fog lights, check out PIAA 520 Series fog lights. This off-road fog light kit comes with two high powered bulbs and a rugged style that provides any vehicle with a set of tough off-road lighting accents.

Long Range Off-Road Lights

Off-Road long range lights can bulk up the look of any SUV or truck. They drastically increase your visibility at night and mount onto most vehicles in minutes. If your truck is lacking in the lighting department, a long range off-road light kit might be just the thing to enhance your 4×4’s visibility. Among the many off-road range lights we carry, our most popular among off-road enthusiasts are the KC HiLites Daylighters. These powerful HID lights increase your ability to drive along dark trails and come equipped with a rugged casing that enhances your vehicle’s off-road look.

LED Lights

LED lights shine brighter than OEM headlights and can even triple your range of vision in some cases. Additionally, they’re built to last longer than incandescent lights. Unlike standard car lights, LEDs don’t have a filament, which makes them more resistant to water damage. LED lights also use up less battery power than incandescent lights and fire up faster than incandescent bulbs, making them ideal for brake lights. If you’re thinking about switching over to an LED light system, check out Anzo LED tail lights. These replacement tail lights give your rear-end increased visibility and make for a great off-road accent for trucks and SUVs.

Halogen Lights

Halogen is the standard bulb for most replacement headlights and tail lights. These lights burn brighter and longer than regular incandescent lights and are more energy efficient. However, like most incandescent bulbs, halogen lights are more susceptible to wear and weather damage than LED lights. If you plan on buying a pair of halogen headlights, make sure they’re encased in a weather resistant cover. Otherwise, the filament could be vulnerable to dust or water damage.

HID Lights

The intense glow of HID (High Intensity Discharge) Xenon lights is caused by a superheated ball of xenon gas, which burns with the same level of intensity as daylight. HID lights are typically found in off-road driving lights and flood lights. HID bulbs are ideal for drivers in search of high performance, high-efficiency lighting. If you’re thinking about adding these lights to your vehicle, check out PIAA HID lights. These driving lights only use 3watts of power and dramatically increase your visibility at night.

CCFL Lights

CCFL stands for Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps. These lights are sometimes referred to as “halos” for the unique, circular light pattern. Halos produce a concentrated beam of light that shines father down the road than other car lights and are ideal for cars driving at high speeds. Plus, CCFL halos give any vehicle a high-performance, high-tech style. For drivers seeking a performance halo light, check out Anzo CCFL headlights. These are car lights are custom fit to your car’s front end and install under an hour with simple hand tools.

How Weather Determines Your Automotive Lights

Use Lighting Accessories to Define your Truck or SUV’s Style

Aftermarket headlights and tail lights can help redefine your vehicle’s look and attitude. However, if those lighting upgrades aren’t enough, consider tricking out your vehicle with a set of automotive lighting accessories. We carry an exhaustive line of light accessories for trucks and SUVs, from tailgate light bars to tail light covers. If you’re looking for an additional lighting accessory for your front end, pick up a set of PUTCO Dayliners. These bright LED lights install directly underneath your truck’s headlights with 3M automotive tape and provide your vehicle with a set of attention grabbing accents that look great at any time of day.

If you’re looking for something a little bolder for your lights, consider installing a truck light bar on your truck or SUV. Truck bars do more than just provide you with additional illumination at night or in bad weather – these mountable lighting accessories embody the rugged attitude associated with off-road vehicles. SUV owners seeking a total front end upgrade should consider the KC Hilities light bar. KC Hilities has long been associated with the off-road lifestyle, and their light bar is a favorite among Jeep owners for its easy to install design and its tough, wear resistant design.

TP-Link LB130

Best of all, the TP-Link bulbs don’t require any sort of smart hub to function, so there’s no need to buy a starter kit or pay extra for a hub – once you buy a bulb, that’s it, making these an especially good choice for anyone who only wants one or two smart lights, and not a whole house worth.

All of the bulbs other than the cheapest LB100 model also come with energy monitoring, so you can see how much energy you’ve used and plan your usage accordingly.

Connectivity is reliable, with only one brief network drop in our testing time, and our biggest complaint is that at just 800 lumens these aren’t the brightest bulbs around – but they should be enough to suit most uses.

LightwaveRF

Lightwave is a smart lighting solution that’s a bit different to the others in this round-up, since it requires you to replace your light switches rather than the light bulbs themselves. It is ideal for homes with multiple spotlights that would otherwise be incredibly expensive to individually replace, and also means that when one bulb blows you can just buy a regular replacement.

To set up Lightwave you need to purchase the £89.9Web Link hub, which manages your various Lightwave kit, and you can then add on as many or as few Lightwave devices as you like. Each light switch costs from around £3(see the full range at Maplin, but shop around for best prices).

The Web Link will also manage other smart home devices from the company – you can set up devices that control your hot water and individual room heating, motion detection, and the opening and closing of blinds or curtains. You can also install smart switches on your plug sockets that allow you to turn on and off power when required.

Lightwave has a companion app through which you can turn on and off the switches from your phone or tablet, and through which you can set up schedules or timers that are ideal if you are going on holiday.

It also integrates with IFTTT, which allowed us to control the system through both an Android Wear watch and Google Home. 

Hive Active Light

Rating:  then you can also pick up individual bulbs.

The Hive Active Light Colour changing bulb is an easy and smart way to introduce lighting into your smart home environment.

The coloured bulb is arguably more of a gimmick and something you might not use day to day, but the Cool to Warm White bulb is easy to recommend, as being able to change the colour temperature of the light is a very handy feature.

Elgato Avea

The Elgato Avea might look fairly ordinary, but the Avea is a smart LED bulb you can control with your iPad or iPhone. Plus Android support was added in early 201You can control up to of them from your phone, creating different mood lighting for every room in the house. 

This 7W LED screw-fit bulb has a class A energy rating. You can set a static colour or choose from one of seven themes, which slowly flow through preset colours.  

The Avea also functions as an alarm, turning on at a scheduled time. Rather than blinding you with light and forcing you to hide under the covers it’ll gradually brighten just like a natural sunrise. 

The Elgato Avea is a good and affordable buy if you want a single Smart LED bulb. You can add to the system too, but the app is a little basic for our liking. 

Belkin Wemo LED Lighting Starter Set

Unlike other smart lightbulbs the Belkin Wemo doesn’t change colour to suit your mood; it’s meant simply as a direct replacement for existing 60W incandescent bulbs, or the energy saving fluorescent equivalent. 

The kit includes two bulbs: you can choose between bayonet or screw varieties. Each is rated at 800 lumens, which may not be as bright as your old-school incandescent, but it’s still impressive compared to many competing LED bulbs. You also get a Wemo Link in the pack, which acts as a bridge between the bulbs and your Wi-Fi router.  

You create ‘rules’ for the lamps to work and these can be for them to turn on and off at sunset and sunrise, or at times you choose. They can be individually named and controlled, and you can even set a dimming period so the lamp fades in to your set brightness over a few minutes (or even up to 30 minutes). You can also define a sleep period, so the bulb will turn off after a set time, just like a TV or radio.

The Wemo LED Lighting Starter Set is a good introduction to smart lighting. The app is easy to use and lacks only geo-fencing, and the Link plug has Wi-Fi so doesn’t need to be connected directly to your router unlike Philips’ hub. We’d like to see the price drop, but if you know you’ll benefit from the smart aspects or have other Wemo sensors or gadgets, this is a good choice. 

Doug Mahoney

After spending over 60 hours researching Christmas lights, interviewing experts, and testing 20 strands of lights side by side, we’ve found that GE’s Energy Smart Colorite LED Miniature Lights (available in multicolor strands of 50 bulbs or 100 bulbs and in warm white strands of 50 bulbs or 100 bulbs) are the best all-around indoor Christmas lights. This is the third year we’ve named these GE lights as our pick, and we can’t find any lights that match their color quality and their ready availability at Home Depot.

We’re working on an update for the holiday season, and we plan to add our thoughts on smartphone-app light sets such as Home Depot’s AppLights. For now, we’re confident that our current picks, all of which are currently in stock, remain the best lights for most people.

How we picked and tested

We concentrated our research and testing strictly on nonblinking miniature lights, the traditional, small, stranded Christmas lights with a clear or semiclear bulb and a candle shape.

An article at DIY Network says that even though larger bulbs are growing in popularity, “mini lights have been by far the most popular during the past decade.” They’re the standard, and we wanted to focus on the lights that most people will be using, rather than those with a lesser following. Still, we do have some thoughts on the larger-bulb lights, and on other bulb sizes that didn’t make the cut. During our research, we also found that blinking lights are a very small minority of available lights, so we stayed with the type that remains lit at all times.

Once we dug into our options, we soon realized that our recommended lights would be fully rectified LEDs and not traditional incandescents. As Northern Seasonal’s Ben Orr, the lighting installer, told us, “LED lights allow you to do more with less.” They’re more durable, they’re safer, and you can connect together a much higher number of strands without any risk of tripping a breaker or a GFCI outlet. They also just plain ol’ last longer and use a fraction of the electricity that incandescents use.

In an article on the Christmas Designers website, Jason Woodward writes that “the benefits offered by LEDs are almost as significant as the benefits that incandescents provided over candles.” There’s no question that LEDs cost more than incandescents (they’re at least twice the price), but we believe that the long-term benefits are worth that added cost.

Some LEDs are better than others, however. All LED Christmas lights blink on and off many times per second, like a fluorescent light. The ones that are fully rectified, or full-wave, light up at a rate of 120 times per second, which is faster than the eye can detect. Lights that are known as half-wave, sometimes called non-rectified, blink 60 times per second, which can create a dizzying flickering effect. Orr told us that when a non-rectified strand is moving, the flickering becomes more apparent, and we confirmed this effect during our testing: Just by giving a non-rectified strand a slight jiggle, we made the lights take on a strobe effect that was very unpleasant to look at. In our tests, even when they were not moving, those lights seemed to have a harshness, an electronic feel, that the rectified lights didn’t have.

For outdoor lights, our experts directed us toward a specific style of LED, 5-millimeter wide-angle conicals. The bulbs on these lights are stubby and don’t have the homespun look of the small glass candle found on other mini lights. They are much brighter than regular mini lights (both LED and incandescent), and the unique shape of the bulb adds depth and complexity to the lights’ appearance. As Orr told us, this shape allows the strand to “refract the light and create a cool look depending on the angle of view. It appears that some are brighter than others and it adds contrast.” Orr, who specializes in exterior displays, added that mm wide-angle lights are generally his favorite light. And Christmas Designers, in a video dedicated to the bulbs, says these lights are “by far the most popular set we sell.”

But as with regular LED bulbs, the color of the light is a concern. We figure that if you’re reading this guide, you’re probably interested in replacing an old set of incandescent lights—but even if you want something more efficient and durable, you don’t want to give up the traditional lights’ familiar warm glow. Unfortunately, that is a big issue with LEDs.

Both Orr and Woodward warned us that LEDs simply do not look like incandescents. Due to improvements in the technology, many companies manufacture a “warm white” color that, depending on the quality of the LED, can closely mimic, but not fully achieve, the pinpoint sparkle of an incandescent. Orr stressed that “LED technology varies throughout the industry, and a warm white from one supplier can vary in hues and color drastically from another.” He even suggested buying strands from a few different manufacturers to compare them and see which hue you like best before making a large purchase. Once you find something you like, he said, buy from only that manufacturer. Our testing confirmed that there is a tremendous variety in LED color hues, from the fantastic to the terrible.

We dismissed companies that had overall poor reviews (Holiday Time), strange or incomplete bulb selections (EcoSmart), or suspiciously low pricing (Home Accents). Other companies, like Hometown Evolution, AGPtek, and Deneve, fall more into general exterior decor and don’t have a very good selection of Christmas lights. AGPtek, in particular, deals only in solar-powered or battery lights, which are more of a specialty item, and we wanted to concentrate on general tree and exterior lighting.

Our original testing consisted of 1sets, including colored and white mini lights, both LED and incandescent. We also tested a number of mm wide-angle conical LEDs, since our experts recommended them for exterior use. Then, in 2015, we looked at two new sets from Christmas Designers, the TSmooth LED Lights in both warm white and multicolor.

Ready to begin testing.

To evaluate the lights, we wound and unwound them, draped them over and into Christmas trees and rhododendrons, and tucked them in and out of deck railings. Basically, we tried to use the lights how they’re intended to be used. We tested the weather impermeability of the exterior lights by plugging them in and sinking the strands of lights into a 3-gallon bucket of water. While this test was a bit extreme, it’s certainly possible that any set of exterior lights will end up in a puddle or draped in a gutter.

Overall, we found that the wire quality has a lot to do with the success of a strand of lights. Some of the tested lights had tidy, close-knit strands of wire, while others were loose and messy. Some wires needed untwisting before use, like an old phone cord, and still others continued to accordion back on themselves no matter how we tried to stretch them out and lay them flat.

We also assessed each strand for color quality, using the incandescent strands as a benchmark, with the input of Susan Moriarty, executive creative director and founder of The Soapbox Studio. She’s a die-hard fan of the warmth that incandescent Christmas lights emit, so we asked her to compare the classics against new LEDs. Even though Moriarty did her evaluations in a blind fashion, she consistently chose along brand lines, a result that backed up Orr’s suggestion to select a single manufacturer and stick with it.

Long-term test notes

After two seasons of having the GE Energy Smart Colorite LED Miniature Lights on my tree, I have no complaints. Just recently (fall 2016) I took them out of storage for the holidays, and all of the bulbs work fine. I’ve noticed that the wire stranding has loosened a little, but the lights are still fairly well organized, and I don’t foresee any issues with putting them around a tree.

The competition

GKI/Bethlehem’s LEDs are nice lights, but we found that their color and wire quality didn’t match that of the GE or Christmas Designers lights.

The multicolor LED lights sold by Noma (known as Holiday Wonderland in the US) had a nice hue in our tests, but they’re non-rectified, so they have the potential for flicker—and if you merely jiggle them, they produce a dizzying strobe effect.

We also tested Noma’s mm wide-angle multicolored LEDs. Like the other Noma lights, this set is non-rectified. And because these lights employ a two-piece bulb and socket design, there is a chance of water infiltration, making them less than ideal for exterior applications.

GKI/Bethlehem’s wide-angle LEDs had a tidy wire but lacked the color quality of the wide-angle LEDs from the specialty stores. The whites had a far whiter hue. Even though this strand is sold as a warm white, in our tests The Soapbox Studio’s Susan Moriarty didn’t see a whole lot of warmth to it.

Wide-angle conical lights from Christmas Designers (top) and Christmas Light Source (bottom). Notice what a disaster the wiring is on the CLS lights. The best of the tested lights had nice, organized wires like the ones from Christmas Designers.

The wide-angle LEDs from Christmas Light Source had the most frustrating wire of all the lights we tested. Each bulb needed twisting and turning for the strand to lie flat, and even then it kept trying to spring back to how it was. The individual wires were loose from one another and had uneven loops. It was a nightmare to feed them through a tight spot like a railing or even between two branches.

The Brite Star clear incandescents we tested were very nice, and in light quality they were on a par with the strands from Christmas Designers and GE. We didn’t make them a recommendation because they have a 2½-inch spacing, which seems a little tight for most people. As we mention above, inches is the standard.

While the Brite Star incandescents were a success in our tests, the company’s LED Mini Ice Lights were a total failure. Everything bad about LEDs was on display with these lights. When we plugged them in, the result was like having 50 small computer screens lit up on a wire strand. It was just awful. They’re non-rectified, and the effect is not a positive one. The light that these LEDs emit is about as natural as the ingredients list on a Twinkie.

Cluster lights

Cluster lights offer a unique and hazy look, but because they have so many bulbs per strand, they quickly get expensive.

In 2016, we tested two different styles of cluster lights. Such strands, which have been popular in Europe for years, have much smaller bulbs (either mm or mm conicals) and a vastly higher bulb density—a 10-foot strand has almost 450 bulbs on it, in contrast to traditional mini lights, which might have only 50 bulbs on a 16-foot strand. With regular mini lights, the bulb is attached to the main wire, but on a cluster strand, the bulb sits on the end of a 2½-inch extension coming off the main wire. The spacing on these extensions can be as little as ⅛ inch. On a tree, cluster lights offer a hazy, almost fairy-tale effect.

We found them available in two styles: straight strands and tree ready. The straight strands are self-explanatory, but the tree style is a little more complicated. This design—consisting of a central (non-lit) wire with a series of cluster strands coming off it, each one longer than the last—allows you to hang the main line vertically from the top of the tree (with the shortest cluster at the top) and then unravel each cluster around the tree. Lighting a tree this way takes hardly any time at all (this video shows the process). The lights are available for either 6-foot or 6.75-foot trees in warm or cool white.

If you are interested in cluster lights, we recommend sticking with a trusted retailer due to the variances we’ve seen with LED light quality. The ones we tested were from Christmas Designers, and these bulbs have the same warm incandescent-like look as the company’s other LED products.

No timer or automatic option on dimmer

The TaoTronics TT-GL20 is the super cheap option for your indoor growing needs. 1ultra-bright LEDs (blue & red) help provide plants with an extra boost when needed. There are a number of advantages to this product, one of which is the lower power consumption which is just 12W (1W in each LED so it is evenly spread). It’s much less wasteful than HID lighting and the average lifespan of this product is said to be 50,000 hours. The low consumption isn’t too surprising given the small size. After all, it’s only 4.84” x 5.44” which makes it one of the smallest LED grow lights on the market.

These are the best grow lights for anyone with very small grows who doesn’t want their grow lights taking up too much space or producing too much heat. If you’re concerned about the environment, the TT-GL20 is a good option for you since it was designed with this in mind. The most obvious disadvantage of this grow light is the small coverage it provides which is interesting because it’s also one of its selling points! It’s really down to how much you’re growing. If it’s a small crop then an inexpensive LED grow light such as this could well do the job, particularly because it’s a very economical option that still produces impressive results.

Area to be covered

One of the most important things to consider is the size of the area that you want to cover with LED grow lights. A large area will rule out some of the smallest LED grow lights unless you’re planning on buying a lot of them. Likewise a very small area will make a large grow light unnecessary. Decide how many LED lights you will need and which will give you the best coverage based on their size and strength.

Phase of growth

The phase of growth that you’re looking for the LED grow light to assist with may rule out some products. For a full growth cycle, choose a full-spectrum LED to assist in all stages of the plant’s growth. Full-spectrum grow lights are relatively new and mimic real sunlight. They have a number of advantages such as costing less to run and running cooler.

Tips for getting the most out of your LED grow lights

Hopefully you will soon have some great LED grow lights. When this is the case, the following section will hopefully be of use to you! Take a look at our tips for getting the most out of your new purchase.

Watch the water consumption

Switching from HID fixtures to LEDs can result in overwatering. LED grow lights don’t generate the same kind of heat or Infrared light so they don’t dry out the soil and plants as much. For this reason it’s important to be observant and make sure you’re not overwatering your plants.

Mind the mounting height

You don’t want to mount your LED grow lights too high as this can reduce the intensity. However distancing the lights from your plant can provide greater coverage so it’s important to strike a balance. On the other hand, mounting your LEDs too low can cause damage to your plants over time. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation and adjust as necessary from there are you start to see results.

 

 

 

 

How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the Lighting Sets by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.

 

 

Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your Lighting Sets wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of Lighting Sets

 

 

Questions? Leave a comment below!

Chatting about Lighting Sets is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better!



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