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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Track Lighting Reviewed In 2018Last Updated January 1, 2019
№1 – Globe Electric Kearney 6-Light Foldable Track Lighting Kit, Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish, Champagne Glass Shades, 6 Bulbs Included, 59086
№2 – Globe Electric Payton 4-Light Adjustable Track Lighting Kit, Matte Silver Finish, 58932
№3 – Globe Electric Grayson 6-Light Adjustable S-Shape Track Bar, Brushed Steel Finish, Halogen Bulbs Included, 59062
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.
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.
Are pricey candelabra LEDs a smart upgrade for your chandelier?
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.
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.
Sprocket Head from TECH Lighting
Track is an especially appealing option in situations that require long runs and can use line voltage (120V). Line voltage allows for longer runs without the concern for voltage drop. Through the use of a concealed conductor, track systems are able to safely run at 120V without the risk of shock. While there are low voltage track systems available, the majority of systems are line voltage.
To configure a track lighting system, there are four things to consider:
Layout and Components
Systems are available with standard straight track or with flexible track in single-circuit or two-circuit configurations. Almost any layout is possible using a creative selection of track connectors and track lengths. Depending on the type of track, systems can be installed directly to, or suspended from, the ceiling.
One of the most important factors to consider is how to provide power to a track system. If power is being supplied in the middle of a run, a canopy with a power feed is required. If power will be supplied at the end of a run, an end connector with a power feed can be used.
The first thing to consider when choosing fixtures for a track system is whether the two are compatible. It is important to choose fixtures that use the same track standard as the system itself. In some cases, manufacturers will offer adapters so that their fixtures can be used with several of their systems. Another thing to consider is what is being illuminated. Highlighting a piece of artwork would be best accomplished using a precision spot light while more general illumination might be better served with a flood light or pendant.
In addition to the track standard, the voltage of the fixture should also be considered. If a low voltage track head or pendant is to be used on a line voltage track, an inline transformer will be required. This usually takes the form of a small box near the point where the fixture attaches to the track. This transformer will convert the line voltage (120V) feed to the appropriate low voltage (12V) signal required by a low voltage fixture.
LEDme Galileo Low Voltage Track Lighting from WAC Lighting
Most track fixtures can be modified for many applications by purchasing accessories. You can use special lenses to change the shape of the light (honeycomb louvers, spread lenses and beam elongating lenses) or the color (color lenses and color dichroic lenses). A framing projector or barn door accessory can be used to help direct and focus the light.
LED vs. CFL vs. Halogen
Now that most incandescent lightbulbs are pretty much a thing of the past, consumers now must choose between LED (light-emitting diode), CFL (compact fluorescent), and halogen bulbs to light their homes. But which is the best option? It all depends on your needs. We’ll take you through the various kinds of lighting, and the benefits that each offers.
LEDs vs. Incandescent Bulbs
Traditional incandescent bulbs measured their brightness in watts; if you wanted a brighter bulb, you bought one with a higher wattage. However, with the advent of LEDs and other types of lighting, that yardstick has become meaningless, and as a result, a bulb’s brightness is now listed as lumens, which is a more accurate measurement of how bright it is, rather than how much energy it consumes. Below is a conversion table which shows how much energy, in watts, an incandescent bulb and an LED typically require to produce the same amount of light.
Other Lightbulb Alternatives
EISA will also stop the manufacturing of candle-and globe-shaped 60-watt incandescent bulbs (the types used in chandeliers and bathroom vanity light fixtures). However, the law doesn’t affect 40-watt versions of those bulbs, nor three-way (50 to 100 to 150-watt) incandescent A1bulbs. So, those will continue to be an option for you, as well, in fixtures that will accommodate them.
LED Lightbulb Options
Traditional bulbs for table and floor lamps are known by their lighting industry style name “A19,”while floodlight bulbs made for track lights and in-ceiling fixtures are dubbed “BR30.” Your best long-term alternative to either style is extremely energy-efficient LED technology.
The LED equivalent of a 60-watt A1bulb consumes only between and 1watts, and provides about the same light output, measured in lumens. A 40-watt equivalent LED bulb consumes only to 8.watts. And a 65-watt BR30 (floodlight) replacement LED bulb consumes only to 1watts.
Moreover, an LED bulb’s lifespan is practically infinite. Manufacturers typically estimate a bulb’s lifespan based on three hours of use per day. By that measurement, an LED bulb will be as good as new for at least a decade, manufacturers say. Under the same conditions, an old-fashioned lightbulb may work for only about a year before burning out.
For example, GE’s equivalent LED bulb has a rated lifetime of 15,000 hours or 13.years. Philips’ equivalent LED bulb has a rated lifetime of 10,000 hours or 9.1years.
LED bulbs will continue to light up even after their rated lifetimes expire; however, brightness may drop or the color cast of the light may change.
GE, Philips, Sylvania, Cree and other brands (including IKEA) all offer LED bulbs that output the most popular “soft white” light, at retailers including Home Depot, Target and Walmart. In addition, GE ‘s Reveal lineup of color-enhancing lightbulbs (a coating filters out yellow tones to enhance colors lit by the bulb) with LED replacements equivalent to 40-watt and 60-watt A1bulbs and to a 65-watt BR30 bulb.
IKEA Tradfri Gateway Kit
Even IKEA is getting into the smart lighting game. Its Tradfri line includes several bulb types, including an A2(essentially an A19), GU10, as well as a remote control, dimming switch, and a motion sensor. These bulbs also require a gateway hub to connect to your smartphone via Wi-Fi. While they currently do not work with any other smart home system, Ikea announced that the lights will work with Alexa, Google Home, and HomeKit by the fall. Not all of the Tradfri lights are available online, so you’ll have to go to an IKEA store for some; be sure to stock up on Swedish meatballs while you’re there.
As with most home lighting, there are two basic types of track lighting systems: line voltage and low voltage. Line-voltage systems use the standard electrical wires and current in the home, which provides 120 volts to the fixtures. These type of track lighting installations tend to use incandescent spot lights or flood lights and have the largest light fixtures. Low-voltage systems have a small transformer built in which takes the current down to 1volts, allowing the system to use a greater variety of bulbs and light fixtures; often much smaller than line voltage lighting, but equally as bright. Low-voltage track lighting bulbs also last longer, getting about 2-3,000 hours versus the 700 to 1,000 hours a line-voltage bulb will get. In the case of low-voltage LED systems, the lights can last an impressive 10,000 to 100,000 hours.
If you already have a ceiling light fixture, track lights are easy to install. Simply remove the old fixture, screw the track into the ceiling using toggle bolts or other appropriate anchors, connect the new track to the electrical box, snap your lights in place and enjoy the fun of moving them around to get the lighting in your room exactly the way you want it!
The Hillman Group 59151Small Small Wood Screw Assortment, 195-Pack
Outlite A100 Portable Ultra Bright Handheld LED Flashlight with Adjustable Focus and Light Modes, Outdoor Water Resistant Torch, Powered Tactical Flashlight for Camping Hiking etc
Snow Joe SHOVELUTION SJ-SHLV018-IN Strain-Reducing Snow Shovel w/ Spring Assisted Handle
Kohree 300 Led Curtain icicle lights, Remote Curtain Lights for Christmas, Home, Balcony, Holiday, Festivals, Wedding Party Decorations, Mode Warm White, UL Certification
Assess Your Current Home Décor
Start things off by visualizing the space that you want to install a pendant light in and create a mental picture of the exact look that you want to achieve.
Browse lighting to look for pendant lights that would fit the design style of the room and the statement you envisioned.
When buying traditional incandescent light bulbs, all we needed to pay attention to was the bulb shape, wattage which indicated the brightness of the bulb and the screw base size to make sure it fits into the lamp.
With CFL’s came the option of choosing the light appearance described mostly as soft white, bright white and daylight. Soft white resembles the warm tone of an incandescent bulb whereas bright and daylight being more crisp and cooler with a blueish appearance.
When using LED’s it is important to understand three concepts
After all, LED products are still more expensive than comparable incandescent products and they will be a much longer lasting appliance, so we want to make sure we are buying the right product for the job.
First off, we have to let go of the misconception that wattage equals brightness. While for incandescent bulbs wattage and brightness had a direct correlation, this is not true for LED products and since LED’s consume much less power (Watts), it’s impossible to compare brightness of an incandescent and an LED bulb based on wattage.
So the only factor to pay attention to when looking for brightness of an LED light is Lumens. Lumen is the unit of measure for brightness and tells us how much light a particular lighting product emits.
For reference, a typical incandescent 60 W bulb emits approximately 800 lumens.
The color appearance or correlated color temperature (CCT) of light is measured in kelvin (K). When we want to know if a lighting fixture or bulb creates a warmer or crisper, cooler light we need to look for the kelvin number. The lower the number, the warmer the light will be and the higher the number the more cool and blue the light will appear. A typical incandescent bulb has a color temperature between 2700K and 3000K. The sun at noon on a clear day produces a light of approximately 5500K.
People often complain about the cool, sterile light appearance of CFL bulbs compared to incandescent bulbs. The issue here is that they chose a high kelvin, cool color temperature instead of a warmer color temperature.
Have you ever been to a store and thought that you are color blind, because you couldn’t quite make out if the piece of clothing you were looking at was a dark green or blue? If so, then you experienced poor color rendering by the light fixture inside that store.
Light sources differ in their ability to display the colors of objects “correctly”. And by correctly we mean compared to a natural light source like the sun or an incandescent bulb.
The color rendering is expressed as the Color Rendering Index or short CRI. The scale goes from 0 to 100. A 2700K incandescent light bulb has a CRI of 100.
A value of above 80 is with current LED technology considered a good CRI and will be sufficient for most applications. However, for some areas, better color rendering of 90 or above can be desirable, we explain that in the next section.
Choosing the right light for different light functions and areas in your home Functions of Light
Lighting is typically categorized in ambient, task, accent and decorative lighting. Each category provides a different purpose. When planning the light for a home, it is helpful to understand how these different light levels can complement each other.
Ambient (or general) lighting provides a uniform amount of lighting throughout an area or room for general vision and orientation.
Recessed down lights, cove lighting or pendant-hung fixtures are typical examples for ambient lighting.
It’s used to highlight objects like works of art, architectural features or plants, by creating contrast in brightness. This is often achieved using recessed or surface mount adjustable fixtures or track lighting, wall grazing and wall washing.
Color Temperatures for Ambient Light
The ambient lighting in a room is typically the main source of light and therefore a key element in setting the overall mood and ambience for a room.
Warm white lighting fixtures are often preferred in living rooms and bedrooms to create a cozy atmosphere.
The kelvin numbers offered for LED lights are typically 2700K and 3000K. These warm white lights are a good choice to compliment earthy tones and wood furniture.
If more than one type of ambient light is installed, e.g. down lights and cove lighting, choose the same color temperature for both to ensure an even, harmonic effect.
Though many people seem to prefer warm white, rooms that are decorated with light colored furniture and crisper colors, like white, blue and light grey e.g. in a modern kitchen, can benefit from a more neutral, cooler light.
Lighting with kelvin numbers in the range from 3500K to 4000K are considered neutral white and accentuate lighter colors better than warm white lights.
In addition, studies show that neutral and cool white light has an energizing effect on people, and is therefore are a good choice for home offices and studies.
Since neutral and cool white light creates better contrast than warm white, they are also a good choice for the main ambient light in bathrooms. The cooler light will provide a more realistic idea on what we look like in the real world. Look for kelvin numbers between 4000K and 5000K for your main ambient bathroom fixture.
If the bathroom features a bathtub and you want to be able to create a warm atmosphere as well, consider using an additional layer of light, e.g. a wall sconce with a warm white light in the range of 2700K that can be switched separately from the main light.
Dimming is an important feature of ambient and task lighting. It enables us to set the light level to create the desired atmosphere in an area or create the ideal brightness for a task. In addition, dimming provides energy savings by reducing the electric load of a light fixture.
As opposed to a standard incandescent lamp, not all LED fixtures are built to be dimmable, it is therefore important to look at the product label and ensure that the fixture is marked as dimmable.
When making the switch to LED, be prepared to also change out your dimmer switches. Most dimmers were built for incandescent, bulbs, however LED’s are based on a very different technology and therefore these two don’t necessarily work well together. It’s like trying to connect your old rotary phone to your digital phone outlet.
Most manufacturers provide a compatibility list that shows dimmer manufacturers and models that have been tested and are compatible with the LED fixture.
To ensure an optimal lighting experience, it’s highly recommended to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Using incompatible dimmers can lead to flickering lights or insufficient dimming levels.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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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LED Lighting for Bedroom Use
In our bedrooms, most of us want the atmosphere to be relaxed, calm, and peaceful. Avoiding blue light waves in the bedroom will keep your circadian rhythm from confusing the light in your bedroom with the natural light outside. This allows your brain to produce the melatonin needed for a comfortable sleep. Are you a nighttime reader? If you have a bedside reading lamp or plan on buying one, soft blue or neutral tones are better for reading specific fixtures, since the cool-white color creates a high contrast with the page.
Suggested Total Brightness Level – 1,500 to 4,000 Lumens
LED Lighting for Home Office Use
When lighting a home office, we want to make sure that the lights are maximizing our ability to be productive in the space provided. Putting cool-white lights in the office that mimic daylight will increase serotonin production keeping you focused, alert, and energized. Make sure to choose a place that won’t create unwanted glares on your computer screen. You may also want to consider LED Desk Lamps which offer great task lighting and the ability to switch color temperature on demand.
LED Lighting for Dining Room Use
When eating a nice meal with the family or guests, we don’t want the lighting to be overly bright and obnoxious, and we certainly don’t want it to be so dim that we’re dozing off. Whether it’s an afternoon brunch or a late dinner, a dimmable overhead fixtures allow for that perfect brightness at any time of day. We recommend soft to neutral tones for the dining room that create the perfect ambiance. Also, consider LED bulbs for chandelier fixtures that are commonly used in a dining room, LED chandelier bulbs now offer beautiful color and light output.
Suggested Total Brightness Level – 3,000 to 6,000 Lumens Suggested Color Temperature: 2200-3000K
LED Lighting for Kitchen Use
The kitchen is in essence a workspace. Many of us start our mornings in the kitchen, so those blue-light emitting bulbs over the counters will help make us alert and awake while prepping breakfast. If you also have a table in your kitchen, a dimmable overhead fixture with a warmer color temperature can create a nice ambiance to balance out the brighter blue lights over the kitchen counters. Kitchens also can take advantage of recessed overhead lighting which can benefit from LED BR Bulbs or Recessed Retrofit Kits.
Suggested Total Brightness Level – 4,000 to 8,000 Lumens Suggested Color Temperature: 2700-5000K
LED Lighting for Bathroom Use
Before we go to school or work, most of us get ready by looking in the bathroom mirror. Ideally, we want the lighting to come from around the mirror rather than on the ceiling. Using bright lights will ensure we don’t miss a spot shaving or mess up our makeup. Since many of us start the day with a shower, putting a high output surface mount retrofit fixture in the shower fixture is a great way to start waking up before tackling the day ahead. Use larger globe style bulbs to illuminate common fixtures places above and or around the mirror.
Suggested Total Brightness Level – 4,000 to 8,000 Lumens Suggested Color Temperature: 3000-5000K
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.
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
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 Track Lighting wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Track Lighting
- №1 — Globe Electric Kearney 6-Light Foldable Track Lighting Kit, Oil Rubbed Bronze Finish, Champagne Glass Shades, 6 Bulbs Included, 59086
- №2 — Globe Electric Payton 4-Light Adjustable Track Lighting Kit, Matte Silver Finish, 58932
- №3 — Globe Electric Grayson 6-Light Adjustable S-Shape Track Bar, Brushed Steel Finish, Halogen Bulbs Included, 59062