I have just taken delivery and fitted what I hope is the first of many LED lamps. After much research, I decided to take a punt on these: http://www.ledhut.co.uk/spot-lights/gu10-led-bulbs/gu10-smd-led-220-lumens-45-watts-equiv-best-internet-price.html
Despite the URL, these claim to be 50 Watt equivalent 320 Lumen GU10s running at 4 Watts each. In this post, I will document my first impressions (and those of the better half).
At £9.95 each (when opting for the dimmable option) they are not cheap, but four of these will consume 16W of electricity compared to the 200W currently so I should experience significantly lower electricity bills as a result.
Installation is as you would hope, a snap. The lamp dimensions are pretty much exactly the same as a standard GU10 and installation is simply a case of unscrewing the standard GU10 and replacing it with the LED one.
Despite these claiming to be warm white on the packaging, the light emitted is definitely more clinical in appearance than a standard halogen GU10. Its not unpleasant and unlike the cool white LEDs which proliferate this market, they don’t appear to have a blueish tint, but at the same time they don’t have the orange tint that you would expect with a Halogen GU10 either. If pressed I would say the light is almost fluorescent in warmth. I don’t have any cool white to compare these with, but in a blind test, I would have assumed these were cool white – especially after watching the video on the product website which clearly shows a very warm orange glow.
Unlike a compact fluorescent, these lamps power up immediately and deliver their full output. CFL’s always take a while to ‘warm up’, these definitely do not. They are certainly bright enough and while I don’t have any accurate way of comparing these to a 50W GU10, to my eyes they were on par. Definitely bright enough for my requirements.
I initially installed these in my living room into a four lamp fitting connected to a Home Easy HE107 dimmer. The Home Easy dimmer claims a minimum load of 40W and the effect of installing four of these as the only lamps on that dimmer is that they do not completely switch off and flicker quite badly. This is easily fixed however by replacing one of the lamps with a standard Halogen to bring the load back up above 40W but while doing this still results in a lower consumption, it does defeat the purpose a little.
When dimming through the Home Easy dimmer, they do not dim very well at all. Compared to a Halogen, the light level drops very little before the dimmer bottoms out. This could be a function of the Home Easy dimmer, or a function of the low load on these lamps it is difficult to tell. The dimming curve seems fairly linear, but unlike a halogen as the light level drops, the colour temperature does not drop – dimmed LED’s are just as cold as undimmed ones, just dimmer! Dimming them however resulted in no noticeable hum from the dimmer and no flashing (but they had the help of the higher load 50W halogen too). Overall, the experience of dimming these isn’t as nice as I would like, but it is acceptable.
I would like to try these out with a LightWave RF dimmer which I am planning on installing at some point. While in the manual the LightWave dimmer also claims to require a 40W minimum load, the compatibility leaflet claims 16W is sufficient. If this is the case, I should be able to use four of these in a single fitting and they should work. At the moment though I do not have a spare LightWave dimmer floating around so this test will have to wait until another day.
These lamps are not as warm as I would have liked them to be. Their appearance will take some getting used to as will the need to keep one Halogen in the fitting to stop them flickering. Their short comings are not enough to send them back and I will probably end up buying some more, but I still need to test these with the LightWave RF dimmers that I plan on kitting my whole house out with. At £9.95 they are not especially cheap, but also quite a bit cheaper than some lamps on the market.