Choosing the best light emitting diode (LED) lighting generally comes down to selecting the proper LEDs for a particular application. The best place to begin this process is with a careful evaluation of the specific lighting needs in the area where the LED lighting is going to be installed. With that information in hand, it is possible to select the appropriate power, color profile, and style of LED bulb or fixture. All LEDs will provide information about their power consumption and light output, allowing for a direct comparison to other types of lighting and between types of LED lighting. The most efficient varieties will have an Energy Star rating.
A preliminary analysis of lighting needs should determine both how much light is needed in a given area and what type of light is required. The least expensive and most energy-efficient LEDs produce light in only a very narrow portion of the visible spectrum. These are very useful for areas and situations in which only a small amount of utility lighting is needed, such as floor-level illumination of the treads of a staircase or emergency basement lighting.
Newer types of LEDs are able to produce a broader spectrum of light. These newer varieties produce a light which is both easier on the eyes and more suitable for use in spaces where reading or other visually-intensive tasks are performed. This type of LED is more expensive, however, and is not quite as efficient in its use of electricity as simpler LEDs, although all LEDs are significantly more efficient than incandescent bulbs.
Dedicated LED lighting fixtures are available for some common applications. Solar garden lights and lighting strips designed to be mounted under the bottom edge of kitchen cabinets are two examples of this sort of lighting fixture. Built-in dedicated LED lighting is often very subtle and inconspicuous and will last for years. The individual diodes in this style of lighting may not be replaceable, however, and this can degrade the performance of the unit as a whole as time goes by.
Another LED lighting option comes in the form of LED versions of conventional bulbs. LEDs are now manufactured in the form of bulbs that can be used in most common standard light fixtures. Often these bulbs can simply be screwed in or mounted into a slot like a standard fluorescent bulb. These bulbs can be a good choice when upgrading existing lights, as they require no additional installation work.
LED lighting of this sort is typically made up of clusters of LEDs, since individual diodes produce only a small amount of light. Over the course of years, some diodes will eventually fail, and the performance of a bulb will gradually degrade. Unlike some fixed installations, however, these bulbs can easily be replaced as needed, making them a better choice for situations where maintaining the quality of light is crucial.