When choosing the best Downlights, the most common lighting fixture you will see in any modern home which are extremely popular because they provide warm general lighting that’s unobtrusive compared to a traditional light fixture. However, there are lots of considerations when choosing for the perfect one.
When it comes to choosing the LED Downlights these are the top six-factors you should consider before choosing the best quality LED light for any application.
- Lumens Per Watt
- Power Factor
- CRI (Colour Rendering Index)
- Colour temperature
- Heat sink
- Life of LED Chip
We have a whole seperate blog about the aforementioned topics, you can read it here, but today we are going to see the mechanical or the hardware side of the downlights on how we can identify a cheaper downlight and a good quality downlight.
Here are the six points to note while choosing the best downlights,
1. LED CHIP
The LED Chips is the main component that decides output, performance, and life while choosing the best downlights. Normally in downlights we have COB (Chip on board) LED chips, that will be fixed with the heatsink.
The good quality LED Chips gives a life about 30,000 working to 50,000 working hours with proper heat sink and power supply (Drivers/transformers) connected to the LED Chips. When you were asking the LED chip for the led downlights, led panel light or other led products. Usually, you will get the follow answer
- Epistar chip, this is the most common answer you get from the salesmen
- Cree (USA)
- Philips Chip (Lumiled)
- Bridgelux chip
- San’an Chip
If the manufacture told you that the chip is from Epistar. Possibly, he was lying to you. Because they actually were using San’an. So, why the manufacture cheat their clients?
It is because most clients will think that the Epistar chip is more reliable, but the truth is that the San’an chip has the same quality as the Epistar chip for general lighting. So, you don’t worry about the quality and stability. Actually, San’an is the biggest led chip manufacture in China mainland.
2. HEAT SINK
LED Chips need heat sinks to absorb the heat away from them and dissipate it back into the surrounding air. Without this, LED chips can quickly lose optimum performance. The best heat sinks are made from aluminium alloys, and need to match the size of the LED chip. More specifically, the aluminum alloys 6060 and 6063.
This way, you channel your time and your effort in the right direction. Speaking of channels, your LED chip needs one. One of the easiest mistakes to make in a lighting project is to not understand thermodynamics. That is, how heat energy is converted, transferred, and dissipated, and the effect of heat on materials around the light source.
If heat is not carried away from an LED, the glorious 30,000 hours of lifespan can quickly come down to 10,000 or even fewer hours. Or worse, the heat can eventually become a fire hazard in addition to prematurely ending the LED’s life, so heatsink is also one of the important things to look out for while choosing the best downlights.
3. MOUNTING SPRING
One of the least unnoticed components of LED Lights are the mounting springs especially for LED Recessed type downlights, In general, it is required to have a weight-bearing capacity of 3X of the total weight of the lights.
In the photo above the left, we have a poor quality mounting spring whereas on the right we have a high-grade steel mounting spring that can bear up to 5 times the total weight of the light. The quality of the light can be identified as most of the manufacturers save costs on these small items.
The higher the weight-bearing capacity the lower the chance of lights to move on the ceiling and also the frame of the lights will be fixed intact with the gypsum boards or ceiling, the while choosing the best downlights next time you must check out the quality of mounting springs too.
4. LIGHT FRAME
The light frames should be of high quality with a powder coating finish, if you find any light frame with painting then it’s not worth the money you pay for. The light frame is the visible part of the light once it is installed. So you must be able to choose whether it should be trimless, trim finish, or semi trim finish.
Also if you want to match any RAL finish (custom color finish) for your light frame please make sure the frames are removable and springs are detachable so that you can do custom RAL finish in the frames to match the ceiling finish or any custom color finish.
The concept of the reflector is very simple: first, the adaptor is fixed onto the COB LED while the reflector is then fixed by simply twisting and locking it onto the heatsink adaptor.
The reflector plays an important role in the light output or lumen output, suppose if your LED chip gives you 90lumen/watt and your reflector is not good enough to reflect the right amount of light then the efficacy of the light may drop to 70 lumens/watt or 80 lumens/watt.
While choosing the best downlights, the highest grade reflectors won’t fade after a while, and also these reflectors and lenses are used to adjust the beam angle, normal beam angles are or below 15°,24° (narrow beam angles) and 36°, 60° and above are considered wider beam angles.
Diffusers or Diffusing lenses are symmetrical beam-spreading lighting accessories made of glass, polycarbonate or film, providing an extra level of control in lighting applications. The most common use of diffusing lenses is to increase beam coverage and soften beam fall off.
CLEAR LENS – Clear lenses are furnished standard with fixtures and not considered a spread lens.
FROSTED LENS – The Frosted lens softens and creates a uniform gradient effect from beam center to outer edge. These lenses also help to maximize blending, which is particularly useful with multi-source fixtures like RGBW.
SOLITE LENS – The Solite lens, also referred to as “small pebble,” only slightly removes beam’s punch while softening edges.
PRISMATIC LENS – The Prismatic lens, also referred to as “large pebble” or “general spread,” has a more pronounced widening effect compared to Solite, creating larger beam spreads while also softening edges.