How to choose solar lights for your home
In comparison, LEDs use less energy than CFLs or Halogen globes but still produce the same amount of light. They cost a bit more but last a lot longer, which will save you money.
The initial expense of LEDs is outweighed by the fact they are up to 85 per cent more energy efficient than traditional light bulbs. They can produce more light, use fewer watts and can last for up to 20 years. In comparison, a standard incandescent bulb has a lifespan of around one year.
LED globes are available for pendant lights, desk lamps and outdoor garden lights. They don't always work with traditional dimmer switches, so if you want dimmable LED lighting, make sure you select an LED bulb that is compatible with dimmers or replace your current dimmer switch.
While LED lights are traditionally white, they do come in different colour temperatures. If you're looking for warm lighting, buy a bulb that is close to 2700K (Kelvin). For a cool white, look for something closer to 4000K or if you prefer a cooler light, look for 5000K or more.
But if you're looking for some real festive colour, you can also buy LED multi-colour party lights and solar-powered LED string lights to wrap around trees or patios.
Unlike CFL globes, LEDs don't contain hazardous material such as mercury, which needs to be disposed of properly. They also emit 10 times less carbon dioxide than halogen light bulbs and half as much as CFLs.
Low voltage halogen downlights are the most commonly used globes in Australia. They produce bright, powerful light and while they're generally more expensive than traditional light bulbs, they're about 25 per cent more efficient, lasting up to three times longer than a standard globe. They come in a wide range of shapes and colours and can be used with a dimmer.
Eco halogen bulbs come in the traditional bulb shape and also in downlights. They offer a natural dimmable light, lasting twice as long as regular halogen globes.
CFLs are fluorescent tubes bent into a shape to fit a standard light fitting. They feature the same brightness and colours of standard globes but use about a quarter of the electricity and last up to 30 times longer. While they may cost more, a CFL will pay for itself in energy savings in less than nine months.
Traditional light bulbs use watts to describe how much energy they use and how bright the light will be. For LED light bulbs, the number of watts doesn't tell you how bright the light will be.
Instead of watts, look for the lumen rating (lm) on LED light bulbs – this is the measurement of their brightness. To choose a globe that gives you the brightness you want and the energy savings you need, check out our light globe comparison chart below.