Practicalities of testing your LED bulbs

Here are my tips for the logistics of testing many LED bulbs as you find the light that works for you:

Purchasing & Returning LED lights

  • Plan to test many bulbs. Return the losers, keep the winners. Don’t feel shy about returning items you don’t want. LEDs in bulk can be an investment, and everyone would rather get a return of 1 or 3 bulbs one week after, not 30 a month later.
  • Easy returns implies getting them from a brick-and-mortar store nearby, if possible. Try to re-use trips to the store and back.
  • Buy many bulbs of the same type you are trying to replace, and test them shortly one after the other. It’s hard to remember “what something looked like a week ago”. Buy some with a bit of variation – for example, buy a bulb that is slightly brighter and another one slightly dimmer than the one you are trying to replace.
  • Keep the boxes and packaging materials of all the bulbs you are testing – even when committing to one particular brand or model, I kept the box around for a few days just in case. You don’t want to be stuck with $25 items you don’t want.
  • Likewise, keep the receipts if needed. Home Depot will allow you to return items by just swiping the same credit card you used to buy them.

Testing LED lights at home

  • Test in the actual location where you want to see the bulbs work – e.g. in your living room ceiling, not in a bulb receptacle at eye level in the garage.
  • Keep the new bulbs installed for a couple of days. Test at day and night, so you get to the point when you are not thinking about it or looking at it on purpose.
  • Check in with your spouse and family about the conclusions. They may feel differently about what’s better.
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