Choose the right LED lighting

Last updated: 6 September 2022

An LED, or light emitting diode, is a semiconductor that converts electricity into light.

LEDs and energy efficiency

LEDs are the most efficient form of lighting

LEDs use much less energy to provide the same amount of light as other forms of lighting. One of the main reasons LEDs are so efficient is that most of their energy is used to solely create light, rather than creating light and heat, as less efficient forms of lighting do.

LEDs will save you money

Although LEDs are relatively expensive to buy, good quality LEDS can last a long time – at least 25,000 hours. This makes them more cost-efficient than most other lighting types, as they don't need to be replaced as often.

The table below compares the light output and power output of different types of lights.

Old style incandescent

Light output (Lumens) Power (watts) Cost ($/Yr)
220 25 $7.70
420 40 $12.30
720 60 $18.40
930 75 $23
1300 100 $30.70

Mains voltage halogen

Light output (Lumens) Power (watts) Cost ($/Yr)
220 18 $5.50
420 28 $8.60
720 42 $12.90
930 52 $15.90
1300 70 $21.50


Light output (Lumens) Power (watts) Cost ($/Yr)
220 5–6 $1.50–$1.80
420 7–9 $2.10–$2.80
720 11–13 $3.40–$4
930 13–15 $4–$4.60
1300 18–23 $5.50–$7.10

LED lighting considerations

What is the light output of the new lamp?

The LED packaging will usually show you the equivalent wattage to the incandescent or halogen lamp being replaced.

What is the expected lamp lifetime?

A good quality LED should last for at least 25,000 hours, compared to 6–8,000 hours for a CFL and 1–2000 hours for an incandescent lamp.

Is there a range of colours?

Yes, there are warm and cool white available. Warm white (yellowish light similar to an incandescent globe) is generally preferred in the main living areas and bedrooms, but cool white is usually acceptable in kitchen and bathroom areas.

Can the lamp be used on a dimmer circuit?

Standard LEDs may not be suitable for use with lighting dimmers, but special dimmable LEDs are available.

Are you replacing a 12 volt downlight?

If you are replacing 12V downlights, make sure the size and shape of the replacement LED lamp is compatible with your existing fitting.

Try before you buy

Before you buy a complete set of LED replacements, buy one lamp and check that:

  • it works properly in your existing fittings
  • you're happy with the light output, colour appearance and warm-up time.

Light bulb saver app

The Light Bulb Saver App identifies the best light bulbs to replace incandescent and halogen bulbs, and can help you calculate your savings by switching light bulbs. It also provides tips about choosing the right lighting for each room in your house.

Download the free app from iTunes or Google Play.