Consumer LED Lighting Does Not Yet Produce Great Light

Tom Scocca, New York:

There is a world, almost within reach, in which LED lighting could be aesthetically fabulous. But right now, it’s one more thing that overpromises and under-delivers. What we’re starting to glimpse is a new phase in which good light, once easy to achieve and available to everyone, becomes a luxury product or the province of technological obsessives. The rest of the world will look a little more faded.

Just about every bulb in our house is an LED one. I have not had the same kind of bad luck as Scocca — I do not know if the bulbs we get here are somehow different to the ones in the U.S. — but it could also be that almost all the bulbs we use are a warm white light, around 2,700 Kelvin. It is a hue closer to an incandescent bulb and it, along with my predilection for dimmer lighting, seems to mask colour reproduction problems.

It is a frustrating situation to be in because LED lighting is, in every other aspect, a no-brainer compared to incandescent, compact fluorescent, or halogen lights. The bulbs are cheaper to run, last longer, are more durable, produce next to no heat, and have none of the “warm up” time that plagues fluorescent tubes. But the light they produce is not quite right yet. Going backwards is not an option. These bulbs need to get better, and not just for people who can afford specialty market versions.