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Practical advice on commercial lighting from LED retrofts to lighting design

The 5 biggest LED buying mistakes businesses can easily avoid

Posted by Brad Newbold on


Give a summary of common mistakes and the solution when buying LEDs. For example: Mistake- Go with the cheapest. Solution-Review the mfr (link to another post) and review the product specs (link to another post)

There are multiple factors to consider when you're upgrading to LED, but don't let the confusion around products stop you from completing a successful retrofit.

We help businesses make the best LED buying decision every single day. We've seen new LED technology take the market by storm, new manufacturers pop up and shut down, rebate programs come and go, and a wide variety of projects. Through it all, we've aimed to be students of making lighting easier. 

Below, we're walking through five common mistakes we've seen (and cleared up) when buying LEDs. Here's to making lighting a little less painful.

LED buying mistakes and how to avoid them

Mistake #1: Always buying the cheapest option.

Solution #1: We understand that budget is almost always a top priority for any project. However, buying the cheapest product can actually cost you more down the road. We recommend taking two steps before a purchase: review the manufacturer and review the product specifications.

Lighting calculator: calculate energy savings on lighting projects

Mistake #2: Not validating product specifications. 

Solution #2: Lighting is notoriously complex, but there are a few key specs to making sure your LED lighting will work well. Here are just a few examples...

  • Light color: If your entire facility operates with a warm light in the 3000K color range and you put a 5000K “daylight” bulb in the ceiling, it will stick out like a sore thumb. Color temperature is extremely important.
  • Base: No one likes to go to screw in a replacement bulb only to find out the base won’t go in. If you need a refresher on base types, check out our practical lighting guide.
  • Voltage: Getting a replacement bulb that’s the wrong voltage can be a messy and expensive problem.
  • Physical size: This tends to be an issue with PAR lamps and ballasts. We saw this become a concern when Universal stopped manufacturing ballasts because the space within a fixture can be limited. For tips on choosing the right fluorescent ballast, we walk you through six simple steps
  • Dimmability: Dimmability comes down to compatibility. We explain more below.

For more specifications that you need to know before you purchase LED products, we go through some basic terms in our LED Buying Guide.

LED Buying Guide to find the best pricing and right specs for LED lighting products

Mistake #3: Not doing a test install for a big project.

Solution #3: We always recommend a test install before you go all-in on a project to make sure you're happy with the results and work out the kinks. Just like you get paint swatches and samples before you commit to painting an entire room, it's worth getting a sample or enough lighting to test a section to make sure your new upgrade "works" with the rest of the lighting or the atmosphere of your space. An LED mock-up can go a long way in saving your project.

Mistake #4: Not factoring in dimming.

Solution #4: Not all LED lighting is dimmable. Ordering a non-dimmable product when you plan on dimming is frustrating and can be a major setback on a deadline.

Dimming compatibility is also an issue. Checking for dimmer compatibility with the manufacturer is your best approach. Dimmers also have a life rating, so you may need to replace your dimmers when you upgrade to LED.

Check out our resources on LED dimming:

Mistake #5: Not following rebate program requirements.

Solution #5: Rebates are a great opportunity to upgrade to high-efficiency LED lighting for less, but these program often carry product requirements, pre-approvals or pre-inspections, and more. If you don't follow the requirements, you will almost certainly jeopardize your ability to claim the rebate.

Check out our resources on rebates:

Avoiding mistakes when buying LED products

If you want to avoid these mistakes and more, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of experts at Regency Supply has more than 40 years of experience guiding customers to the best solution for their facility. It makes our day when we're able to provide solutions for complex projects.

You can schedule a free lighting consultation with one of our experts so we can discuss how to upgrade your building to LED quickly, efficiently, and within budget. 

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