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Off the shelf retail store screw-in LED and CFL bulb comparisons Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10-26-2015, 03:46 AM #1
blynx
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Off the shelf retail store screw-in LED and CFL bulb comparisons

If you're a CFL micro grower like me, I'm sure you've been seeing more and more LED bulbs appearing in your local box stores next to the CFLs.

Maybe you're wondering, like I was, are these things any good for growing?

I know my initial impressions from what I was seeing on the shelves, was no.

The bulbs put out half the lumens that the same wattage CFL put out or the lumens were close but the only bulb was PAR style bulbs with big metal heatsinks and thick glass reflectors, not to mention expensive.

Then one day I was at Lowes and I saw some 2700k LED bulbs that said they put out roughly the same lumens as similar wattage CFLs and they weren't outrageously priced (2 bulbs for $14). This got me intrigued, so I bought some.

I have always wanted to make a thread showing just how much light actually comes off a CFL bulb at varying distances, but I never got around to it. I figured testing some similar wattage, same color LED and CFL bulbs might be interesting. Both to show how much light comes off the CFL bulbs and to see how these LED bulbs compare.

I used this light meter.



Here's a front view so you can see it has a pretty low profile.



The part that measures the light is about 3/4" taller than what the meter is sitting on.

CFL bulb lumen measurements are done at 12" by the manufacturer.

Lumens are actually kind of complex because they measure the light over an area instead of a reading at a point a certain distance from the light.

I'm measuring lux. This is going to be a simple reading showing the amount of light from the source in a direct line.

I will be putting the meter directly under the light and measuring at 12". I will then measure 12" to the side at 12" height.

The next measurement will be at 6" height and the last measurement at 9" height.

This means the light source will roughly be about 11" from the meter, 5" from the meter and 2" from the meter.

Really the heights don't matter as long as all the measurements for all the lights are taken at the same heights.
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Old 10-26-2015, 03:51 AM #2
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Ok, let's get this started.

First up is a 13w CFL bulb. This bulb says it puts out 900 lumens.







Here's the bulb in the fixture with a ruler so you can see the measurement height.




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Old 10-26-2015, 03:52 AM #3
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First measurement



over 12"



measurement at 6"



and at 9"



Here's a front shot so you can see where the meter is.

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Old 10-26-2015, 03:56 AM #4
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Here are the LED bulbs I bought.





They say 800 lumens from 10w. That's pretty close to the 900 lumens from 14w CFL.

Here's a closeup of the bulb



Here it is in the fixture. I am measuring from the source of light, not the edge of the plastic lens.

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Old 10-26-2015, 03:59 AM #5
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Here's the measurement at 12"



and 12" over



Measurement at 6"



and at 9"



Um, wow. That was my first thought. The LED is lower wattage and puts out way more light than a slightly higher wattage CFL? I guess so.
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Old 10-26-2015, 04:03 AM #6
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I pulled the lens off the light and found this inside.



Let's measure this sucker with no lens and see what how it does. (Now you can also see why I measured the light with the lens from where I did).



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Old 10-26-2015, 04:05 AM #7
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This is valuable research. Do you plan to do grows with both to see which performs better?
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Old 10-26-2015, 04:12 AM #8
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Measurement at 12"



and 12" over



measurement at 6"



and at 9"



front shot



Wow, the lens blocks a bunch of light. Guess I wouldn't be running this bulb with a lens lol.

So let's see how the measurements compare (lux readings at 100x scaling)

13w 2700k CFL
12" 7 lux
6" 28 lux
9" 101 lux

10w 2700k LED with lens
12" 24 lux
6" 110 lux
9" 534 lux

10w 2700k LED with no lens
12" 37 lux
6" 165 lux
9" 707 lux

I find that interesting because both lights are 2700k they are similar in wattage and the LEDs put out a lot more light than the CFL.

One thing to note. The LEDs are more directed. So while the cone below the light is brighter than it would be for a CFL, a CFL does put it's light out evenly all around the bulb. So plants can grow up next to and above a CFL and still get a lot of light. Using these lights, if a plant grew next to and above the LEDs, the plant would not get very much light.

More comparisons coming.

Last edited by blynx; 10-28-2015 at 02:08 PM.. Reason: cfl is 13w not 14w as I originally posted
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Old 10-26-2015, 04:15 AM #9
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Thank you sir.You do great work.
I eyeballed those a couple of times.
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Old 10-26-2015, 04:16 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellyfish View Post
This is valuable research. Do you plan to do grows with both to see which performs better?
I've got a whole thread of CFL grows using the CFL bulbs that will be posted in this thread.

I am doing a grow in that other thread with a recess style 22.5w LED bulb in a new cab I built.

It was shortly after starting that cab that I ran across these bulbs and started the measurements.

The results have led me to try some LED experiments which will be posted here and/or my other thread
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