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Best LEDs to brighten up dark winter days

We reveal the best LED light bulbs and GU10 spotlights for a bright, energy-saving home

Switching to LED bulbs this winter could save you more than £16 per bulb in annual running costs, and you won’t have to compromise on light quality either.

We’ve tested 10 new LED GU10 spotlights and 16 LED light bulbs and have uncovered eight new Best Buys. And if you switch just one 100W old-style bulb to its LED equivalent, it will have more than paid for itself in energy savings before a year is up, plus it should last much longer, too.*

Our top picks aren’t necessarily from the manufacturers you’d expect, so it’s worth checking our list of the best LED light bulbs to find out which non-traditional lighting brands made the cut. We’ve uncovered beautifully bright 75-100W-equivalent bulbs, which can help to light up a larger room, as well as cheap Best Buy LEDs and GU10 spotlights that are great value.

To filter by cap type, brightness and more, head to our light bulb reviews.

Save money by switching to LEDs

If you’re switching from traditional incandescent or halogen light bulbs, then the savings can be significant. Replacing just one 100W old-style bulb with an LED equivalent can save you more than £16 in energy costs in a year.*

What’s more, LEDs tend to last much longer than other energy-saving light bulbs. LED lifetime claims are usually around 15-25 years, based on 2-3 hours usage per day. When we left hundreds of LED bulbs on for more than 10,000 hours, we found that most had no trouble lasting this long – well beyond the average 2,000-hour lifetime of halogen bulbs.

LEDs don’t suffer from the problems associated with traditional CFL energy-saving light bulbs (the stick-type bulbs), such as slow warm-up times, either. They can look just like traditional bulbs and are up to full brightness as soon as you hit the light switch. The best models give off an attractive warm-white light, and with Best Buy LEDs available from as little as £2.50 there has never been a better time to make the switch.

Common LED bulb problems and how to fix them

As part of our research, we surveyed Which? members about their experiences with installing LED bulbs in their homes. While the vast majority (89%) were happy with their LEDs overall, some people did encounter problems. The most common issues were:

  • LEDs failing early (28%)
  • LEDs flickering (12%)
  • Buzzing LEDs (5%)
  • LED radio interference (2%)

We’ve delved into why and how these issues can occur, gathering insight from industry experts and Which? Trusted Trader of the year 2016, electrician Christopher Gordon, to bring you independent advice on switching successfully to LEDs. Find out what causes the most common problems, and how to fix them, in our LED troubleshooting guide. [LINK TO COME]

Beware of low-quality LED light bulbs

One of the best ways to avoid many of the common LED light bulb problems is to not buy low-quality bulbs. Avoid very cheap bulbs online, and check that any bulbs you do buy have a CE mark – two simple steps you can take to protect yourself from sub-standard light bulbs. Our Best Buy light bulbs have passed all of the necessary safety checks and give out consistent, high-quality light.

For more buying advice, check our light bulb buying guide.

*Figures based on each bulb being on for three hours per day for a year, and electricity prices of 18.75p per kWh.

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