Category Archives: LED light bulb

Appreciating Lumen Depreciation

You might have heard the terms “lumen maintenance” or “lumen depreciation” or (if you’re more advanced) “L70” in reference to lighting – particularly LED lighting. These terms have to do with lifespan, which is particularly important for lighting for commercial, municipal, educational, healthcare, or industrial applications, where short operating lives come at a higher premium.

Like the metal halide (MH), high pressure sodium (HPS), and fluorescent/compact fluorescent (CFL) technology typically used in these settings, LEDs decrease in brightness over time. L70 is a calculation of when the output of a light source dips down to 70% of the initial lumens – after which point, the bulb or luminaire is considered no longer useful, and should be replaced.

L70 values for LED lighting are determined by testing samples at different temperatures for thousands of hours, then multiplying the damage exponentially. LED drivers/power supplies generate heat, and if not managed properly, they can dramatically accelerate lumen depreciation. This is why we place such heavy emphasis on the heat sinks and other thermal management systems on all products designed and assembled by LED Waves.

Lumen-Maintenance-Curves.allThe above chart maps the typical trajectory of lumen depreciation across many professional-grade lighting technologies compared to LEDs. L70 at 50,000 hours is the baseline for everything we carry; however, most of our newer industrial products such as LED high bays are rated to last two to ten times longer.

(Note that halogen/incandescent bulbs fail suddenly, or catastrophically, rather than slowly fade in brightness. This is because their light comes from filaments, which simply burn out, rather than from the gas-based chemical reactions of the ballasted lighting technologies, or from the electricity conducted through solid state Light Emitting Diodes.)

The slow lumen depreciation of LEDs is significant for several reasons. The most obvious one is that it supplements energy savings towards a return on investment. By saving on bulb replacements and on maintenance workers’ time – which is an especially important consideration for the workplace – LED lights pay for themselves. And the advertised lifespan of, say, a fluorescent T8 tube, is not as relevant if one third of it is spent transmitting dim, flickering light.

Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

Secondly, lumen maintenance is worth noting when comparing the brightness of different lighting technologies. People are slowly disabusing themselves of the idea that Wattage measures brightness, and instead they are looking at lumen counts.

However, the advertised lumen output of a MH, HPS or fluorescent bulb is not an accurate indication of how bright it will be, since that value declines so drastically and so quickly. Occasionally, fluorescent lighting suppliers advertise a mean (average) value in addition to initial lumen output. When this is not available, one should determine their own value based on their needs and capabilities. For example, if you replace bulbs at the L70 mark, the lumen output at 85% initial lumens (or the halfway point between 100% and 70%) may provide a more accurate picture of how bright a fluorescent, MH or HPS light source will be.

Thus, exact matches in lumen output or advertised lifespans are somewhat irrelevant when comparing other light bulbs with LEDs.
Navigating this information may be a little confusing at first, but satisfyingly powerful with just a little bit of research. And our experts here at LED Waves are happy to help you make the proper lighting evaluations and choices along the way.

An LED Merger Mystery

Some of the biggest, brightest names in the LED business may be merging – and while it’s unclear how this would affect the global lighting industry, we can already tell its impact on LED Waves‘ OEM operations will be huge.

Philips announced their intention to spin off Lumileds – which covers LUXEON, the line of LEDs built into the Illinois PAR30, the New York 3.0 PAR38, the Genesys 3.0 T8 tube, and a growing number of more industrial LED lights we are developing – into a separate company, after making an impressive $1.91 billion in sales last year.

Will Philips Lumileds enjoy more success than this other spinoff?

This news coincided with Cree announcing their intention to grow through strategic acquisition. The makers of the LEDs in our Midtown recessed lights, Andromeda high bay, the California MR16 and other bulbs made in the USA by LED Waves; Cree is a direct competitor to Philips Lumileds, having shown comparable success with $1.4 billion in 2013 sales.

Our Cree LED PAR30 alongside our Philips LED PAR30.
Our Cree LED PAR30 and our Philips LED PAR30.

What this merge would mean for affiliated LED lighting OEMs such as ourselves in terms of administrative operations remains unseen. However, with strengths on both sides – Cree is known for envelope-pushing innovation and efficiency (their bulb was the first to break the 100lm/W efficacy barrier), while Philips stands out for providing the quality and consistency large scale lighting specifiers need (Lumiled’s “Freedom from Binning” policy was a game changer for us all) – we foresee only great things to happen with LED technology itself.

via Trefis


MVP LED Light Bulbs Under $20

We want to thank all the LED Waves customers who helped make our Earth Day sale a success. We’re cooking up more LED lighting deals for the month of May, but in the meantime, check out the year-round savings in our Clearance section!

Our Clearance LED lights include tons of energy-saving bulbs – both halogen and incandescent replacements – all reduced up to 75% from their original prices. It’s a pretty impressive selection, featuring quite a few big name LED bulbs under $20!

These MVP LED Light Bulbs under $20 include:

The Los Angeles 2.0 LED MR16
Originally $21.95 NOW $8.99
Made in the USA with Cree XB-D LEDs

The A11 Globe Dimmable LED Light Bulb
Originally $28.95 NOW $11.55
Great for modernizing chandeliers, made with Cree MX-6 LEDs

The A15 Mark II Dimmable Incandescent Replacement
Originally $28.00 NOW $12.95
6W replacement for 40W incandescent, made with Cree MX-6 LEDs

The A19 Mark II Dimmable Incandescent Replacement
Originally $28.95 NOW $11.57
9W replacement for 60W incandescent, made with Cree MX-6 LEDs

The Olympia PAR20 LED Light Bulb
Originally $39.95 NOW $15.95
An IES Progress Report Selection made with Cree XR-E LEDs

Shop today; all Clearance sales are final, so items will not be restocked once they sell out. For real-time availability, specification help, or bulk pricing for any of our LED lights, call our sales team at 1(800)986-0169.

A Sea Change for LED Lighting Manufacturers

When we first shifted LED Waves manufacturing operations stateside to debut a set of American-made LED PAR lamps back in 2012, we did so with three primary goals:

  1. Lower costs by eliminating middlemen and consolidating operations in-house – accelerating wide-scale adoption of energy-saving LED lights.
  2. Create jobs – especially in the green tech field, particularly for the United States (which was falling behind in this field at the time) and most importantly – for us personally – on a local level here in NYC.
  3. Exercise closer quality control of our in-house exclusives – helping diffuse the discontent some early adopters experienced from poorly made LED products.
Chicago.Illinois.LED PAR30.light bulbs
Chicago, Illinois:
The evolution of our LED PAR30 involved adding dimmability and upgrading from 7 LEDs to latest Philips single CoB.

While we figured we were oddities at the time – supplying and manufacturing LED lights in-house in the USA, despite our small company size – we didn’t realize we were on the ground floor of a global sea change in the SSL industry.

China has long dominated our field, handling the intensive process behind the manufacture of all energy efficient lighting – from the glass-blown curvature of CFL bulbs to the board population and highly nuanced assembly of LED replacements – with a seemingly endless supply of cheap labor. Government subsidies made it even harder for American businesses to resist the allure of Chinese manufacturing.

Slowly yet surely, though, China is losing its foothold and manufacturing has shifted back to the United States. Forbes has noted six commonalities among manufacturers affecting this change:

forbes chinese mfgThis does not portend the end of Chinese manufacturing – far from it. Rather, we’re seeing a leveling of the playing field – and on a higher level at that. Healthy competition between LED Waves among other American manufacturers (not to mention other global contenders) breeds higher quality, lower cost LED lights, with more jobs and better employee satisfaction. And remember, that’s what drove our decision to manufacture LED lights in the USA.

Strategies in Light 2014 Recap + NFMT Baltimore Updates

LED Waves owner and head of R&D Joel is currently headed back from the west coast following last week’s Strategies in Light Conference in Santa Clara. Awaiting him on the east coast is the NFMT conference and trade show, where he and Taimur will be showcasing our newest LED lights specially designed for greener facilities management.

If you were planning to join us at the show in Baltimore, make sure to check in for schedule changes due to Winter Storm Titan. Weather permitting – or notwithstanding – we’ll be exhibiting at NFMT booth 2301.

SILIn the mean time, here’s a quick overview of this year’s Strategies in Light. Despite ongoing discussion of LED market penetration and widespread adoption, the forecast is looking healthy for the industry, with over 7% growth in the past few years and an estimated global value of 13.3 BILLION dollars. Visitors representing all corners of the lighting world attributed this to many different reasons including:

  1. Growing Concern for the Environment. Not to mention growing energy bills. One keynote speaker emphasized this issue for working class citizens, brought up the significant savings potential for chicken farmers as we covered a few months ago.
  2. Increased Awareness of Lighting Technology and Terminology. We can thank the Department of Energy’s Lighting Facts label, other energy-saving programs, and, heck, even our own in-house LED experts for this. Knowledge is power!
  3. Market Response & Quick Reaction from LED Lighting Manufacturers. We listen to your needs and follow the industry closely, applying the latest advancements in technology to improve our products. In her Luminaire Design & Manufacturing session Novella Smith asserted that we’re in, “the second level of the LED light bulb. We had our first round of light bulbs that came out and they were all pretty… terrifying. And then the guys making light bulbs decided, ‘Let’s make ’em better.'” So we thank you for your feedback!

Overall, it was a great event, and we were pleased to have our American-made LED lights on view alongside fellow manufacturers of high end luminaires and SSL components. Join us for Strategies in Light next year – in Vegas!


Introducing the New York 3.0 Dimmable PAR38 LED Light Bulb

Today we are pleased to announce the latest addition to our exclusive line of American-made LED light bulbs. The New York 3.0 PAR38 Dimmable LED light bulb is a 1,700 lumen, <20 Watt replacement for a 175W halogen spotlight – and the improvements don’t end at the energy savings!


After the success of our Owl™ Outdoor LED Wall Pack – the first floodlight we made using a single Chip-on-Board (CoB) light source – we gave the same treatment to our new LED PAR38. CoB LED architecture is solder-free, streamlining and fortifying the lamp design by reducing stress points. And using a single LED as a light source gives the NY 3.0 a more concentrated beam with crisp, unpixilated edges, while also providing more bulb-to-bulb consistency in brightness and color.

LED Waves’ engineers chose the Philips LUXEON 1203 CoB LED for our redesigned PAR38 based on its efficacy (up to 135 lumens per Watt) and uniform optical performance – all packaged into the smallest Light Emitting Surface in the industry. This small footprint enabled us to use a smaller, more lightweight heat sink on this bulb.

Check out the New York 3.0 online for more details on the upgrades made to our LED PAR38 – and what these upgrades mean for your home or business. Pre-order today at or call 1(800)986-0169.

Double Waves of Savings: LED PAR20 and PAR30 Light Bulbs on Sale

Our first Waves of Savings promotion of February brings you a two-week sale on two LED lights made in the USA exclusively by LED Waves. Today through Tuesday, February 18 2014; coupon code WAVES saves you 15% on the Dallas™ Dimmable LED PAR20 and the Chicago™ Dimmable LED PAR30.

Waves of Savings.LED PAR20 PAR30 saleThe Dallas LED PAR20 and the Chicago LED PAR30 are 9 Watt replacements for 75 Watt halogen lamps. The quality of light from both bulbs is virtually identical, due to the same high end components and craftsmanship that go into each one. Both offer:

  • American-made quality – assured by our 5 year warranty
  • 7-array of Cree XLamp  XT-E LEDs
  • Heat sink finely machined with aircraft-quality aluminum
  • Plug & Play; Compatible with standard incandescent/halogen sockets & dimmers

What separates these PAR lamps is their size. The number after PAR, multiplied by 1/8 of an inch, equals the diameter of the light head. So LED PAR20s are 2.5 inches in diameter, while LED PAR30s are 3.75 inches in diameter.

Our in-house R&D and production team makes LED light bulbs for almost every track light system, ceiling recessed can, and other flood or spotlight applications. For help finding what you need, give us a call at 1(800)986-0169.

Thanksgiving 2013 LED Lighting Sale Starts TODAY

LED Waves is celebrating Thanksgiving with a sitewide sale – so you don’t have to sleep outside our lighting showroom or maul your fellow holiday shoppers to participate. And our offer starts today, giving you a head start on all your Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday savings.

Now through December 2nd 2013; coupon code TURKEY gets you 15% off everything at And we mean everything:

Shop our LED sale online today! After all, you’ve got a lot of eating to do later this week.


Waves of Savings: LED Track Lighting Edition

Waves of Savings LED track lighting kit saleThis week, Waves of Savings brings you 15% off and free shipping on all LED track lighting kits! (FedEx Ground, continental US only.) Apply coupon code WAVES at checkout to apply discounts to all complete Flex II™ systems. This sale ends Monday, September 9th, 2013.

With so many options – from the color temperature of your 12V LED bulbs, dimmable or non-dimming, number of lights, metallic finish of the flexible track and fixtures; to however you wish to install the kit on your wall or ceiling – there are endless design opportunities for these highly versatile, all-inclusive systems. Non-dimming 3-light kits start at $352.70 with free shipping this week, and include the American-made California LED MR16. Order online today, or call 1(800)986-0169 to customize your kit with one of our LED track lighting specialists.

20% off Clearance LED Lights: One More Week!

From all of us at LED Waves, we’d like to thank our customers for helping us clear out some of the lights we’ve added to our Clearance section. We’ve decided to extend this 20% off sale for another week! Enter coupon code WAVES at checkout to apply the Waves of Savings discount to any already reduced item, now through Monday, August 26th, 2013.

Waves of Savings.Clearance.LA LED MR16The best part of this LED clearance sale is getting some of our old favorites into the hands (and light sockets, ceilings, building exteriors, etc.) of smart shoppers across the country! This includes the Los Angeles™ MR16 LED Light Bulb.

A <5W replacement for a 35W halogen spotlight, the LA was the first MR16 from our in-house line of LED bulbs made in the USA. It’s been replaced by the brighter CA™ MR16 (<7W, replaces 50W halogen); but we’re still very proud of its design and performance.

Thanks again for shopping at We love knowing that our LED bulbs – both the newest developments and the items in Clearance – are finding homes in your homes!