LED terminology

LED strip lighting Zig Zag from Sign Lighting Australia

When it comes to LED terminology, there are a number of terms that are used.  Some are common and some are not, but, if you want to buy wisely, then you should take some time to understand them.  Here is a layman’s explanation:


The measure of how much light an LED produces.  Measuring the light output between a fluoro tube, or incandescent bulb is very different from an LED because an LED only produces light in one direction, (think of a torch beam, versus 360 degrees).

Color Temperature

Measured on what is known as the Kelvin scale in degrees.  The scale goes from 0 (HOT) to 10,000 (COLD).  True daylight is 5000K and is the equivalent of the sun being directly above. White light is 6000K.   7500K is very cold light and is often used to present food while 2700K is the very warm white used in residential lighting to create an inviting ambiance.  The temperature has nothing to do with the brightness.  It is the colour of the Light itself.

Colour Render Index-

Definitely, the least known and least talked about LED terminology but the term is often the most important factor- especially for signage.  The higher this number, (measured from zero to 100) the more faithfully the light source displays the full range of colours.  Not necessarily seen with the naked eye, this is critical when lighting a corporate colour.

Chip size-

Measure in millimeters, a 5050 chip measures 5mm in each direction, 3014 measures 3mm X 1.4mm in the other while 5630 measures 5.6 X 3mm.  By multiplying each, you get a total surface area.  Obviously, the bigger the area, the larger the light source is.


This indicates the amount of light produced versus the power consumption.  Going back just a few years, LEDs ran at about 90 percent, but some new models are well above 100 percent. -ie More light (Lumens) for less power (watts) consumption.  This is a very important consideration, and customers commonly ask what the power usage is, without considering its efficiency. One of the most common ways to produce more light is to ‘overdrive’ an LED.  This can be done by changing the resistors or increasing the voltage.  The downside to this practice is the shortened lifespan.  Our range of LEDs has been manufactured to ensure long life and reliability. 


There are literally thousands of LED chip manufacturers worldwide.  Thousands of factories.  There are only a handful that we use in our products. We specify the following brands only:  Epistar, Cree, Samsung, Osram, and Nichia.  Whilst cheaper, we do not use chips manufactured in China.

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