Benefits of LED Lights 

I believe a lot of us had heard and understand from contractors and websites on the benefit of LED lights. How energy efficient it is, how much $$$ it can save you. If you observe, even our traffic lights have been converted to LED There is definitely no doubt that LED will be the lighting solution for our future... 


Should I convert to LED for residential? 

Despite the benefits and huge push of LED in current lighting market there are a few facts and points you have to consider before making the switch.

We will do our comparison and analysis based on the following few lighting.

Based on

- Lumen (brightness)
- Energy Consumption (KWH and SGD$)
- Cost
- Replacement Cost
- Life Span



PLC Downlight vs LED Downlight


1. Lumens (brightness)
We will do a like for like comparisons here based on the equivalent lumens of the PLC light vs LED light. More than 95% of LED downlight purchased in Singapore are Made in China for obvious reasons, lowest cost available. Millions and millions of LED lights are produced from different China factories daily. For most consumers a light is a light, as long as it powered up and gives out light it has served its purpose.

Unlike conventional lamps (PLC, E27 Energy Saving, PLL, Round Flourscent Tub, T8, T9), they are dominated by huge lighting manufactures such as Philips, OSRAM, Hitachi. So their products undergo stringent testing inspection and fulfill their technical specification.

Whereas a LED Light produce from China usually don't come with a detailed technical specification on lumens and actual current consumption.

Philipes PLC 18W (Daylight) Source:
- 1200 Lumen
- Lifespan: 10,000 hrs (1.1years without turning off; 4.5years on average 6 hrs/day)

LED Downlight 12W (Daylight)
- 1200 Lumens (1W LED is approx 100 lumens)
-  Lifespan: 50,000 hrs ( 5 times of conventional PLC)
However many of the manufacturer fails to mention there is another critical component call the LED driver that needs to power up (or drive) the LEDs. LED drivers are very simple and basic component that convert our 230V AC supply to 3 - 15V DC.

PLC Lamp has a similar component like the LED driver, PLC electromagnetic ballast that use to power up the lamp. 


- Energy Consumption (KWH and SGD$)

19.27cents KWH (0.019cents/hr for 1,000 watt)

12W LED downlight
Based on daily usage of 6 hrs a day for a year 
12watt x 19.27cents x 6 x 365 = $5.06

Assuming you have 20 of LED light at home = $5.06 x 20 =$101

18W LED downlight
Based on daily usage of 6 hrs a day for a year
18watt x 19.27cents x 6 x 365 = $7.59

Assuming you have 20 of PLC light at home = $7.59 x 20 =$151.9

LED saving is $50.9 ($2.54/light)

As you can see, the saving is quite insignificant for one light.

Assuming you have 20 of such light at home = $101

Cost of Product

Unbranded LED 12W cost between $20 - $25 (China Made)

Established Brand LED 12W $35 - $50

Price difference obviously come from higher product quality and longer waranty period

PLC 18W downlight fixture with electromagnetic ballast and light tube $20 - $25

Replacement Cost


The electrical setup of LED and PLC lights are very similar. 
LED is powered up by a LED driver. Main function of a LED is simply to convert 230v AC to 10 - 80V DC depending on the LED configuration
A LED driver for 12W will cost round $6 - $10
Life span - difficult to determine, i have experienced low quality LED drivers lasted less than 6mths

PLC lamp is lighted up by PLC Electromagnetic Ballast 5
 (inductor) that ignite the lamp.
Electromagnetic Ballast will cost around $3-$5

- Life Span

LED is very lasting with some techincal specs can use up to 50,000hrs ( > 8hrs) 

However, for most consumers unknowingly LEDs need to be powered by a LED driver that convert AC to DC. LED drivers is usually the weakest link for the whole circuit that can break down easily. Although LED drivers are easily available replacing them can be quite a chore as you usually need to dismental your light fitting and to make it even more challenging, LED drivers come in all shapes and sizes. There are no industrial standards unlike conventional PLC or CFR lighting.


PLC Lighting may not out lived LEDs, but replacing them are very easy. And does not required any special knowledge on electrical wiring or circuitry knowledge. 

PLC ballasts are also very hardy and reliable piece of electrical parts that can last over 8 years without the need to replace regularly.