Here at LED Monkey HQ, we try to make your life as simple as possible. Indeed, when you read The BIG LED Monkey FAQs Page you'll find easy-to-follow solutions to ALL your LED lighting-related issues and problems, so crack on...

What is an LED?

L.E.D. is actually an acronym that stands for Light Emitting Diode.

An LED consists of a semiconductor which emits light when an electrical current is passed through it.

This differs from the light that’s generated by traditional incandescent bulbs like the one pictured below, as they use electricity to make a hair-like filament glow white-hot (which isn't ideal).

An incandescent filament

LEDs are the future of illumination and their popularity is soaring, especially with the EU ban which prohibits the manufacture and sale of certain types of the most wasteful halogen and incandescent lights.

Are LEDs long-lasting?

The simple answer to this question is YES!

At LED Monkey, we pride ourselves on providing only the very highest quality LED spotlights and bulbs and, as such, they’re built to last between 10,000 and 50,000 hours.

Image showing an LED light bulb and a row of incandescent bulbs

When compared with conventional halogen spotlights and old-school incandescent bulbs, this longevity speaks for itself, as they both have a life-expectancy that's way less than 3000 hours!

Do LEDs cost more than traditional bulbs?

While it’s true that that the initial cost of LED bulbs is currently slightly higher than conventional light sources, the fact that they last up to 20 times longer and consume around 90% less energy more than compensates.

An LED bulb and a pile of coins

As such, when you switch to LED as your main source of illumination, you’ll recoup your initial expenditure within a very short space of time.

You’ll also notice that the price of LEDs is falling rapidly, and it will continue to do so as long as LED Monkey has anything to do with it!

Are LEDs cost-effective?

LED lighting is extremely cost-effective and, since lighting a home consumes around 17% of its entire energy budget, not many people can afford not to use the most energy-efficient lighting solution.

As a comparison, run for two hours a day, an old-style 60-Watt incandescent light bulb consumes around 44 kWh/year, whereas a halogen bulb producing the same 700 lumens for the same length of time, consumes 31 kWh/year.

With a CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) the number falls again to 9 kWh/year, but the LED bulb can achieve exactly the same result for just 6 kWh/year. Combine this with their outstanding longevity, and you’re on a sure-fire winner when you upgrade to LED!

What are Lumens?

For many years, we used Watts to measure how bright our light bulbs were, but actually Lumens are the best way ascertain the brightness of a lighted bulb or an LED lighting fixture. Lumens measure light output (brightness) while Watts are a measure of energy consumption.

With the advent of energy-efficient, low-voltage LED technology, we can no longer rely upon wattage to indicate the brightness of a bulb.

Why should I switch to LED?

Switching to LED lighting brings with it many great benefits, of which these are just a few:

  • LED is incredibly energy-efficient;
  • It’s an eco-friendly lighting solution;
  • With LED you’ll reduce your lighting energy expenditure by up to 90%;
  • LEDs have a much longer life-expectancy than any other type of bulb;
  • They operate at a low temperature, so they’re safe to touch;
  • The light they produce is directional;
  • They’re extremely compact and manageable;
  • They’re far more robust than other types of bulb;
  • Their longevity is unaffected by rapid cycling;
  • They come on the moment you flick the light switch, with no warm-up time;
  • Unlike other bulb types, they produce no IR or UV emissions.

Do LEDs take a long time to light up?

No. Unlike CFLs which can take some time to warm up, LEDs achieve full brightness instantaneously. Instantaneous light beats scrabbling around in a darkened room while waiting for your light to become bright enough, hands down!

Will LED bulbs fit into my existing light fittings?

GU10 LED bulb base

Yes. All LED Monkey’s LED bulbs like our bestselling GU10 Spotlights and MR16 Spotlights have been specially designed to retrofit directly into your fittings, where they’ll replace your old halogen and incandescent bulbs.

Just ensure that you choose the correct fitting/base when you’re buying them.

Are LEDs available in different colours?

Yes, unlike traditional halogen and incandescent bulbs that can only emit one colour, LED bulbs and spotlights are available in three distinct colour varieties. The colour “temperature” is measured in Kelvins, and each allows you to tailor the ambience of your room differently, according to its individual function.

1 room, 3 colour temperatures

  • Warm White (2700 – 3000k) – This is the most popular colour temperature in the UK right now. It’s a mellow, relaxed colour that’s ideal for living spaces like the lounge and the bedroom.
  • Cool White (6000k) – This is a fresh, clean and clinical colour temperature that’s most often used in work-related rooms and spaces such as the kitchen and the bath or shower room.
  • Daylight (4000k) – As the Kelvin measurement suggests, this colour temperature lies between the other two and represents the closest possible approximation of natural daylight. As such, it’s great for close work in offices, studies and living spaces.

Showing the difference between 2 colour temperatures

What type of light fitting should I have in my bath/shower room or kitchen?

A 3-way LED ceiling spotlight fitting

Any light fitting that’s installed in a room like the bathroom where there’s a likelihood of moisture or dampness should be both Fire-Rated and water resistant, with an Ingress Protection-Rating of IP65 or higher.

What’s an IP-Rating?

The IP (Ingress Protection) Rating (mentioned above) of an electrical product, is a guide that’s used to detail the resistance to water and solid objects of the enclosure that surrounds its electrical components.

As far as LED bulbs and spotlights are concerned, the IP-Rating measures their ability to resist ingress by small solids like dust particles and liquids (usually water). The first digit denotes its ability to resist solid objects and the second digit to liquids.

An LED with an IP67 rating, for example, is completely protected against dust, and protected against water to a depth of 6 – 39 inches.

Here are the definitive classifications:

Level of Protection Solid Objects Liquids
0 Not protected Not protected
1 The broad surfaces of the enclosure are protected, but it isn’t protected against deliberate contact. Protected against spotting water only.
2 Fingers and similarly-sized solid objects. Dripping water, angled at up to 15°.
3 Protected against tools, thick wires etc. Spraying water.
4 Most wires and screws etc. Splashing water.
5 Ingress of a moderate quantity of dust. Directed jets of water.
6 Completely protected from dust ingress. Powerful jets of water.
7 N/A Immersion up to 1 metre
8 N/A Immersion greater than 1 metre

Do LED bulbs become hot when in use?

While LED bulbs do produce a small amount of heat when they’re switched on, they run significantly cooler than other types of lighting like halogens, incandescents and even CFLs. The funny video below makes this point rather well, we think!

The heat they generate in normal usage is effectively dissipated by metal heat-sinks that direct the heat away from the light source. This ensures the LEDs achieve their incredibly long life-expectancy, as heat is notorious for shortening the lives of bulbs.

Are LEDs as bright as halogen and incandescent light bulbs?

Yes, they are. As well as being retrofittable with the same types of fitting, LEDs are able to generate a similar number of Lumens as the bulbs you’re currently using. This makes them absolutely ideal as replacements, so you’ll never look back once you’ve switched to LED!

Are LEDs environmentally friendly?

Yes, very much so!

Compared to traditional forms of lighting like incandescent and halogen, LEDs lose only a tiny amount of their energy to heat. This enables them to generate just as many Lumens, but for a fraction of the cost.

Whereas old-style bulbs can squander a huge amount of their energy producing useless heat, LEDs efficiently convert 90% of the energy they consume into light. This doesn’t just mean they’re better for the environment, but for your bank balance as well!

Unlike many of the old-school light sources we’ve used, LEDs contain no environmentally harmful elements such as Mercury and have the RoHS mark to prove it.

Unfortunately, Mercury that leaked from old light bulbs has contaminated many of our precious waterways and supplies, which is one of the reasons for the forthcoming EU ban on their production and sale.

LEDs are manufactured entirely of recyclable materials, which means they should never need to be sent to our ever-growing number of landfill sites when they reach the end of their lives.

So, you ask if LEDs are green? Absolutely!

What do the numbers 3528 and 5050 mean?

They're generally used in connection with LED Strip Lights, these numbers denote the sizes of their light-emitting chips. The number 3528 means that the Surface Mounted Diode (SMD) chips lining the strip light each measure 3.5mm x 2.8mm, while 5050 means that each chip measures 5mm x 5mm.

3528 & 5050 - The bigger the chip, the brighter the strip!

Roughly how often will I have to change my LED bulbs?

One of the great things about LEDs is that they’re a lot longer-lasting than virtually all other types of bulb. An example of this is the LED bulb, the packaging of which states a 50,000-hour lifespan. The number of hours you have that bulb switched on each day will obviously affect the number of years it’s going to run for, so here’s a guide to give you an idea:

An LED that’s used for:

  • 24 Hours per day will last for approximately 7 Years;
  • 18 Hours per d will last for approximately 7.5 Years;
  • 12 Hours per d will last for approximately 11.5 Years;
  • 8 hours per day will last for approximately 17.1 Years.

What's an SMD?

Image showing size of LED chips on a strip light

An SMD LED Module (or “Surface-Mounted Device Light-Emitting Diode Module, to give it its full title) is a type of LED module that utilises surface-mount technology (SMT) to attach an LED chip to a printed circuit board (PCB).

It’s a completely self-contained surface-mounted LED device that’s designed either to function on its own or to plug into a compatible unit. SMD chips represented a giant leap forward in the development of LED technology because it’s possible to attach three diodes to the same chip.

When a chip includes a red, green, and blue diode, it can generate any colour you want simply by adjusting the level of output from each individual diode.

Red, green and blue LEDs

While SMDs are both extremely bright and versatile, there’s a newer and more powerful kid on the block, in the form of the COB. 

What's a COB?


No, it’s not a small horse, usually of a stout build, or a bread roll (unless you live here in Leicester!), it’s an acronym for “Chip On Board”.

This up-to-the-minute form of LED chip is mounted directly onto the printed circuit board using the tape automated bonding (TAB) process. When the wires have been attached to it, a glob of epoxy resin (Glob-top) is used to encapsulate the chip and its connections.

COB LED light bulbs, as well as being extremely simple and reliable, also provide an improved lumen-per-watt ratio in comparison to other LED technologies such as SMD. 

Will the temperature in the room affect my LED bulbs?

As LED bulbs are tested at an ambient temperature of 25°C, they’re perfectly suited to use in domestic environments in rooms all around your home.

Cold man in the snow

However, the lifespan and brightness of the LED bulb will be affected by extreme levels of hot or cold temperatures.

But get this, at very cold temperatures, LEDs are known to shine more brightly than at normal room temperatureso open that fridge door! 

Which is better for LED lighting: a mains or a low-voltage circuit?

This largely depends on the type of LED device you’re looking for and, to a degree, upon personal preference. Most work well on either, however our MR16 LED bulbs and LED strip lighting, for example, require a low-voltage circuit.

LED downlights in a living room

LED downlights can be either mains-powered or low-voltage (typically 12 volts) - 'low voltage' does not mean 'high efficiency' as, typically, the transformer will waste a small amount of energy.

Therefore, a low-voltage installation will generally consume more electricity than a conventional mains installation, although low-voltage bulbs do have a longer lifespan. 

Will I be able to use LEDs on a 12V circuit?

Yes, you will. As a matter of fact, our M16 LED bulbs and our LED Strip Lights run exclusively on 12V circuits. 

Will I need to replace my dimmer switch for LED bulbs?

An old fashioned dimmer switchThe dimmer switch you may currently be using is probably a “leading-edge” model that requires a minimum of 60 watts.

This is way too high to be used with dimmable, low-voltage LED bulbs and that's the reason you’ll need to purchase LED-friendly “trailing-edge” dimmer switches when you replace your bulbs. 

HELP! My LED bulb won't switch on!

This could be the result of any number of issues, but here are a few things you can check:

  • Is the bulb receiving power from the light switch or dimmer?
  • Is the bulb securely placed in the fitting?
  • Have you tried placing the bulb in an alternative fitting on the same circuit to see if it works then?

LED Monkey Logo

If none of these solutions achieves the desired effect, just give us a ring on 0800 999 7797. Or, you can send us an e-mail to:

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