I don’t wish to be overly dramatic, but the situation calls for it. So, to invoke a due sense of on-coming doom by quoting from the flappy dragon- and nudity-heavy Game of Thrones, ‘winter is coming’.
Yep, for the brave Hobbits of Westeros, led by the courageous Willow Ufgood, this meant lugging a massive, pointy chair over a thousand miles to lug into a volcano (note to self: you may want to check this) or be overtaken by an invading army of cannibal Frost Giants, but for us here in the UK, in 2022, it means we need to up the ante when it comes to combatting the exploding costs coming via the energy crisis.
In a separate piece for this esteemed and upstanding online organ, I’ll be looking at energy saving devices, but stripping it back to basics now and ensuring the lights can stay on as the long nights draw in, I’m putting the spotlight on essential energy saving lightbulbs. Then I’m turning that spotlight off sharpish, as the rocketing price of electricity means the use of that is right out.
At the moment, the chances are that the majority of lightbulbs in your home are of the incandescent type that simply flick on or off, or getting slightly sexier, are wired to a dimmer switch. However, by changing to LED (Light Emitting Diodes) bulbs, you can cut energy consumption by up to 10-times and, what’s more, LED bulbs can last up to 22-years, so you can save up to 90 per cent on lighting bills, which will come in handy during the on-going energy apocalypse, and also help you do your bit for the planet too.
But don’t just take my word for it, according to Savings Expert, Helen Rolph, at Quotezone.co.uk: “The best way to help protect the environment and save money is to look at long term changes. It doesn’t have to be the more expensive solutions right now like insulation and energy efficient windows, it could be smaller items like LED lightbulbs, draft excluders, reflective materials behind radiators and an insulation jacket for the hot water tank, these subtle changes can make an impact.
“For example, a regular 40W bulb running for seven-hours a day would likely cost homeowners £2.43 a month, replace just one bulb with an LED and it could be as little as 70p a month. If you have 20 light bulbs in your home that’s a saving of £34 a month.”
So, there you are, with the words of an expert in the bag, it’s time to see the light and get switched on to LED. But which bulbs are right for you? And what kind of cap do you require for the fittings in your home? Head this way for illumination… and many more poor-quality puns…
Wessex Electrical LED A60 GLS
Best for: Dimmable LED bulbs on a budget
Face it, nobody really knows what’s coming over the next few months in the UK when it comes to the cost of energy. Well, ‘nobody’ that is other than the big energy companies who have already made in excess of £170 billion in profits this year, despite the ‘crisis’ – no, they seem to be quite comfortably in the know. But for the rest of us who don’t have spare billions to throw around, now is the time to tighten belts when it comes to cutting costs, starting with lighting, and Wessex Electrical has some enlightening options that can save you cash both now and as the crisis continues.
Delivering a lifespan of around 25,000-hours and a warm white light equivalent to 60W, making them ideal for the living room or bedroom, the classic GLS (General Lamp Service) shaped LED lightbulb seen here comes with a common ES screw cap (also known as E27), but other lamp fitting cap and shape options are available, each offering the same money saving majesty.
Producing a nicely wide 240° beam angle to cover a good area of any room, these noise- and flicker-free bulbs also offer extremely good value, costing – remarkably – just over a tenner for a pack of five.
Dimmable to boot, Wessex LEDs may not be able to offer some of the smarter bells and whistles of other, more expensive, options I’ve looked at here, but low-cost, guaranteed to save loot on your leccy bills and also good to go for around 2.9-years of non-stop usage (not that you would leave a light on like that), combatting the energy crisis on the cheap starts here.
Buy now £10.48, Toolstation
4Lite WiZ Connected LED Smart Bulb Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
Best for: Seeing the smart-light
The bleak early economic winter of discontent may be sweeping in with all the tenacity of a plague of money-lusting energy-locusts, but there are still plenty of reasons to celebrate as we stare uncertainty into the festive season ahead. Indeed, with a raft of different religious festivals due to fall over autumn and winter, what better way to ensure you can set the right scene and save money at the same time with colour-variable LEDs?
Which is where these natty WiZ Connected bulbs from 4Lite slip in nicely. Available in E27, B22 and GU10 cap fittings and varying white, colour changeable and/or tuneable depending on which of the extensive options appeal to you, according to 4Lite’s technicians, their LEDs use 85 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, equating to a saving of £35 per bulb each year, based on six-hours daily usage. And compared to halogen, popular for spotlight fittings, LEDs use 79 per cent less energy and save £20 a year per bulb. For homes using six bulbs regularly, this is tots up to a saving of £209 on incandescent and £135 on halogen, and these offer so much more in the way of smart mood lighting too.
Throwing out the LED equivalent of 60W, 4Lite’s colour changing bulbs offer up some 16m colours and tuneable white light, meaning you can illuminate your interior areas in whatever exacting hue and intensity takes your whim, 4Lite’s bulbs can connect via Bluetooth to the app on your smartphone or over the far more reliable WiZ Connect, which also lets you loose with Google Assistant, Shortcuts on iOS, Samsung Smart Things & Amazon Alexa when it comes to voice control. As I said: ‘natty’.
Buy now £14.00, Amazon
Trust WIFI Smart LED
Best for: Smart LED savings without the hub-bub
Sometimes all you want is economical, energy efficient LED bulbs that you can control from the comfort of your smartphone, turning on, running off, dimming, setting timers and, indeed, changing colour to suit your mood without all that extra expense involving an additional hub. Well, welcome to the Trust range of just that.
With bulb shapes and caps to suit all UK fittings, you can choose between White Ambiance options or the aforementioned colour-change-capable and then control all and sundry over your Wi-Fi via the iOS or Android app. For those still looking to impress and entertain guests during the otherwise uncertain days ahead of us, by utilising a combination of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, your own vocal chords can issue light-altering commands at will.
With prices starting at around £21 for a dual pack of Colour Changing E27 standard-size screw cap bulbs, offering a lifespan of some 15,000-hours, there is no easier way to both physically and metaphorically brighten up the dark autumn and winter days to come.
Buy now £21.00, Amazon
Nanoleaf Essentials A19/B22
Best for: Bluetooth-free smart lighting
Available in E26, E27 and B22 caps to fit the vast bulk of UK lamp fittings, this is a brand to know.
Whereas many light-controlling phone app-based systems rely on Bluetooth to maintain a connection betwixt bulb and smart-blower, Nanoleaf also employs ‘Thread’, an incredibly responsive, enviably stable network tech that does away with delays, dropped connections and also hubs. This leaves you free to change through 16M+ colour variations including a vast range of white temperatures, set timers and customised schedules. You can also help improve what people call ‘wellness’ by setting the Nanoleaf app to Circadian Lighting that automatically adjusts your lights to match the colour temperature based on the time of day, and, of course turn on and off with a touch of the app or via your own dulcet tones with Apple HomeKit or Google Assistant.
Offering up a maximum brightness of 1100-lumens, the Nanoleaf bulbs are well-made and, rather than rounded, come in a rhombicosidodecahedron shaped finish; and if you think I’m going to attempt to explain what that is or, indeed, even try and spell it again, this is where I leave you in the dark.
Good for 25,000-hours of on-ness and, vitally, working whenever alight to alleviate energy costs, get set for the ‘ember’, ‘anuary’ and ‘bruary’ months with pre-arranged ambiance and save money at the same time with some Nanoleaf life lighting.
Buy now £18.00, Amazon
Philips Ultra Efficient A60 LED Bulbs
Best for: Epically long life
Upping the energy saving ante considerably now, and available in E27, E14 and B22 cap fittings, these Ultra Efficient LED options from Philips come available in a series of colour temperatures ranging from ‘Cool Daylight’ to ‘Flame’, but as the review models all came in classic ‘White’ (that being the standard ‘clear’ bulb’) I’ll stick to focusing on that and the perfect warm white light they cast at the equivalent of either 40- or 60W, dependent on choice.
New from Philips, this impressive A60 range of darkness destroyers are quoted by the company itself as using up to 60 per cent less energy than normal Philips’ LEDs and also come with a lifespan of an almost-immortal-for-an-LED 50,000-hours, meaning that while nine-quid per bulb may seem a tad on the pricey side for a non-multi-coloured member of the bulb dimmerati, the long-term savings will keep you aglow amidst the on-going energy crisis, no matter how long the government fumbles in the dark trying to resolve it.
Also, akin to all LEDs, the Philips A60 bulbs deliver instant 100 per cent light with no delayed dim-up or dim-down time to contend with.
In short then: for those serious about saving energy and, of course, the rising costs that come attached to it, Philips’ Ultra Efficient A60 LED bulbs offer brilliance in both sense of the word.
Buy now £9.00, Amazon
Philips 4.9W (Eq.40W) P45 Smart LED
Best for: Total home and remote bulb-bidding
Total control over how your home lighting looks, how your home lighting acts and how your home lighting does or doesn’t burn through electricity is what the Smart LED from Philips offers the carbon- and cash-conscious homeowner.
Firstly, using WiZ to hook up securely and responsively with your iOS or Android smartphone, the light is quick and ludicrously easy to install and pair over your Wi-Fi, and from that point onwards you’re free to cycle through and set any conditions from bright to warm white light and anything else across a rainbow of millions of colour possibilities. What’s more, to ensure you only never leave lights on sucking up power like some kind of sparking succubus while out, you can set automated routines to be adhered to and, of course, control the whole lightshow over the app from anywhere in the world with Wi-Fi.
Playing nice with Siri, Google and Amazon Alexa, voice control is also on-hand for those too tired to even reach for their phone, and available for the usual range of fittings and in varying wattages to suit, the Philips Smart LED is truly a light to behold.
Buy now, Philips
Normally I might have something annoyingly glib to write here, but the energy cost crisis in the UK is now so crippling to so many (and perhaps destined to drag many more down with it before energy companies are called to account), that it’s far too serious a topic to take, ahem, lightly.
According to research from the Energy Saving Trust, lighting takes up about 11 per cent of the average UK household electricity consumption, so when it comes to saving money on an essential such as light, I recommend each and every LED bulb entry I’ve included here equally. What you personally want or can afford is up to you, but with all assembled, no matter how smart or how simple, guaranteed to help keep the pounds in your pocket where they belong, make the move to LED soon and start making savings now.