DOE Caliper report evaluates LED PAR38 lamps

Dec. 4, 2012
The latest Caliper report finds that LED PAR38 lamps have made significant improvements recently, although more options and lower prices would be welcome.
The latest Caliper report from the US Department of Energy, which is number 20 in the series, evaluates the independently-tested photometric performance of 38 LED PAR38 lamps.

The Caliper program supports testing of a wide array of SSL products available for general illumination. A summary of the series 20 results is available for download from the DOE SSL website.

The series 20 results show significant improvement versus earlier Caliper testing of similar products. All of the LED PAR38 lamps tested offer substantial energy savings compared to halogen PAR38 lamps. Some of the LED lamps had higher efficacy than compact-fluorescent (CFL) or ceramic-metal-halide (CMH) versions.

The lumen output of many of the products was equivalent to 40W to 90W halogen PAR38 lamps, and all emitted between 388 and 1363 lumens. Efficacy of the LED lamps ranged from 26 to 79 lm/W, although all except one of the products was between 44 and 79 lm/W.

Further, LED products are available that cover the full range of conventional PAR38 beam angles, and that have appropriate color quality, lumen output, and center beam intensity.

The LED PAR38 lamps had luminous intensity distributions ranging from narrow (8° beam angle) to very wide (64° beam angle); the suitability of these distributions depends on the application, but the availability of narrow distributions is an important finding.

In an improvement compared to earlier testing, 37 of the 38 products had a power factor higher than 0.70.

However, more options within specific product families would be beneficial, and LED lamps with higher lumen output may be necessary for specialty applications. And, as usual, lower prices would also be beneficial to enhance the penetration of LED lamps into the market.

Beginning in 2012, each Caliper summary report focuses on a single product type or application. Products are selected with the intent of capturing the current state of the market—a cross section ranging from expected low- to high-performing products—with the bulk characterizing the average of the range.