Envirolight LED 3W MR16 Bulb

In the box
We have been looking for a long time for a low-power LED bulb to replace the MR16 halogen bulbs used around our house. In the kitchen alone, we have fifteen 20W halogen bulbs in the ceiling, consuming a whopping 300W of electricity. Replacing these with 3W LED bulbs brings this down to 45W, when all of the lighting is in use. LED MR16 bulbs have been around for a while now but, it is only recently that they have started to achieve a decent performance and price balance. The EnviroLight 3W LED MR16 in this review is one such bulb.

The bulb is rated at 3W and claims to offer the equivalent light output of a 35W halogen equivalent. It features 24 LEDs behind an opaque glass front, with a 70 degree beam angle. Life expectancy is 50,000 hours or 25 years given an average of 4 hours use per day. It is very efficient, producing much less heat output than an equivalent halogen bulb. One other important point to note is that this bulb will work with both 12V ac and 12V dc power supplies. It does not need a special LED driver but you will need a transformer that can drive low loads. Many specify a minimum load rating as well as maximum load rating. Some examples are shown here: One thing to look out for is that I need to reflect on the page is that some transformers dont like driving low power devices like this. You need a transformer rated at 0-xW. Some examples.

The model reviewed here is the 'Amber White' version but, the bulb is available in other colour temperatures:
  • Warm White, 3000K - 3500K, HI-MR16-24WW-12V
  • Amber White, 3700K - 4300K, HI-MR16-24AW-12V
  • Daylight White, 5500K - 6500K, HI-MR16-24CW-12V
  • Cold White, 6500K - 7500K, HI-MR16-24CW2-12V

LED
When compared side by side to a 20W halogen bulb, the first thing you notice is that it appears slightly brighter but, the overall incident light on work surfaces is slightly lower. The light colour temperature is warm but, slightly less cooler and orange than the halogen bulb. In this respect it is an improvement.

halogen
Compared to the halogen bulb (shown here), the LED bulb (above) provides a smoother and more diffuse light output. It also appears to have a wider beam angle.

comparison
This side by side comparison (LED bulb on the right), shows the relative light outputs and beam patterns.

colour temperature
This side by side comparison (LED bulb on the right), better shows the differences in colour temperature and beam angles. We prefer the LED bulb because the output light is closer to natural daylight in colour.

Summary

This is a fairly impressive bulb! Light output is good, with a nice diffuse output and a wide beam angle. It has a very nice colour temperature, which is closer to natural daylight than the halogen bulbs it will be replacing in our home. The fact that it has such a long lifetime and uses only 3W of power makes it a fantastic choice to replace all of the MR16 halogen bulbs in our home.

Updates

23rd April 2010

Have ordered some of these bulbs in 'warm white' and 'daylight white' versions, to see how these other colour temperatures compare. These can be purchased on-line from BLT Direct.

Further Reading

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