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An introduction to LED lighting


Which? Local award-winning electrician Tony Byrne explains your options if you decide to switch to LED lights in your home – and the cost of different jobs.

Domestic LED lamps

LED lighting for the home

LED lights use a fraction of the energy of traditional bulbs, are cheap to run and are claimed to last nearly 50 times longer.

They're still quite expensive to buy but prices have fallen in recent years. And each LED bulb (or 'lamp') could knock £5-£6 off your annual electricity bill, so you should break even in about five years. That's a big saving if you replace many of the bulbs in your home with LEDs.

Unlike CFLs (commonly known as 'energy-saving lightbulbs), LED lamps reach full brightness instantly when turned on.

Energy use (lights of comparable brightness)Purchase costLifespan (average maximum in hours)Annual running cost (a)
Information supplied by electrician Tony Byrne in June 2013.
Incandescent (being phased out)60 watt£1-£1.501,000£7.20
Halogen50 watt£2.50-£3.502,000£6
CFL (b)14 watt£3-£410,000£1.70
LED lamp9 watt£1430,000£1.08
LED downlight6/11 watt£12/£3630,000£0.72/£1.30

Your choices

LED bulbs

LEDs bulbs come in a variety of 'retrofit' styles so you can simply replace traditional bulbs in ceiling lights, floor and table lamps.

LED spotlights (downlights)

These are built into the ceiling, commonly in kitchens and bathrooms, but are suitable for any room.

LED strip lights

Flexible strips of LED lights, usually with adhesive backing, that can be fitted under kitchen cupboards or in cabinets.

LED security floodlights

External security lights are quite power hungry so it could be worth replacing them with an LED lamp.


Things to consider

Where to buy

Watch out for super cheap LED lights on the internet, especially if coming from abroad. Buy direct from a local trusted electrician, who should get a wholesale price and be able to give a guarantee, or a reputable online trader such as Screwfix or QVS Direct.

Dimmer switches

You will need special dimmable LED lamps, plus an LED compatible dimmer switch.

Lights in bathrooms

LED lights fitted in bathrooms must be IP rated, which means they're safe to use should they come into contact with condensation or water.


Typical costs

These guide prices assume that earthing complies with IET regulations (17th edition) and that circuits have RCD protection. All downlights are fire rated (designed and manufactured to withstand fire for a fixed period).

Supply and fit six 6 watt LED downlights – non-dimmable

JobTypical overall costMaterialsLabour
All labour costs exclude VAT. Costs based on job within local area and easy access to an existing electricity source. Costs supplied by electrician Tony Byrne in June 2013.
• If replacing existing halogen lamp with 6 watt LED lamp£110£72£38
• If replacing existing halogen downlights completely£230£130£100
• If replacing existing traditional rose and pendant£380£180£200

Supply and fit six 6 watt LED downlights – dimmable

JobTypical overall costMaterialsLabour
All labour costs exclude VAT. Costs based on job within local area and easy access to an existing electricity source. Costs supplied by electrician Tony Byrne in June 2013.
• With 11 watt LED complete fitting£472£275£200

Supply and fit six 6 watt IP-rated downlights – non-dimmable (for a bathroom)

JobTypical overall costMaterialsLabour
All labour costs exclude VAT. Costs based on job within local area and easy access to an existing electricity source. Costs supplied by electrician Tony Byrne in June 2013.
• If replacing existing halogen lamp with 6 watt LED lamp£110£78£32
• If replacing existing halogen downlights completely£260£160£100
• If replacing existing traditional rose and pendant£410£210£200

Supply and fit six 6 watt IP-rated downlights – dimmable (for a bathroom)

JobTypical overall costLabourMaterials
All labour costs exclude VAT. Costs based on job within local area and easy access to an existing electricity source. Costs supplied by electrician Tony Byrne in June 2013.
• With 11 watt LED complete fitting£475£275£200

Supply and fit external 8 watt floodlight with movement sensor

JobTypical overall costMaterialsLabour
All labour costs exclude VAT. Costs based on job within local area and easy access to an existing electricity source. Costs supplied by electrician Tony Byrne in June 2013.
• If replacing existing floodlight£100£60£40
• If starting from scratch/no existing power£180£80£100

Supply and fit strip lighting under kitchen cupboards (assuming five 1 foot-long lights)

JobTypical overall costMaterialsLabour
All labour costs exclude VAT. Costs based on job within local area and easy access to an existing electricity source. Costs supplied by electrician Tony Byrne in June 2013.
• If replacing existing fluorescent lights£160£100£60
• If starting from scratch/no existing powerVaries, but £300+£150£150

About our expert trader

Electrician Tony Byrne from A J Byrne Electrical & Security Installations in Billericay, Essex

Our expert: Tony Byrne

Electrician Tony Byrne is the proprietior of A J Byrne Electrical & Security Installations. 

The business, which is based in Basildon, Essex, is a regional winner of the 2013 Which? Local Business of the Year Award.

Which? members have praised Tony for 'demystifying' the electrical work he carries out and for the thorough and friendly service he offers.

Read reviews for A J Byrne Electrical & Security Installations