Lighting Buyer's Guide

What are LEDs and How Do they Save?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode - the newest, most energy-efficient form of lighting. Unlike standard incandescent bulbs that use a large amount of energy to power (much of which is wasted as heat), LED bulbs require very little, converting 95% of their energy use into light. Less energy use reduces the demand from power plants, decreases greenhouse gas emissions, and saves you money. 

How to Choose the Right LEDs: 3 Considerations

Due to new technology and great variety, shopping for LEDs online is different than shopping for standard bulbs in-store. How do you know which LED is right for you? Just like with standard bulbs, the same considerations apply - will it fit, will it be bright enough, and what will it look like when illuminated?

To select the right LEDs for your needs, ask yourself the following:

1. What bulb style and base do I need? 
Arguably the most important consideration, you need to choose a bulb that fits! Determine which bulb style (general use, decorative, globe, etc.) and bulb base (E12 candelabra base, E26 medium base, etc.) will work in your lamp or fixture.

2. How bright do I need the bulb to be? 
It is a common misconception that watts = brightness, when in fact, wattage simply refers to how much energy is used to power a bulb. Instead of watts, look for lumens to measure the brightness of an LED. More lumens = more light output.

3. What color temperature do I prefer? 
The color that a bulb emits is determined by color temperature on the Kelvin scale. The lower the bulb is on the scale, the more yellow and warmer the light. Bulbs higher on the scale emit light that is bluer and cooler.

Bulb Styles and Bases - A Quick Rundown

Bulb Styles
The styles of light bulbs fall into a handful of broad categories, each of which has a letter value. For example, general use light bulbs are in the "A" category. Following each of these letters is a numeric value, representing the width of the light bulb in eighths of an inch. Therefore, an A19 is a general use light bulb that is 19 eighths of an inch wide. The higher the numeric value, the larger the diameter of the light bulb.

Bulb Bases
The base of a bulb refers to its connection to the lamp or fixture it fits inside of. The most common base is an E26 medium screw base. 

Lumens, a Measure of Brightness

It is a common misconception that watts = brightness, but it is in fact lumens that measure brightness. The higher the lumens value, the brighter the light. Here's some history.

In 2007 the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) included provisions to improve the efficiency of general use light bulbs by at least 25%. Pre-EISA, a 1,600 lumen general use incandescent lamp would typically consume 100 watts of electricity, but post-EISA a general use lamp could consume no more of 72 watts of electricity. 

Kelvin, a Measure of Color

The correlated color temperature (CCT) is the color of a bulb, measured in degrees Kelvin. The lower the value, the "warmer" (more yellow) the color of the light. The higher the value, the "cooler" (more blue) the light. The most common color temperature is 2,700 degrees Kelvin (soft white). 

Maxlite 15w Soft White A21 Standard Bulb

Brightness (Lumens) 1600

Regular Price: $6.99

Your Price with SMECO Rebate: $3.99

R2010.305 Learn More

Regular Price: $4.95

Your Price with SMECO Rebate: $1.95

R2040.304 Learn More

Regular Price: $5.29

Your Price with SMECO Rebate: $3.29

R1100.8285 Learn More

Philips Hue White A19 Starter Kit

Brightness (Lumens) 840

Regular Price: $69.99

Your Price with SMECO Rebate: $59.99

Get your smart lighting system started with the Philips Hue Starter kit. The kit includes two smart bulbs with white light and the Hue Bridge for complete, custom control over your home lighting from any location.

  • 800 lumens brightness, using only 9.5 watts
  • 2700K for soft white light
  • A19 standard, general use bulbs
  • E26 medium base
  • Lasts 25,000 hours (22.8 years when used for 3 hours a day)
Learn More

Regular Price: $9.98

Your Price with SMECO Rebate: $4.98

R1440.414 Learn More

TCP 5w Soft White G25 Globe Bulb

Brightness (Lumens) 350

Regular Price: $4.75

Your Price with SMECO Rebate: $1.75

R2020.101 Learn More

Regular Price: $3.16

Your Price with SMECO Rebate: $1.16

R2030.102 Learn More

By registering for the SMECO Online Store you certify that you are a SMECO residential customer-member and will install the items you purchase in your home. Eligible customer-members may order up to 24 LED lighting products per calendar year, 3 smart thermostats over the lifetime of the program, 2 advanced power strips per calendar year, 2 dehumidifiers or 3 air purifiers per calendar year, 2 aerators and 2 shower heads per calendar year, and 6 controls and 6 smart plugs over the lifetime of the program. Targeted customer-members may be eligible for an incentivized Energy Efficiency Kit. Purchases totaling $35.00 or more receive free shipping.

EmPOWER Maryland programs are funded by a charge on your energy bill. EmPOWER programs can help you reduce your energy consumption and save you money. To learn more about EmPOWER and how you can participate, go to