Disclosure: We received one LiteSpan 2in1 LED Floor Lamp free of charge (retail value: $42.99 at the time of this writing). Brightech did not pay us for the review, nor did they have any input into it. All opinions are my own.
Part of maintaining a sustainable homestead – not to mention a sustainable ecosystem – involves saving energy. From the homesteader’s perspective, energy efficiency translates into saving money. And from a global citizen’s perspective, using less energy decreases one’s carbon footprint. One of the easiest ways to conserve energy without changing your lifestyle is to replace incandescent or compact fluorescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. LED lighting technology has matured quickly over the past few years, giving us options for mood lighting, workspace lighting, and even grow lights for starting your vegetables indoors. So let’s check out one particular LED lamp and learn some general LED lighting terms while we’re at it.
Light Bulb Brightness
When incandescent lighting was king, most people measured a light’s brightness in Watts. All other things being equal, a bulb with a higher wattage rating produced more light than a lower-wattage bulb. But the Watt is a unit of power consumption, not brightness, and all other things are no longer equal. LEDs produce light more efficiently than incandescent bulbs, so you get more bang for the buck.
The true measure of brightness is the lumen, so when looking for a bulb that gives off a certain amount of light, look at its lumen rating. Now, since you’re probably used to measuring brightness in Watts, here’s a little conversion table:
Please note that the wattage numbers are approximate and that it’s not quite a linear relationship.
LED Lighting Options
Brightech offers a variety of decorative LED lighting choices, including floor lamps, table lamps, torchieres, and more. Some of them even include charging options (USB and wireless) for charging phones, tablets, and other gadgets. The company contacted us and asked if we’d be willing to review one of their products.
LiteSpan 2in1 Features
The LiteSpan 2in1 can be used as either a floor lamp or a desk lamp, depending on how you put it together. It’s dimmable and you can change its color spectrum, too. This is a great feature, because natural daylight is better for reading and task lighting, while warm light delivers a relaxing ambiance. The LiteSpan 2in1 provides three color temperatures: 6000K (daylight), 4500K (soft white), and 3000K (warm white).
LiteSpan 2in1 Assembly
If the phrase “some assembly required” scares you, fear not: the LiteSpan 2in1 is so intuitive that I didn’t need the instructions that came with it. (The instructions are good, though.) Simply screw five pieces together, attach the cord, add three clips to hold the cord in place, and you’re good to go. (That’s for a floor lamp. For a desk lamp, it’s even easier: skip the three pole sections.)
While most floor lamps have their wires running inside the pole, that’s not feasible for a 2in1, since the three middle sections wouldn’t be there when it’s configured as a desk lamp. I can think of ways to engineer around that, but it would add significant cost, perhaps pricing the lamp out of range for many consumers. So I can live with the wire running along the outside of the pole. The included clamps can be arranged so that the wire is less visible.
Also note that the lamp has a “wall wart” that converts household AC into the DC that the LED light requires. This uses more outlet space than a standard AC plug. The plug isn’t polarized, however, so you can plug it in facing up or down. That means it won’t cover two outlets the way some wall warts do.
Mechanically, the lamp appears pretty solid. The base is small, but it’s weighted to decrease the likelihood of tipping over. I found that I can tilt it about 15 degrees in any direction, let go, and it will right itself; beyond that, it’s going down. Our two other floor lamps had larger, heavier bases, making them a bit more sturdy in that respect.
LiteSpan 2in1 Operation
Using the lamp is pretty self-explanatory. There are four buttons: power, M (which toggles among three color temperatures), and up/down buttons to change the brightness. Really, what else do you need? It’s a lamp.
The LiteSpan 2in1 has a flexible gooseneck, allowing you to point the light in any direction. I point it straight up for general room lighting, which lights up the room better than my more traditional floor lamp with a 3-way bulb. Here, you can see lighting the room it in all three color temperatures:
The difference between 6000K and 4500K doesn’t show up well in pictures, but it is noticeable to the eye. 6000K has a blue tinge to it, while the other two lean more toward the red end of the color spectrum. For general room lighting, I found the 4500K to be the best overall, and the 3000K was best for relaxing.
If you want to learn more about color temperatures and the safety of LED lights, see my article on engineering.com.
Task lighting is accomplished by aiming the light directly at a workspace. It’s often used when reading, crafting, drawing, or doing precision work. In general, 6000K is best for task lighting, although 4500K works well too, especially if you find the “bluishness” of 6000K to be a bit harsh after a while.
Again, the camera doesn’t show it but there is a significant difference in colors.
The above pictures were taken with the light at its maximum brightness. The lamp offers five brightness levels which, coupled with the three color temperatures, gives you fifteen different settings for the light. I’ve seen other bulbs that deliver thousands of levels and temperatures, but at a much higher cost. Most of those use a phone or tablet app to control the light; the LiteSpan 2in1 has the controls conveniently located right on the lamp itself. Also, it remembers the most recent setting, so when you turn it on, it retains the same color and brightness as it had before.
LiteSpan 2in1 Power Consumption
LEDs have two significant advantages over incandescent and fluorescent lights: they can change color temperatures and they consume less energy. In other words, you get better quality lighting and spend less money on electricity. I measured the power at all settings and it uses about 12 watts on the brightest setting and 2 watts at the dimmest setting.
This light draws such a tiny amount of power that if you left it on 24/7 at its brightest setting, the electricity it consumes would cost roughly $12 a year. By comparison, a 75 Watt incandescent bulb would deliver about the same brightness at a cost of $75/year. (These numbers are based on a flat electric rate of $0.12/kWh, the national average at the time of this writing.)
If you want to know more about reducing your electric bill, see my Energy Conservation at Home article.
With a regular lamp, the bulb is replaceable – not so with the LiteSpan. The company claims that the lamp will last 20 years or more, but their warranty is only 5 years. I have to say, that gives me a bit of concern. It’s not just the replacement cost, but the fact that at the end of its life, it goes to a landfill. Hopefully, the company will come up with a plan to recycle the older lamps when they reach the end of their lifespans or, at a minimum, make replacement bulbs available.
In fairness, lamps that use “regular” light bulbs can fail after a few years too, so the end-of-life issue isn’t limited to this product line.
I’m a freelance writer, so my home office is where I do the bulk of my work. In short, this LiteSpan 2in1 is my new office lamp. I love the fact that I can change color temperatures based on my needs at that moment, and the flexible neck lets me aim the light wherever I want it. My office has a lot of dark spots, so used to I keep a flashlight on my desk for when I have to search for something in a poorly lit area. Now I simply twist the lamp’s neck and direct the light.
From an aesthetics perspective, my only complaint about this lamp is the blue LED sitting under the power button. I realize that you want to be able to find it in the dark, but this light is too bright and the blue is kind of annoying. I wouldn’t want it in our bedroom.
I put a piece of masking tape over the power button. I can still see the blue LED under it, but it’s a softer light. It’s not the prettiest solution, but this lamp is in my office, so I don’t care.
Overall, this is a really nice lamp in terms of form and function. Given the features, quality, price, and ease of use, I’d say the LiteSpan 2in1 offers good value for the consumer.
Confused about how to choose a light bulb? Check out this video from the US Department of Energy:
We received one LiteSpan 2in1 LED Floor Lamp free of charge (retail value: $42.99 at the time of this writing). Brightech did not pay us for the review, nor did they have any input. All opinions are my own.