The LED lighting industry is expanding rapidly and it seems that within just a few years, product choices have multiplied at an exponential rate. So, how do you go about finding the right vendor and the right product? Price may seem like the go-to deciding factor when selecting the lighting for your project, but selecting the right LED vendor may mean the difference between a satisfactory installation and a major disappointment. Here are some things we have learned from our customers that have been vital to the success of their projects.
With so many choices, where to start?
LED lighting is such a flexible technology that it allows one project to have multiple solutions. For example, lighting under kitchen cabinets can be accomplished with tape light, pucks, light bars and more. The right LED vendor will walk you through several options for your project and help you decide what fixture has the appropriate form factor for your application.
How much support do you need for your project outside of just buying the lights? Already know exactly what product you need to get the job done? Do you have a vision of how you’d like to light up a space but not sure how to go about it? Pick a company that provides project assistance and product recommendations.
The best support is when you can get help on a lighting schematic with an estimate and no pressure to purchase. Find someone who can walk you through an installation and will be available in case you need extra care for unexpected challenges. Can they provide in-person help in addition to over the phone and email? If needed, see if they can custom design and manufacture a lighting solution.
In the end, you want to find support from people who are product specialists. Customer service that can be there before, during and after your installation and not just a distributor who tells you to look for the number of the manufacturer.
Meeting your demands of volume and time
What is your lead time? How fast can you get the product in your hands? Look up shipping details and see if your order will be shipped 7-10 days or same day. Check if a rush order is available and for how much. Another thing to consider besides shipping time is if they have enough volume of what you need in stock. A company with low or no inventory could add more wait time if more product needs to be ordered.
High quality, reliable product
Comparing photos of LED lighting from different companies may make it seem like they will look the same and even be made by the same manufacturer, but, in fact, they may not be the same in quality, color (CCT) consistency and light output. Ask your vendor if they supply product samples or a showroom nearby to test out the product. In addition, keep in mind that there are various grades of quality when it comes to LED lighting products. Here are a few factors to look out for to make sure you’re getting the best product.
If you’re using LEDs for commercial applications or if an electrical contractor will be installing the lights, you need the products you purchase to be certified to pass commercial electrical inspections. This information is usually found on a products website page and is essential to limiting your liability and giving you the peace of mind that the product has been tested for safety.
A reputable company will make sure to be compliant with any patents needed for legal liability conditions. If you’re working on a project with lights not under the right patents, you could be asked to remove all non-compliant products out of an installation. Bring up this concern with your vendor, especially if you are using any color-changing RGB lights in your project.
What was once a 1-year industry standard is now a 3-year standard for manufacturer's warranties on all purchases. Some manufacturers even offer up to a 5-year warranty. Most reseller companies do not offer an additional warranty. Make sure to read the details of the warranty and what it covers and ask your vendor for any needed clarification. Take into consideration if the components you are purchasing can be easily replaced or if the whole system will need to be replaced. For example, if the tape lights you are purchasing are modular in nature and can be put together with connectors, a tape light section can easily be replaced. On the other hand, if the products are soldered together, it may be tricky to fix the system while staying under warranty.
Finding what’s right for your business
The next time you’re on the lookout for new LED lights consider these tips on finding a trustworthy business that’s the right fit for you. You won’t feel overwhelmed by the choices of LED lighting solutions offered today if you focus on finding a business that is supportive, reliable and offers products of the highest quality.