The Myth About LED Lighting

Social media is full of misinformation being thrown around, but one pretty common thing I’ve seen chucked around a fair bit is people saying “LED’s drawer less power.” You might be thinking, hold up isn’t that the big deal about LEDs, that they’re more efficient. More efficient yes, but draw less power is a statement that could trick you up.

Lets say I’m looking at some roof lighting and can’t decide on a 200watt LED lightbar or 4 50watt halogen spotties. I ask for advice online and some bro comes along and says, “go LED man, it’ll draw less power.” That is not true, the 200w lightbar and the 4x50w (200w total) spotties will draw the same amount of power.

When we’re talking about power draw of a light, the amount of power (amps) being drawn is directly related to the supply voltage and the light wattage. The type of light makes no difference.

If you have a 200watt LED, it’s power draw running off a 12volt battery is 16.6amps. Power draw is calculated, watts divided by volts (200w/12v = 16.6a). 200watts of halogen spotties running off the same 12v battery also draws 16.6amps (200w/12v = 16.6a).

So why would someone say LEDs draw less power? Perhaps it is a misunderstanding about the efficiency of LEDs. What makes LEDs efficient is that they can produce more light (a higher amount of lumens) than its halogen or even fluorescent equivalent.

The efficiency of LEDs is a great benefit for us off grid adventurers. If you need to lower your power consumption, replacing any halogen lamps with LEDs of a lower wattage will mean less power drawn (lower watts = lower amps) but you can still retain a similar amount of light lumens. Alternatively if you’re wanting more light you can replace a halogen light with an LED of the same wattage, and you’ll see an increase in light output but not effect your power draw.

On a side note, power consumption shouldn’t be the only deciding factor for a light type. Different light styles (spotlights, lightbars, striplights) perform differently in different situations, produce different colours and project light in different ways, so always consider the main purpose of the light when choosing a style.