All LEDs Are Equal…But Some Are More Equal Than Others

4 tips that can save your bacon!

When looking at a lot of LEDs it kind of feels like you are being sold the same gear in different packaging…doesn’t it?

The thing is, most of the styles of LED fixtures we commonly get marketed to us are pretty much the same!  Same or similar technology, style, format, components…so what does makes one LED stand above the rest?

Is there actually any difference?

Yes.  The fact is, broadly speaking there are two classes of LED light.  The ones you commonly see which are all similar and fairly competitive on price and then the ones you need if you have a serious mining or industrial application.

Think light, plastic and disposable vs tough, aluminium and fully serviceable.  It’s a bit like the difference between buying a 3 door Kia and a CAT dump truck!

One common misconception is that LEDs are all cheap and although they may be in terms of running cost, the heavy duty LEDs will cost you more to buy.  Having said that, the cheaper ones just won’t last on your site-it’s a bit like bringing a knife to a gunfight as the old saying goes.

So how do you know what to look for when buying heavy duty LEDs?  And what are the actual comparisons you can make to look for longevity, suitability and cost effectiveness over the lifetime of your project?

Follow these 4 tips and you’ll be better placed to make an informed decision:

Check the chips!Check the chips!

Firstly, look at the LED chips.  This may seem obvious, but there are a number of things to consider here.  You want to use a really good brand like Citizen or Phillips: there are cheaper versions, but most often you will find them failing and needing to be replaced more often, eating up both man hours and increasing down time.

You also want the type that isn’t a whole lot of little LEDs linked together on a large board, but are large chips with individual lenses you can replace individually should you need to.

Test the frameTest the frame…

Secondly, check out the frame.  You need a heavy duty frame that will withstand the rugged conditions of a mine site or outdoor application such as sporting grounds, trucking yards, workshops, wash down pads…basically any rugged outdoor application.

The best are aluminium that has been powder coated.  They not only provide you with a lighter weight option than other metals, but are more durable than the common plastic versions.

Another quick tip on this…sometimes you will see LEDs that have the wires exposed at the rear of the fixture.  Be warned, stay away!  It might seem hard to believe, but in Australia the cockatoos chew through these cables and ruin the lights!

Just make sure there is a backing protecting any exposed wires.

Wired for success!

Thirdly, check all the wiring and connections throughout the fixture.  Making sure the LEDs you purchase are waterproof is essential for heavy duty operations.  You want to look at IP67 or above, the common IP65 versions you see will not last in outdoor environments with high levels of dust and water.

Also ask:

Are all the connections IP67+ rated?

Does it come with valid testing certification?

Has everything been sealed correctly and have the electrical components been terminated properly?

It may seem tedious, but a good supplier will have this information on hand or be able to get it for you easily.

Better yet, they should have a demo model they can show you!

Can I service it?

Lastly, make sure that the unit is fully serviceable.  This means you can replace lenses, drivers, chips, covers…basically every component that makes up the LED fixture.


A good quality fixture will last well past the warranty expiry date, however some components may fail given time.  In the most common varieties of LED this means replacing the whole unit, but if you get a fully serviceable model you can replace the individual components.

This will save you time, money and increase your ROI significantly!

It’s not uncommon particularly in fixed installations for these high quality LEDs to last many, many years with little to no maintenance required.

Hopefully this gives you a basic guide when buying heavy duty LEDs for your project and should you need any advice, never hesitate to get in touch with us at or
+61 8 6254 1800… we’re always here to help.

Ben Bunker.