Understanding How LED Lights Work

Understanding How LED Lights Work

  • Adorn Themes Collaborator

Everyone is always talking about how LED lights are so much better than other light sources. But what makes them so much better? What’s within their structure and make-up that leads to these lights being more environmentally friendly? They’re better for the office, they’re better for your home, they’re better for street lights—but how? If these are some of the questions you find yourself asking, take a look below. We’ve laid out a guide about understanding how LED lights work. Check it out and learn more about why these lights should always be your first pick!

What Does LED Stand For?

The first step to understanding how LED lights work is by learning what LEDs are, which means first knowing what LED stands for—Light-emitting Diodes. A diode is an electrical component that conducts current primarily in one direction; they’re semiconductors in nature. Therefore, when an electrical current is applied across a light-emitting diode, the result is a release of photons in the form of light energy. Now that you know what they stand for, you can fully delve into the world of how they work.

How They Work

Now to get to the good stuff. LEDs create light by a process called electroluminescence within a semiconductor material. To put it simply, this process happens when an electric current or an electric field passes through a light-emitting material. So, when these tiny light bulbs (light-emitting diodes) fit easily into a circuit, they’re illuminated solely by the movement of electrons through the semiconductor.

Let’s briefly compare the LED process to incandescent bulbs. When you choose to use an incandescent bulb, you can look into it and see a little filament within the bulb. For these bulbs, an electrical current is passed through the filament, heating it until it glows enough to produce light. Rather than solely utilizing the electrical current to produce light (electroluminescence), these bulbs use heat energy to produce light. This leads to bulbs that burn out, use a ton of electricity to light a small bulb, and are hot to the touch.

With LEDs, you get the opposite of that. You get bulbs that are illuminated solely by the movement of electrons through a material to fill “electron holes” within the semiconductor. When these “holes” are filled, then that leads to light creation. Now, keep in mind that this is more of a laymen’s explanation when it comes to how they work—you could spend hours looking into the formation of semiconductors and electron holes.

LED Light Colors and Temperatures

The next step to understanding how LEDs work is to delve into the colors and the color temperatures that make up these lights. Most LED fixtures produce light that is white in color. This is not because light-emitting diodes produce white light, but rather because diodes are available in the three primary colors. The white color comes from mixing these colors, in particular from mixing the wavelengths of two or more diodes to produce a white color when combined.

That said, there are different “whites” that LEDs can transmit. This depends on the warmth or coolness of each fixture—the color temperature. This does not mean the actual temperature of the light, but it’s rather referring to correlated color temperature (CCT) of LEDs—the color temperature of a black-body radiator which most closely matches the light from the lamp in terms of human color perception. You’ll find the typical colors and temperatures below.

  • Cool White: 7,000 to 7,500 Kelvin

  • Day White: 5,000 to 6,000 Kelvin

  • Pure White: 4,000 to 5,000 Kelvin

  • Neutral White: 3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin

  • Warm White: 2,7000 to 3,000 Kelvin

How do these color temperatures correlate to what we see? Warm white is going to give off a similar color to that of incandescent lights, showing more of a yellow hue. As the color temperature rises, the LED light becomes whiter in appearance, and when it reaches Cool White, you’ll get that blueish hue that a lot of people associate with LED lights.

Key Terms to Remember

There are whole courses that you could take on how LEDs work, but this guide gives you what you need to know in the simplest sense. To wrap it up neatly for you, we’ve listed out some of the key terms from above and for LEDs in general. These quick blurbs should hopefully be digestible enough for you that you never forget how an LED works!


You know this one! LED stands for Light-emitting Diode, a safer and more eco-conscious choice for homes, businesses, and all lighting needs.


This is electrically produced light. Thus, when the light-emitting diodes get in contact with the electrical current, light is produced through electroluminescence.

Luminous Efficacy

We haven’t talked about this one yet, but it’s a term you should have some idea about when it comes to LEDs. Simply put, it’s a measure of how well a light source produces visible light or how efficient a fixture is at converting an electrical current into light. In reference to LED lights, each fixture has a different luminous efficacy.

Luminous Flux

You may be used to the term wattage. But that’s not the term for LED lights, as the light produced by LEDs is measured in luminous flux. This is defined as the amount of energy emitted by a light source in all directions—so an LED light is measured in Lumens, or brightness, rather than by energy and wattage.

There’s a whole world of LEDs ready for you to explore. Now that you understand how the lights work, you can see how upgrading can be just as good for you as it is for the environment. And now you know the background behind why LEDs are preferred for use.

Here at Eco LED Mart, we offer a variety of LED lights for a variety of needs. If you need LED office panel lights, you can also find those here. If you need some new lights for the beautiful newly renovated patio, then you can find that here as well. We’re here to provide you with everything necessary to change up your lighting standards to the powerful, eco-conscious world of LED lights.

How LED Lights Work


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