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What They Don't Tell You About Linear LED Lenses - Get The Honest Truth Here

What They Don't Tell You About Linear LED Lenses - Get The Honest Truth Here

Not All LED Lenses Are Created Equally

When choosing a linear LED fixture, there is more to know than just the internal tape light or light engine rating. Other ratings and information are vital to what type of light gets delivered out of the fixture. What is meant by that? The strip's data tells us what the CCT is, the lumen output, and the CRI & R9 values.

Spectra Chart displaying wavelength and CRI R9 values

What else do you need to consider when choosing an LED fixture, you may ask? Well, the answer lies in the following:

  • what you put the strip inside of and, more importantly,
  • the type of lens the light from the LED strip is coming through.
Why is this?

Simply because not all lenses are created equally. This may be news to some, and it certainly was to us at Q-Tran as we dove into the world of linear LED lighting some 8+ years ago now. As a power supply company steeped in integrity and altruism, we cared more about producing high-quality products and pleasing the design community than we did about being priced as cheaply as possible. It was only natural for us to think that those who claim to provide the highest quality product would have the same integrity. Needless to say...we were wrong.

So, what did we find?

We found that many vendors of lenses and competitors of ours that used theirs or something similar were using products we felt were inferior and ones that we would not want to put the Q-Tran name on. While many looked the same, these lenses did not deliver the same light output nor preserve the light engine's color properties; they changed them and changed them significantly. This change did not just occur from one type of lens to the next; it happened in the "same lens" used on a different sized extrusion or channel.

Q-Tran TORQ extrusions and lens optionsSo, it's the same lens, then why would the light output change from it?

The reason is, again, not all are created equally. Lenses are typically made from either Polycarbonate or Acrylic or a combination of Polycarbonate and Acrylic. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but some are more important to us than others. The most important thing to us is providing the highest quality of delivered light out of our fixtures to meet any project's design intent.

Extrusions and Various Lens Options

With Polycarbonate, you get a very flexible lens that generally will not break; however, the light output quality through that lens is suspect at best. It is not UV stabilized, so in direct or indirect sunlight, the lens will yellow and become brittle. A combination of Polycarbonate and Acrylic does help with this, but your lens becomes a little more fragile due to the acrylic material's stiffness. However, the light output is still not excellent. Many lens manufacturers add a whitening agent to their mix to hide the LED diode imaging, which many find very undesirable. With both options, CCT's can and will change, CRI's drop, the light can become green or pinkish… not an ideal representation of light.

So, what is the best linear LED lens?

Well, we have found that Acrylic is the best for us, but not just any Acrylic. We use a customized Acrylic lens formula and process to provide our clients and customers with the best light output possible while providing the most delivered lumens out of our built fixtures. The formula we use is far less likely to scratch than the lenses mentioned above; they also have better UV stability and will not become brittle or yellow over time.

We use a customized Acrylic lens formula and process to provide our clients and customers with the best light output possible while providing the most delivered lumens out of our built fixtures.

Our custom formula also provides a level of flexibility to our lenses, so they will not break onsite. In creating this custom formula, we have also improved the dimensional consistency so they fit snuggly in all our extrusions. They have made a consistent diffuseness across our whole product line. This provides a perfect-looking, pixel-less fixture from most of our product offerings. But you don't have to believe me-the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the data. Most companies will not provide all the photometric data (IES files) for their products as built fixtures, but we do! In fact, we test them all day, every day. New products, existing products, you name it. We are always testing them in our in-house lab, and that data is available to you at any time; just ask.

Q-Tran extrusions and lenses illuminate residential, office and hospitality spaces for a unique atmosphere

The Bottom Line...

We strive to provide the best products in the marketplace and hope by using our products, you will see that not all lenses, and even products, are created equally.


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