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Why Do LED Lights Flicker

Find the answer to the frequently asked LED Lights related question: Why Do LED Lights Flicker?
There appears to be a bit of confusion surrounding LED and fluorescent lights. Because of this, a lot of consumers are asking the question, “Why do LED lights flicker?” Many of us have had occasion to be subjected to those annoying fluorescent bulbs that were tucked away under ceiling panels that would flicker whenever they were nearing the end of their life spans. Fluorescent lamps also flicker as they are turned on because it takes a few moments for the gasses to heat up sufficiently to produce light. LED lights do flicker, but not in the same way, and as a matter of fact, they flicker at such a fast rate of speed that it is usually imperceptible to the human eye.

Non-Rectified Flickering LED Lights

It is a fact that all LED lights naturally flicker at a rate of approximately 60 Hz per second. Even though that is an extremely fast rate of speed, there are some individuals who can actually detect the flickering at that rate. This is known as a half wave, also called non-rectified light. This type of light is common to various Christmas LED light sets and may be more easily detected if the lights or the individual are moving. Unfortunately, this flickering in non-rectified lights is a common complaint of consumers in regards to some inexpensive Christmas lights.

Rectified LED Lights

Fortunately, there are flicker-free LED lights on the market, which are also called rectified lights. They turn on and off (flicker) even more rapidly than non-rectified lights, at a rate of about 120 Hz per second. The flicker of rectified LED lights is virtually undetected by the human eye, and even though they flicker, they are called non-flickering or flicker-free. It would be more accurate to say they are imperceptible flickering lights! Unfortunately, rectified LED lights are less efficient than non-rectified lights, which is still a small price to pay since they are so much more efficient than any other type of light on the market anyway. Another ‘bonus’ of rectified lights is that they are much brighter than the non-rectified lights, by as much as 30% – 40%.

LED Flicker Lights

Some LED lights are meant to flicker, as is the case of LED candle lights. These lights are designed to resemble realistic candle light that flickers naturally as a result of movement in the air around them. This flickering, or rapidly pulsing on/off current, is produced by altering the rate of Hz/second. There are also twinkling LED strands that are used to decorate around the holidays, and these two are actually produced by causing the flicker to be controlled at a lower rate so that it is discernable by the human eye.

Why do LED lights flicker? They flicker because of the rapid on/off cycling of electricity as it pulses through them. Unless you happen to be one of the unlucky few who have the visual capacity to detect that rapid cycling of the lights, you will never even notice it. LED lights are totally different than fluorescent bulbs and they will never flicker at the end of their life span. LED lights will begin dimming, perhaps a decade or two down the road, but they will never flicker before they die. If you can see the flicker, those lights were manufactured in such a way as to make it noticeable.