The Definitive Guide to ACCURATELY Choose a Red Light Therapy Device
When choosing the best brand of LED red light therapy device for your needs, there are a few features that need to be focused on when making a buying decision. The main point to remember is that we're dealing with an LED panel that produces light at a specific wavelength. That's it. It's very important to look through what sometimes can be smoke, mirrors and large marketing budgets to find the true facts.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Light Therapy Device
- Light energy output (Irradiance)
- Light color/frequency range in terms of nm (nanometers)
- Body or treatment coverage area
- The depth of experience of the LED company as a designer and manufacturer
These days, matters of power and energy output are probably the most confusing when shopping for a device. Some other LED therapy light manufacturers are over-mystifying the process of comparing the outputs of light therapy devices and it’s actually simpler than you may have been led to believe by some sources and guides.
The solution to the confusion is to make sure you’re making apples to apples comparisons so that you can properly select the device that meets your needs. We will show you how to do that by giving you all the variables you need to make these comparisons.
We will focus heavily on power and energy matters here, because that will clear up the greatest amount of confusion for home light therapy users.
Measuring Energy Output & Effectiveness of Light Therapy Devices
Let’s first look at some common terms you’ll see in device specs:
Irradiance is the measure of power that a light is emitting over an area. Basically, this will be the amount of energy a portion of your body is receiving at a given time while using the light.
In light therapy, the most common format to measure irradiance is milliwatts per square centimeter (mW/cm²).
A common device for comparing and measuring the irradiance of a red light therapy device is a solar irradiance meter which is indeed a very accurate tool especially for comparisons between two lights. These meters use different units than we use in the light therapy industry which is watts per square meter, or abbreviated this would be W/M².
To convert W/M² to mW/cm², you simply move the decimal point one space to the left. For example, 200 W/M² = 20 mW/cm². It’s literally that simple!
Joules is a measurement of the energy received over a given area over time. The energy per area unit you use to calculate joules is mW/cm², the same one we use in light therapy. You take this number, divide it by 1000 and multiply it by the number of seconds you are using the device.
Joules = mW/cm²/1000 X seconds
For example, if your device is putting out an irradiance of 100 mW/cm², and you use it for 1 minutes (60 seconds), then total joules = 6 J/cm2
Thus, when joules are quoted, the distance and time in front of the light must be quoted in the measurement.
All LED Panels Are Not Created Equal!
When dealing with different LED panels from different manufacturers, there can be a HUGE difference in power output according to the type and quality of the LEDs and power drivers used inside the unit. Unlike a traditional incandescent light bulb, the watts that an LED uses does NOT dictate the actual output if the light in any way. This is again due to the different levels of quality used in the individual components. You can for example, have an LED panel that consumes twice the power of another LED panel, yet actually emits a fraction of the light output. The only true way to measure the power of a device is to measure what is actually being emitted from the light. That’s it.
The Only Practical & Accurate Way to Measure Irradiance Between Devices
A popular and cost-effective way to the measure the irradiance of a device is with a solar irradiance meter, a device we mentioned earlier. There are other devices for this, but they are incredibly expensive and cost prohibitive. Solar power meters are extremely accurate devices that are specifically tuned to the wavelengths of light that we are working with. There are particular other therapy light companies who will tell you that the more expensive devices are the ONLY accurate meters you can use, probably because they know you won’t buy multiple red light therapy devices just to send them to a lab for testing to figure out which one is better.
The notion that solar irradiance meters are inaccurate is false and the only companies or people that would say this are those with something to hide and motivations to intentionally deceive the community for monetary gains.
The fact of the matter is that using a solar power meter to compare the output of two devices side by side is THE MOST ACCURATE way to accomplish this because you are directly comparing both devices with the same, exact variables. Moreover, the results can be immediately documented via video which we at PlatinumLED feel is the only way to be completely transparent with findings. This is something that we have openly done over the many years of producing ultra-high power LED panels for both horticultural and therapy light applications in order to help educate the community on the immense differences between LED lights.
The Accurate Way to Provide Irradiance Information for an LED Light
To accurately provide the correct information regarding a devices output and especially when comparing multiple devices, you must do the following:
- Measure the device(s) at the exact same angle
- Measure the device(s) in the exact center of the light
- Measure the device(s) at the same distance from the light with multiple distances used
If you do not provide all 3 of the points above, the test is invalid!
The physics of light say that any light will degrade over a distance at an exact rate. This is what’s known as the Inverse Square Law. Basically, light that is a certain strength at 6” will be half of that at 12”. This is the same for any light, regardless of the source. Thus, when providing irradiance information of a light whether in mW/cm² or joules, you MUST provide not only the distance at which it was measured at for irrandiance but the exposure time if quoting joules! Simply stating that a certain light produces XXX mW/cm² or joules means absolutely nothing if a distance is not provided and most companies will take advantage of the fact that most customers do not know this. This is again, an example of rampant deception in the marketplace.
As we noted above, any comparison findings should be openly video taped and displayed for full verification. Anyone can state any numbers they wish that supposedly came from an “accredited lab”, but this is impossible to be truly verified. The only way to accurately and transparently provide this information is through full video documentation of the test. This displays all variables and ensures that an accurate, fair test was performed and that the findings are in fact legitimate and not fabricated.
Superior Performance with Complete Transparency
Due to the many years of extensive experience designing and manufacturing ultra-high power LED panels for multiple applications as well as utilizing superior components, all PlatinumLED Therapy Lights emit the highest amount of irradiance per watts consumed of any other LED light. This gives us quite literally, the most powerful LED therapy lights available on the market today. Not only this, but we openly document all comparison and power tests with full video verification. The ensures complete transparency to our community which helps raise education and enable an empowered generation of therapy light users.
Light Color or Frequency Range
All colors of light are measured and determined by the frequency of the light waves and this is displayed in terms of “nanometers” or abbreviated as “nm”. A chart of these wavelengths with regards to visible color is below:
As we went it great detail in our blog post entitled "Red Light Therapy: What Is It and How Does It Work?", we primarily work with the 660nm (deep red) and 850nm (near infrea-red) colors or frequencies due to the penetration levels involved. For more discussion on the science of this or how to choose between the two colors of light, please visit the above link to the blog post.
When comparing or choosing therapy light options, you need to look at what wavelengths are used. The good news is that unlike light power output, wavelength is generally very reliable as due to the nature of how an LED is created which is by using a particular type of semi-conductor material to generate the specific color of light. This helps to ensure that the wavelengths of LEDs are generally very consistent across the board.
All PlatinumLED Therapy Lights are available in multiple configurations of either all 660nm, all 850nm or a combination of the two. The combination (R/NIR) models can even be switched to provide only 660m or 850nm at one time in addition to both being used at the same time. This provides added flexibility to the user as well as giving the option to select a panel that focuses only on one frequency according to your individual needs.
One big misconception that exists is that the price of an LED light somehow dictates its quality or output and nothing could be further from the truth. When evaluating an LED therapy source, the actual output, performance and design of the light itself is what needs to be evaluated and compared against the price that's being paid. Don't fall in to the trap of paying only for a larger marketing budget or paying for the huge margins of paid bloggers and doctors that promote the product for monetary gain. Look at the price vs. performance.
All of PlatinumLED Therapy Lights deliver the highest performance possible at a price lower than other companies in the LED therapy light arena. This ensures quite literally the "best bang for the buck" available today.
Body or treatment coverage area
The coverage area of any LED panel will depend on 3 factors and exactly 3 factors only: The physical dimensions of the LED panel, the angle of the final refracting lens and the distance that the light is away from the end surface. That's it. You're dealing with very simple light physics.
Physical Dimensions of LED Panel
As you've noticed, LED panels typically come in various sizes according to your individual needs. Some are smaller and skinnier, some are wider, some are even long and narrow. Along with these physical size differences you'll notice that the larger the panel, obviously there are more LEDs contained within the panel. Thus, with a larger panel not only are you receiving more coverage, you're also receiving more light energy due to more LEDs being used and emitting more light. More coverage = More LEDs = More light energy.
When choosing the size of panel within the same brand, the most important factor is your budget and your desired usage. If you're looking for more portable of a light, then a smaller light such as the BIO-300 may be what you're looking for. If you're wanting full body coverage with maximum output, than the BIO-600 is the perfect light for this application. If the budget allows, always opt for the largest light possible as this way, you're purchasing the best unit possible from the very beginning. This delivers more light energy and higher performance than a smaller unit. As with any quality electronics purchase, it's always best to purchase once and purchase the best that you can to help ensure years of enjoyment.
When choosing a similar size of panel among differing brands, you need to look at what's actually contained and being emitted by the similar sized panels. Many companies will produce a larger panel with actually LESS LEDs than another company with a similar size of panel. If you're getting the coverage with less power output and many times even paying more for it, what's the true benefit? None. You need to look at the individual specifications for each panel to include the actual construction and actual output.
All of PlatinumLED Therapy Lights contain the most amount of ultra-high intensity LEDs possible per the size of panel when compared to other brands. This delivers not only superior coverage, but superior output.
Angle of the Final Refracting Lens
In any quality LED panel, a final lens is placed over the LED to help gather the light together and emit it in an evenly dispersed manner. If there was no lens over the LED, than the emitted light would be in an irregular pattern and inefficiently emitted. In fact, a very quick and easy way to tell a very cheap/low quality LED panel is if bare LEDs are used or if secondary lenses are used. These secondary refracting lenses come in a variety of angles (30, 60, 90 degrees), all which affect the final intensity and size of the emitted beam. The tighter/smaller the lens, the more the light is concentrated in one spot. This provides higher spot intensity but decreases the coverage area since the light is more centrally focused. Generally, weaker LED panels will resort to using a tighter angle (30 degrees) to help boost their weaker power but sacrifice coverage area at the same time. If light emitted is powerful to begin with, then you don't need to focus the light so heavily.
The way that the angle of the lens affects the coverage area has to do with simple geometry. If the angle of the lens is 90 degrees, then angle the light emitted on all sides of the light will be 45 degrees as the two sides together make 90 degrees. Very simple. If a 30 degree lens is used, then you would have the light being emitted at a 15 degree angle from all sides of the light.
Since 15 is 1/3 of 45, a 30 degree lens will literally give you only 1/3 of the coverage of the 90 degree lens. The light is physically being emitted in a tighter pattern and therefore sacrificing coverage. This reduced coverage requires you to.. guess what? Purchase more panels to cover the same area as another. Sound familiar?
All of PlatinumLED Therapy Lights use 90 degree secondary focusing lenses to ensure absolute maximum coverage while still delivering superior output than other lights that reduce coverage but boost intensity by using a tighter lens. The allows more coverage with more light energy with a single panel vs. other lights.
Distance Away From Final Surface
Just like a flashlight, the closer or farther away that you get a light to a surface, the more or less that it will spread and cover. Very simple. All of these 3 factors work together to dictate the coverage area of an LED light.
"A warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it." - These words could not ring more true. When evaluating brands, you need to look at not only the length of the warranty period but how the warranty process is handled. Do they make you pay for shipping the unit back to them? Do they have a local warehouse in your area to facilitate the repairs? Have they been in business even as long as their warranty period?
PlatinumLED Therapy Lights provides an iron-clad, 3 year warranty on all of our lights. If there's ever a problem with any of our lights, we'll fix or replace it no questions asked. We provide for all shipping to and from our facilities and do whatever it takes to make sure you're up and running. We retain multiple warehouses both in the USA and the EU to help ensure smooth running wherever the light may be and to help minimize any potential down time.
The Depth of Experience of the LED Company as a Designer and Manufacturer
Let's face it.. these days, anyone can re-sell a product with their name on it. All it takes is money and you can know very little about actual LED technology but still pay bloggers write about you and doctors/famous celebrity trainers to recommend you. There is no innovation with simply putting red LEDs in a light and there is no inherent superiority by way of a large marketing budget. True innovation comes with many years of both designing and manufacturing high power LED panels while staying current with emerging technology.
PlatinumLED has been designing and manufacturing ultra-high power LED panels for over 8 years as one of the global leaders in LED panel manufacturing both in the therapy and horticulture arena through our sister company, PlatinumLED Grow Lights. Our team of designers were the original creators of the style of lights used in our BIO series which has been recognized as an industry standard by way the usage of secondary refracting lenses along side ultra-high output. Through the years, we've designed and created the most powerful LED panels available on the market for everything from medical professionals to professional horticulture applications. We've not only worked with an extensive list of universities and research facilities, but multiple governmental agencies such as the USDA and US Army Corps of Engineers.
It's through these many years of experience that we can deliver quite literally, the most powerful LED therapy lights available today.