Originally Posted by Karoshi
Hi, I'm going to put in my two cents here because I am well-experienced with LEDs in general, having been in the LED business since 2002.
When looking for LEDs, yes, quality makes a big difference. It is very, very true that you want great heat sinks because, contrary to common belief that LEDs don't emit heat, LEDs emit a lot of heat! However, that heat comes from the base of the bulb, and not the emitted light.
I have personally tested and evaluated dozens of LED bulbs from different manufacturers and the inexpensive ones typically have poor (or no) heat sinks, lower-quality LEDs, poor color uniformity, etc. The bulbs are promised to last 20 years, but I've had some run for literally 1.25 hours and some have been going for nearly 10 years. Just FYI--I have never tested RV bulbs.
Heat is an LED bulb's worst enemy, so make sure your light fixture (and this goes for both home and RV) is well ventilated so that heat can escape. An airtight fixture will kill any LED bulb quickly.
The LEDs are electronic, and LED bulbs also have electronic components inside, including a circuit board. Just like your laptop computer has to stay cool, so do the electronics in an LED bulb.
Next, you want to consider color temperature. This is not thermal temperature. Rather, it's the tint of the light. The most common and least expensive of the white LED bulbs will be Cool White. If a bulb does not specify what color of white it is, it will be Cool White.
Loosely speaking (since there is no rock-solid universal standard for this), cool white will have a Kelvin temperature of about 5500-6500, which can mean you perceive the light as bright white-to-bluish white.
Often, this color, while actually brightest in lumens (lumens being a measure of brightness of light), is considered unpleasant to people's living spaces. It's akin to putting the fluorescent lights of your office in your home, and most people don't like it. It feels cold and harsh.
Better for living would be Warm White, Sunlight, Natural White (or various other names--again, no Standard). These bulbs are "warmer" in color which to the eye basically means they have an ivory, off-white, or yellowish tint.
The Kelvin temperatures of the Warm Whites tend to hang around the 2700 to 5500 range. The 2700 being more yellowish and the 5500 being less yellow. Lumens will typically follow--less yellow means more lumens (if all else is equal).
The warmer temperatures will feel very homey and cozy and look more like the incandescent lights you're accustomed to (except maybe halogens, which are typically on the brighter white end).
As for me, I would use the warmer whites for my living spaces, and Cool Whites over my sink and stove.
Super secret tip: For your outdoor lights, use bulbs that emit very little UV. This will attract fewer bugs. Cool White has the most UV. Warmer Kelvins such as 2700 would have the least (while in the white range). Amber, Red, and Orange have practically no UV. Green has very little. Blue has quite a bit, but nothing like the Whites. Pink and Purple are probably between the blue and white. There are varying shades of all colors, so no exact answers here.
Bonus: Red lights won't cause night-blindness. So, you can be reading a book under red light, for example, and immediately get up to investigate something outside in the dark without having to wait for your eyes to adjust.