This time last year I wrote a post (see here) on GU10 bulbs that we use in our kitchen, noting that after many tries to find LED bulbs to replace the halogen ones, we had settled on compact fluorescents. Well, two things happened since then to change my mind. Firstly, in the winter the CFLs took so long to warm up, and were so dim, that they weren’t actually lighting. Many times we turned the lights off in trying to turn them on, since when coming into the room you couldn’t tell unless you looked upwards. The situation was so bad that we ended up having to replace them all with halogens again 😦
However, the second thing was the discovery of surface mount GU10 LED bulbs. The LEDs in this case have no focussing plastic lens on top, as you can see in the photo to the right (each LED is one of the squares, with a yellow circle in the centre). This has two consequences, both positive. Firstly the light is much less focussed, so it lights evenly rather than in just one tiny spot below the fitting. Secondly, the depth is reduced, meaning it fits in standard GU10 fittings without trouble. You do have to be careful that the retaining ring doesn’t contact the exposed older contacts, but on the two I got (the other has smaller SMDs, and more of them) this was easy enough to do. Even more surprising, these cost £4.50 including postage, from an ebay supplier, which is 1/4 of what similarly high power comparables cost.
So, I would now urge avoidance of all the existing LED lights, including the fancy (priced) ones, and definitely the CFLs that I used to like, and go for these. Right now it appears you will need to go to ebay – other suppliers are still listing the same sorts of ones I had issues with before.