LED UV vs. other UV technologies

The UV LEDs used in most fixtures are a much higher wavelength of UV light (400nm) than the optimum (365nm). The result of this is a light that does provide a good reaction from UV reactive colours, like bright white or fluorescent colours, but it also gives out a lot of purple light at the same time, meaning that you don’t get the effect of a dark room with only the UV reactive colours glowing. This can be a matter of taste but for a true UV effect it has to be the lower 365nm wavelength.

LEDs are available that can produce this lower wavelength but most fixtures that use UV LEDs use the less effective 400nm LEDs, because the cost of these LEDs is much less than the cost of the true UV LEDs. Our 400 watt UV cannon lights don’t suffer from this effect because they produce the optimum 365nm wavelength.

LED UV lights compared to other technologies

 400w Mercury UVFluorescent UV tubeLED UV
Wavelength (UV fluorescence)365nm (optimal UV)365nm (optimal UV)400nm (outer end of UV)
Heat output from lighting fixtureHighLowVery low
UV light outputVery highLowModerate
Power requirementsHighLowLow
Warm-up time to full brightness10 minutes3 minutesInstant
Size and weightLarge and heavySmall and lightSmall and light

As you can see form the table above there is no perfect solution. The clear winners in terms of maximum high quality light output are the 400w UV Cannons, but they are large and heavy, and require a lot of power. Our LED UV lights address these drawbacks, being much more compact and having lower power requirements, but the light output is lower and the UV light is at the far end of what is considered to be UV light so it includes more visible violet light.

We don’t stock the fluorescent UV tubes, not because they are bad, but because they aren’t particularly useful for hire applications. To light a room well you would need a lot of them evenly installed around the room and that is complicated to do for a temporary set-up. They work well where space is limited and high output isn’t too important, such as lighting up the back of the bar in a nightclub, for example.