Among the most versatile and cool lights, the light-emitting diode or LED lights are new, tough, and seem to last forever. You can find them in mini-flashlights, in jewelry, penlights, and dozens of small applications. Larger bulbs are quite expensive because they are such a new technology, but the small bulbs give a significant amount of light, and in larger displays can light an area quite brightly.

LED lights seem to last forever. Regular incandescent bulbs only last about a thousand hours, and fluorescent about 10,000 hours. LEDs last for up to 100,000 hours. That’s more than eleven years, with continual use! LEDs also use about a tenth the electricity of an incandescent bulb because they produce almost no heat. The red LEDbulbs are as much as 90% efficient. Compare that with a standard incandescent light bulb, in which only about three percent of the energy used is transformed into light, while the remaining 97% becomes heat.

LED lights have been used more and more over the last few years, in decorations, in small flashlights and night lights, even in novelty ice cubes and license-plate holders. The most popular use for LED lights is illumination for specific things – how neat would it be to have LED lights in your fish tank? LED earrings and body jewelry are common at raves.

But it’s also becoming more common for LED lights, with their clear, long-lasting illumination, to be used in special fixtures for lighting rather than decoration. For instance, LEDs make great travel and book lights, with their low power requirements and tiny size. LED lights used in outdoor spotlight-type illumination last so long, it makes sense to put them up in the hardest to reach spots. LEDs in light bars are being used in ATM machines and other places where bright, stable light is necessary in public areas. If you use a prismatic diffuser or other method for scattering light, an array of LED lights provides excellent indirect lighting for medium or large areas.

Still, the most common use for LED lights is in decoration. And why not? These pinpoints of light can be used in your hair, in tongue studs, on clothing. Magnetized LED lights will stick literally anywhere on your clothing. And many LED lights aren’t limited to only one color but instead change strobe or change colors, depending on how they’re designed.

When looking for decorative lighting or for stable, long-lasting light, LED lights should be on your list of options to investigate. The cool factor is unbeatable, the energy efficiency incredible, and the light that results from these little lights is anywhere from usable to excellent. As time passes, look for LED lights to be used more and more frequently in applications from kitchen lighting, to dance and rave light shows. Still, the best use found so far for tiny LED lights is the pinpoint light you need to find keyholes in the dark. The keychain LED flashlight is unbeatable.