LED aficionados may be shocked to read this report, but every word of it is true. You can test it out for yourself-though it might cost you some hard-earned cash!
It all comes down to two things: the type of output and the amount of output...
Black Light Lamps
Black Light Equipment
Through extensive testing, we've determined that a UV light bulb should have a peak output around 365-368nm. That's because this is where you'll get the brightest possible UV effect. It also happens to be well inside the true black light range, which is from 320nm to 400nm.
Any good fluorescent black light bulb peaks right at 368nm-just where it should be. LED black lights, on the other hand, peak at 400nm, 390nm, or occasionally 385nm. In other words, everything but 365-368nm!
With an LED black light, you'll get white shirts to glow. But you're out of luck with any of the more interesting effects like invisible images, dual images, or day/night transitions. For these kind of effects, you'll still want the tried-and-true fluorescent black light.
We've been experimenting with LED black light bulbs that peak at 365nm. They are very expensive... and it would require a whole array of them to equal the UV output of just one fluorescent black light. One day, when UV LEDs have come down considerably in cost, they will take their place alongside fluorescents. Just prepared to wait a few years!
At Wildfire, we've pushed fluorescent technology just about as far as it can go with our new SableLux fluorescent black light bulbs. They have up to 57% more UV output per Watt than standard black light fluorescents... which means the choice is clear when it comes to choosing a UV light bulb for maximum UV output: Wildfire's SableLux.