Inexpensive LED Light Bulbs Have Arrived

Lighting Science Group 40 Watt Equivalent LED Light

Lighting Science Group 40 Watt Equivalent LED Light

LED light bulbs have long had incandescent and CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs beat in terms of energy efficiency, yet they’ve taken a back seat to the CFLs due to the much higher price tag of an LED bulb. That is until now. As incandescent bulbs are being phased out, lighting companies are scrambling to get their LED bulbs on the shelves and in the homes of America. Which means prices are dropping.

Lighting Science Group recently announced a new 40 watt equivalent LED bulb for sale on Amazon for $21.98, quite a bit cheaper than the competition, such as the $38 GE LED bulb. The A19 type bulb lasts 23 years and contains no mercury, unlike the CFL bulbs that have recently received a lot of press due to a study about potential cancer causing chemicals. Lighting Science Group plans to release a variety of LEDs for sale on Amazon including the more popular 60 watt equivalent bulb. Home Depot also carries a line of LED bulbs from Lighting Science Group, called the Ecosmart LED bulbs.

Switch LED Bulb

Switch LED Bulb

Vying for a slice of the LED pie, is Switch lighting who have developed 60 watt and 75 watt equivalent LED bulbs. With plans to begin production in the U.S. later this year, the Switch LED bulbs are expected to cost less than $15.

Metaefficient is also a fan of the Pharox 300 LED bulb which, at $27, is slightly more expensive than these new LEDs about to hit the market, but it does offer dimming capability, while the Lighting Science Group bulb is non-dimmable. For more on the Pharox 300 LED bulb see here. Though it’s been a long time coming, we may be finally able to see the LED light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to replacing the beloved incandescent with affordable, uber-efficient, non-toxic lighting.

For more on LEDs see our recent articles on light bulb efficiency guidelines and LED bulbs for the home.

Comments 5

  1. I’d prefer you to be a little more accurate … LEDs have NOT “long had incandescent and CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs beat in terms of energy efficiency”, on the contrary, most LED bulbs are still less efficient than CFLs, in particular if you want an omnidirectional light source.
    Looking at examples of the best LEDs available today, the latest Philips omnidirectional LED bulbs are 4-to-5 times as light-efficient as incandescent bulbs, whereas the Philips ‘spotlights’ (e.g. GU10 fittings) are approaching 10 times as efficient; I have recently installed some of these. I assume that the top-end competitors are similar in performance. However, most cheaper competitors’ current products are pretty dreadful – offering less than half the above efficiencies.
    We need to avoid the hype, and stick to facts – a 60w incandescent bulb produces around 800 lumens of (broad spectrum) light. We should be asking “Is there an affordable 4-to-8 watt LED bulb that offers a similar output in terms of omnidirectional brightness and spectrum?” Older folk avoid ‘efficient lighting’ because the light is so poor that they can’t see to read!

  2. Lights of America has branded some low cost Incandescent replacements sold at a large department chain, but the lights aren’t what I’d want to have installed in all locations of my house. Several reasons why not. In no particular order…. first is color hue. Much too bluish compared to the general purpose incandescent lamps. Next, the light coming out from light emitting diodes is projected as a narrow cone. Yes, it is bright where you or anyone can measure the LED light, but we are accustomed to having light which radiates in a spherical manner, if you measure light output of LEDs in a location known as ‘off-axis’, there might not be any amount of light because ‘off axis’ means you aren’t looking into the normal light radiation pattern. In simpler terms, there is a dark side and a bright side to an LED; there isn’t as much ‘dark side’ for an incandescent lamp, compared to the LED replicant. The aforementioned chain store ‘bulb’ only produces a hemisphere light radiation pattern, and is surrounded by an outer plastic envelope which produces circular rings around the lamp shade.

    So, if you want LEDs in your house lighting, prepare to purchase the brightest versions you can afford, be sure to purchase fixtures where there are many LED bulbs and all are arranges in such a way that you get as much light in ALL directions such as you would get from the incandescent lamp you grew up using.

    LEDs beat CFLs in one critical setting: low temperatures, such as utility sheds, barns, garages, floodlights, entrance lights, etcetera. CFLs refuse to start at relatively high temperatures. Incandescents are just too hard to replace!

    BTW… why does that Lighting Sciences LED lamp in the photo have fins? I’ve seen other pricey LED lamps with fins, but there is no reason for these to get hot. If they get hot, then electricity isn’t being converted to just light.

  3. Not sure why all the CFL and LED light bulbs are 40 watt and 60 watt equivalents. At my age I can’t read with a 60 watt bulb, so as much as I want to use LEDs or CFLs I have to go out of my way to find them.

    Find me some bulbs I can read by, that can be upside down, and fit into an incandescent’s place in a lamp.

    1. One thing that you’ll notice with LED lights, is that they will appear brighter than their incandescent counterparts regardless of whether or not they’re 60w equivalent. This is typically because they are generally a cooler color temp, which appears brighter than the warmer color of incandescents.

      However, newer LED lights are coming out in multiple color temperatures (cool white, warm white, etc).

      If you can visit a hardware store where they demo LED lights and check them out yourself.

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