A brighter day for LED bulbs

  • Article by: John Ewoldt , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 3, 2013 - 8:23 PM

Lower prices for the energy-efficient light bulbs are making them a more attractive option for consumers.

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swmnguyApr. 3, 13 9:38 PM

LED's are going to be great. Some of them are great now; just costly. It will take a learning process to get away from judging a light bulb by wattage. That will now become almost irrelevant. Lumens and Color Temperature are the key characteristics to consider, and it will take some getting used to.

LED's are already changing entertainment and industrial lighting. They use as little as an eights as much electricity, and they last easily 10 times longer than an old-fashioned bulb. Now that manufacturers are making better-quality products, and they're figuring out how to arrange the LED's to get the output the way people want it, now all that needs to happen is for the price to come down.

I'm delighted to see that these Cree lamps are getting this low in price. Now the price drop needs to extend to the higher-output ones; the ones we used to think of as 100W. Get them up over 1200 lumens or so, at around 2800K, for $10, and I'll swap out my whole house.

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kbushtonApr. 3, 1310:06 PM

If $25.00 for a light bulb is a "lower price", then I must be too poor to see it. But price aside, the problem with LEDs isn't the price. Of course that will come down someday if enough people start buying them. The problem is that they buzz worse than CFLs and they don't actually last anywhere near as long as they claim. I bought 5 A19 Sylvania LED bulbs early this year. All of them buzz (3 are in a brand new non-dimming fixture installed by a licensed electrician) and one has already burned out. Sylvania claimed to have a warranty on them, so I emailed them and was told that the problem must be my fixture. I finally convinced them it couldn't be the fixture by sending them the bill from the electrician for installing the light. They finally honored their warranty - by sending me new replacement bulbs exactly the same as the ones I was complaining about. Guess what? They buzz, too. They really shouldn't have started fazing out incandescents until they had worked out all the bugs in LEDs and CFLs. As far as I'm concerned the only people who can benefit from these things are those who are too old to be able to hear high pitched sounds.

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stevedelappApr. 4, 1312:41 AM

It used to be that only the poor in New York tenements bought 60 watt (750 lumen) bulbs. When 1700 lumen LED lamps are available for $15 or less, that will be something to write about. Having a closet light with a 60 watt incandescent lamp that is turned on a hour a year at most, is hardly justification for an LED lamp replacement.

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wallyworldmnApr. 4, 13 7:12 AM

Some of the specialized LED recessed light fixtures are pretty good. Still a bit expensive but the light output is very good and they turn on at full brightness. I've been using them for about three years with no problems and they don't put out much heat at all. You can touch them even after many hours of being lit. However, the "60w" LED bulb replacements are not bright enough to replace the 100w incandescent and it doesn't matter if they come down in price. When they come out with higher light output LED's to replace the vast number of 100w bulbs, I'll be interested.

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ewoldjrApr. 4, 13 8:03 AM

Wallyworldmn, Philips has come out with a 100 watt equivalent in LED. It's $54.97 and sold online and in stores as Model #424432, Internet #203675471. It's more expensive because it's newer, but its price will come down too. Kbushton, too bad the Sylvanias hum for you. Try a Cree or Philips. They're high-quality and at $15 or less, they're more affordable. John Ewoldt, Star Tribune reporter

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digiserv66Apr. 4, 13 9:34 AM

I think LEDs are the way to go and will go that direction once the price gets reasonable, but manufacturers also have to realize that there are a lot of people out there who have a bad taste in their mouth from the overselling of CFLs.

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Slider451Apr. 4, 13 1:15 PM

How well do LEDs endure in adverse conditions, such as exterior lighting in cold weather, and vibration-heavy applications such as garage-door openers? Well enough to pay for themselves compared to cheap incandescents? If you have to own one for years to make up for the higher cost, it better last for years in all conditions.

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stuckinthemApr. 4, 13 4:36 PM

I agree with kbushton, some LED's buzz and some don't. CFL's have a similar issue and they get worse as they age. So, I recycle them and put in a new bulb. I am willing to pay more for an LED than a CFL. We use them in the stairwell fixture, indoor/outdoor accent lights, the laundry area and garage. So far, other than the buzzing, they work great and aren't dim in the cold like CFL's. I can't imagine spending $54.97+ for a 22 watt LED, when a 4 pack of 23 watt CFL's is $9.97. It's hard to justify when you are pinching pennies. Incandescent bulbs have been out of the house for more than 10 years, the last place we had them was in the ceiling fans.

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bulbsbossApr. 5, 13 7:46 AM

@slider – LEDs actually like cold weather. If the fixture (such as a pair of floods) is exposed to the elements look for LEDs that are compatible for use in wet locations. Here are some choices - http://www.bulbs.com/LED_Reflectors/results.aspx?Ntt=wet+location . If the fixture is enclosed but has some breathing room like a post lamp or even some entry fixtures, you can use a standard A-style LED like the one in the article. I’m using them in the lights on the outside of my garage (100” of snow this year in Massachusetts) where the vibration from opening and closing the garage doors usually knocks out most incandescent and halogens prematurely. Because LEDs don’t use a filament they can handle rough service much better. All that said, if the light isn’t used for more than an hour or so per day we suggest to our customers to wait for prices to come down a bit more. Mike Connors, CEO Bulbs.com

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IHATELOGINS0Apr. 5, 1311:49 AM

Are they being manufactured to eliminate RFI? With the CFLs and other fluorescents spewing out interference I turn on the the AM radio and can only pick up one station. If I bring the radio to another spot in town I can pick more stations.

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