LED Bulb Review

Messages
6,367
Location
Midwest
I spent much of yesterday changing out our most commonly used incandescent and halogen bulbs for LED bulbs. I changed the bulbs in can lights, light fixtures, rail lights, track lights and 3 way lamps. We have fairly high vaulted ceilings and a couple of the bulbs were out, so I decided to change them all to LED so there'd be no color difference. Getting up there to change bulbs is a bit of a challenge, so it made sense to do them all at once. The price of LED bulbs has come down significantly, and the amount of time the initial cost is offset by the electrical savings has been shortened, so that we should see the bulbs pay for themselves within three years, possibly less. My criteria for the bulbs was a combination of price, color, and availability. I wanted to match the existing color temperature of the 60 watt incandescent bulbs which were mostly GE Reveals, and the color temperature of the GU10 50 watt halogen bulbs which was in the 2700K range. The bulbs replacing the standard incandescent bulbs had to be dimmable, and some needed to be in the 2700K range and some in the 5000K range. None of the GU10 bulbs needed to be dimmable. We also switched our outdoor lighting under our pergola and our exterior non-spot and non-floodlights to LED bulbs early last fall. I used the following bulbs: 24 Cree dimmable BA19-08027OMF-12DE26-2U100 in the 2700K color. Purchased from Home Depot on line in case quality on sale for $9.99 + tax. 12 Cree dimmable BA19-08050OMF-12DE26-2U100 in the 5000K color. Purchased from Home Depot on line in case quality on sale for $9.99 + tax. 6 Utilitech Pro dimmable LA19DM800LEDG2 in the 3000K color. Purchased from Lowes for $10.98 + tax. 4 EcoSmart ECS GP19 W27 60WE FR 120 3 way bulbs in the 2700K color. Purchased from Home Depot online for $19.97 each. 34 Lighting Ever non-dimmable 200042-WW-10 GU10 in the 3000K color. Purchased from Amazon for $7.79 each. 7 Feit BPA15/CL/LED/RP. Purchased from Amazon for $7.00 each early last fall. 2 Cree BA19-04527OMF-12DE26-2U100 2700K color bulbs purchased from Home Depot early last fall. I don't remember the exact price, but $12 seems about right. Yes, that's a total of 89 bulbs. All were used with the exception of one for the garage. I couldn't get to the fixture without moving the car, so I'll wait until the next time I drive the car and replace the bulb before I put it back into the garage. One thing I did note was that the dimmable LED bulbs from both Cree and Utilitech don’t dim as much as incandescent bulbs. Where the incandescent bulbs dim completely, these start much brighter at the lowest dimmer setting with a conventional dimmer switch. It’s a non-issue for us, since we never dim below about half anyway. Cree bulbs: These bulbs in 2700K warm white color are pretty much a dead on match for the GE Reveal color, which is the color we like. They dim well without any flicker, buzzing or humming which is reported with some dimmable LEDs on a conventional dimmer switch. These were used in fixtures and lamps in the dining room, kitchen, living room, master bedroom, master bath, master closet and one spare bedroom. I was very pleased with the color of these bulbs and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again. The Cree bulbs in the 5000K bright white color had, as expected, a much whiter light. They also dimmed without any flicker, buzzing or humming on a conventional dimmer switch. I used these in the attached garage, as well as both my office and my wife’s office where we wanted a brighter working light. The shadows seemed quite sharp compared to the incandescent bulbs they replaced, and the colors seemed a little more vibrant. I like these lights, but I’d prefer it if they didn’t have as much of an “edge” to the light. But for their intended use they look fine. Utilitech Pro bulbs: These bulbs in the 3000K color worked every bit as well as the Cree bulbs. I used these in two spare bedroom ceiling fixtures and they work just fine without any buzz, humming or flicker when dimmed with a conventional dimmer switch. Side by side I couldn’t tell a color or brightness difference between these and the Cree bulbs. Either the Cree bulbs were slightly higher than their rated 2700K, or these were slightly warmer than their 3000K. Or it could be that I simply couldn't see the difference in our applications. EcoSmart 3 way bulbs: These were used in lamps-one in the living room, one in the family room and two in the master bedroom nightstand lamps. At the highest setting they’re not quite as bright as the 50/100/150 incandescent bulbs they replaced, but we rarely used the top setting anyway. The color is slightly whiter than the GE Reveals that they replaced which somewhat made up for fewer lumens. Lighting Ever GU10: These were in the 3000K color and they were slightly whiter than the halogen GU10 bulbs they replaced. They were used in can lights in the basement, rail lighting in the kitchen, track lighting in the hallway and master bath, and some accent lighting. They were about ¼ inch longer than the halogens, the beam was narrower, and the light created slightly sharper shadows. In the kitchen it made a noticeable color difference in our granite counters, washing out much of the yellow color when these were used without any other room lighting. The ceilings in the basement are 9’ ceilings and the lights make a noticeable spot on the stone tile floor, where the halogens spread out much better. These also have a heat sink with fins or ridges on it, and that made it a little difficult to get the cover ring back on the recessed lights since it clips to the halogen bulb itself in the area where the heat sink is located on the LED bulbs. Overall I’m pleased with them, especially with the energy saving over the old 50 watt halogen bulbs. The light difference will take a little getting used to but in my opinion it’s well worth it. Feit Accent LED: These were the first LED bulbs I purchased, and they influenced my decision to convert most of the other lighting in the house to LED. I installed them under our pergola last fall, along with a couple of Cree BA19-04527OMF-12DE26-2U100 (40 watt equivalent) bulbs over the outdoor cooking and food prep areas. The 2 watt lights give off a very good amount of light at night and 7 of them do a great job of lighting our deck area with just the right amount of ambiance at night. The one advantage that I didn’t expect was the lack of night insects attracted by these lights. With a standard incandescent bulb, after dark it’s an insect festival. With these bulbs we hardly noticed any insects at all, even though they were installed early enough in the fall so that there were plenty still around. I’m very happy with these bulbs for their intended use, but they wouldn’t be suitable for indoor room lighting. They would be good for accent or appliance lighting. They are outdoors with only a small metal shade to shield them from the rain and nothing to shield them from the cold, but so far this winter they've worked flawlessly. Bottom line: I didn’t replace all the bulbs in the house. We have a couple of spare bedrooms that only see guests once or twice a year, the under cabinet lighting in the kitchen is a bulb that’s not made in LED, there are 4’ florescent tubes in the laundry room and the utility room, and my shop building has a combination of metal halide, florescent and halogen fixtures that won’t be updated to LED. We also have several halogen floodlights on the outside of the house that won’t be changed over to LED. I don’t think there would be a reasonable payback timeframe for these lights given either their low use or the cost of converting the fixtures themselves. There are also a few indoor accent lights that aren't used enough to consider replacing at this time. Perhaps in a couple years I’ll readdress these fixtures/bulbs and see what’s available. Of the lights I did change I really like both the Cree and Utilitech bulbs in the 2700K/3000K color and wouldn’t hesitate to use or recommend either. There was virtually no color difference when placed side by side, they both dim very well with plain old conventional dimmer switches, and the price is usually within $1 of each other. Overall I like the Lighting Ever GU10 bulbs, but I wish they had a slightly wider beam spread and a slightly warmer color. However those are both minor issues and wouldn’t stop me from buying them again. The EcoSmart 3 way bulbs were the most expensive single bulbs, but for only 4 lamps they were worth it. All 4 of the lamps are used often enough to make it worth replacing the incandescent bulbs. The Feit bulbs really surprised me-the color and mood that they create under our pergola is very pleasing. I don't know if the lack of insect attraction was just with these bulbs or is common with all LED bulbs, but it was a very nice surprise. Another advantage, if the LED bulbs last as long as they claim chances are I'll never have to change another one of those bulbs again. And at nearly 70 years old, the idea of crawling around on 10' ladders isn't exactly appealing.
 
Messages
6,614
Location
southeast US
I'm slowly replacing my lights, too. The only difference is I use $1-2 Ebay lights. The best effect is in refrigerator/freezer where the cold-white cob-style 6W LEDs give as much bright light as yellowish appliance 40-60W lights. I also used a lot of 4W spotlights, especially in bathrooms, where I have multi-bulb fixtures over each sink. CFL would fail a lot in those frequent on-off duties. One area LEDs don't work for me is motion activated floodlights, they flicker even when off (some residual current leak). I use incandescent lights in those. I'm keeping CFL/flourescence tubes in areas that are on non-stop for many hrs a day, such as bedrooms, office, kitchen, hallway, door lights, etc. They last forever (ie 10,000-20,000 hrs) in such a duty.
 
Messages
11,255
Location
Bad Axe, MI
I'm looking for a 3 way LED bulb for the small socket like a celling fan uses. I have a touch lamp that uses the small socket ones
 
Messages
509
Location
St. Louis, MO.
89 bulbs ! $844 ! Now that's goin' All In. It's been a long time since I first heard about the potential for LEDs to eventually replace incandescents and then waited forever for them to make it to market and to drop in price. They need to drop some more for me to buy in. However, I have been planning to buy one to see how it does, and you've motivated me to take that step. One of my main concerns with LEDs is how well they'll tolerate spikes in power. I suppose time will tell. Thanks for the report, I'm going to print it out and file with my light bulb info.
 
Messages
4,983
Location
Kansas
My can lights in my house always leaked a little cold air in the winter. Yesterday, I went to Menards and got some Patriot LED retrofit recessed replacement bulbs that snap into the old can lights. They fit tight in the ceiling to keep out the cold air and has a little pig tail that screws into the recepticle that the bulb used to screw into. The box says they are rated at 40,000 hours (I'll believe it when I see it) and consume 14 watts per bulb. They are also dimmable. They have a 5 year warranty and are about $20 each, after rebates. So far, I like them.
 
Messages
19,528
Location
Lake Forest, CA
Other than light color quality, CFL at less than 50 cents or less a bulb is much better buy than LED at $10 a bulb. I agree with friendly_jacek about the best location for LED is in refrigerator/freezer.
 
Messages
13,613
Location
Frisco, TX
Buy the Cree TW-series. Extra wattage, yes, but the higher CRI makes them far more eye-appealing. Or just man-up and buy the Philips L-Prize. :-) (full disclosure: I have several of each)
 
Messages
5,970
Location
DFW
Originally Posted By: HTSS_TR
I agree with friendly_jacek about the best location for LED is in refrigerator/freezer.
Just wondering about this statement. I have a mixture of incandescent, CFL, and LED bulbs throughout my house. Incandescents, to me, are still fine for appliances, hallways, and water closets (what I call "toilet rooms"). These are locations in which the lights are on for seconds at a time. CFL's have short lifespans in such applications and electricity savings with LED's just can't amount to squat. I suppose if you like the LED light quality better for the refrigerator, that's a different story. Mine has a 40W, 130V appliance/fan bulb in it and I haven't had to change it for ten years. My oven light is still original after eighteen years. For locations in which lights are on for hours at a time I use CFL's and LED's for the energy savings and lifespan advantages. I think everyone's mix is going to vary substantially.
 

jaj

Messages
1,060
Location
Vancouver, Canada
I converted the high-usage area in our house last September, and I got a lot fewer bulbs than that for $800, but most of the ones I bought were MR16's and I was swapping out 50W bulbs for 9W. At current course and speed I'll have all my investment returned in about 20 months. As prices come down I'll pick off the rest of them. I converted all the regular bulbs to CFL's throughout the house in 2002 when I bought it, and so for a lot of the place, there's no gain in efficiency with LED's, the LED's are just nicer to live with.
 
Messages
437
Location
va
Once stores sell out of the no longer manufactured regular incandescent bulbs, do you all think CFL's will be the mass seller? With them being such a hazard if dropped when replacing, due to their mercury content, I'm wondering if/when we'll see LED's completely take their place - at least in the most commonly used screw base light fixtures.
 
Messages
1,545
Location
Washington State (East)
All I can say is spend the money and buy the best LED's possible. I got cheap with Made in China junk bought at Walmart and less than a week one LED bulb is already flickering. It was to replace the halogen over-head track lighting bulbs... three of them each fixture.
 
Messages
9,365
Location
USA
LEDs are still too rich for my blood. CFLs for now. I think if LEDS truly last 20 years. can you imagine when every home in the world switched to LED bulbs? people would not need light bulbs in 20 years. hope these LED companies stay in business! I guess the 10 dollar bulb won't drop in price because they know they won't sell anymore or their sales volume drops once the masses convert over to LED
 
Messages
47,948
Location
Everson WA - Pacific NW USA
I'm waiting a couple years for the price to come down on LED bulbs. I will say this: CFL's are a MAJOR BUST. Life for some is shorter than incandescent. I have just turned in my second 5 gallon bucket full of dead CFL's, and went back to mostly incandescent last year.
 
Messages
4,983
Location
Kansas
Originally Posted By: Pablo
I will say this: CFL's are a MAJOR BUST.
I agree. I predict that the phase out of CDL bulbs will begin within 5 years, just like the incandescents. Wouldn't that be ironic?
 

Pop_Rivit

Thread starter
Messages
6,367
Location
Midwest
One thing that I forgot to mention was that the Cree bulbs have a "dead spot" right in the top center of the bulbs that the Utilitech bulbs don't have. It's not an issue in fixtures where the bulb is base down, and it's not an issue in fixtures where the bulb is enclosed. However, in fixtures such as ceiling fans where the bulb is exposed it looks a little odd. It doesn't seem to affect the quality or spread of the light.
Originally Posted By: satinsilver
I think I would have waited till the bulb burned out then replaced it with the LED bulb.
Many of them were in vaulted 12'+ ceilings. I have no desire to drag the 10' ladder into the house once or twice a year to replace bulbs one at a time. Besides, the prices have come down enough to justify replacing everything-the energy saved will pay for the new bulbs in 2-3 years. Will the LED's last as long as estimated? Only time will tell, but it was a risk I was willing to take.
Originally Posted By: HTSS_TR
Other than light color quality, CFL at less than 50 cents or less a bulb is much better buy than LED at $10 a bulb.
The light quality is one of the things that was important to us. One of the requirements we had were for the A19 replacement bulbs to be dimmable, and dimmable CFL's are in the same price range as the Cree and Utilitech bulbs I purchased. The light quality of the Cree and Utilitech bulbs in the 2700K-3000K range rivaled that of the incandecent GE Reveals, which was my benchmark. Besides, the history of CFL's is questionable at best; in many instances they simply don't last long, especially dimmable and 3 way CFL's.
Originally Posted By: Pablo
I'm waiting a couple years for the price to come down on LED bulbs. I will say this: CFL's are a MAJOR BUST. Life for some is shorter than incandescent. I have just turned in my second 5 gallon bucket full of dead CFL's, and went back to mostly incandescent last year.
We had a couple different fixtures where CFL's simply wouldn't last. They were frequently used, and frequently turned on and off. I had switched those back to incandescent bulbs a couple years ago as well. But to be fair I had one CFL that performed quite well-it was in the fixture for about 3 years.
 

Pop_Rivit

Thread starter
Messages
6,367
Location
Midwest
Originally Posted By: jaj
I converted the high-usage area in our house last September, and I got a lot fewer bulbs than that for $800, but most of the ones I bought were MR16's and I was swapping out 50W bulbs for 9W. At current course and speed I'll have all my investment returned in about 20 months. As prices come down I'll pick off the rest of them. I converted all the regular bulbs to CFL's throughout the house in 2002 when I bought it, and so for a lot of the place, there's no gain in efficiency with LED's, the LED's are just nicer to live with.
As I was looking at bulbs and doing some research on them I found that the prices varied widely depending upon what style of bulb it was. I was estimating a 2-3 year return on investment with ours, but I hope it will be closer to what you're estimating. I plan to watch the electric bill pretty carefully and see if I can get a handle on how much they're saving per month.
 
Messages
10,920
Location
Jupiter, Florida
Man, have I come to hate the CFL's in my house. Truly awful. Even the high end ones. They get dim, burn out and don't work well when the house is cold. I'm really tired of them.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,418
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: dparm
Or just man-up and buy the Philips L-Prize. :-)
Last time I looked for them, it looks like they have been discontinued and the similar product made in China...
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,418
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Pop_Rivit
One thing that I forgot to mention was that the Cree bulbs have a "dead spot" right in the top center of the bulbs that the Utilitech bulbs don't have. It's not an issue in fixtures where the bulb is base down, and it's not an issue in fixtures where the bulb is enclosed. However, in fixtures such as ceiling fans where the bulb is exposed it looks a little odd. It doesn't seem to affect the quality or spread of the light.
That's because the LEDs are actually on a riser that is supported in the center. It allows the light to come out radially as opposed to primarily axially, and works pretty well. The dot is funny, but there are plenty of lights with heat sinks and opaque plastic along them that make for worse looks. They did indeed engineer the optics well as I havent had any issues with this either. I suppose halogen is the best bet though if this creates an aesthetic consideration. Ive gone to a lot of LED lights, but I have CFLs in a variety of fans and places that are easy enough to replace that Ill not worry. Many will not die, going on eight years. I wont recoup the cost of LEDs when there is already a CFL in its place, just because the energy cost is already miniscule. There are other reasons to replace, like convenience of the location, heat load in the location, etc that would be good reasons to swap. While an LED may last 25 years, I have little faith in the longevity of the AC-DC conversion stage, and its ability to last. Just like CFLs, the electronics to drive these lights, and the subsequent switches and other devices may well end up being as short lived as CFLs, which is what tends to be the CFL's undoing. Granted, LEDs tend to have heatsinks, which is good, but the jury is still out on this, IMO. Remember that a CFL ballast can be used to drive LEDs with some minimal configuration, so the chips and ICs on the PCB wont be that much different. As they push to bring prices down and integrate more lowest cost Chinesium into them, what will happen??? Im a big proponent of LED, having used L prize and Cree bulbs for a long while for other reasons, but Im not going to hold my breath on longevity... That's exactly why I leave as many CFLs in as I can for now. With such a set of new LEDs put into service in one place, it will be interesting to see if/what the infant mortality rate is, and when any fail, if they do. Humming is an interesting thing too... Cree changed their designs slightly, and some do indeed hum now. There is some sensitivity to dimmers, though they can be dimmed on conventional dimmers. I tried about 15 different dimmers before I found my final selection for use in a fixture with five cree bulbs. They all emitted a slight hum, which my hearing was sensitive enough to note. So there is some influence of bulb construction and some influence of the dimmer. Not sure if the construction-related humming will influence longevity...
 
Top