Our scientific sisters over at Consumer Reports have set out to answer the question that’s on everyone’s minds lately: Is an LED lightbulb really a viable replacement for the controversial-and-soon-to-be-phased-out inefficient incandescent?
After 3,000 hours of testing, the best LEDs were still as bright as the incandescents they replaced. But only about half were as bright as promised. All the LEDs reached full brightness instantly, even at frigid temperatures, providing warm white light that was unaffected by frequently turning them on and off. Energy use matched or exceeded claims, and LEDs don’t contain mercury (CFLs do in small amounts). Some LEDs dimmed as low as incandescents. But not all LEDs are good at shining light where you need it.
CR also gave LED lights to some staffers to try, and they apparently liked them just fine, but wouldn’t consider buying them until the price dropped. Indeed, their favorites were pricey: the Philips AmbientLED, $40, the EcoSmart LED down light, $50, and the EcoSmart PAR38, $45.
The bottom line:
Contrary to what you might have heard, you can still buy most incandescent lightbulbs. But we’ve found few reasons you should. Our tests of 26 compact fluorescents and 10 light-emitting diodes found that though the newest bulbs might not be perfect, they last longer and use less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, and many of the problems of earlier versions have been overcome.
If you’d like to read the full article (with ratings) for free you can visit CR’s Facebook page and “Like” them.
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