Paying $60 For A Light Bulb That Lasts 20 Years Is Kind Of A No-Brainer

After months in development, Philips is finally ready to sell LED light bulbs that last 20 years. Could be quite a game-changer — after all, if you didn’t have to change a light bulb between now and when your unborn child graduates from high school, just think of all the precious minutes you could spend on other tasks. And the environment would surely thank you.

Philips put the $60-bulb on sale yesterday, which was also Earth Day, of course. The bulb uses LED — otherwise known as light-emitting diodes — to light things up, instead of filaments, reports BBC News.

The design won the Bright Tomorrow competition run by the Department of Energy, which was aimed at finding more environmentally-friendly alternatives to the 60-watt and 100-watt incandescent bulb we all used to use. They were the only entrants in the contest, and worked on the bulb for 18 months of testing.

Certain stores have reportedly wrangled deals with Philips to sell the bulbs for only $20. We’ll do the math for you — that’s only $1 a year!

US introduces $60 LEd light bulb [BBC News]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. StarKillerX says:

    Am I the only one that finds the LED claims ironic since they are basically the same line that was used to justify the initial high price of CFL?

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      I don’t think anyone ever claimed a CFL would last 20 years.

      • Kitamura says:

        No, but CFL’s are supposed to last 3-5 years, yet they never seem to last that long.

        I’m wondering if the 20 year claim on these is based on like 4 hour average per day usage or something like they do with the CFLs. I don’t mind CFLs since they do seem to last longer than incandescent bulbs, but they don’t actually seem to hold up to their claims of longevity.

        • jasonq says:

          I have a house full of CFLs. A few dozen of them in all (big house). All of them were installed 4+ years ago, in all areas of the house. I’ve only started to replace a few of them, in areas that are high-traffic (like the kitchen).

        • bonzombiekitty says:

          Over the past 6+ years, I’ve been replacing burnt out regular incandescent bulbs with CFLs. I’ve never replaced a burnt out (or broken) CFL.

    • Snoofin says:

      I wouldnt buy one if they were 2 dollars. First of all, how do they know they last 20 years when they havent been around for 20 years. Wouldnt that require a 20 year test? secondly LEDs have a directional light instead of a glowing type of light so they suck for lighting a whole room, plus they are never a natural looking light. Always a harsh white or deep yellow

      • ahecht says:

        These bulbs actually get around the directional problem. The LEDs are embedded deep within the bulb are actually blue and red. The blue and red light then hits the yellow phosphor you see in the picture above, causing the outside of the bulb to glow. The light on these is as close to natural as you can get without using an incandescent bulb (assuming you consider orange incandescent light natural) as they have the same color temperature as an incandescent and a much higher Color Rendering Index than CFL bulbs (this bulb has a CRI of 92, incandescents are CRI 100, and most CFLs are in the 60s).

        • Rena says:

          So, the LED might last 20 years, but the phosphor…?

          • Firethorn says:

            Phosphor is chemically stable and not it’s undergoing a chemical reaction when in regular use. It just glows various colors when struck by blue/UV light, that combined with the light passing through, add up to white.

            Consider that flourescent lights also use phosphors to make white light, it’s a known technology. Whether it can last 20 years isn’t an issue.

    • Chaluapman says:

      No, you’re not the only one. I am always having to replace my CF bulbs that are supposed to last 5 years, but end up lasting 5 months.

      • runswithscissors says:

        Ditto. I get months instead of years out of CFLs. Are they just outright lying on the boxes?

        • rooben says:

          never had to replace any cfl in my house, used them for more then 4 years.

          • pplrppl says:

            I’ve recently replaced one or two CFLs I bought before Kmart went bankrupt about 10 years ago or so. Yeah, Wiki says that was 2002, I bought them before that and they lasted at least 8 years. I’m not complaining about that.

            I’m still using dozens of CFLs including the ones that I have no idea how old they are because they were in the house when I bought it 3 years ago. I’m sure one of those has failed but if I’m using 20+ CFLs and only replace 1 a year then what is the average age of my bulbs? I’ll give you a hint it’s a lot more than the few months some complain about.

        • glorpy says:

          Mine have pretty consistently lasted years, including my outdoor bulbs. High efficiency bulbs do best when they have plenty of open air in which to release their exhaust heat. I do have some fixtures with dodgy wiring (that I’m in the process of replacing) that have damaged the ballasts of my CF bulbs, dramatically shortening their lives; I’m using that opportunity to switch to LED.

      • sparc says:

        get a better brand of CFLs with a company that stands by their products….

        The Home Depot Ecosmart CFL that has a 9 year warranty that only costs 25 cents. (i save the receipt and packaging insert for warranty purposes and they exchange on the spot at the local Home Depot)

    • Asch says:

      I’ve gotten over 4 years from every single CFL I’ve bought so far, so… maybe?

    • Shadowman615 says:

      Depends. Most of mine haven’t burned out on their own, but I’ve had to replace of few because either:

      1. The bulb physically broke, i.e. child knocked over a lamp. I imagine the $60 bulbs would also be vulnerable to this issue. duhhh ;)

      2. I have a fixture that keeps blowing bulbs out. Probably some wiring or voltage problem; I haven’t gotten around to having it looked at yet. But I wonder if the same sort of problems are occurring for others who get disappointing life out of (quality) CFLs also?

      For that matter I wonder if the same problem would apply to these new bulbs? Sure, they’ll last 20 years without burning out. But what about those occasional surges that occur when you flip a switch (or whatever the hell happens there)?

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        I have no idea about #2, but as for #1, LEDs are a lot heartier than CFLs or incandescents. I can’t remember the last time I saw an LED that went out, and there are more of them in your home right now (basically every status light on every piece of electronics is probably an LED) than light bulbs

      • Difdi says:

        Most LED bulbs are quite sturdy. I own a mixture of LED lights, and some of them could survive a toddler with a baseball bat mistaking them for a tee-ball, as they’re made of metal and plastic, with no actual glass involved.

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      Turning CFLs on and off frequently reduces the lifespan. Not so with LEDs.

    • kc2idf says:

      No.

      All of the benefits claimed are valid. LEDs just do it a bit better.

      As for the $60 price tag, no, I don’t think we’re quite at the right price point yet. I’ve done the math*, and concluded that electricity has to cost 86¬¢/kWh before LED beats CFL. The prime benefits that LED have over CFL are dimmability** and ruggedness. You might also consider LED over CFL if you have a really, really difficult place to reach to change the bulb.

      (*I am currently writing a paper on the subject)
      (**Yes, there are dimmable CFLs. They are far more expensive than their nondimmable counterparts and the performance leaves something to be desired)

    • majortom1981 says:

      Led lamps are better then cfls because they give instant full brightness. even instant on cfls still take a little while to get up to full brightness.

      • EnergyStarr says:

        i thought i would love my LED bulbs, but they produce as much or more heat than the incandescent & CFL bulbs they replaced.

        The LED bulb is only 10% more efficient than the CFL bulbs using the same lumen output. as an early adopter of CFLs, the supposed lifespan of 5 years became 2-3 years. 20 years…maybe…probably more like 12.

  2. Marlin says:

    20 year warranty as well?

    • sparc says:

      Only 3 year warranty…

      I’d rather get a Home Depot Ecosmart CFL that has a 9 year warranty that only costs 25 cents. (i save the receipt and packaging insert for warranty purposes and they exchange on the spot at the local Home Depot)

    • Jawaka says:

      That’s what I was wondering. For $2 I’m not going to cause a stink if a bulb fails earlier than it should but for $60 I sure the hell am.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      All Chinese made garbage? Yes.

      As much as I want to buy in to LEDs, I am guessing I’d be lucky to get 5 years out of the “20 year” bulb.

  3. crazydavythe1st says:

    Yeah, but when they fail after two years and I have to spend an hour on hold to order a replacement…..

    • Kuri says:

      I’ll take a guess that you’ve never owned a CFL bulb either,

      • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

        My CFLs die all the time. With our electric rates they still save a bunch of money. The 7-year claims are horshit though. Plus, instead of putting a bit of tungsten in the landfill, we have mercury.

        • mindaika says:

          Are you talking about the mercury dumped into the air from the coal burned to power your incandescents?

          • pythonspam says:

            Ooo — Sick Burn (of fossil fuel combustion byproducts)

          • GadgetsAlwaysFit says:

            I think they are referring to the EPA regs that say we can’t throw these away because they contain mercury. They must be handled and disposed of per those regulations. It does make disposal a bit more complicated.

            • Emperor Norton I says:

              The EPA doesn’t require them to be recycled per the following:
              http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflrecycling.html#cantrecycle

              What If I Can’t Recycle?
              If your state or local environmental regulatory agency permits you to put used or broken CFLs in the regular household trash, seal the bulb in a plastic bag and put it into the outside trash for the next normal trash collection.

        • Kuri says:

          I’ve had the one in my desk lamp going on four years now, well, beyond even that I think, and I plan to dispose of it properly when it reaches the end of it’s life span.

        • jasonq says:

          CFLs can be recycled in a lot of places these days. Notably Home Depot and Lowes.

      • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

        Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I’ve never had a CFL last two years.

    • consumer says:

      … only to realize you don’t have the receipt or the code from the box you were supposed to save. :D

  4. caradrake says:

    Just my luck the bulb would get broken.

  5. belsonc says:

    I don’t care what kind of deal you cut at your store, I’m not going to pay even $20 for a light bulb.

    *shrug* Maybe that’s just me…

    • Coffee says:

      Really? That’s your bottom line? If it lasts for twenty years, how is that a bad deal?

      • The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

        I paid less than a dollar apiece for my CFLs with 5-year warranties.

        • belsonc says:

          Exactly. I used to work for a retailer where I could get them for about… 1.25 a bulb. And I’m not saying it’s a bad deal, I’m saying it’s a bad deal _to me_. For me, the cost/value relationship isn’t there – similar to how, if my car insurance is $1000/6 months, I’d rather pay it off in installments and pay a little extra (I believe it’s $16) than have a big charge I need to pay off.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Yeah, but the CFLs he bought 15 years ago should last another 5-15 years before burning out, at least according to the initial BS spewed about them, so he shouldn’t need to buy another bulb for at least that long.

        • ARP says:

          CFLs typically have a rated lifespan of 6,000 to 15,000 hours, whereas incandescent lamps are usually manufactured to have a lifespan of 1,000 to 2,000 hours. So at best for regular bulbs/ worst for CFL, they’ll last an average of three times as long as regular bulbs and use 3x less electricity. When you factor in energy savings, they pay for themselves in a matter of months.

          • shepd says:

            Power must be damned expensive where you are. What is it? $1/kWh?

            The consumption difference between CFLs and LEDs is very little. From my estimations, at the $0.09/kWh I use for electricity, I’d need the LED bulb on 24×7 for a very, very long time (several years) to recoup the money.

            Of course, that’s like saying you save money driving a hybrid once you’ve driven 100,000 miles (or whatever it is). Guess what, that’s not saving money, saving money is not spending it. That’s spending less money. Reminds me of the old joke:

            Wife: I got a great deal on this purse. I saved $100!
            Husband: Sounds great. Go buy 10,000 more and we can retire.

            • goodcow says:

              $0.09/kWh would be fantastic. In New York City it’s about $0.24/kWh. So yeah, any improvement would make a difference, especially if they last twenty years.

      • redskull says:

        Now meth heads will be breaking into your house to steal your $60 light bulbs.

      • vastrightwing says:

        It’s a bad deal because the bulb won’t last 20 years. You’ll be LUCKY if you can get 5 years out of the thing. Think about it this way. Marketing is all lies and double talk. The 20 years they refer to means, in theory an L.E.D. will last 20 years if you only have the bulb on for 4 hours each day. The circuitry, on the other hand, is made up of a printed circuit board with thin traces and solder joints. There are other parts on that board to convert the AC voltage to DC, all of which will fail at some point. IF God is willing, the bulb could work for 5 to maybe 10 years. Then it depends on where you put this bulb. Heat will destroy the L.E.D.s over time. Voltage fluxuations and static discharges will also damage the circuit and the L.E.D.s. Phillips did not test the bulb for 20 years, but ran theoretical tests. Sure, in theory, it could last that long. But my experience tells me that if consumers get more than 5 years of service out of that device, they’re lucky. Think of anything mass produced that lasts more than 5 years. I can’t think of anything. Some TVs used to last 10 years (at a much degraded picture quality), but today’s TVs won’t last that long.

        • ClemsonEE says:

          No, the ratings of LEDs are in the magnitude of 100,000 hours, they rate the 20 years based off the lowest rated device, which is most likely the DC Driver.

  6. Bort says:

    In my experience LED products are about 2 years behind the newest products that manufacturer has released, you can buy LED chips that are over 140 lumens/watt vs the 80 lumens/watt this bulb provides.
    It seems incidental that it took 18 months of testing before this was declared the winner and released for general sale.

    • Thorzdad says:

      I suspect the development time was concerned more on getting color of the light correct, rather than brightness. Most run of the mill LEDs have a horrible blue cast, which would be near impossible to live with as room lighting.

  7. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    Yes, it’s a no-brainer, as in there’s no way I’m going to spend $60 on a light bulb!

    • StarKillerX says:

      You will once the government bans all the alternatives!

      • Kuri says:

        Your tinfoil hat needs adjustment, seems like a radio wave got in there.

        • ARP says:

          He’s commenting on the fact that low efficiency bulbs are being phased out. Regular incandescent bulbs are considered low efficiency (with some exceptions). However, Halogens, CFL’s, Sodium Halide, and LED’s are sufficiently efficient that they will not be eliminated.

          And I’m sure he’ll be the first to agree to a coal power plant or a nuclear power plant right by his home.

          • Kuri says:

            Phased out isn’t the same thing as a ban.

            40 gigabyte hard drive in computers have been phased out, but is that due to a ban or just a changing industry?

            • Bill610 says:

              The difference is that 40 gb hard drives are being phased out by the manufacturers, for whom it’s probably no longer cost-effective to manufacture them, but no one is going to fine you or lock you up for making them. Low-efficiency bulbs are being “phased out” because lawmakers have passed legislation, signed by the President, that say that they may no longer be manufactured after a certain date. That’s a ban.

              • ARP says:

                But you won’t be arrested if you’re caught with a light bulb. And presumably, you can sell them to others, as long as you obtained them before the “ban.”

                • partofme says:

                  A manufacturing ban is not a possession ban.

                • Bill610 says:

                  Yes, but a ban on manufacturing is still a ban. The “Assault Weapons Ban” didn’t ban possession of so-called assault weapons obtained before the law went into effect, either. But it was still a ban.

            • StarKillerX says:

              You would have probably said the same thing if 5 years ago someone said the government would be banning the manufacture of incandescent bulbs, but here we are with the manufacture of the most common sized incandescent bulbs by 2014.

    • 72Riv says:

      Everyone spends more than $60 on a light bulb.

      The people that pay the most are the ones using incandescent bulbs. Sure the initial cost is a buck, but you’ll pay $120 a year to burn it. And how many years (or should I say months) will it last?

      CFLs currently have the winning price point. I can get CFLs for about $3 each and they only use between 15 and 20 watts. They’ll last about 5 years.

      But an LED that will last 20 years while using only 12 watts is pretty nice… especially when it is being discounted down to $22. The LED has other advantages over the CFL: no mercury in it and it is dimmable.

      • FacebookAppMaker says:

        My dollar store lightbulbs lasted 11 months. One was even on 24/7 (It worked great if I had to get up in the middle of the night, and when I went out to make people think someone was home),

      • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

        I call bullshit on $120 a year. At 10 cents per kWH, a 60 watt bulb would cost less than half that if you burned it 24-7 for a year. More realistically, you’re looking at $10-20 per year. But I agree it’s cheaper in the long run to use CFLs or LEDs.

      • Rena says:

        There are dimmable CFLs now. I’ve never used one though, so maybe they’re not that great…

        • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

          True there dimable CFL and LED bulbs, but I believe you have to have a special dimable switch

      • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

        The bulb manufacturers typically quote the life of their bulbs and yearly energy cost based on burning the bulb 4 hours a day.

        For a 60W incandescent bulb,you’re looking at about 88kWh/year. Around here, we pay around 9 cents/kWh. That’s a yearly energy cost of $7.90 for a 50 cent bulb with a typical life of 900 hours. So, my yearly cost would be around $9.00 for an incandescent bulb.

        This new Philips bulb uses only 10W, or only 14.6kWh/year at a cost of $1.31 for energy. The initial investment is $60.

        It takes about 8 years before you break even.

        For me, that’s a no-brainer.

  8. fruvous says:

    It’s isn’t hard to wind a competition when you’re the only entry.

  9. Coffee says:

    The biggest problem I see with this is that as the technology gets better, the quality of the bulbs will improve, and five years from now, there will be better, more affordable options available.

    • limbodog says:

      Yeah, so LED’s still don’t have the same color as a nice incandescent. And I know CFLs really mess with sleep. In 5 years that might get resolved. As much as I like LED right now, $60 is steep.

    • Firethorn says:

      Actually, I see the opposite happening – as the technology spreads, it’ll be outsourced to China and as a result the quality will drop.

      See CFLs.

  10. mbd says:

    If certain stores can sell it for $20 rather than $60, that means it costs less than $20 to manufacture and ship…

  11. Daggertrout says:

    I put an LED bulb in my shower. It was only $20 something, and I don’t think I’d pay more than that. I was wary of using a CFL since it would be on and off frequently, and they usually don’t do too well in enclosed fixtures. So I guess I’ll see if I have to change it between now and next decade.

    • Bodger says:

      I put a good quality (not a cheap throw-away) CFL in the sealed fixture in my shower when I did a slight do-over 13 years ago — perhaps $5 at the time. It is working as well as ever. Can someone remind me again how this $60 LED bulb is going to save me a bunch of money and time?

      On a similar note, I installed approximately eight other CFLs in various locations at about the same time as the shower light. I also installed two capsule halogens in automatic fixtures outside the house and they seem to turn on and off every time a stray animal wanders through the yard at night. Half of the CFLs have been changed (about $20 gone) and none of the halogens. I have nothing against LEDs in their place and use some SMD LED tape in odd places (great fun to play with!) but the screw-in incandescent replacements will have to come down considerably in price to make them attractive to me.

    • HoJu says:

      Where I’d put this? In my kitchen.. or my living room… where it’s on for several hours at a time. Certainly wouldn’t spend $20-60 on a bulb that is on for the 10 minutes I’m in the shower each day.

      Though thats just me.

  12. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    If you balk at the price, keep in the prices will drop charpyl just within a few years. After 10 or more, it will be the price of current CFLs.

  13. duncanblackthorne says:

    Prove to me that it’ll last 20 years by providing an unconditional replacement warranty!
    Also, prove to me that it outputs a light spectrum similar to daylight!

    I don’t see much advantage or reason to be an early adopter of these. Wait around, there’ll be cheaper, better versions of this in a few years.

    • Earl Butz says:

      Can’t prove the longevity claims, but I’ve been using the EcoSmart and the earier Phillips (which looks just like this Phillips) for the last two years. The spectrum? GREAT. I tried switching back to incandescents to see if the wife would notice and she made me change it back.

      You’re not going to get a better endorsement than that.

      Also dropped the electricity bill by about 1/3. Our bathroom fixtures alone used to pull 300 watts. Now they pull 32. Now we’ve got to get rid of the electric dryer and we’ll be sitting pretty.

      The wife likes to have every light in the house on, and now she can. No longer matters to me. Save for the kitchen lights – still incandescent – every bulb in the house being on only pulls a total of well under 200 watts.

  14. Dan says:

    It’s also relevant that one of the main goals of the contest that this bulb “won” was to produce a bulb for about $30. The only reason this bulb won is that it was the only entry since led technology is just not ready to deliver both the lumens and light color of a standard 60-watt bulb.

  15. eccsame says:

    So what would teh time savings be, exactly? I spend less than 30 seconds a year changing light bulbs, so multuiplied by 20 that’s a whole 10 minutes! Wow, come to think of it that is a lot of time.

    Now if someone would figure out a way to get mustard and mayo into the same jar so I can get away from the two jar grind and save some real time.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      It’s the money savings. They run on 1/6 the power. Combine thi with money you save not having to run the air conditioning as hard and even at $20 they pay for themselves in a few months.

    • Baelzar says:

      “You know I could go for a sandwich, but uh, I‚Äôm not gonna open TWO jars! I can‚Äôt be opening and closing all kinds of jars… cleaning, who KNOWS how many knives!?”

  16. AuntySemantic says:

    I have found that these so-called energy-efficient lighting options are not as bright as the incandescent bulbs and thus create problems for people with vision difficulties like me.

    • Kuri says:

      I have an LED bulb in my living room lamp and it’s as bright as any other bulb I’ve seen.

    • ARP says:

      CFL’s come is a wide variety of color “tones” and wattages. I think the 150 watt equivalent is 42 watts. They also have a 68 watt (300 watt equivalent). If those don’t work, you can go with a Halogen bulb.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      I’m running a couple in some small table lamps and I love them. I got them at sams for $13 each and they draw 2.5 watts. They put out the same as a 15 watt incandescent. They are warm and omni directional just like an old fashioned bulb. They will pay for themselves in a about 18 months.

      • George4478 says:

        I have never used a table lamp with a 15 watt incandescent. 75-150 three-way bulbs typically. I think the led screen on my microwave is more than 15 watts.

  17. Tacojelly says:

    If it does last 20 years it should be something the land lord would take care of I assume

  18. The Twilight Clone says:

    And then pay even more in 20 years when that bulb won’t unscrew from its socket and breaks.

  19. Rebecca K-S says:

    Given that the lightbulbs I currently use, which I’ll estimate cost $1 apiece, get changed way, way less often than three times a year… you’re right. Buying this $60, 20-year lightbulb would indeed be a no-brain move.

    • kaptainkk says:

      Your forget the cost to burn that $1 bulb for a year.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        A CFL? Pretty minimal.

      • shepd says:

        How many people leave a lightbulb on all the time at home?

        Maybe crazy people who are afraid of the basement (oh look the wife has an angry face on now…)

        • Tenacity says:

          Me. I have a few burning here and there, low wattage, to keep the ghosts and bad guys from sneaking up on me in this old place. That said, I walk through the house without turning any other lights on until needed for task lighting.

  20. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    You think I’ll pay $60 for a bulb that will cost $1.99 a few years from now? Hahahahahaha!

  21. brinks says:

    We were looking at LED bulbs recently, but any that emitted the brightness we needed were too big for the damn light fixture.

  22. brinks says:

    We were looking at LED bulbs recently, but any that emitted the brightness we needed were too big for the damn light fixture.

  23. ARP says:

    Two big enemies of LED’s are uneven power and heat. They’re not great in enclosed fixtures and don’t like power surges/bad wiring. If you have either/both of those elements, it may not be worth it.

  24. Cerne says:

    This contest was a joke and Philips won by slightly redesigning an existing product and cashed in on a lot of tax dollars for doing so. Anyone buying a $60 light bulb is an idiot. These bulbs are massively, massively over priced.

  25. FilthyHarry says:

    Given that any given cfl lightbulb may not even last as long as incandescent bulbs, or come close to lasting as long as their claims, there better be a warranty.

  26. Torchwood says:

    Let me know when the LED light bulbs have the same lumens as a 100 watt incandescent.

  27. Power Imbalance says:

    Am I the only one who caught that they have only been in testing for one year? 20 years seems like something of a guess.

  28. shepd says:

    No, it’s not a no-brainer. You need to consider how much a CFL (or, for cold or damp areas, a standard bulb) costs to run over time compared to this one and you need to figure out the break-even point. With the cost of this bulb being so high, I can only see it being worthwhile spending this much if it is used in a fixture that spends a lot of time being on, such as, say, in a living room, kitchen or somewhere similar. Bathrooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, basements, closets, garages, hallways, sheds, barns, etc. need not apply.

    • Firethorn says:

      Actually, I’d say that it’s only worthwhile if the application is particularly suitable for LED. For example, a ‘night light’ in my old unheated garage being LED would make sense due to the low temperatures experienced(though cold isn’t generally an issue for a CFL that stays on all the time). I’d put LED lights into fridges right now, though ovens are probably better off staying incandescent right now. It’s not like it’s wasting power radiating infrared in an oven. ;)

      Bathroom, for example, you’d want one well sealed against moisture, but you might see benefit due to the tendency for bathroom lights to be rapidly cycled.

  29. jnolan says:

    and in 20 years scientists will release a study that concludes the proliferation of LEDs are causing cancer.

  30. dognose says:

    I have a feeling they are going to come out with better looking light bulbs in the coming years. That is just hideous! Let’s hope the price comes down too.

    • Asch says:

      Does it matter? How much time do you spend looking at your bulbs?

      • dognose says:

        Actually, a lot, I use exposed candle style light bulbs. I have like 30 or so in my house. Not that these bulbs even fit, but if they did, it’s be a $1800 bill.

        • Firethorn says:

          This is where I like to mention that changing your fixture is always an option. At $60/bulb, it’s probably cheaper to replace the fixture. At which point you try to buy one matched to the light bulb.

          BTW, the tiny candle type lights tend to be less efficient than the bigger bulbs.

  31. Jayrandom says:

    As an early CFL adopter I think I’ll wait for the price to come down.

  32. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    “From 2014, incandescent bulbs of 40 watts or above will be banned in the US.”

    Land of the Free. This irks me no end. I really like LED lighting and have researched it and have been working on a few designs myself. BUT outlawing incandescent bulbs is not even constitutional. No other lighting option known can or will ever beat incandescent for cost or reliably operating in hot places.

    Another thing, LED bulbs are not new… heck, they’re in your local Walmart. The news broadcast this on TV last night… get this “lighting with DIODES” how amazing is that? Hate to break it you you but LEDs were created in the 1960s and plenty of LED lights have been sold. Heck, my brother’s company switched to all-LED lighting last year. Let me introduce you to “the wheel.”

    • nishioka says:

      > BUT outlawing incandescent bulbs is not even constitutional.

      Yep, they’ll bring this one to heel in short order. Just like back when George HW Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 1992 into law and the Supreme Court ruled that mandating low flow toilets was unconstitutional too.

      Oh wait, that didn’t happen.

  33. Extended-Warranty says:

    I, for one, welcome our new LED overlords. Incandescants burn up so much electricity, and CFLs are a pain to recycle.

    I probably won’t be waiting in line to pay $60. At $20, maybe. Once they become cheaper, it will be a good thing for everyone.

  34. ryan89 says:

    Home Depot has a $10 Ecosmart dimmable LED which replaces a 40W incandescent. It’s made with Cree chips and I think it is the bang for the buck out there.

  35. Mackinstyle1 says:

    What’s the wattage consumption of this thing?

  36. wjr says:

    Some facts:

    1: The mercury (Hg) in CFL’s cannot be related directly to what Hg goes up the stacks at a power plant. CFL’s use methyl-Hg. This is so as the arc that is induced by the ballast of the florescent light needed to have the vaporization energy reduced in order to allow the CFL power supply to be made small enough to fit in an A-19 (Edison bulb) form factor. Methyl-Hg is highly neurotoxic and cytotoxic. Elemental Hg (used in the big florescent lights) is not all that good for you but is nothing compared to methyl-Hg. Even small amounts of methyl-Hg exposure is very bad.

    2: Inorganic LED lights will come to dominate the consumer lighting market in time. They are not very good yet but they will be. Lumen output of Edison bulbs is about 500 for 40W, 800 for 60W and 1700 for 100W. Most LED bulbs (e.g. Chinese knock offs) cheat by claiming “equivalent” outputs with significantly less lumen yield for the equivalent Edison bulb. Phillips is honest with their measure.

    3: None-the-less, current LED bulbs generate way, way too much heat in both the 40 and 60W ranges. Heat means inefficiency and, perhaps more interesting, shorter lifetimes for the LED die (this based upon referred paper data). That, BTW, is why these bulbs are all heat sink and quite heavy compared to the equivalent Edison. Forget 100W equivalent bulbs — the ones that I have seen require a fan and look like a beer can.

    4: Do not put any high output LED bulb (40W equiv. or, particularly, 60 W equiv.) in a can fixture. You liable to burn your house down. Indeed, the Phillips bulb has a label to this effect.

  37. Razor512 says:

    is it a 20 year run time, or is it the BS/ scam advertising of “it will last 20 years as long as you only use it at most, 20 minutes a day”

  38. MajorSmeg says:

    I picked up a 60 watt equivalent LED bulb from the Lowe’s I work at this weekend. it was on sale for $15. I also got a couple of the Utilitech CFL’s that are 60 watt equivalent daylight bulbs at $4 for a 2 pack. I have a bunch of these in lights now and like their color and brightness. Side by ide the LED and CFL are very close in light output, the LED is a warm color though. The savings info from the packages has the LED at $1.63/year 3 hours daily 25k/hour life and the CFL’s are $1.57/year 3 hours daily 10k/hour life. At that rate it is still cheaper to buy the CFL’s.

    I bought the LED for my porch light, with no IR or UV I don’t have to worry about the moths. It does have a very good light spread, very close to the CFL I had in there before. The instant brightness is great, no more warm up from the CFL. We’ll see how it lasts.

  39. Shello99 says:

    I have not been buying this whole “Lets Save the environment by changing the type of bulbs we use” gimmick.

    I live in a ten year old house that has over twenty bulbs that are that same age. They still work just fine. A few have died over the years but nothing close to $60 in costs so far to replace them.

    • glorpy says:

      What about when their operating cost is factored in? Moreover the cost of carbon removal from the significant number of coal, oil and natural gas power plants and the infrastructure used to supply them? The cost savings from CFL to LED aren’t there yet, but they’re improving dramatically and the cost savings from incandescent to both CFL and LED are both there, even without factoring in the carbon externality.

  40. ECA says:

    a couple things to ponder..
    ever removed and old bulb from the socket?? electrolysis tends to make things hard.

    Efficiency Sucks.
    the less power/gas/whatever you use, means the CORP isnt getting enough money..so they get to charge MORE.. Even if more people CAN HAVE POWER/PRODUCT..the corps figure each person should be paying a MIN amount, even if its To much..

  41. tiredofit says:

    $3 a year is a lot for a lightbulb. My florescent bulbs have been running for more than 10 years, and only cost a few bucks. Much better bang for the buck.

  42. dkev says:

    You don’t know what your talking about. We have been installing these in 6 of our office buildings. I promise you; if I did not tell you they were LED’s , you would not know the difference. The light they emit are identical to incandescent bulbs. And they are not directional. They also come in flood lamps and are used in can lights. Don’t spread miss information.

  43. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    If I’m going to spend $60 for one lightbulb, it better last all 20 years under normal use, like the CFL bulb in my reading light in the living room. It’s been in there about 5 years, and it cost a fraction of $60 (and it wasn’t $15 – more like part of a multipack of bulbs for $10 on sale).

    I want a guarantee from the manufacturer, or whoever buys the manufacturer, that 15 years from now if the thing just quits, I get a new bulb with my receipt. And oh yes, I’ll have the receipt, scanned and on a paper copy, in my fireproof box. Otherwise, no sale until the prices come down. A lot.

  44. 8pozzum says:

    I bought 3 of these at full price when they first came out. Two have been used to light a busy room and one stays burning continuous. No problems so far except for the price, but Home Depot lowered the price on them a few months after I bought them. I’ve got about 10 total now and none have broken or quit in the past 1.5 years.

    These pretty much have to go in some type of fixture that covers the actual bulb. The yellow stands out pretty significantly when not in use.

  45. snowmentality says:

    I’ve been seeing LED bulbs on sale at Lowe’s and Home Depot for at least a year now — they started at $30 but they’re down under $20 now. I saw an LED bulb at Target for $15 yesterday.

    Maybe this $60 one is way more awesome or something, but the general price point for LED bulbs doesn’t seem to be anywhere near $60.

    I’m holding off because we’re moving soon, and it seems ridiculous to pack up used lightbulbs even if they will last 20 years. Also, I figure the technology will just get better.

  46. sparc says:

    It’s definitely a no brainer for me to NOT buy LED’s at anything more than $5 a piece.

    The local Home Depot is selling CFLs for 25 cents a piece ($1 for 4 Pack). The ecosmart brand which has been pretty darn reliable for me. Plus i keep the receipt and packaging insert and replace any that die early before the 9 year warranty expires. I just go to Home Depot and exchange on the spot.

    so 50 cents for 18 years guaranteed warranty with CFLs (two bulbs) or $20+ for an LED bulb that has a 3 year warranty and might last 20 years if I get lucky??????

  47. somegraphx says:

    We put over a dozen compact florescent bulbs in our addition (I know it sounds like a lot, but I promise our ceiling doesn’t look like swiss cheese) when my daughter was born in 2008. We might have changed one or 2 since then. Totally worth the money. I’d buy these, but I don’t know when the ones I have will burn out.

  48. mbz32190 says:

    No way. I’ll wait another 5-10 years until the price comes down to make sense. Remember how expensive CFL’s were when they were first introduced? Now they cost $1, at most. And maybe they last 20 years, but there is a good chance that they don’t…it’s too early to invest that much money in something that has not been proven.
    Anyway, my CFL bulbs have been pretty reliable…including two outdoor (one enclosed, one upside down) and an indoor lamp on a timer. All have been on around 5 hours a night for the last 5-7 years and show no issues. These were house-brand Lowe’s bulbs too. The only CFL’s I have had go are those “globe shaped” ones in a bathroom (Philips)…lasted maybe 6 months, went back to incandescents in those, and two Sylvania bulbs that were in a small, enclosed ceiling fixture (not their recommended use, but I stuck some cheap-o ones up there and they have been fine so far.

  49. Mozz says:

    Led’s don’t really save much over cfl’s. Low wattage ones are good for nightlights, that’s about it. Also, Philips is the master in making things last one month after warranty.

  50. Scoobatz says:

    Is it the same no brainer as paying $45,000 for a Chevy Volt?

  51. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    “‚Äî that’s only $1 a year!” – less the energy savings. Costs $1/year in electricity vs $5 for a regular bulb. (source: math on back of package)

  52. Palaba says:

    I’m not willing to bet $60 that a better bulb won’t come along in the next 20 years.

  53. AEN says:

    The problem with these bulbs (both CFL and LED) is that each one contains a crappy, low budget power supply to run the lamp. Sure the LED/CFL can last 20 years, but the power supply can’t.

  54. ancientone567 says:

    I use the bulbs in my house everyday and they have all lasted past the 5+ year mark now. They have not yet failed. They cost me 1- each so after 20 years that 4- for each bulb. I would rather spend 4- than 60- and change the bulbs 4 times.

  55. extrudedcow says:

    Or I can buy more of the 3$ a piece, 8w LED bulbs that my local utility company is subsidizing.

  56. RiverStyX says:

    I’m already paying less than $1 a year..They sell 3 packs at the dollar store of regular various wattage lightbulbs. Still on the same pack more than a year later..so..yeah, this is clearly a pricing gimmick.

    The environment can piss off, I’m doing my part by not even driving a car.

  57. nocturnaljames says:

    far from being a nobrainer. unless you cant think for yourself. led light isnt exactly pleasant to most. ive always used incandescents, and havent exactly spent a lot of money replacing bulbs.

  58. Plasmafox says:

    Every time I buy a bulb that is labelled “60w equivalent” it seems significantly dimmer. I’m glad I bought a few boxes of 100w standard incandescents. Not that I’m going out of my way to use them, most of my lights are CFLs. But sometimes they just don’t work as well. And the fact that the CFLs have an amount of mercury in them which may or may not be dangerous depending on who you ask and what province of china it was made in.

    • consumer says:

      There is a new brand coming on the market soon called “Switch” that does list a 100W equiv. They are not available for purchase, they claim to be doing testing in hotels to see how they perform.

      Google search for switch led they should be top result… or directly at http://www.switchlightingco.com/

      No idea on prices, lets hops they are not gonna bilk people like Phillips did here :D

  59. doctor.mike says:

    Let’s do some arithmetic!

    I’m almost 66 now. A standard 100 Watt bulb, including sales tax, is 27 cents at Dollar Tree.

    One bulb provides 1600 lumens of light. Assuming I have a few as 30 bulbs in my house, not all burning at the same time, but I won’t move bulbs from fixture to fixture, so I need to buy replacements for all. All the publicity I see about LEDs conveniently evades mention of the brightness, instead concentrating on power consumption. So, I would probably need four of these to get the same lumens as one standard 100-watt incandescent.

    Everyone with me? Keep calculating!

    So need 120 of these to replace my 30 standard bulbs. That’s $7.839 including New York city sales tax. Even with electricity here at ~25 cents per kwh, How many years is my break-even point?

    But wait kiddies! It gets more complicated:

    I said I am almost 66 years old. Yes, yuppies and hipsters, and normal young people, life does not end at 35.

    The big questions:

    1. Will I still be alive when these things burn out?

    1a. Do I need to itemize these things, that are worth more than my jewelry, in my will?

    2. What do I do with them if I move to another country where the voltage is 220 instead of 110?

    The first person with the correct answer wins a prize: A 15-watt incandescent bulb I inherited when my mother died.

    B.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      There’s a core flaw in your math. CFLs and LEDs are rated by lumens, but sold as “watt equivalents” because people don’t know how many lumens their current bulbs generate. So a “100 watt equivalent” CFL or LED generates the same # of lumens as a 100 watt incandescent.

      So, you only need a 1:1 replacement.

      Doing the math, I get a breakeven point on CFL for you at about 500 hours, and at about 2500 hours for LED.

      Incandescent ($0.27/bulb, 60 watts, 750 hour life, $0.25/KwH)
      CFL ($5/15/10000/$0.25)
      LED ($60/10/25000/$0.25)

      The upfront price isn’t that important, the vast majority of the spend on a light bulb is for power. At $0.25/KwH, using a 60W incandescent bulb four hours a day costs $22/year in electricity.

      Please post your address, so I can contact you to collect my bulb.

  60. consumer says:

    For those looking for a cheap alternative check out the LG LED LAMP A19 , they have 810lm at 12.5W (60W equiv).

    Estimated life span of 17 years, 3 year warranty (note: save the upc AND the serial barcode AND receipt to take advantage of the warranty), Color accuracy 83, Light Color 2700 (warm white), Official model number is: LB12D827L2W.E80JSU0

    I can’t find them online, but they do stock them in Walmart for around $16. I have found the lower watt versions online, but not this 12.5W @810 lumens.

  61. iblamehistory says:

    LED light in general just hurts my eyes. Everyone is switching to LED Christmas lights and it’s just awful; I used to love looking at Christmas lights but now I’m faces with these darkly lit dots that my eyes can’t really focus on. So to me, that is LED light.

    Another example is the light that comes from my iPhone due to a flashlight app. Great for not killing myself in my dark bedroom when I have to get up and pee, but not the kind of light I want shining in the room when I’m trying to read.

    I had a hard enough time with CFL bulbs. We finally found some that put out warm light, but even with 5 of them running (3 floor lamps, 2 of them with 2 bulbs) it’s still slightly darker than I’d like it to be in our little old Chicago apartment living room.

    But at least the light is warm–I tried the “daylight” bulbs and almost threw myself through the window as soon as thy were turned on for the first time. They lasted 10 seconds, long enough for me to call my husband in and show him the horrifically unnatural, icy blue, dark light that MIGHT be what daylight looks like after some nuclear winter or other post apocalyptic world? I don’t even know. It was like 100 of my iPhone lights all at once. They went right back to the store.

    You can always tell who uses them, too. Drive down the street and look for the windows illuminated with ice blue darkness that is somehow too bright to focus on. I don’t know how people do it.

  62. Consumer007 says:

    I am STUNNED that any corporation is wanting to make ANYTHING lasting 20 years. STUNNED!!!!

    Now, this begs the question, why can’t they start making everything last 20 years? I hope this starts a trend, and those “experts” that decided we need a built-in obsolescense-based disposable society can go straight to hell along with all the undeserved profits.

  63. Debbie says:

    I just walked through my house and counted 62 light bulbs. Even at $20 each that would be an up-front investment of $1240. Add to that the fact that I have no faith in the 20-year claim I won’t be buying any soon.

  64. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    Isn’t there a light bulb made by Thomas Edison that has working since 1901? There is also a Shelby bulb (5-watt carbide filament) in a fire department in California that still works from 1901. Maybe one could learn from the old ways instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.

    • Rhinoguy says:

      The Model T Ford came out in 1908 and there are still plenty of them on the road. Who needs a Taurus? The T works fine.
      /s

  65. rockelscorcho says:

    I just saw the short documentary “the light bulb conspiracy” yesterday. ironic and a must see!

  66. impatientgirl says:

    I dont replace my bulbs that often. And seriously, what if you move?

  67. quirkyrachel says:

    In two years time, other companies will be in the field and you’ll be able to buy the same light bulb for $30.

  68. corridor7f says:

    How easily does it break? Is it compatible with most lights? Will technology change in 20 years and render it useless?

    I’m cheap, I know.

  69. icerabbit says:

    Can’t wait for LEDs to get drastically cheaper.

    We have about a dozen LED lamps in use and two dozens CFLs. I can’t stand the CFLs because they start so dim and take two minutes two warm up.

    I paid $50 for a nn watt exterior flood bulb and it has been worth it. Instant on despite temperatures well below freezing. Exterior CFL flood lights take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes to ” warm up ” before they give the needed exterior light :/

  70. mediaseth says:

    I’ll buy them when they are both smoothly dim-able and also color-temperature selectable. In the meantime, my 65 watt recessed incandescents have lasted 5-6 years with only a few needing replacement. Oddly, it’s always the same few that go… could be those dimmers.

  71. MECmouse says:

    Regular light bulbs cost about 50 cents each and last about 2 years at our house — there’s no savings. And if the less than five minutes it takes to change out a light bulb is really intruding into your time…you have bigger issues!

  72. Rhinoguy says:

    My problem with this “new” light bulb winning a prize is that the same bulb is made here in North Carolina by an American firm that sells them for $40.
    http://www.cree.com/lighting
    The site is awkward to use.

  73. moonunitrappa says:

    I’m pretty happy with CFLs. The light doesn’t bother me. I consider myself lucky because everyone seems to hate them.

  74. cliffbig says:

    Read the full info: this bulb will last UP TO 20 years if used no more than 4 hours per day of one-time-on-one-time-off-each-day useage. The phrase “up to 20 years” only means that they’re guaranteeing that it won’t last LONGER than that. If it fails the next day, it’s still lasted UP TO 20 years.

    Even assuming that it DOES last that long–well, my 4/$1.50 incandescent light bulbs last 750 hours. At four hours a day useage, that means I can get a half a year out of a bulb. That means that for $1.50, I can get UP TO 2 years worth of light. That’s $15 for 20 years, or 1/4 the cost of this overpriced bulb.

    You say you’re not getting six months of useage out of an incandescent bulb? Well, you’re not using it in the specific way that it’s tested–and you won’t get 20 years out of this Philips LED bulb, either, since you won’t use it under the stringent conditions by which they’ve rated the bulb.

    • cliffbig says:

      And one more thing–

      They obviously haven’t tested this bulb for 20 years. They’ve tested it under artificial conditions designed to simulate 20 years of use. There’s no way they can know how long this bulb will last in real-world conditions; by saying “up to 20 years,” they’ve used FTC-approved weasel words that legally cover them when and if the bulb fails much sooner than that.

  75. balderdashed says:

    A $60 lightbulb that lasts 20 years makes no economic sense — any lightbulb that lasts 20 years provides a dubious benefit. Why? Because for one thing, the average American moves every 5 or 6 years. Should I move, I doubt my next home will need the same number of lightbulbs, of the same type and wattage, etc. And if someone finds themselves downsizing from a larger home to a smaller one (as many of us will do at some point in our lives), maybe half of the bulbs purchased will be redundant, and just might end up in a landfill. Even if I don’t move, remodeling or redecorating will likely change my lighting needs over the years. Then there’s the fact that 20 years from now (or even two), the technology will be better and cheaper. In 2032, they might not even be making lamps that use any of the bulbs we can buy today — or replaceable bulbs, period. This “futuristic” idea is in fact short-sighted. (But of course, I’ll keep all my receipts, Phillips — just in case one of your bulbs doesn’t last 20 years, and I need a refund for a bulb that’s probably no longer being manufactured, for a type of lamp that no longer exists, but once provided illumination for a home I no longer own.)

    • pamelad says:

      If you sell your home, would you really remove the light bulbs? I know a married couple who did that, and thought it was so cheapskate!

  76. Woraug says:

    20 years? HA! 12 years ago, my dad was working at the city dump, and found a box of 10 CFL light bulbs. Every one of them is still being used in my house today.

  77. soj4life says:

    $60, no brainer in waiting for a better price. Home depot has 4 cfls for $7. Over the same 20 years, you’ll need to buy that 4 pack 3 times for a cost of $21.

  78. Brussels says:

    Anyone know what store is selling it for only 20$???? I will buy. Just give me the link. If not, this is basically an upgrade from their LED 60W eq already on the market which is 800 lumens and 12 watts (this new one is 900 and 10) at the same price. It is better, but I presume the ‘old’ ones will get cheaper.

  79. Eyegor says:

    I’ve read all of the arguments, pro and con. For me the bottom line is to let the marketplace decide which device is best. Eventually, the CFL and LED devices may be attractive to all or some new device will take its place.

    For now though, I’d prefer that the government stop crawling up my ass and deciding what’s best for me.

  80. only1cashbaker says:

    I bought the bulb and it sucks compared to an incandescent bulb.