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.