LED replcements for incandescents in near future?

joel_bcMay 19, 2013

Any predictions about where we'll be with respect to readily available Edison-syle LEDs in another six months? or another year? I'm strictly interested in screw-base replacements for common 120v incandescent bulbs - ones that will fit "traditional" household fixtures (like what Leviton calls a "porcelain celing lampholder").

I'm wondering if high-quality 400 and 800-lumen LED bulbs will likely be considerably cheaper in six months, and whether we'll see commonplace 1600-lumen LED replacements for screw-base incandescents? I'd like your educated guesses.

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wws944

There are so many LED options at the 450 (40w equiv) and 800 (60w equiv) lumen level today, it would be hard to count them all. It seems like all the manufacturers are targeting this level of output for best price/performance.

At the 1100 (75w equiv) and 1600 (100w equiv) lumen levels, the field narrows considerably and cost increases a lot due to cooling and packaging concerns. For example, Philips sells a larger 1100 lumen version of their 'alien head' light, but it costs around $40. They have an even larger version that is rated at 1780 lumens for $55. (Home Depot prices.)

As LED efficacy continues to improve, the prices will continue to come down. Right now the best seem to be in the 80-90 lumen/watt range. For example, the new Cree A19 60w equiv is at 84 lumens/watt and cost around $14. The Philips L-Prize winner hit 94 lumens/watt (940 lumens at 10 watts), but is very expensive at $50.

For highly used lights, if initial purchase price is ones sole criteria, CFLs are probably still a better buy. But if other factors are important, like light quality, instant-on, and dimming, LED is the way to go today.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 1:05PM
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joel_bc

wws994, thanks. You wrote: "There are so many LED options at the 450 (40w equiv) and 800 (60w equiv) lumen level today, it would be hard to count them all. It seems like all the manufacturers are targeting this level of output for best price/performance." There are a lot, but I wonder if a high-quality, long-lasting 60w equiv will come down to, say, $12 in the next six months or year?

You wrote: "Philips sells a larger 1100 lumen version of their 'alien head' light, but it costs around $40. They have an even larger version that is rated at 1780 lumens for $55. (Home Depot prices.)" I wonder if the price on these could be halved in a year's time? (Still with a good, solid warranty.)

I agree that light quality is very important. I've never much liked any kind of fluorescent lighting, because somehow it just does not quite agree with my nervous system.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 6:53PM
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wws944

"...I wonder if a high-quality, long-lasting 60w equiv will come down to, say, $12 in the next six months or year? "

I don't work in the lighting industry, so I have no idea what the various companies plans are. But as I mentioned, the new Cree A19 60w equivalent is now being sold for $13.97 at Home Depot - which isn't very far from your $12 number. Their competitors will need to match or do better fairly soon.

What I find fascinating about LED lighting is that at the current 80-90 lumen/watt level, they have blown past CFLs and are competing against linear fluorescent efficacy levels. Yet the theoretical efficacy of LED is much higher than it is today. Cree has already demonstrated raw LED chips with over 200 lumens/watt efficacy.

In fact, google on "nanoleaf" to see what a couple of recent college grads have come up with for the screw-in replacement bulb market. Note though that they have raised the color temp to 3500K, it isn't dimmable, and the CRI is a relatively poor 70. But it does demonstrate where LED is going.

This post was edited by wws944 on Mon, May 20, 13 at 0:46

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 9:11PM
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David

If Philips can get its 60 w equivalent led bulbs under $10 around Thanksgiving, it will be an interesting year end.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:19PM
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Fynite

Phillips is supposed to have 200 lumen per watt rod style bulb in the next three years. It's supposed to hit 1500 Lumens.

The new Cree is at least a solid competitor with twice the life of a CFL and only a dollar more. So far no one has noticed anything unusual with the Cree bulb we have in one of our fixtures. It's definitely far superior to the incandescent bulbs IMHO.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 11:23PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Home Depot sells a 60 watt equivalent CFL for 50 cents (pack of 4 for $1.97). I just can't wrap my head around paying 28 times the price for an LED.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:38AM
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poobaloo

"There are a lot, but I wonder if a high-quality, long-lasting 60w equiv will come down to, say, $12 in the next six months or year?"

The 40W equivalent (500-lumen) at Menards is only $7 and the 60W (800-lumen) is $20, but was on sale for a week for $12.

They're REALLY bright. We put only 3 in our bathroom replacing CFLs and now I want to get a dimmer. You flip them on and... wow...

I'd say your price point is already here. Just look for a sale. :-)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 1:49PM
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wws944

"Home Depot sells a 60 watt equivalent CFL for 50 cents (pack of 4 for $1.97). I just can't wrap my head around paying 28 times the price for an LED."

They must be heavily subsidized in your area. The Ecosmart CFL 4-pack at my local HD is $6.97. So only a factor of 8 difference for me.

A (properly designed) LED bulb will last far longer than a CFL - especially in a location where it is frequently turned on/off - like a bathroom. Being solid state, once it gets beyond infant mortality stage, there really isn't anything in a LED to 'burn out'. Though in some years down the line, eventually a capacitor in the little power supply might fail. And after 10, 20, 30 thousand hours of operation, the light output may gradually drop a bit.

Then there are all the usual advantages of LED: Instant on/off, many are dimmable, better light quality (in most cases). Current LED bulbs have exceeded CFL efficacy levels, so cost less to operate. And fluorescent technology is very mature - so CFLs won't improve much in the future. Whereas LED lighting is still in its infancy. It will continue to improve for many more years.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 2:49PM
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fauguy

Last summer I replaced all the house bulbs that were CFL and A19 halogen with Philips LEDs.
For the two outside lights, I went with the Philips 8W (40W equivalent), inside was Philips 12W (60W equivalent) used in all the lamps, but in the living room with with the 17W (75W equivalent) though it's an A21 size that is taller. For the 6 recessed BR40 I replaced those with the Philips 15W BR40. Since I've had them for the past year, my electric usage hasn't gone down, since they are using about the same power as the CFLS, but I do like the LEDs more since they are instant on and are dimable. Also, since the CFLs would only last me 3 years and then burn out, the LEDs should last much longer. It did run me a few hundred to replace all the bulbs with the Philips LEDs, but I thought of it as an investment, since they last for many years and provide better quality light than the CFL.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 2:39AM
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bus_driver

I am certain that a nearby HD has Cree LEDs for $12.95 and $13.95 depending on the color one prefers. My measurements show that the size is A19, just as with regular incandescents. I predict that further price drops will be slow and small amounts.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 8:44PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

They must be heavily subsidized in your area. The Ecosmart CFL 4-pack at my local HD is $6.97. So only a factor of 8 difference for me.

For some reason, we're getting a great deal. I'm working from memory here but I want to say, that jumping to 75 watts is $4.49 for Ecosmart and $7.49 for Phillips. I also want to say that the Ecomart "60 watt" in cool white is about $4.50.

I had one of the Ecosmarts fail about 30 days into use. I filled out the online form and they sent me a $5 Home Depot gift certificate. Not a bad deal given what I paid.

We have a CFL in the front porch light that's been going for 5+ years. It's on pretty much from dusk to dawn 365 days of the year. When that goes, I think I'll spring for a LED.

I wrote something over on the electrical section about my experience with a CFL flood light. The thing basically sucks but I'm not paying $50 or so for an equivalent LED.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 6:51AM
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joel_bc

Things are definitely headed in the right direction, with LEDs becoming better deisgned and made, and companies offering us more for the money. This has been a great discussion, and lots of specific info provided.

Is there a third-party website somewhere that tracks all this sort of thing? Meaning, what company is offering what LED unit at what price and with what sort of warranty? I've kind of searched around, but the multitude of hits didnt seem to include an updated site poviding info only. I did find some sites that had some info, along with much sales pitch. The commercial element sort of injected bias.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 11:01AM
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ionized_gw

"We have a CFL in the front porch light that's been going for 5+ years. It's on pretty much from dusk to dawn 365 days of the year. When that goes, I think I'll spring for a LED."

That might actually be wrong-headed. It might be better to stick with fluorescent, because it is good at staying on for extended periods, and save the LEDs for where they will be cycled a lot.

The thing that I worry about with outdoor LEDs in my humid environment, is that the LEDs will not heat up to keep the luminaires dry. Given that, the fact that the LEDs will not be touched for decades and the nature of the construction of the luminaires, when the lamp finally fails, I might not be able to remove it due to corrosion.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 11:08AM
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ionized_gw

"Is there a third-party website somewhere that tracks all this sort of thing? Meaning, what company is offering what LED unit at what price and with what sort of warranty? I've kind of searched around, but the multitude of hits didnt seem to include an updated site poviding info only. I did find some sites that had some info, along with much sales pitch. The commercial element sort of injected bias."

That is what Consumer Reports does + performance evaluation.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 11:09AM
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bus_driver

Was in the smaller HD store in this area yesterday and none of the Cree LEDs was on the shelf. But the HD website has several of those items.
Not sure about Canadian availability.
I discovered that HD (that store at least) is higher priced than Lowes for the T shaped fluorescent items I compared.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 1:21PM
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ionized_gw

"T shaped"? What is that?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 1:38PM
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wws944

Our local HD tends to stock the Cree A19 replacements on end caps near, but not in the Electrical department. Same with the Ecosmart/Cree CR6. Though they usually have a few CR-6s on the bottom shelf of the LED area in Electrical as well.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 2:16PM
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