I’ve tried twice before to get LED lightbulbs for the house. This has seemed like a very exciting thing for quite some time- the idea of fairly low power, efficient, almost never burning out light sources seem like a great thing. But so far the results have been a disaster-they were fragile, didn’t support dimmers, and the light quality was terrible- both very little light output, plus the colors were horrible.
I think I can say that they are finally here and practical. I got a selection of several different ones at Home Depot over the holidays and put a few in and so far the results look great.
Probably the start is the Home Depot’s own brand the Eco Smart. At just $18 its far cheaper than the others, and its the closest to a normal lightbulb. $18 buys you a bulb with 429 lumens, equivalent to a 40 watt normal bulb, but it only uses 9 watts. I replaced a location that I had been using an existing LED and the results went from terrible to great- I can easily recommend it for anywhere you need a “normal” bulb that doesn’t need to be too bright (no equivalents of 100 watts here).
I also bought a few from Philips who appear to be making a big push in LED lights. I got 8 watt and 12.5 watt equivalents of normal bulbs and an indoor flood that is 12 watts. These cost quite a bit more at $22 for the 8 watt and $39/$49 for the 12 watt bulbs.
The flood is a bit weird- you can tell its a LED since it looks like it has a bunch of lenses on the front. The light quality is good though, just the bulb itself looks weird when you look at it. The “normal” two are even more strange when turned off- they look yellow when off, although when on it uses some special technology to create good looking white light. For exposed applications I feel like the Eco Smart looks better, but the 12 watt Philips looks like it can be a good fit in a recessed light fixture- it seems like it has some good openings for ventilation, but I do plan on keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t get too hot. When its on you can’t really tell its at all different than the other lights.
Best of all, they are all dimmable and unlike CF lights they turn on quickly and should have much longer lifespan. I’ll update on here in a couple of weeks what they are like after living with them for a bit.