My experience with LED light bulbs has been just the opposite as this article in terms of failure rate. I have been buying LEDs over several years to replace my CFLs as they burn out. All of the bulbs I replaced over 6 months ago to about 5 years ago are still working fine. But a Sylvania and a Cree bulb that I purchased this year have failed. The Cree is only 2 months old. If you look at the reviews of Cree bulbs on Amazon, 28% of the reviews are 1 star due to very early bulb failure. Even though Crees are made in the USA, they are not as dependable as other brands made in China.
Why would you buy an LED bulb that is only 84% more efficient than incandescent when the current mini fluorescent bulbs use one fifth the power of incandescents which makes them 400% more efficient.
Hopefully the electronics in the ballast don't turn out to be the weak point for these bulbs like they were for so many CFLs.
Alex, your math is off. The 60W LED bulb uses 9.5 watts of power, making it 630% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and the 40W uses 6 watts, making it 667% more efficient.
Jon, LED bulbs use a power supply that is not a ballast, but early LED bulbs had problems with the lifespan of the power supplies. I bought three of the early bulbs five years ago and they all died within two years. The newer bulbs are supposedly tested to prevent this problem, but only time will tell. The life of the power supplies is still going to be the limiting factor of the bulb life, not the lifetime of the LEDs themselves.
9.5 watt for a 60w equivalent bulb is less than 1/6th the power.
if I'm not mistaken 1/6th is less than 1/5th. Therefore the LED bulb uses less than the CFL
These bulbs are also dimable!!.
Cree's home page has a pdf which lists which dimmers these bulbs are compatible with.
The 40W equiv bulb draws 6W and 60W equiv draws 9W while CFLs would draw about 10W & 15W respectively.
The 84% reference comes from the site's poor wording.
"It looks and works like what it is. A light bulb. But unlike incandescent bulbs, it's 84% more efficient and lasts 25 times longer."
would be better worded as
"It looks and works like what it is. A light bulb. But unlike incandescent bulbs, it lasts 25 times longer and is 84% more efficient than a CFL"
I own about a dozen LED bulbs (yeah, it's nerdy, I know). I recently picked up two 60 Watt equivalent bulbs at Home Depot for $13 ea over the weekend. In three respects, these bulbs are better than the Philips AmbientLED bulbs.
They look "normal" in fixtures that expose the bare bulb.
They turn on quicker. I have the Cree next to two of the Philips bulbs in a bathroom fixture. The Cree lights up about 1/4 second faster (guessing on the time).
The Cree is 20-30% less expensive.
The overall color of the Philips might be a bit better.
All in all, I really LOVE that we have good options. Using LED bulbs is small scale, lazy-man environmental action! I actually get a decent financial return for doing the "right thing".
Good stuff! It's great to see LED bulbs about to make big inroads into the lighting market.
As more and more are produced, economies of scale will kick in and they will become cheaper too.
It'll only be a few years until the switch is complete, just like digital cameras replacing film ones and flat screens replacing CRTs.
No. The mistake is there, but it's more egregious than what you thought. The numbers between these LEDs and CFLs. Even if you do it the (common but) wrong way, that still only gives a figure of about 66%.
If you do the math, the LED bulbs use about 15% of the power that incandescents use. That leaves 85% (allowing for round off errors, etc. we can call that 84).
So it's just plain mis-worded, and rather badly. This is due to a rather gross ambiguity of English when people try to describe "how much less", expressed as a percentage.
They actually use less than 1/6 the power of incandescents, for the same amount of light. It would be valid to call that more than 600% as efficient. (Or 500% MORE efficient, since the incandescent is being used as the base of 100%.)
When you took the two comparison shots for the bulbs lighting values, did you prevent the camera from adjusting for a different kind of light source, or did you lock it onto one value to keep the shots truly comparative?
MBadgero, as I remember reading here on Gizmag I believe, the lifespan of early LEDs was reduced when the individual diodes were grouped too close together which resulted in the susceptibility to heat that LEDs suffer from, and now I think they are starting to space the diodes further apart to combat this.
LEDs are great but the technology simply is not there yet. I like CFL and have used them for 20 years but they use so much mercury, most do not work with dimables and often take longer to warm up.
What I simply do not understand is why we are pushing LED when we could be pushing CCFL (cold cathode). its the same technology in older monitor backlighting, for the most part they are instant (instant on cfl waste a little energy keeping the cathode warm even when off), they slightly more efficient plus they are dimmable. The best part is they use 5-10% of the mercury compared to a CFL bulb. In mass production they would only be slightly more expensive than a CFL and much less expensive than a LED.
You can find them online but they often sell out or don't come in a desired configuration.
I am glad we are using LED, I just wish there were more CCFL and less CFL bulbs out there. Eventually we will have to deal with all this mercury.
Things have gotten better since only last year. Last year the 40 watt equivalent LED's I bought were between 8.1 and 11.5 watts and the current (40W) Cree is 6 watts. The (60W) I bought was 13.2 the this years Cree's are 9 to 9.5. Prices have dropped some as well.
Also, at 12 cents per kWhr the monthly cost to operate incandescent bulbs is $3.45 for 40 watt, $5.18 for 60 watt, and $8.64 for 100 watt.
You can avoid a big up front expense by replacing bulbs as they burn out but financially you are probably better off disposing of incandescent bulbs that get used regularly even if they are still working.
I just ordered 9W "40W equiv" LED bulbs direct from Hong Kong, no tax or shipping, for $4.67 ea. via eBay. These bulbs have a 100K hrs rating.
Direct sales from HK is coming into its own, if you hadn't noticed. Get what you need now before congress starts taxing internet sales.
I've just replaced every single lamp globe in my house (16 total) with Philips LED globes. Cost me close to $300 however with electricity at 25 cents/KWHr in Australia I calculated they should pay for themselves within a single quartely electricity bill.
Very happy with the light colour & brightness. Only quibble I have is that they aren't dimmable (the Philips ones) and they don't provide as much light in the downwards direction. I would love to replace all my ceiling lights but they are all G5.3 halogens and the Philips ones are ridiculously expensive. The only thing I don't like about LEDs in general is that those that are dimmable, provide the same colour temperature when dimmed, ie you don't get the cozy really warm light that incandescents provide.
The "84% more efficient" should be read as 84% less power than an incandescent (100% more efficient would mean it uses no power at all!). 9.5W/60W = 15.83%, rounded to 16%, as much power, ie 84% less. Therefore a CFL would be 80% more efficient than an incandescent.
Come back and tell us when they start selling 100W daylight bulbs ;-)
I must have missed the power quoted for this bulb in the article. No I have looked over the article again and no power is quoted. The are some readers here who are much smarter than me. They read 84 % more efficient and the infer that it uses 16% of the power.
When checking both Phillips and Cree LED lights at Home Depot,all were made in China. How long will they really last as China is not known for making quality LEDs.
replacing cheap bulbs that use a lot of power, with expensive ones that don't - only makes sense when you use the bulb all the time.
let's imagine a closet that has its 60W bulb ON maybe 2 hours a year
cost to operate: about 1.2c a year
let's assume the expensive bulb costs $12 and somehow is so efficient that it uses 0watts.
how long does it take to pay for the $12 bulb?
12/.012 = oh.. nice ! --> 1000 years
so these only make sense for bulbs that get used a lot of the time..
When reading about the latest in LED bulbs, I'd like to hear about any tests of radio frequency interference from their power supplies. I know this has been a problem with some.
Forget CFL's. I measured the output of CFL's and incandescents. I get more light from a 40W incandescent than a 60W CFL.
Tom, more recent LED bulbs have had heat problems. The bulbs I had were spotlights made from 60 T5 LEDs. I took them apart to see why they failed (don't do this with CFLs) and the LEDs still work, but the power supplies were burned out. Some parts had obvious charring.
I designed a replacement circuit that used 80 T5 LEDs and no power supply, and this bulb is still working, but 80 is too many for white, and it is dim. I could go in and short out a few to brighten it up, but it is just a 3.5W always-on bulb for my basement. They do blink at 120Hz (twice the 60Hz line frequency) and it can be annoying if you are moving fast, or if the light source is moving.
I also made a couple LED grow lights and these work well without a power supply. The plants don't seem to care about the blinking. I have never measured the RFI, but I've had no complaints from neighbors. It would be an interesting test.
Changed most of my bulbs to leds, In the hope that I will never have to change another light bulb in my lifetime. The kitchen still had the fluorescent tubes. Changed that one out last month (new fixture with leds) and electric bill dropped from $72.00 to $68.00. I'm cool with that.
I am mildly upset that all my motion detectors have to be changed out to work with leds. I will never get payback for changing bulbs but am happy using less power.
Freddy the Mug
One thing nobody has discussed is how much radio frequency interference (RFI) these bulbs emit. There are some "quiet" CFLs, and there are some "dirty" CFLs, and the same goes with LED technology.
This interference can wipe out marginal and weak radio signals, and even TV reception.
It also should be noted that old fashioned light bulbs don't have the toxins in them that cfls have and in winter they help heat the house thus saving the use of fossil fuels where electricity has a low footprint.
Ray: Electricity is cheap only within a small distance from a (typically), hydroelectric generator. EVERYWHERE else has environmental implications & issues. Next, today's fluorescents ALL have less mercury than ever and unless someone insists on sprinkling crushed cfls or tubes over their morning cereal there is little reason to worry. In contrast the OVERWHELMING single greatest source of mercury in the environment is from soft coal. The predominant sources are China and India. Both Europe & North America are declining slightly. In N.A. you can thank the Bush-Cheney administration for this.
Next, products sourced from China can be dealt with pretty easily once control of the economy is taken back from a handful (30 to 50), of Billionaires. The Less-Than-One-Percent are the enemy not the Chinese, or Vietnamese, or Bangladeshis, or, (Long List Follows), etc. Good Luck to Everyone with that problem.
I have a bunch of led and cree bulbs and I love them.they work great on my solar. boat shed, it's lit up like daylight and cost nothing to run.
POOL PUMPREAPAIR guy longwood
i LOVE these bulbs! I have a few of the philips, and these are just sooooo much better. And they cheaper - mostly. When I bought them at home depot in Canada, the power company was working with philips to offer their bulbs at a discount. Pushing the whole green thing - but more likely it was Philips trying to push out the small competition. Way to go Cree! I will buy Cree even if they cost a couple of bucks more than the Philips (as they were after the hydro "green" discount) because they're American made by a forward thinking company with some good ingenuity.
I have put six (6) of these 60w equivalent Cree (2700k) bulbs in ENCLOSED fixtures in my home. These are the first bulb rated for fully enclosed fixtures other than the Switch bulbs from Switch Lighting. If you look at the packaging you will find no indication that they can't be used in an fully enclosed fixture - a fact I confirmed with Cree directly.
The Cree bulb looks and "feels" like a "real" lightbulb and even after being on for extended periods of time it can be handled without gloves. The dimming performance is excellent with most dimmers and Cree has a reference guide ot tested dimmers.
I also have Philips 60w, 75w, and 100w equivalent bulbs in lamps in my house. I have one Switch 75 and one 3M 60w equivalent LED Bulb (from Walmart). The 100w Philips bulb is very large, an A22 form factor, which makes it too big for some lamps and fixtures.
chidrbmt - Re: your China comment - it really depends on whether the experienced 12-year-old veterans were on the assembly line, or whether they were on a rice break, and the 8-yr-old trainees built your light bulb. :)
When you factor that the amount of CFL's that Walmart alone has sold, that has in FACT save from building 2-3 USA Power Plants, imagine if only LED's were sold........
I'm a LED believer... I had over 110 light fixtures in my 4800 sq ft house, that had a combo of old school light bulbs & CFL's and electric bill was $250-260 a month, now about $205-210 a month.
This is good news, especially now that incandescent bulbs that don't meet energy efficiency requirements will soon be phased out. It is already clear that the LED would soon outpace CFL for the simple reason that CFL has very little more room to grow.
to the person about CCFL, Cold cathode discharge lamps use higher voltages than hot cathode ones and CCFLs use a discharge in mercury vapor to develop ultraviolet light, which in turn causes a fluorescent coating on the inside of the lamp to emit visible light. To get more pleasing light they use rare earth metals in the coating. While dimmable like LED bulbs it requires the same crazy curly tube configuration as the CFL's, and from what I can find, a 15 watt version is the equivalent of a 45 watt incandescent. Whereas the CREE 9.5 Watt bulbs I bought are the equivalent of a 60 Watt incandescents for slightly less in price. That's less than 2/3 the power consumption for a 1/3 more brightness. The CREE bulbs have been great. I don't miss the incandescents or the CFL's at all. It's crazy to think I often multiple lights on in the house and combined they amount to less power consumption than a single 60 watt incandescent bulb.
Just installed 2 in my newborns room with a LED dimmer and they work great! They dim to pretty much nothing and the light is "normal". This will happen in many more places. We also just finished a remodel in our basement and put in 17 LED ceiling can's and LOVE LOVE LOVE them! They to are on a 30 dollar dimmer but man do they just work great. They all come on super quick and have no warm up period at all, they just work. Also since they named HD in the article I will say we purchased ours there as well. The can's we got have a 1/4" - 1/2" recess to them unlike a normal can and that does cast the light in a much broader pattern give much better coverage to. Our LED's simply rock!
I have 4 of these 60W equivalent / 800 Lm bulbs. Bought 2 for a hard to reach area over my stairway. In an enclosed fixture (2 bulb)... brighter than the original 60W... Love 'em and shouldn't have to replace them until I'm 75 yrs old... I hope. I bought 2 more because they're great. I saw nothing on the warm white saying that they are dimable. I'll have to give this a try.
CREE, please work on 800 lumen (60 W equivalent), standard base, candle shaped, dimable bulbs next. I have FAR more bulbs in fan fixtures that I would absolutely love to replace without hesitation with your bulbs.
Decorative clear bulbs and small clear candelabra would be my next preference. Then go for the 100 W equivalents, and the world will be a much better place.
With LED lighting looking like the future of lighting its time to re-engineer the whole lighting field. By that I mean evaluate the old Edison screw base, size and shape of the bulbs. The electrical connection/size/shape of the fluorescent tubes.
Stop trying to adapt the LED to the incandescent, the new designs could be thinner, smaller, and optimized for the light pattern emitted by an LED.
Alex Vafiadis: I see you've corrected your original comment, and others have commented on it "one fifth the power of incandescents which makes them 400% more efficient."
Of course you cannot achieve even 100% efficiency in physics or anything else. If you achieved 100% efficiency in converting electricity to light, you'd blow a huge hole in the universe. The comments that the bulbs use 86% LESS POWER for the same light output are much closer to the truth. CFL's use a bit more, on the order of 80% "less" nowadays, and some bulbs are cheaper (Subsidized) at $2 a bulb... however they only are rated for about 10,000 hours and typically last a LOT less, especially if used in a dimmable fixture (the CREE LED's typically require NO conversion from an existing dimmable supply) whereas the CFL's can't tolerate any but the most stringent dimming controls, typically costing MORE THAN THE FIXTURE THEY COME IN, and more than the LED bulb! ($20 and up.)
I've had CFL's last merely minutes in some fixtures that weren't even on a dimmer, whereas these CREE bulbs went in the same fixtures just fine, and have lasted months with no problems.
Also, the "warm white" is the only way to go. the "cool white" is horrible, just like a fluorescent whether it be the tubes or the "twirly" bulbs. I can't stand them, even the ones whose "CRI" or color rendering index are above 92%. That index is a fallacy. These CREE warm whites have only a rated CRI of 80% but look, to the naked eye, JUST like incandescents or the sun (NOTE I did not say daylight.) CFL's look just like bad lighting on a CLOUDY day, I guess that's what they're comparing the CFL to.
Agreed, it's best to use standard incandescents for fixtures you don't use much, or to help heat the house. CFL's do not make sense in these cases, NOR do LED's. Hopefully the incandescent will continue to be available at the same pricing (typically four for a dollar) for many decades to come, even if we have to buy them on the black market, which I would have no problem with, as the "law" banning them is illegal, just as the "law" stating we have to pay income taxes.
Tom Swift, the problem with that is the cost of the fixtures. True, if you're building a NEW structure anyway, you might as well use newer fixtures, costing the same or less than the equivalents available today. HOWEVER most structures have existing wiring, lighting fixtures, etc. which were pretty much designed for the life of the home or structure. It makes no sense to throw those away just to replace them with "new" especially if you're on a budget.
Another point I'd like to make is, sure, buy CFL's and endanger the environment (THEY CANNOT BE THROWN AWAY but must be recycled at approved facilities) or put lots of money into the LED and save a FRACTION of your power bill. Lighting takes up very little of any home's power, if I recall, less than 5%. You'd be better off in colder climates by simply not heating your home above whatever it takes to keep the pipes from freezing, or in warmer climates like Phoenix to NOT USE air conditioning, but older technologies that use much less power such as the evaporative cooler, or simply fans, and keep your house below a tolerable 100 degrees F rather than the 80F or below most people who live here seem to prefer. In the long run, insulation, or building new structures below ground rather than the rather inefficient method of above ground housing, would make much more sense, than legislating that the simplest form of electrical lighting must end. Making things more complex (I can build a light bulb in my basement from scratch, basically, whereas I'd like to see anyone make a CFL or LED with simple tools) makes no sense. I can also light my home with NO technology, with either candles, or oil lamps, or even simply lighted sticks.
To save money on lighting, the most sensible approach is to do things only in daylight, and go TO BED at night when it gets dark.
I bought three of them at my local Home Depot. I agree with all of the salient points of the article and will buy more soon.
I did, however, have a minor problem with two of the bulbs. After two months of use, the glass envelopes on two of the bulbs had come off of the epoxy beads that they were glued into. The separation was perfect- no glue on the glass and a perfect imprint of the glass in the annular glue bead. Insufficient initial bonding coupled with thermal cycling is my guess.
One of them fell from a ceiling fixture onto a hardwood floor and did not break. The other one was nearly vertical, base down, and so the envelope just fell askew on the LED stalk inside.
The glass of the envelope is thicker than incandescent bulb glass in addition to having the elastomer coating and it has a healthy bead around the opening.
I wound up removing the bulbs from the fixtures (with the power off since there are exposed conductors on the assembly onto which the individual LEDs are mounted) and, after using a nippy cutter to remove the old epoxy (which was quite brittle), re-bedded the envelopes in new, hopefully more flexible than what Cree used, epoxy.
That said, I'm still likely to buy more. They're wildly inexpensive (for LED bulbs), have great light quality, and are inexpensive to operate; but they have that one little quirk.
BTW, does anyone on here know what the Voltages on those conductors are?
In my opinion this bulb is a hands-down winner over the CFL. CFL bulbs contain mercury, they do not perform well in low temperatures (we expect 30 below within a month), and they do not fit well in fixtures designed for standard incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs don't like the cold either. I purchased a couple of these last time I was in the lower 48 and am quite pleased. I believe LED performance improves as the temperature drops. We'll see!
I tried one in my office. It flickers.
WayneAnd William Miller
I have had Cree lightbulbs throughout my apartment for about a year now and have had absolutely no problems.
I suggest them to anyone, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want any more details.
I am happy they are concentrating on quality of light more. I remember buying CFL's at Home Depot because they were all the rage. Supposedly gave you significantly better battery life and a fraction of the energy used.
Now I know the truth. They only last a little longer than incandescents, they cost more, and the quality of light they put out is horrendous. It's so bad there are places in Europe where CFL's are banned because of the deleterious health effects people believe they cause. Google it.
I go out of my way to make sure I don't use CFL bulbs because they give me a headache. One thing about LED bulbs, I don't know if this is a cluster or little bulbs inside or not, but if it is, they will actually last a little longer than advertised. The reason is because if it's a cluster, like you see in LED powered stop lights, you can have a few of the tiny bulbs go out, and it's still functional.
Similar to Wanye's experience, the Cree 800 lumen day light bulb I bought about 2 months ago also flickers. As I use this a single reading light it be a bit annoying. Strange thing is that it doesn't flicker all the time, and is definitely not as annoying as the flicker that some florescent tubes develop. I would exchange it, but no longer have the receipt.
Let me know when an LED bulb will last 25+ years like some of the old circle and straight tube Edison base fluorescent bulbs I have.
Hi, I've bought some Cree bulbs and I love them!!! I have been using all CFL for years. In general, I found CFL's didn't last as long as claimed, but, not worth the trouble to try to return since they didn't last like they were supposed to. They would often have poor color, not come on quickly. And would get dimmer even when they were still working. Some of that could still be true of some LEDs, since I haven't been using them that long. But, I've got some other LED bulbs already that so far seem to be far better than any CFL I've had. And, these CREE bulbs are better than the other LEDs I've had. Instant on, pretty color. Maybe heavy compared to incandescent, but they are much lighter than first generation LED bulbs. They do have the heatsink, but, its smaller than first gen LED bulb heat sinks and actually almost look like an incandescent bulb.
The bulbs have a weird, almost sticky texture. I'm wondering if the bulb itself is made of something that acts as a heatsink, thus making the metal heatsink smaller. I'm not sure, but, if that is what they are doing, ingenious! At any rate, I love these bulbs. And, no, I am not paid to say this.
I replaced over 200 bulbs at my house, my parents and inlaws over the last two years, it is a bit addicting. First don't buy the online cheap bulbs from China the light quality is terrible, no better than CFLs.
Secondly don't spend $50 on LED dimmers until you have tried out your LEDS, we have 6-12 lights per circuit and the old dimmers work just fine.
Try the Cree 60 watt TW, really brings out the colors well, we use them in the kitchen and living room where we really want a warm light, (cost $10.90 no tax free shipping ebay).
The 60 watt daylight really brings out the details on paintings and photos (12 cree bulbs for $102).
Other areas save some money and use the standard Cree soft white in the bedrooms (24 for $158).
If homedepot or costco is not close then buy from ebay. I was a bit worried about buying from ebay and the first purchase did arrive with one bulb broken and the seller wanted me to return the bulb to get my money back???? But I found another ebay seller ( the ebay shop is ledlightingdeal ), they provided the rest of my orders, free three day shipping and no tax hassle free. I only had one broken bulb from all my orders which must of been 50 bulbs and they immediately refunded my money, no need to return the bulb.
I bought 10 Cree bulbs from HD and put 5 in the bathroom fixture. Two have failed on two different occasions. Is there something wrong with having so many in the same fixture?
I bought a Cree 9w / 800 Lumens LED bulb about 10 months ago, put it in my garage ceiling (NOT in the garage door opener on the ceiling that would have had vibrations that might damage it or reduce its life). It just died this week. Since it was in the garage, I barely used it. Do near-freezing temperatures reduce the life span or destroy the power supply? I must say, I'm very disappointed that a $15 bulb lasts only 10 months (my old incandescents lasted longer in the garage!) Any one else having short term life spans with the Cree? I'm not likely to buy another unless I know it will last longer than a year! Unfortunately I didn't keep the receipt (having too much confidence in the Cree, I guess), but I suspect they probably had a warranty on these bulbs had I kept the receipt?
I bought over 30 of these Cree light bulbs from the Home Depot internet site. They have been burning out from between a few weeks to a few months with any kind of normal use, a big disappointment. They are "guaranteed" for ten years, but read the fine print, you have to mail the bulb back to Canada with your sales slip. Ya right someone is going to pay to ship a light bulb every few weeks from the continental United States back up to Canada, I don't think so. Bottom line and you will find this is not just me saying this, they are very expensive and their guarantee policy is NOT AN IN STORE RETURN so they frustrate the consumer from returning these over priced not very good in the long run bulbs. I have done my little part to warn you, buyer beware.