GE Lighting has announced that it is getting in on the 100 W-equivalent LED replacement act. The 27 W Energy Smart LED bulb joins its range of incandescent bulb replacements that already includes 40 W and 60 W equivalents. And like an incandescent bulb, GE claims its LED bulb emits light evenly in all directions. But how does the 100 W equivalent stack up performance-wise?

The key figure is the bulb's lumen output, which is a measure of how much light the bulb emits. Connected to a 120 V supply, a traditional 100 W incandescent light bulb has a lumen output of 1750 lumens (lm), for an efficacy of only 17.5 lm/W. Here's where the term "equivalent" begins to look a little sketchy, as the quoted output of GE's bulb is 1600+ lm. If you ignore the plus (what other option is there?), that's the exact same output as Switch Lighting's 100 W-equivalent LED lightbulb (the world's first) we looked at a year ago, but 150 lumens short of an actual 100 W incandescent's output. Still, it's certainly in the same ballpark.

With a power consumption of 27 W, GE's Energy Smart bulb has an efficacy of about 60 lm/W. Clearly, that is vastly superior to a 100 W incandescent, but it's actually significantly worse than Switch Lighting's equivalent product. The efficacy of 100 lm/W we quoted at the time now seems to be a little high, with Switch Lighting's website now stating an efficacy of over 80 lm/W - still 20 lm/W better than GE's lightbulb, which is significant.

One area GE's product scores over Switch Lighting's is in the bulb's color temperature. The color temperature of a light source describes the warmness or coolness of its appearance. Expressed in Kelvin, a light source's color is compared to the appearance of an ideal black body radiator at certain temperatures. Because black body radiators glow in cooler colors at higher temperatures, a light source that is said to have a higher color temperature signifies a cooler appearance.

Let's again use a 100 W incandescent bulb as our basis for comparison - with its color temperature of 2870 K, which is warm and yellowish in appearance. Switch Lighting's 100 W equivalent has a color temperature of 4100 K, whereas GE's has a color temperature of 3000 K - much closer to the 100 W incandescent original. Since these products are touted as replacements, GE's bulb does a better job in this regard. That said, some may prefer the cooler white of Switch Lighting's bulb (cooler light sources are thought to be preferable in warmer climes, for instance).

Similar to Switch Lighting's product, GE's Energy Smart bulb has a very respectable lifetime of 25,000 hours. Assuming you use one for three hours per day it should last nearly 23 years. Interestingly the lifespan is significantly lower than heavier-duty LED light sources designed for commercial use which are often quoted at 50,000 or even 100,000 hours. In any case, compared to the typical 1000 hour lifespan of a traditional 100 W incandescent, these things last an age.

Thus far there's no word on launch date or price.

Source: GE Lighting