The LED Light Bulb Transition

by Michael on Jan 10, 2014 · 5 comments

Cree LED Light Bulbs

This past weekend, while at Home Depot picking up supplies for a few household repairs, I wound up buying our first LED lightbulbs.

As I mentioned last month, I’ve decided to start switching to LED lightbulbs as our CFL bulbs burn out. Well, we lost another bulb so I decided to switch that fixture over to LEDs.

While wandering through the bulb aisle, which happens to be between the front door and the plumbing section (leaky faucets were on my todo list), I spied an end display with Cree 60W-equivalent LED bulbs for $12.97/each. Intrigued, I looked closer.

These were listed as being “soft white” bulbs, though they’re rated as having the exact same color temperature (2700K) as the Cree’s warm white bulbs. They were, however, five bucks cheaper than the latter bulbs at Amazon.

Anyway, after having heard good things about Cree bulbs, I decided to pick up four of these to try them out. And, after getting them home and installing them, all I can say is: Wow! These things are great.

They immediately reach full brightness, they put out a ton of light (800 lumens/bulb), and both the color and light dispersion are fantastic. Oh, and they use marginally less electricity than an equivalent CFL (9.5W vs. 13W).

Honestly, I’d love to install these things throughout the house, and pretty much everyone in the family agrees. That being said, I’d rather not plunk down $13 for each and every light socket all at once. However…

My wife, ever the practical girl, reminded me that her birthday is coming up, and that I could use that as an excuse to change out the bulbs in the kitchen, dinette, and possibly elsewhere. 😉

1 Money Beagle January 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Over the past few years, there have been times when you could get CFL bulbs for less than $1 a pop, and it’s when the local energy company has basically subsidized the stores involved. I wonder if they’ll ever do the same thing with LED bulbs to make them affordable. I’ve always heard the benefits, yet the up-front cost is simply daunting. So many people are used to stocking up on a 4-pack of bulbs, and not thinking anything about it. When you’ve had a lifetime of that, it’s just a hard pill to swallow to pay $13 or $18 per light bulb, even when they will last forever and look great. There’s got to be a better way to migrate people toward them other than simply outlawing the alternative… but maybe not.

2 Michael January 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm

The prices will surely come down, though it’s not clear how quickly that will happen. Recall that CFLs used to be rather expensive, too. That’s part of the reason that I’ve been leaning toward replacing them fixture-by-fixture as my CFLs continue to burn out.

Actually, when I installed these four, I wound up with three “spare” CFLs (since only one in that fixture had burned out) so I now have a bit more wiggle room on the CFL front. But with the LEDs being so loved by my family, I may replace more of the CFLs in key spots before their time.

3 krantcents January 10, 2014 at 4:25 pm

I am still on the same CFLs I installed 4 years ago. When some burned out prematurely, I called the company and they sent me a coupon to replace them. I think they made a significant difference in terms of energy costs.

4 Scott January 13, 2014 at 12:45 am

Love the blog,

As aside, CREE is the go-to manufacturer of LED emitters for mass produced good flashlights (torches for you Brits) so they’ve been at this a while. It’s nice to see the lumen rating (commonly used by flashlights and physicists) replacing the antiquated “80 watt equivalent” terminology.

An additional advantage of LEDs over CFLs for the end user is that you don’t have to worry about the disposal of the mercury in CLFs.

5 Little House January 13, 2014 at 9:44 am

I’m still using our CFL bulbs but I’ll have to look into the LEDs. I’ve noticed that many new cars are using LED headlamps now and they look very bright. Sounds like the LED bulbs have more options when it comes to natural lighting.

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