Let’s face it – incandescent light bulbs provide nice light, but they’re energy-efficiency dinosaurs. Compact fluorescents (CFLs) are better, but they contain toxic chemicals like mercury. So for long-lasting lights that use just a tiny fraction of the electricity (and can pay for themselves many times over), make the switch to LED light bulbs.
Lighting currently accounts for roughly 15% of household energy consumption. And like it or not, sticking with your old bulbs won’t be an option for long: the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 calls for the gradual phase-out of inefficient incandescent bulbs, starting with the highest-wattage models in 2012 and eliminating all traditional incandescents by 2014.
Compact fluorescent bulbs are one replacement option, but LEDs are cleaner and far more efficient. Their initial purchase prices can be steep, but the technology is improving quickly and prices are dropping. And LEDs offer unmatched energy savings and durability.
Modern LED light bulbs use approximately one-seventh the energy of comparably bright incandescent bulbs, or half the power of compact fluorescents. Plus they’re extraordinarily long-lasting: some LED bulbs have a lifespan of 50,000 hours (that’s nearly 6 years of 24-hour-a-day usage, 25 times better than an average incandescent), and the light-emitting diodes in LED bulbs are resistant to shock and vibration.
Keep in mind that most LED light bulbs are somewhat directional, meaning they tend to cast much of their light from the end of the bulb. This makes “wattage comparisons” and “total lumen output comparisons” with other bulbs a little tricky, but it also makes LEDs especially well suited for applications like ceiling lights (bonus: their durability means avoiding the hassle of frequent bulb changes).
It’s worth paying attention to the manufacturer’s specifications, since most LED bulbs are designed for use in open unsealed fixtures to avoid heat build-up, and not all LEDs can be used with dimmable fixtures.
For a general use replacement LED bulb, one of our favorites is the EagleLight Nichia warm white bulb, with light output comparable to a 50-60w incandescent. Another solid performer is the C. Crane Geobulb 3, a 7-watt model available in “Cool White” (roughly equivalent to a 50-watt incandescent) and “Warm White” (30-watt equivalent) options.
For recessed fixtures or track lighting, check out the Philips AmbientLED indoor flood light. It’s also a 7-watt model, but casts a more directional white beam suitable for downlighting.
Find them here:
EagleLight Nichia Warm White LED Bulb, $33.99
C. Crane Geobulb 3 LED Bulb (Cool White), $59.95
C. Crane Geobulb 3 LED Bulb (Warm White), $59.95
Philips AmbientLED LED Flood Light, $25.49
Have you made the switch to LED light bulbs in your home? Leave a comment below and let us know your experiences.