Best LED lightbulbs

As more come to market, prices drop and choices increase

Published: November 2013

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The incandescent bulb’s days are numbered. It wastes a lot of energy to create light. The typical 60-watt bulb costs more than three times as much per year to run as a similar LED bulb. As of Jan. 1, most incandescents will have been phased out.

If sticker shock has kept you from buying LEDs, your procrastination has paid off. Store shelves are filling with less expensive LEDs from such brands as Cree, EcoSmart, Great Value (Walmart), Philips, and Sylvania. Because the market is changing so rapidly, we decided to report on our preliminary results of some of the newest and least expensive LEDs.

We’ve grouped them by the fixture you’d use them in to make shopping easier. All of the newer, cheaper bulbs were as bright as or brighter than claimed, and the light color matched what was claimed. We’ve also included fully tested LEDs that impressed us.

But watch out, there are still expensive bulbs being offered, such as the two Switch LEDs we’re testing that cost $50 and $65. There are better, less expensive options.

Editor's Note:

This article appeared in the January 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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