The future has arrived, although it's on backorder. The Philips 12-watt LED, a replacement for the 60-watt incandescent (and the 13-watt CFL), is now available at HomeDepot.com, with a two-to-three week wait. These bulbs promise to outdo compact fluorescent lightbulbs and incandescents in the competition for the best bulb.
The Philips 12W A19 AmbientLED soft white dimmable bulb is meant for table lamps and ceiling fixtures. It's $40 plus shipping and will be in Home Depot stores in early December. Rebates from utilities are available in a few states, such as Pennsylvania and Texas, says Silvie Casanova, a spokesperson for Philips.
Home Depot describes the LED as being mercury free and having 800 lumens; lumens indicate brightness and Energy Star suggests that a 60-watt incandescent and its CFL or LED replacement have at least 800. The bulbs are designed to last 25,000 hours—about 17 years if you use it four hours a day. As for kelvins, a measure of the color temperature, this LED has 2700 and that makes it comparable to a soft white incandescent.
Currently, the Philips LED isn't Energy Star qualified but it has a 6-year warranty so if you buy one, hang onto your receipt, just in case. Now that these LEDs are available to consumers we'll put them through our battery of tests. In the meantime, read our latest report on the top CFLs and our first look at an LED.