LED lightbulb prices drop dramatically

The lower cost of LEDs makes them a more affordable option

Published: December 10, 2013 06:00 AM

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When LEDs started showing up on store shelves a few years ago the price was shocking—$50 for a lightbulb? LEDs came with the promise that you’d save energy and money over time, but that’s a hard sell in a tough economy. So to move LEDs from store shelves to sockets—what manufacturers call speeding up adoption—prices keep dropping. Consumer Reports put the newest and least expensive LEDs that we could buy through preliminary tests. Are they any good?
So far, so good. In our preliminary lightbulb tests, the LEDs were as bright or brighter than claimed and the light color was as promised. If the box said the light color was warm, then it was warm. We’ll put these LEDs through our standard 3,000 hours of testing, but until then here’s a first look at some LEDs that replace 60-watt incandescents and the price we paid for each.

EcoSmart 12-Watt (60W) A19 Bright White 183210, $20 at Home Depot, casts a white light similar to a halogen bulb. Walmart’s Great Value Soft White LED was $10 and the least expensive of those we tested. It gives off a warm yellow light similar to an incandescent. So does the $13 Cree 9.5-Watt (60W) Warm White and the $14 Philips 11W 60W Soft White 424382. All are dimmable.
For light that’s even brighter and meant to replace 75- and 100-watt bulbs, see our First Look at these LEDs; they cost $30 to $40. And for LEDs and CFLs that have been fully tested see our Ratings of dozens of lightbulbs for lamps, ceiling fixtures, recessed and track lights, and outdoor fixtures.
—Kimberly Janeway

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