Back in October, I purchased my first A19 LED bulb and wrote that an LED vs. CFL cost analysis proved that LEDs had reached a mass market crossover point. But, there was a bit of a caveat that I made:
Until you see the discounted LEDs, it’s probably in your best financial interests to hold on to CFLs in seldom used lights. But for heavy use LEDs, the economics are finally there. And in short time, with LED lifespans, there will rarely be a scenario where CFLs come out ahead on purchase/energy pricing.
Well, I think that point has arrived just a few months later. Last week, Philips introduced a 10-year A19 60W equivalent soft white LED bulb for $4.97 (without rebates). The Philips Everyday is a 8.5W, 800 lumen LED bulb with an estimated yearly energy cost of $1.02 (based on 3 hours/day, 11¢/kWh).
Update: the cost of the Philips bulb is now just over $1.50 per bulb at normal price on Amazon, which leads to me now believing that every light bulb bought should now be LED. We’ve reached the point where every cost analysis favors LED in a relatively short time frame, if not immediately.
8.5W LEDs are about 35% more efficient than 13W CFLs and 86% more efficient than 60W incandescent bulbs. The result is an LED savings of $62 over its lifespan compared to an incandescent bulb. Compared to the CFLs, bigger savings will likely come from the replacement costs (or lack thereof). I’ve yet to meet a heavily used incandescent or CFL that lasted more than 2 years. These Philips bulbs are rated to last 10 years.
And, no mercury or shattering.
With this new market entry, the cost-efficiency of common LED bulbs should shift consumer attitude toward LEDs from “maybe in heavy use areas” to “I’d foolishly be shooting myself in the foot not to replace any bulb with an LED”. The reality? We’ll see what happens.
Personally, I’m going to stop by and purchase 5 packs of these bulbs while they are on sale to replace all the CFLs that will likely fail me in the next year or two. And you would be wise to as well. While you’re at it, Home Depot has free CFL recycling.
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Just keep in mind that for them to get the prices on these bulbs down they are lowering the quality of the parts that make up the entire light. So while the bulb might be rated for 10 years and 50000 hours, the DC converters will probably fail around the 20000 hour mark. This is still a good deal just something to keep in mind.
Yep, agreed. These aren’t going to be as high of a quality as previous generations. But, as you said, that might not matter. They are likely to last longer than CFL and incandescent bulbs.
From a purely price standpoint, yes it is probably worth stocking up. However, I cant help but draw a direct comparison to when CFLs first came out and everyone said to buy them (at a higher price) because they would last so much longer to make up for the increased cost. However, the CFLs, and now LEDs, I have purchased do not last anywhere the “life span” quoted by the manufacturers and used in the calculations to show what a great deal they are. Unfortunately, many online reviewers, newspapers and magazines have noted this exact issue.
Now, if they become cheaper (which unfortunately will mean cheaper parts and likely decreased lifespan) it may still be a solid investment but it will likely be much closer than LED proponents want to admit.
The price is at par with CFL and incandescent now, so as long as life is also at par, it is pure cost savings in energy use. And CFL/incandescent have very short lives. So, it’s a pretty good bet.
If you read the fine print… Most all of the CFLs had a good warranty.. I’ve been sent many coupons for free CFLs lights over the past few years..
Just as an FYI, you can essentially preorder the deal at 2 for $5. I placed an order last week for 10 bulbs total that is slated to be ready for pickup in the middle of May.
The decreased cost doesn’t necessarily mean lower quality. I am retired but still on the mailing lists for many of the electronic component manufacturers. There has been a significant increase in the design of both the led’s and the electronic driver chips. Of particular interest is that the newer generation of chips do all the electronics in a single step. Converting the AC current to DC, accepting the power from dimmers, and doing the constant current control of the led is now done on a single, small circuit board that has fewer components, uses less power, and creates less heat. The reduction in components, especially capacitors, helps to make the bulbs more reliable for the long term.
As the LED’s themselves are getting more efficient they use less electricity and generate much less heat. Every time a newer generation of LED bulb uses 1 watt less energy, that’s one watt less converted to heat. The heat sinks that were on some bulbs are no longer necessary. Less heat makes it easier to create a long life design.
Incandescent bulbs, which were basically heating elements where light is the by product, were able to withstand dirty electrical power better than any device that has electronic circuitry. The complex electronics in a CFL seemed to be very vulnerable. If you notice that all your friends in one neighborhood replace their CFL’s more often than all your friends in a different neighborhood, you can see where the power is not as clean.
I just had an offer sent to me this morning from my electric company that was too good to pass up……3 LED bulbs AND a power saving strip for $10! I bought 2 of them (the max) and will seriously consider selling the power strips (I already have them) on eBay or something to subsidize my LED bulbs.
How’s that for awesome?
These are a great deal for not having to deal hunt. I do notice that they are non-dimmable, so take that into account for your needs.
GE and Target had sales/coupons a little while back that made their dimmable 60w equivalent leds around $3 each so keep your eye peeled for those if you need dimmable bulbs.
Also, several people report in the reviews that there is a subtle hum/buzz when they are on. Something to consider based on the bulbs intended application.
This is fairly common with LED’s. I’ve even had multiple LED’s (same bulb) that have different ‘buzz’ qualities. One will buzz, one will not.
Haha, I just bought those 2-packs last weekend at Home Depot! Steal of a deal. I’d been holding off on upgrading the CFLs but I couldn’t pass up that price. It does seem like we are finally reaching a tipping point on LEDs. I hope your prediction of downward pressure in the market is correct, although I shouldn’t need any for a while.
How about opening the windows during the day? Is that no longer an option? Sunlight is free.
Hmmm… if only there were a way to capture that sunlight so that you could use it during the night…
September 16, 2019 … These bulbs have broken the $1 a piece barrier on Amazon and it’s not a special price. They’ll likely get even cheaper. It’s amazing how the price on these bulbs have plummeted, seriously plummeted. They were like $10 each the last time I checked a couple years ago.