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LED bulbs shine in Consumer Reports tests

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: August 24, 2012

I've watched with interest as lighting manufacturers have rolled out replacement light bulbs made with LEDs.

The technology that goes into designing these bulbs is fascinating, but I've wondered how well they really work. 

As it turns out, pretty darn well, Consumers Reports' latest testing shows.

Researchers tested 50 models of light bulbs for its new report, which appears in the magazine’s October issue. Several LED bulbs scored higher than compact fluorescent bulbs in the test, but it should be noted that not all LED models were top scorers.

These general-purpose LED bulbs scored well:

• EcoSmart A19 60W bright white 400674 Dimmable, which emits about the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. It costs about $24 and scored 99 of a possible 100 points.

• Philips AmbientLED 12.5W 12E26A60 60W 409904, another 60-watt equivalent. It costs about $25 and scored 98.

• GE Energy Smart 40 W LED9A19/830/CD 62180, a  40-watt equivalent. It costs about $30 and scored 97.

• Philips AmbientLED 17W 75W A21 Soft White 418400, a 75-watt equivalent. It costs about $40 and scored 99.

The picture isn't entirely rosy, however. The magazine noted that LEDs are still too pricey to make them a money-saving alternative to compact fluorescent bulbs. But like all technology, we can expect the price to continue to drop.

I was a little disappointed that the test didn't include a much-ballyhooed LED bulb made by Philips, which won the Energy Department’s L Prize for energy-efficient 60-watt-replacement bulbs. Consumer Reports said it’s done some initial testing that shows the bulb is brighter than any other in its category and does a much better job at rendering color, and the magazine promised to report back after it’s done more research.

I'll be waiting.






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