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Close to home with Mary Beth Breckenridge

LED light bulb shows promise

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: December 30, 2013
light bulbs
The 75-watt-equivalent Cree bulb (right) is about the same length as a 60-watt-equivalent compact fluorescent bulb, but its shape is more like an old-style general service bulb.

I got my first LED light bulb today, and I have to tell you, I’m impressed.

The bulb was sent to me by Cree, which has been getting attention for bringing affordable LED lighting to the marketplace. The bulb produces about the same amount of light as an old-style, 75-watt incandescent bulb, and in my opinion its soft white light looks just like incandescent light. 

Even better, the bulb isn’t all that different in appearance from the familiar pear-shaped, general service bulb, except it has a chunkier base. It comes on instantly, it’s dimmable, and it can be used outdoors well as inside.

The Cree bulb produces 1,100 lumens (that’s a measure of brightness), which is roughly the same as an old-style, 75-watt incandescent bulb. But it uses only 13.5 watts of electricity, less than one-fifth as much power. What's more, it should last 25,000 hours -- almost 23 years with average use, which is three hours a day. 

HomeDepot.com sells the soft white, 75-watt-equivalent Cree bulb for $23.97 each or $134.82 for a pack of six, which works out to about $22.50 apiece. That’s still a little on the pricey side for me, even for a bulb I might never need to replace. Nevertheless, I plan to keep my eye on it. I’ve been watching the price of LED bulbs drop dramatically in recent years, so I’m hoping this one will reach $10 or less within a couple of years.

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