I got my first LED light bulb today, and I have to tell you, Iím 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 isnít all that different in appearance from the familiar pear-shaped, general service bulb, except it has a chunkier base. It comes on instantly, itís dimmable, and it can be used outdoors well as inside.

The Cree bulb produces 1,100 lumens (thatís 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. Thatís 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. Iíve been watching the price of LED bulbs drop dramatically in recent years, so Iím hoping this one will reach $10 or less within a couple of years.