Sometimes, I think we have searched for LED bulbs for most of my professional career. We saw the potential of LED years ago, but LED rendered bluish in color, was too dim and perceived as too expensive. That perception and quality have greatly changed over the last 7-10 years.
NSTAR / Yale
NSTAR has been a great partner of ours for over 15 years. We have co-sponsored air conditioner and refrigerator buybacks as well as rebates on front load washers. There are now $17 instant rebates per bulb. The prices on LEDs are now below $11 on the two most popular bulbs.
Advantages Of LED
The average LED bulb will last 25,000 hours vs 750-1000 hours for incandescent, so LED will last an eye popping 22.3 years based on 3 hours of use per day. In terms of bulb replacement alone LED is worth the investment.
The lumen output is far greater in a LED bulb. For example, a 40 watt bulb has the output of 400 lumens. A 8 watt LED has 500 lumen output. Conservatively, at 20 cents per kilowatt/hour plus replacement, it is $13.16 per year at 3 hours per day. Energy consumption of the incandescent of a 40 watt bulb is $8.96 versus $1.79 plus the cost of the bulb replacement. Higher wattages have an even greater savings.
The savings does not include the impact on your HVAC system. Incandescent will project 300 degrees (which is why you cannot touch them) and increase the room temperature.
Lumens vs Wattage
Wattage is energy consumption, whereas lumens is visible light. Lumens is a far more effective measure, especially with more efficient bulbs like LED and compact fluorescent.
Kelvin is the measure of light quality. Older fluorescent lighting has a poor, milky white quality of light at 5000K. The best quality is actually the yellowy incandescent at around 2500K. Typically you should look for a bulb at around 2700-3200 for decent light. Please note: There is no regulatory body governing what companies can say about their Kelvin temperature. You have to compare the light for yourself.
$10.99 after $17 in rebates
Specs: 12 Watt, 820 Lumens, Dimmable
Replaces: 60-65 Watt regular A19 light bulb
Yearly cost savings based on 3 hours: $13.44 - $1.79 = $11.65 plus bulb replacement of $1.00
$10.99 after $17 in Rebates
Specs 8 Watt, 500 Lumens, Dimmable
Replaces a 45R20 reflector bulbs
Yearly cost savings based on 3 hours: $7.17 plus bulb replacement of $5.99
$16.99 after $17 in Rebates
Specs: 11 Watt, 750 Lumens, Dimmable
Replaces a 60 R-30 Watt Reflector Bulb
Yearly cost savings based on 3 hours: $13.44 - $2.64 = $10.80 plus bulb replacement of $5.99
$21.99 after $17 in rebates
Specs: 13 Watt, 850 Lumens, Dimmable
Replaces a 60-65 Watt R-40 Reflector Bulb
Yearly cost savings based on 3 hours: $13.44 - $2.91 = $10.59 plus bulb replacement of $5.99
How To Buy LED Bulbs
Check the Kelvin: You want a LED at 2700K-3200K for optimal lighting. Of course, there is no regulatory Kelvin body, so you have to compare. It's OK to buy a higher Kelvin light bulb, just put it in a closet or outside your house.
Dimmability: Some can dim, most cannot.
Dimmers: You need to make sure your dimmable bulbs can be dimmed by your dimmer. Older dimmers cannot recognize the small amount of wattage produced by LEDs. A dimmer just assumes that 8 watts is already dim.
Always check for Lumens: Lumens dictates how you see the light. Wattage is just a measurement of energy consumption. It is very hard to compare the wattages of two different technologies like LED and incandescent.
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Steve Sheinkopf is the third-generation CEO of Yale Appliance and a lifelong Bostonian. He has over 38 years of experience in the appliance industry, and he is a trusted source of information for consumers on how to buy and repair appliances.
Steve is passionate about helping consumers find the best appliances for their needs, and he is always happy to answer questions and provide advice. He is a valuable resource for consumers who are looking for information on appliance buying, repair, and maintenance.
Despite being the worst goalie in history, Steve is a fan of the Bruins and college hockey, loves to read, and is a Peloton biker. The love of his life is his daughter, Sophie.
A Note About Pricing
Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.