Lighting Science LED Light Replaces 60W Incandescent at Under $30
Our review finds that the new Lighting Science LED Light Bulb is one of the best 60-watt equivalent LEDs on the market.
Environmentally-conscious consumers will have a plethora of LED light bulb options this year, and a new Lighting Science LED is joining the growing field with an under-$30 replacement for the popular 60-watt incandescent. The traditional 60-watt bulb is one of the most widely sold, accounting for almost 50% of the market, so an affordable LED light bulb that consumes only 13 watts and recovers its cost in a couple of years could help change consumer buying habits. So how does Buildaroo rate the new Lighting Science LED light bulb, available in stores next month? Read on to find out.
Our review will discuss the 13-watt LED light bulb’s characteristics, including design, quality of light, brightness, safety and efficiency, and durability. Points are assigned to each characteristic, and the summary of our findings will include a final rating and recommendation. Our rating system uses the following scale to weight LED bulbs: Design (10 points), Light Quality and Details (25 points), Brightness and Dimming (25 points), Efficiency and Safety (15 points), Warranty and Durability (25 points).
Design (6 out of 10): The new 60 watt equivalent Lighting Science LED light bulb combines a flatter, pancake-shaped top with a shielded bottom and a base that will screw into a lamp like the traditional incandescent bulb. Because of the darker colored shield, it is not as attractive as some other LED light bulbs we've previously reviewed, such as the GE Energy Smart LED, a 40-watt equivalent, or the Lemnis Lighting Pharox 300, a 60-watt equivalent. The flatter shape of the Lighting Science LED light bulb itself may take some getting used to, but if hidden within a lampshade or fixture, this design should not be a distraction.
Light Quality and Details (22 out of 25): The 60 watt equivalent Lighting Science LED light bulb has a 3000 kelvin output, producing a yellowish-white color closely resembling that of an incandescent (usually around 2700 kelvin). One of the issues with consumer acceptance of LEDs is that in general, the color is not as yellow as incandescents, although this has been vastly improving and will continue to improve as the technology of LED lighting evolves. For a more yellowish 2700 kelvin color output, you may want to check out the Philips EnduraLED.
A limitation of most current LEDs is that they only direct light upward or 180 degrees making them impractical for use in situations where one requires the light to be directed down. The Lighting Science LED light bulb is one of the few omnidirectional LED light bulbs on the market, which means that the design helps direct light in all directions. A couple of other omnidirectional LED light bulbs we've reviewed include the GE Energy Smart LED and the Philips EnduraLED.
Brightness and Dimming (24 out of 25): This 13-watt Lighting Science LED light bulb is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent. At 850 lumens, it has a pretty impressive brightness for a 60-watt equivalent LED, emitting approximately the same amount of light as the traditional 60-watt incandescent bulb. In addition, the Lighting Science LED light bulb is dimmable, a definite plus.
Efficiency and Safety (14 out of 15): The new Lighting Science bulb is 80% more efficient than its traditional 60-watt cousin, and although it uses more power than some other 60 watt equivalent LED light bulbs we've reviewed, its higher lumen output makes up for it. Lighting Science has produced over 1 million LED light bulbs, and products are tested by an independent laboratory, so it gets high marks for safety and efficiency. Like other LEDs, there is no mercury used in the bulb, and the company is proud of its manufacturing processes and sustainability initiatives.
Warranty and Durability (23 out of 25): Although we could not find specific information about the warranty on the new Lighting Science LED bulb, which is not yet in retail stores, the commercial products featured on the company website have warranties of 5 years, so we assume the warranty on this LED light bulb will be the same. Although not the best warranty in the industry, it is pretty decent.
The company estimates the bulb will last for 50,000 hours, over two decades if used 6 hours per day, so durability is at the high end of the 30,000 to 50,000 hour range commonly quoted for LEDs.
Cost and Availability: At $30, the Lighting Science LED light will fall in the middle of the price range for similar products sold at Home Depot, Radio Shack, and Amazon, although it's one of the best LED light bulbs we've seen in the $30 and below range. Although LED light bulbs appear expensive in comparison to incandescent bulbs, the longer life span, lower maintenance, and environmental benefits make them well worth the initial outlay. This product is anticipated to be available to lighting distributors in late January, and on Home Depot’s shelves by March, 2011.
Overall Rating and Summary: In total, we gave the Lighting Science LED 14-watt bulb a score of 89 out of 100 possible points, giving it a high B+ on our scale. This LED light bulb provides good color, great light output and brightness, rare omnidirectional lighting, and excellent efficiency. And considering the fact that it's priced significantly below many comparable LED light bulbs on the market (usually closer to $50), you may want to consider placing the 60-watt equivalent Lighting Science LED light bulb at the top of your LED shopping list.