LED Lightbulbs Get More High-Tech
If you haven't made the switch from incandescents to LEDs, here's three reasons to do it now
We've demystified LED bulbs for readers in the past, but as with any technology, the options and information keep evolving. The latest advances keep costs down and function high. If you haven't made the switch, now is the perfect time. Here are three reasons why.
1. LED bulbs save you money upfront and over time
Innovative bulbs, such as the Cree LED BR30 Flood Light, available at The Home Depot for about $11 each, are designed with more-efficient technology to produce light with fewer LEDs. This lowers the cost (about $10 per bulb) without lowering the quality of light.
The U.S. Department of Energy states that if you outfit five of your most frequently used light fixtures with Energy Star–certified bulbs, you could save $75 per year on your energy bill. For example, the new Cree bulbs use 86 percent less energy than their incandescent counterparts. In addition, they last 25 times longer, which means you will have to buy fewer replacements.
Try the calculator yourself here to estimate your potential savings.
2. LED bulbs work the way you need them to
New LEDs look and light like the incandescents. The Evobrite LED, for example, is meant to replace 60-watt bulbs. At a cost of about $9, it's the same shape and A-type bulb style, fit into a standard screw-in base, and provides warm white light. Many brands also have dimmable LED bulbs that are compatible with most standard dimmers, a feature nearly impossible to find in the past.
3. LED bulbs will make you and your home smarter
There's a lot of confusing lingo for consumers to learn. Lighting Facts on every package make it easier to find the right bulb for your needs. The Federal Trade Commission requires manufacturers to provide the labels to help inform consumers about the brightness and cost of operation instead of wattage.
New bulbs are made for connected lighting, which means you can control bulbs from your smartphone or other compatible devices. LIFX offers a Wi-Fi enabled multicolored LED that is controllable through its app. The company just released a version for the Apple Watch. Though its bulbs are expensive (about $40–$100), they are guaranteed to last 22 years.
GE Link is an easy-to-set-up system compatible with the Wink app that enables users to automate and schedule lighting.
Phillips Hue LUX LED Personal Wireless Lighting offers a similar system. The purchase of a starter kit (about $80) is required to set this up. A new partnership between Cree LED Bulbs and WeMo seeks to make the idea of a "smart home" more feasible for all homeowners, using their lower-priced LEDs.