Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves

Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves

Summary: Finally, an update to a post I made in May about LED bulbs that are targeted at mainstream America and don't require you to visit some obscure store or distributor to buy them. Some of them also cost substantially less than the $50-ish pricetag that main of the well-known manufacturers are targeting.

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Finally, an update to a post I made in May about LED bulbs that are targeted at mainstream America and don't require you to visit some obscure store or distributor to buy them. Some of them also cost substantially less than the $50-ish pricetag that main of the well-known manufacturers are targeting.

Home Depot is now stocking an extensive range of bulbs from Lighting Science Group, a company based in Satellite Beach, Fla., that manufactures its products in the United States. The ECOSMART product line starts with the common A19 fixture, which carries a retail price of $18.97, and ranges up to $44.97 for a PAR38 fixture (think floodlight).

The bulbs have been tested for performance and reliability under the U.S. Department of Energy's CALiPER program. They are supposedly about 80 percent more efficient that traditional incandescent bulbs and are designed to last up to 46 years, depending on how you use them. As someone who currently has to change some bulbs several times a year, that alone make the pricetag more palatable. Other fun facts: there isn't any mercury in these bulbs and you can include them with your recycling.

As many of you have doubtless read and debated, there is a law on the books (part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007) that would basically ban most incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012. About two weeks ago, several Republicans from the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill that would ban that ban. They claim that American jobs are being lost:

"The unanticipated consequence of the '07 act — Washington-mandated layoffs in the middle of a desperate recession — is one of the many examples of what happens when politicians and activists think they know better than consumers and workers. ... Thousands of American jobs have been shipped overseas as a direct consequence of this light bulb provision in the Democrats' 2007 energy bill."

It will be illuminating to see what happens. Meanwhile, I hope the threat of this reversal doesn't slow the pace of real innovation we're seeing in green lighting technology.

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  • GE Closes the last major US incandescent factory

    "Thousands of American jobs have been shipped overseas as a direct consequence of this light bulb provision in the Democrats 2007 energy bill.<br><br>GE stopped making incandescent bulbs already. So you would have to import them anyway. Since they were one of the last companies making them in the USA.<br><br><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><br>So a ban in 2012 would actually stop any remaining imports BECAUSE USA DOES NOT MAKE THEM ANYMORE!.<br><br>But don't let reality interfere with full on Republican nutter politics.
    • RE: Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves

      America, meet Big Brother. He knows what is best for you and you will do what he says.

      I use both kinds of bulbs. I like having the choice. I am repulsed by people who think they are smarter than me and who want to take away my choices.

      If you want to use incandescents, for whatever reason, fine. It will cost you more to run them, but since you are the one paying for them, I could care less.

      Tell you what, let's also take away peanut butter. Some people like the stuff, but we already have lots of other options, and it's undeniable that peanuts can literally be life-threatening to a segment of the population. Oh, and let's make it a law that car occupants must wear helmets. Seriously, some studies have shown that helmet use will reduce serious trauma in auto accidents.

      Or maybe just let the consumer alone, a sentiment that is gaining traction. The November election results will be a sign that people have had enough of Big Brother.
      • RE: Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves

        Another snarky and sarcasim filled note that both fails to intelligently debate the heart of the issue or even forward valid argument points. If Dorkyman (and a valid name for this person I would think) wants freedom of choice... why not give him the choice to drive drunk... the choice to operate a handgun drunk... the choice to pollute in his neighbor's yard, etc. The real issue is we all want freedom of choice when the only affected person is YOU... and there is a valid debate to be had when individual choice has a societal impact. Of course we agree you should have the choice to eat peanut butter... it affects no one else (and likewise you should not have the choice to knowling eat peanut butter in the presense of a person who can have a life threatening allergic response because that is effectually attempted (or real) murder). And probably you should have the choice to drive a motorcycle without a helmet (if you are so stupid as to want to do that) because the only person you will really hurt is yourself (unless we want to consider the rise in out collective insurance rates you may cause if you don't actually kill yourself but only injure yourself to the point where I have to pay for the care of your stupidity in higher insurance rates).

        The purpose of government is to establish laws that allow my individual liberties as well as protection from those who in the name of exercising their liberties, would choose to trample on mine. We have laws against drunk driving because not only might you kill yourself driving drunk... you might also kill me. There is a debate to be had over the ownership of handguns because an owner (through carelessness, stupidity, poor emotional control, or drunkedness... all very common in our society) may accidentially cause my death or injury. But in this case there is also a reasones set of arguments for a balance of power in the hands of the masses... so we have chosen to keep these rights despite the risks and costs.

        Now maybe incandescent light bulbs does not fall in the class of "life threatening" of these other examples. However, the fact of the matter is that illumination is a major consumption of a fixed supply of energy. Furthermore, the consumption of energy has an impact on society in the form of pollution, higher costs of energy for other uses, and global warming. Perhaps an indivual act does not have a measurable impact... but the aggregate use by an entire country surely does. Furthermore, our country is economically best served when we focus on being technology leaders. Do we not as a society want to focus our country on economic growth associated with emerging technologies. GE did not stop producing incandescent light bulbs because of any govt. regulation. And changing the govt. regulation is not going to change this. It stopped because this is such old technology with no patent protection and no ability to differentiate and no profit margin. It is in their economic interest to focus on being the leader in high growth new technologies where they can provide value, innovation, invention. So if govt. can support both the growth of USA companies by fostering innovation, while at the same time reducing the impact on society of wasteful use of energy... and the only cost to me is a lesser ability to chose a wasteful form of illumination... why is this such a big problem.
      • RE: Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves


        You are absolutely right. Government is sticking its nose into areas it doesn't belong. It's a slipperly slope that liberals are only too happy to go down, until they disagree with the government's decision. The government has never run anything efficiently, yet more and more Americans want it to make personal decisions for us.

        Poor BillMc. He attacks your intelligence, then goes on to say that there is a fixed supply of energy. He adds that while "society" (i.e. government) should "focus" (i.e. run) the country's economy, he espouses the virtues of GE's free-market decision to stop producing incandescent bulbs.

        Guess what? Government regulations also kill markets prematurely. People have been saying we're almost out of oil for 30 years, yet new sources and ways of drilling for it are found all the time. If we were truly running out of oil, prices would go up to the point where alternatives would be successful without any sort of government subsidies (i.e. my tax dollars).

        The government should stay out of the way.
  • Why are we still....

    comparing the efficiency newer "bulbs" to the old incandescent ones. Most people I know have switched to the compact fluorescent replacements. For the prices they charge, the LED types better be significantly more efficient than the fluorescent ones, but that does not appear to be the case. How about some relevant numbers?
    • As a father of two...

      The fact that LED bulbs are mercury free is enough for me to use them over CFL bulbs. My son has knocked over a lamp and broken the bulb before. Thankfully we already knew that CF bulbs have mercury and had an incandescent bulb in that lamp.

      This may not be a concern for everyone-- or even in every fixture.

      LEDs also have the advantage of being dimmable. Most CFL bulbs I've seen aren't. The ones that are cost extra.

      Lastly, my experience with CFL is that they last 3-5 years. The article claims 46 years for the LED bulbs. Even if that claim is generous, there could be savings if the life is 15-25 years.
      • RE: Sub-$20 LED bulbs and dangers of MERCURY! Aiiee!

        @ericesque <br>I wouldn't worry about "all that mercury" in a broken LCD bulb. One of your son's tooth fillings has the equivalent of about 50 CFL bubs in his mouth.<br>That is, unless you've bought into the Acrylic tooth-filling racket.<br>I've had a mouthful of mercury-amalgam fillings for the last sixty years, and my IQ hasn't diminished that much.<br>('Course there was initially plenty to start with...) <br>I'd worry more about broken glass shards around your children. When a CFL or any glass in my house breaks, I casually get out a dustpan and sweep the residue (ever manage to spot any drops of Mercury in it?) into a garbage can. <br>No Hazmat team called in, no house evacuation, no sealing the "contaminated" room with duct tape... etc.etc..<br>Believe it or not, this last procedure is what some gov't agencies actually recommend! Bureaucracy! LOL!
      • RE: Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves

        Most LED lamps are not currently dimmable, and the ones that are fetch a premium. It's < $2.00 to add the capability (NatSemi and another company make the parts). However, the light quality doesn't match incandescents, because they fade to grey, not to warm candlelight. We'll need next-generation dimmables with some red LEDs to meet consumer expectation. So, not quite there yet. When prices hit the $5.00 point for good dimmables, there will be little reason to want incandescents.
    • RE: Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves

      @Economister Efficiency depends on the bulbs in question, and on comparison of lumens to lumens. LEDs are VERY efficient, last literally dozens of years and can have a wide range of color values. Thery also contain no mercury, which reduces toxic emissions and exposures in the home. Hundreds of municipalities and businesses have already installed LED traffic lights and exit signs (at a huge savings - from reduced electricity consumption but also from reduced labor costs to change lightbulbs frequently). CFLs can be very useful when more diffuse lighting is needed (LED's are extremely directional) and also are less energy consuming and longer loived than incandescent, so they remain an important option. I co-wrote a short workbook on this subject some time ago - much (especially pricing for LEDs!)may be outdated but the general principles of lighting choice are probably much the same.
      • Thanks to you both

        @MissLiz and @ericesque
    • RE: Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves


      The important advantage of LED's over CFL's is that the former are dimmable as well as less polluting. I use dimmers all over and am very frustrated by this lack in CFL's.
  • The problem I have with LED bulbs..

    is the fact that the lumens are just NOT there. I was comparing an LED candleabra bulb and a CFL candleabra bulb and for the same wattage, the CFL had more than twice the lumens. Why are we forgetting that little tid bit?
    • Very good point, until we get the lumens up, LED does not have many

      applications. That said, the longevity is another big selling point.
  • RE: Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves

    I'm all for choice, but it just makes sense to stop the manufacture of incadescent bulbs. Yes, it may affect some people who want the warm glow of the incadescent, but building extra energy plants to power them affect us all. And don't buy the whole jobs lost thing either. Those jobs were lost because of corporate greed and corporate greed alone. It is cheaper (plain and simple) to pay someone in some 3rd world country peanuts than it is to pay someone here in the US a decent wage. In fact, for incadescents which have no profit margin, it makes sense to do that. But, LED bulbs which are still somewhat epensive have a better margin, so, it's more feasible to hire US workers to make these because you can still maintain a decent profit margin. So there! :P

    Personally, I've switched out all of my incadescents for CFL's everywhere except for my chandalier which is dimmable and makes a high pitched whine when I have dimable CFL's in it. But, as soon as LED's drop down to about the $10 mark, and are close in light output, I will definitely be jumping to those lights. I might buy a couple now just to experiement with them.
    • Apples and Oranges

      @mgrubb@... If it costs less to make an incandescent bulb overseas it will cost less to make an LED bulb there too. Why would you assume that the LED's will be made here just because this one company is doing so?

      After all you yourself said that you would be "jumping right to those lights"...but only when the price comes down. Our insistence on low prices before we will buy is exactly what causes production to move overseas in the first place.
      • We Americans have to compete on price too. Neither government or consumers

        should support inefficient US companies.
  • If the economics were as good as you say...

    ...then they would not need any government mandate. People would just naturally want to use them.

    Previously it was CFL the greenies were pushing and I went ahead and tried some. Problem was that they seemed to take a long time to warm up and reach full brightness. I had them in a hallway where I was in the habit of turning on the light only when I needed it. but because these took so long to warm up, I lost that habit and once they were on I would leave them on for the night...sometimes forgetting to turn them off before going to bed. So what did I save?
  • RE: Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves

    I'm not buying the lost American jobs thing. This is akin to the RIAA members complaining that they are losing money. Both are traditionaly entrenched business models that refuse to change. The answer is simple; Retool existing US factories to start making LED bulbs. Ramp up R&D to make brighter LED bulbs. This will keep Americans working and at the same time be a leader in eco-innovation. I understand that longer lasting products will reduce manufaturing quantities and therefore the amount of labor needed to manufacture, but this too is part of the ever changing lanscape of business abd quite frankly, consumers always demand better quality, more efficient, longer lasting products. Companies and individuals must be resilient enough to adapt to change or find themselves left behind.
  • RE: Sub-$20 LED bulbs now on Home Depot shelves

    Lumens shouldn't be a problem with LEDs unless you are purchasing sub-standard products,nor should moving to LEDs eliminate the "warm glow" of incandescents.You can get an lED flashlight that runs on 1 triple A battery that will practically blind you (so they are quite capable of producing lumens)and there are 1000s of temperatures of "white"LEDs available. I have been making my own LED lamps and fixtures for years, and it cost me $1-3 in parts and from 5-15 minutes to make them,that depends on the size,temperature(K),and lumens,of course.The true value in LEDs is they can be used on a low voltage DC circuit in the home,which makes them cheaper to install and combined with the absence of heat production, that gives them infinite design possibilities.The other value is with a very modest PV panel(which is not my preferred means of using solar energy but in this case it makes economic sense)you can run the LEDs for free on a low voltage circuit with no need for inverters.So after spending $150 for a very small PV array over 10years ago,I haven't paid a dime to light my house since.They also worked straight thru the last 10 years of power outages,including the big snow earlier this year which left my nieghbors out here in "the sticks "with no power for nearly a month.-G998
  • BETTER YET- sub $10 LEDS! Now at Walmart!

    Mind you, it's Walmart CANADA.<br>About 3 months ago, I bought an LED from Walmart for CDN$8. It has approx 25 LEDs in it.<br>OK, its brightness is about equivalent to a 25 watt incandescent- not the brightest, but in a desklamp, it is adequate for reading or lighting up my desk keyboard area.<br>It says it only uses 1.5 watts.<br>And it"s "guaranteed" for 30,000 hours.<br>But! A couple of weeks ago, it burnt out. Not doubt the inverter or whatever electronics it has in it malfunctioned.<br>I didnt have any bil anymore, but I took it back to Walmart anyhow, and they replaced it for free.<br>This time I'm keeping the bill, and those of any other LEDs that I plan to buy soon.