LEDs are just an application of solid state physics and are not that new to us. We have seen these lights in radios, cell phones etc already. Only the improvisation to use these as dedicated light sources to replace incandescent bulbs is revolutionary and rather new.
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Ultra LED Osram; 60W replacement
With LED prices continuing to fall, we're seeing more and more bulbs selling for $10 or less. One of the latest options is the Osram 60W Replacement Ultra LED, which rings in just a few cents shy of that 10-buck benchmark.
Thankfully, this lower price plateau doesn't represent a dip in quality, at least not with Osram. With well over 800 lumens of light output from a power draw of just 8.5 watts, it's one of the most efficient 60W replacement LEDs we've tested, and it performed well during our dimming tests, too. That makes it an easy bulb to recommend, even among an increasingly crowded field of worthwhile competitors.
At first glance, it's just a fairly typical-looking light bulb, which might be a good thing if you're a fan of inconspicuous design.
Turn the bulb on, and you'll find the same, golden glow that you'll get with the majority of the bulbs on the market these days, along with a light output of 800 lumens, making it a worthy replacement for the brightness of a 60W incandescent. That's all well and good, but there's nothing on the surface helping this bulb stand out from the crowd.
That all changes once you peek under the hood. Osram's bulb puts that light out from a power draw of just 8.5 watts -- the lowest power draw of any 60W replacement LED we've tested. That makes it the most efficient 60W replacement we've tested, with a very impressive 94 lumens per watt to its name -- a full 10 lumens-per-watt better than its nearest competitor, the Cree LED.
That efficiency adds up to energy savings over the course of the Osram LED's 25,000-hour lifespan. Run the thing for an average of three hours per day, and it'll add just over a buck to your utility bill each year.
The GoodOsram's 60W Replacement LED offers plenty of brightness, strong dimming performance and a very efficient design The BadOsram's color rendering score is a little low, and it doesn't offer as quite as good a warranty as you'll get from some of its competitors. The Bottom LineAt $10, this impressive LED is a very safe bet in the lighting aisle.
You've got an increasing number of LED options at this price point, and Osram has done a nice job of making sure that its bulb can compete in that kind of market. With ample brightness, omnidirectional light output, and impressive efficiency, the Osram 60W Replacement Ultra LED performs its core function admirably well, and offers strong dimming performance to boot. At $10, it's a very solid choice for more efficient household lighting.
Cree's closing the gap with a new-and-improved second-gen model that sells for a much more reasonable $10 per bulb -- less than any of those other competitors. It still lags somewhat in terms of color quality, dimming performance, and heat management, but offers satisfying performance for general household lighting needs. If you've been waiting to upgrade a whole home's worth of floodlights, it's your most affordable big-name option, and a good choice, overall.
The frosted bulbs on today's LEDs aren't just there for softer light -- they also hide the unsightly hardware inside. But what if you're a fan of the exposed bulb aesthetic, and looking for a worthy replacement for those translucent incandescents lining your bathroom mirror?
Philips thinks it has just the thing with its new Clear LED, a 40W replacement bulb which the Dutch company promises will mimic the "elegant shape and sparkling light" of traditional incandescents. With its A60 shape, clear glass bulb, and inconspicuous heat sinks, this LED is designed to strike a more familiar tone with consumers than its often irregular-looking competition.
Rising efficiency standards spelled the end of the 100W incandescent light bulb. Thankfully, your options have been steadily expanding ever since, with a full crop of new LEDs promising that same level of brightness from a substantially smaller power draw. Of these new bulbs, the GE 100W Replacement LED is one of the best. The bulb's most impressive spec is that it only consumes 16 watts of electricity, efficient enough to put out 100 lumens per watt. That ties it with Utilitech's bulb, making the two of them the most efficient 100W replacements we tested. Nothing else was able to get above 90 lumens per watt. GE backs its longevity claims up with a 10-year warranty, the same warranty that Cree offers for its bulbs. That's as long a warranty as you'll find on a brand-name light bulb, and an exceptional deal for skeptics who aren't sold on LED value just yet.