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Summary:

LEDs for our homes are starting to come down and price and look – gasp — like actually normal light bulbs. Philips has a newly designed LED 60-watt incandescent replacement that looks, well, just like a regular light bulb. And that’s a good thing.

Philips LED
Good bye to Philips yellow, groove-laden LED bulb.

Good bye to Philips yellow, groove-laden LED bulb.

Lighting giant Philips says it’ll start selling a newly designed LED bulb in the new year that actually looks like a normal light bulb. Philips’ current LED bulb that can replace a standard 60 watt incandescent bulb is bright yellow and has silver grooves lining it (see left). Philips will start selling its new white LED home bulb (that doesn’t have those grooves) starting in 2013 at Home Depot stores (see right).

Philips says due to a new air cooling technology that it’s developed called AirFlux, the company was able to eliminate the silver grooves (called heat sink fins) on the former bulb. The company also ditched the bright yellow color, which I always found a little off putting.

Philips' newly designed normal-looking LED bulb

Philips’ newly designed normal-looking LED bulb

The new “normal” bulb will cost $25 — which isn’t bad in the LED world — and at launch time interested customers can get $5 off that sticker price. The new bulb is also more energy efficient than the old one.

LEDs are continuing to drop in price and become more mainstream for both industrial and commercial sectors, as well as residential homes. According to GigaOM Pro and Pike Research, by 2020 LEDs will make up nearly half (46 percent) of the $4.4 billion U.S. commercial lamp market.

Startups are also making some headway in the LED market. GE recently bought a startup called Albeo, which makes LED fixtures and platforms. I’ve been testing out the liquid-cooled LED bulb by Switch.

  1. Dimmable?

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    1. Yep! Dimmable.

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  2. Since the remove the yellow film does this mean the bulb will produce a harsh white/blue color? I still use incandescent because I like the warm yellow light and will continue to use it after the ban (been buying bulbs from china on ebay).

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    1. It was never entirely clear why the yellow gel couldn’t have been on the interior of the bulb (just covering the LEDs themselves), with a neutral outer glass. Either that’s now an option with the better cooling, or they have ~3k LEDs that are efficient enough now that they don’t need to gel at all. Though if they’re giving up known efficiency for the sake of a better looking bulb, I think I’d sacrifice the looks personally. The whole point here is to use as little energy as possible.

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  3. Where did you get your Switch bulb? I still can’t find them and they only seem to be shipping to commercial customers now? Their tech is one of the most interesting to me and I would love to try it for myself.

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  4. The traditional bulb shape is rather absurd for LEDs. All that wasted vertical space. It’s time to transition to a new form factor.

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  5. Hmm. Feeling pretty burned by compact fluorescents. I have a large home (converted church), and we went with (many) CFs. A lot of them died young; perhaps as many as half. Any savings we might have made were pushed way, way back by those early deaths. They seem to hate being turned on and off even more than incandescents do; that’s when they die. Cheap components, I presume, but whatever the reason, they just didn’t hold up.

    At $25/pop, I they need to come with a warranty and free shipping to go back to, and return from, the manufacturer. Otherwise… not happening.

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  6. Picked up a few of these new Philips bulbs a couple weeks ago at the local Home Depot– so looks like they were released earlier than expected (late 2012 instead of 2013). They are very bright white (about ~5k) but nice for laundry rooms or pastel colored or bluish colored rooms. In addition, I picked up some Switch bulbs at our local Batteries Plus — beautiful bulbs, but rather heavy. I also ordered a few Switch bulbs (75 watt equiv) from Earthled dot com.

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  7. If these last the advertised age, they might be worthwhile. I still find $100 for 5 bulbs off-putting but I haven’t had a single CFL last longer than 3 years and they’re supposed to last 7.

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