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5 LED Bulbs You Can (Soon) Buy to Replace Incandescents

Eventually 80-90 percent of lighting will convert to light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, says Warner Philips, co-founder of LED startup Lemnis Lighting and great-grandson of the man who founded Dutch lighting giant Philips. But based on where the market stands now, it could take a couple decades before LEDs achieve that level of dominance.

About four years ago, Lemnis introduced one of the first LED bulbs able to be screwed directly into an incandescent socket. Today just a handful of companies offer such LED bulbs, and they run about $40-$50 each. Here are five that you can buy now — or soon will be able to buy — to replace incandescents (here’s our cheat sheet on the metrics of the bulbs):

1) GE (s GE) Energy Smart LED bulb: General Electric says it will start selling an LED bulb by the end of 2010 or in early 2011 that can directly replace a 40-watt incandescent bulb, but consumes just 9 watts, which means a 77 percent energy savings. The company claims the bulb will last 25,000 hours (or 17 years at four hours a day), which is 25 times longer than a typical incandescent bulb. It also will provide 450 lumens, compared to most LED bulbs which commonly produce 350 lumens or less. But like much of these early LEDs, GE says it will cost between $40 and $50 at retailers.

2) Lemnis Lighting’s Pharox: Lemnis co-founder Warner Philips said at the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference this week that the company would launch “a full suite of LED products” at the Las Vegas lighting convention Lightfair next month and could one day go public: “Our philosophy is to build the company to last. An IPO is one of the opportunities for us.”

Lemnis currently sells its bulb for between $40 and $50 and launched a dimmable version in October that lasts for 36,000 hours (or 25 years at 4 hours per day), is 90 percent more energy-efficient than an incandescent bulb, and lasts six times longer than a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL).

3) Panasonic’s EverLED: Japanese electronic giant Panasonic started selling its LED bulb, meant to replace incandescents in the residential market, in October in Japan. Panasonic claims the bulbs in its EverLED line can last 40 times longer than an incandescent bulb, and if used about 5.5 hours per day can last up to 19 years. At the same time the power consumption of the bulb is about an eighth of an incandescent. The price is expected to be in the $40 range in Japan.

4) Philips’ LED Bulb: This week Dutch lighting conglomerate Philips announced it will start selling a 12-watt LED bulb by the end of 2010 that can replace a 60-watt incandescent. The bulb produces 806 lumens, has a lifetime of 25,000 hours and is 80 percent more energy efficient than an incandescent bulbs.

5) Toshiba’s LED E-CORE: Japanese lighting company Toshiba recently started selling its LED-CORE light bulb line in the U.S., which provides an 85 percent power reduction compared to an incandescent bulb, and has a lifespan that’s 40 times longer.

Toshiba has actually now phased out incandescent light bulbs completely (reportedly moving that deadline up by a year) after manufacturing them for over a century. Governments, including the U.S., and companies throughout the world are phasing out incandescents to make way for compact fluorescents and LEDs.

For more research on LED’s and solid-state lighting see GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Opportunities in LED Solid-State Lighting

Image courtesy of Velo Steve’s photostream.

This article also appeared on BusinessWeek.com

16 Responses to “5 LED Bulbs You Can (Soon) Buy to Replace Incandescents”

  1. LED bulbs are a great way to save energy while still enjoys bright lights with excellent color rendering. I work with Sharp who also make a great line of LED lights. These bulbs last about 40 times longer than incandescent bulbs and generate low heat levels. So whether you are looking into lights for the inside or outside of you home I would definitely recommend being more environmentally friendly and considering using LEDs.

  2. Martin

    I found out that Home Depot has started selling the A19 bulb replacement for $19.97 since last month. It’s equal lumen output with 40 watts incandescent, 429 lumens delivered.
    It’s rated for 50,000 hours.
    I believe this bulb is made by Lighting Science Group.

  3. we can already supply incandescent replacement bulbs to the same spec that GE quotes above, fully dimmable and in all color temperatures, please contact us at website above or find us on Face Book

  4. annodomini77

    “4 The chariots storm through the streets, rushing back and forth through the squares. They look like flaming torches; they dart about like lightning.” (Bible, Nahum 2:4)

    “16”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (Bible, New Testament, John 3:16)

  5. My understanding (I could be very out of date & behind the times) is that a individual LED can only produce a certain amount of light, so to make bulbs brighter they have to put on multiple LED’s. If you ever see an early version LED bulb, without the frosted glass cover, its a bunch of tiny LED bumps clustered together. I think they are working on ways to get more light (lumens) out of each LED, which will be a big break. I am waiting for that, as I don’t use any 40w bulbs. I have 85% CFL’s in my house all with the equivalent of a 60w light output.

  6. Thank you Katie, for the informative article on upcoming LED bulbs for the mass-market. The GeoBulb is perhaps the first high brightness LED bulb on the market to be both FCC & UL approved. The GeoBulb-3 is available now and retails for $69.95. The bulb has been designed to directly replace current 40, 50, and 60-watt incandescent bulbs. The GeoBulb-3 also has a 5 year warranty and a rated life of 50,000 hours.

  7. Is it just me, or is anyone else wondering why they don’t produce bulbs that are more than 40-60 watts? That seems very low. It seems that, since you are already sunk for the cost of the heat sink and attachment, etc, adding a few more LEDs on there to make a 75-watt equivalent would be a good bit less than double the price, and more useful.

    • JP, While it is very tempting to add more LED’s to a heat sink to make it brighter it does produce more heat. A lot of research and development goes into balancing the power demands of the LEDs versus how much heat the heat sink can safely dissipate without causing the LEDs to prematurely fail. That is why the current focus is on meeting lighting demands in the 40 to 60-watt incandescent range for a common bulb size.