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Consumer Reports: Affordable Led Bulbs That Shine above Brightness Claims in Tests

As incandescent bulbs are phased out, more LEDs come to market with reduced prices and more choices

Consumer ReportsYonkers, NY – The incandescent bulb’s days are numbered; by January 1st, 2014, most will have been phased out. And a typical 60-watt bulb costs more than three times as much per year to run as a similar LED blub.

The preliminary findings of Consumer Reports latest tests show that the newest and least expensive LEDs are shining bright.

All of the newer, more affordable bulbs tested by Consumer Reports were as bright as or brighter than claimed, and the light color matched what was claimed. Some utilities even offer in-store rebate coupons that knock up to $10.00 off an LED’s price.

When shopping for LED bulbs, keep this in mind: lumens indicate brightness and the Kelvin number is crucial in determining the color of light given off by the bulb.

The Best LED Blubs for Different Fixtures

Consumer Reports advises shoppers to pay attention, as there are still expensive bulbs being offered. Here are some less expensive, LED options that impressed the experts:

  1. For lamps and ceiling fixtures. For 60-watt replacements, Walmart’s Great Value Soft White LED, $10.00 – the least expensive of the new bulbs in Consumer Reports’ preliminary tests – gives off a warm yellow light similar to an incandescent bulb. So did Cree’s 9.5-Watt (60W) Warm White, $13.00 and the $14.00 Philips 11W 60W Soft White 424382. The fully-tested, top-rated Samsung 60-Watt Warm White LED, $30.00, provides a bright, warm yellow light. For light that’s warm but brighter, and is meant to replace 75-watt bulbs, the EcoSmart 14-Watt (75W) Soft White 726558, $35.00, is an alternate choice.
  2. For recessed and track lights. In preliminary tests, Walmart’s Great Value Soft White BR30 is bright and dimmable, and is the least expensive costing $16.00. The fully-tested Feit Electric BR30 Dimmable LED, $18.00, replaces a 65-watt bulb and casts a warm yellow light.
  3. For outdoor lights. The MaxLite 20Watt PAR38 100W, $40.00, offers bright white light in Consumer Reports’ preliminary tests and can be used with some electronic timers, photocells, and motion sensors. The fully-tested TCP 17W PAR38 Flood LED, $40.00, is claimed to last about 46 years when used 3 hours a day.

The full report on LED lightbulbs, which includes additional lightbulb recommendations is featured in the January 2014 issue of Consumer Reports and at www.ConsumerReports.org.

About Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications.

Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.


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