LED Bulbs


December 5, 2015

TL;DR

Your best bet is probably the Philips 455955 bulb. It’s 60w equivalent, uses 8w, has a daylight color temperature (5000k), and is about the best price I’ve run into so far. If you want a more orange bulb, there’s a similar model that’s cheaper and runs at 2700k (I haven’t tried that model but I assume they’re essentially identical). Amazon and Home Depot both sell the 455955 but Amazon seems to price it at about double what Home Depot does. You can probably find it elsewhere too.

Intro

I first was exposed to LED bulbs in, if I recall correctly, around 2003 in a bathroom at Tryon Creek State Park. I don’t know why they were using them, but they had a bunch of 48” LED tube bulbs instead of the standard 48” fluorescent bulbs you’d normally expect to see in that sort of fixture. I didn’t think much of it at the time but when I saw the NanoLeaf on Kickstarter in 2012-2013, I got excited pretty quickly.

I’ve been buying LED bulbs for a while at this point. I’m a bit picky about my light sources and I’ve found that LED bulbs do a good job of satisfying my criteria. In particular:

As an additional note, I don’t really care if the bulbs are dimmable, so that isn’t something I’ve focused on when buying bulbs.

Bulbs Tested

So far, I’ve purchased (in chronological order from oldest to newest):

Name Watts Color Price Count Source Dimmable?
NanoLeaf (A19) 12w (100w equivalent) 3000k? $45 1 Kickstarter unknown
Generic Corn-style (E27) 8w (~40w equivalent) 6000k? $10.89 9 Amazon unknown
Philips 433235 SlimStyle (A19) 10.5w (60w equivalent) 5000k $6.97 - $9.99 9 Amazon yes
JACKYLED 48” (T8/T10) 22w (70w equivalent) 5000k $26.99 6 Amazon unknown
Philips 455955 (A19) 8w (60w equivalent) 5000k $4.97 1 Home Depot no
Philips 455717 (A19) 14.5w (100w equivalent) 5000k $4.97 1 Home Depot no

Summary of Thoughts

NanoLeaf

I purchased this back in late 2012 / early 2013. At the time there weren’t really any options if you wanted to get anywhere near 100w equivalent. At this point, though, they are way too expensive for what they are. Even at the time, the NanoLeaf didn’t deliver $45 worth of quality, despite of the lack of other options.

Generic Corn-style

I got these pretty soon after the NanoLeaf finally delivered (early 2013). I wasn’t satisfied with the price of the NanoLeaf given what it offered and I wanted to explore other options. At the time, I thought I’d be fine with 40w equivalent but it really didn’t cut it for illuminating my apartment and I have since decided that 60w equivalent is a minimum standard for me (I like to keep my living space very brightly lit).

The build quality on these is terrible. At the time, there weren’t any other viable options for ~$10 which is why I got them (I was hoping to find a demonstration that the NanoLeaf was severely overpriced). They get quite hot and it took around a month for the steams to break down and the bulbs to start falling apart. I tried to fix most of them with hot glue which actually managed to hold them together reasonably well given the heat they operate at. I have a few that are still going strong but I won’t buy any more. At the time they may have been worth $10 but at this point I wouldn’t pay more than a dollar or two for them and then I’d only use them in infrequently accessed locations.

Philips 433235 SlimStyle

I first picked one of these up in July 2014 and the most resent few I’ve ordered were in July 2015 (at which point I had them in nearly every socket in my apartment). I’ve been really happy with these bulbs. They have been exceptionally well priced, they go on say semi-frequently (see 3camels). The build quality is excellent and they distribute light quite evenly. The plastic case does a good job diffusing the LED point-sources and unless you use a camera with a low ISO and a fast shutter speed, it’ll just look like a regular light source.

JACKYLED 48”

UPDATE (2015-12-24): Looks like the old store page isn’t valid. I got these this time. They’re slightly more efficient but otherwise have the same specs.

My folks had 4x 48” fluorescent tubes in their dining room and 2x 48” tubes in their kitchen.
Growing up, they always complained about how dim both rooms were and we also frequently had issues with the ballasts in the enclosures. For Christmas 2014, I got them the bulbs to replace their kitchen and dining room lights. They ended up only installing two of the bulbs in the dining room because they thought the bulbs were too bright to install all four. I haven’t seen the bulbs in person but it sounds like they liked them a lot and they’re using the two spare bulbs in my dad’s wood shop. They asked for more for Christmas this year (2015). I think they were pretty reasonably priced before (at $23) but I’m glad to see they’ve dropped a lot in the past year.

Philips 455955 (60w equiv) and Philips 455717 (100w equiv)

I got these on a whim during my most recent trip to Home Depot. I’d seen them on the Home Depot website before so I figured I’d give them a shot. I’m glad to finally see 100w equivalent bulbs at a sane price (Amazon sells them too but for roughly double the price). I also saw dimmable versions but as I mentioned above, I don’t care about dimmable (and they cost double what the non-dimmable bulbs cost).

The main difference between these and the Philips 433235 SlimStyle is that these don’t cast as much light back toward the socket. This may either be a good thing or a bad thing depending on application. Also, the difference is pretty small.


Categories: Household, LED,