Philips L Prize LED bulb not worth it

In March 2012 I read an article on Triple Pundit regarding Philips defending the L Prize winning LED bulb from an article written in the Washington Post criticizing the government for handing out 10 million dollars to a company for producing a $50 light bulb.

I was all set to write a post demonizing the "right wing" Washington Post for misquoting the price of the $50 bulb when I read this line in the Triple Pundit article:

Philips states that the actual retail price of its prizewinning bulb will be closer to $20, comfortably within the L Prize requirement of $22. That’s because the bulb will be sold through partnerships with utility companies, which will offer up to $30 in rebates.

But then I saw this article on the newswire: "The award winning Philips L Prize LED bulb is now available at".  So I was interested to see what it was selling for.  And guess how surprised I was when I noticed that both Triple Pundit and the Washington Post were wrong.  The 10 watt LED bulb isn't selling for $50 dollars, it is currently selling for $59.99 at! bulb.

And when I look back at the Triple Pundit note regarding the sale price of the bulb, I notice the last sentence a little more clearly.  The part about the utility rebates.  Which you aren't getting if you buy it online.  And could utilities be wasting their money in the first place if there is a better option for consumers?

All this is surprising to me, because you can buy an almost identical LED bulb from Philips for $24.97 from Home Depot!  And I did just that earlier this week.

It seems to me that Philips is only selling the L prize bulb on the merits that it hit arbitrary targets set forth by the department of energy, when in fact a much cheaper bulb (that they also produce) makes MUCH more sense for consumers.  The two bulbs are compared in the below:

While the L prize LED bulb does consume 20% less watts and it does put out 17% more light, can someone PLEASE explain why it costs 140% more than Philips' other LED bulb?

Mapawatt is devoted to helping consumers find products, services, and strategies to help them save money and conserve energy in their homes.  I'm not sure that the L prize bulb fits that criteria at this moment. In a later post, I will go into detail on when LED bulbs can make sense (especially when compared against incandescent).  But at almost $60 per bulb the savings just aren't there right now (compared to 60 W incandescent based on 3 hrs/day over 10 year timeframe; this is not the case for the $24.95 LED bulb which would save you $30 over 10 years vs. an incandescent over that same time frame).  I'm sure hoping the price will come down, but until then...

The moral of the story: Buy LED bulbs!  They use less energy, last longer, don't contain mercury, provide great light, and the right ones are great investments.  Just shop around and beware of the hype machine.

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Would not be qute so enthusiastic about LEDs They are in effect pure light sources in spectrum output, somewhat like lasers, sometimes as with phosphorescent coating (as with white Leds) to spread the light, but then mimicking CFL light quality. They so not have the same smooth spectrum as incandescents, even with filters, and their CRI is nearly always lower, and often "tweaked", so photographers and filmmakers are unhappy about rendition too.
lighthouse, Here's what Consumer Reports has to say about the Philips LED: "In Consumer Reports' testing of LEDs, we've found that the energy-efficient bulbs could save between $65 and $400 based on their 18- to 46-year claimed life expectancy. What's more, many LEDs deliver excellent performance, including the Philips AmbientLED 12.5W 12E26A60 60W, which earned a near-perfect score of 98 in Consumer Reports' Ratings on the strength of its stellar brightness, warm-up time, and light distribution. The price is coming down as well, with a four-pack currently listed on for $107.99, or $27 per bulb. And it's $25 at Home Depot."
Thanks Bob! -- good point too, the consumer magazines do favor these bulbs, and indeed CFLs, usually on a (supposed) consumer usage saving basis, rather than also taking consumer choice of bulbs with different light qualities into account... Overall issues regarding the switchover defence arguments used: Senate lighting expert Howard Brandston What he thinks of Consumer Reports (relates to CFLs rather than LEDs, but again shows the narrow ambit of Consumer Reports) "Consumer Reports March 2012 succumbs to misinformed data and perception. Read my Letter to the Editor."
Thanks Bob, good point, I replied to it but it's in moderation due to some links in it Briefly, (if and until that comment gets through) Consumer Reports mainly focus on energy usage saving rather than free choice Senate lighting expert Howard Brandston What he thinks of Consumer Reports = See link in it (relates to CFLs rather than LEDs, but again shows the narrow ambit of Consumer Reports) “Consumer Reports March 2012 succumbs to misinformed data and perception. Read my Letter to the Editor.”
Overall issues, referenced, regarding lighting switchover defence arguments used:
ckmapawatt's picture
Wow, this is pretty awesome analysis. I highly recommend it and might even do a blog post highlighting this information. Thanks William.
I know many people who will not buy CFLs or LED bulbs because the CRI is too low. items like the Ecosmart 6" can light which feature Cree LEDs and have a CRI of 90 are fantastic products. The new l-prize bulb is another bulb that has a 90+ CRI. If when the price drops below or near $20 I may pickup a few myself. What you need to understand is a high CRI is a requirement for some people.
I don't get why anyone wouldn't want to buy an energy saving product that consumes less energy and has a longer life span. I would think in the long run even the more expensive bulb would save you money and is better for the environment ... this brings up the same skepticism as EV's and their batteries


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