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Six-watt dimmable LED bulb comes to U.S.

The Pharox60 bulb uses one-tenth the electricity of comparable incandescent bulbs and fits into traditional light sockets. But it will cost you more up front.

Is it time to make the leap to LED lights for the home? Perhaps, but only if you're willing to make a return-on-investment calculation.

Lemnis Lighting on Friday said that its Pharox60 LED light is now available in the U.S. online and soon will be for sale on Amazon. The dimmable bulb, shaped like a traditional incandescent bulb, consumes 6 watts of power and can replace a 60-watt bulb.

An LED replacement for an incandescent bulb. Pharox

That dramatic drop in electricity use comes at the cost of $39.95. The premium can be recouped in three years, or as little as one year for consumers with time-of-day pricing tariffs, according to the company. The current price is a special offer; the bulb will cost $49.95 after the beginning of next year.

"Compared to the entry price for solar panels, we feel this is a more accessible energy saving investment," said Warner Philips, founder of the Netherlands-based company whose great-grandfather founded the Dutch lighting giant Philips.

The LED bulbs are estimated to last 25 years, significantly longer than compact fluorescent bulbs, which use more electricity for similar level of lighting output, or lumens. The Pharox60 bulb can be recycled with metal and glass materials, according to the company.

LED backers have long advocated solid-state lighting because it consumes one-tenth the power of incandescent bulbs and lasts longer. But the high price tag has meant that LEDs are mainly used for commercial applications.

Because there is concern that manufacturers will overstate the efficiency benefits or light output, the Department of Energy has set up a "Lighting Facts" Web site and label to guide consumers. Lighting Facts lists the Pharox bulb bulb among those that perform as claimed.