Home Depot, which is making an aggressive push into LED lighting, has started selling a Philips LED bulb designed as a replacement for the 60-watt incandescent.
The price of the Philips 12-watt bulb, sold using the Ambient LED name, is $39.97 each. The bulbs, which are dimmable, are expected to be in stores in December.
The Philips 12-watt LED is significant because it matches the amount of light, at 800 lumens, given off by the popular 60-watt incandescent bulbs. It can be used for general lighting, such as overhead lights and desktop lamps and consumes 12.5 watts.
The cost of the bulb, which is significantly higher than other lighting technologies, is just below what Philips and Home Depot said the expected price would be last month.
In terms of light color, it gives off a relatively warm, yellow light with a rating of 2,700 Kelvin. The color rendering index, a measure of color accuracy, is 80. Its average life is listed at 25,000 hours and it does not contain mercury or lead.
Home Depot now also sells a number of other LED bulbs, including a general-purpose 40-watt equivalent LED from Lighting Science Group, priced at just under $20, which has a cooler white light. It is working on a bulb that could be used as a 60-watt replacement.
Home Depot also sells a downlight from Cree and other spotlights, which have been the traditional strength of LEDs because they give off directional light.
The Philips bulb being sold at Home Depot, called the EnduraLED A19 Bulb 2700K by Philips Lighting, has an odd shape and look that's designed to disperse light better than traditional LED bulbs.
The bulb looks sort of like a crown and has aluminum fins that run down the side to take away heat. Heat dispersal is particularly important to ensure the promised longer life of LED over incandescent bulbs or compact fluorescent bulbs.
The phosphors, the material that converts the blue light of LEDs to more pleasing light, coat the plastic exterior of the bulb, rather than being placed near the LED light source as other manufacturers have done.
In terms of efficiency, the 12-watt Ambient LED, clocks in at 64 lumens per watt, according to LightingFacts, a site run by the Department of Energy. That's slightly better than EnergyStar-certified CFLs, which are rated to last between 6,000 and 15,000 hours, according to the DOE.
Lighting manufacturers are pushing heavily into LED technology for certain applications in part to meet mandates around the world to improve efficiency.
People in the industry say that the quality of light from LEDs now matches that of other lighting technologies. Now, lighting manufacturers are trying to bring the costs down and improve the efficiency to better compete on price.