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Home Depot to sell Philips LED to replace 60-watt bulb

The bulb will be available at stores in early December for between $40 and $50. Offering warm, even light, it appears a real contender for nudging out the beloved incandescent bulb.

Home Depot later this year plans to carry a Philips LED bulb designed as a replacement for the common 60-watt incandescent.

The bulb, now called the 12-watt EnduraLED, will be available by the beginning of December and will cost between $40 and $50, representatives from Philips and Home Depot said today.

Home Depot started selling a line of LED bulbs under the EcoSmart label earlier this year, which includes both spotlights and general-lighting LEDs. The Philips bulb will likely be sold under a different name than 12-watt EnduraLED, Philips representative Silvie Casanova said.

I have been using an early production version of the Philips bulb around my house for the last few days. At first blush, I'd say this is the sort of product that could finally help nudge out the beloved, if wasteful, incandescent bulb.

I never thought I'd get excited about light bulbs before, but when I received the Philips EnduraLED 60-watt replacement, I was eager to try it out.

For starters, the bulb has got a funky look. Rather than the familiar bulbous shape, the top looks like a crown with a flat top. It has three orange-yellow plastic "chambers" around the top and cast aluminum fins go down the sides to take away heat. And there's the familiar screw-in base.

In terms of light quality, this LED is impressive, at least to my eyes. It gives out 806 lumens, the equivalent of a 60-watt bulb, which makes it much more useful for general lighting. I last tried out LED bulbs which maxed out at 429 lumens, or a 40-watt equivalent, which just isn't enough light for many spots around my house.

Another notable feature of the Philips 12-watt EnduraLED is the light color. It's rated at 2700 Kelvin, which is at the "warm white" end of the white light spectrum, according to the Department of Energy's new Lighting Facts label. Philips put the phosphors, which convert the blue light from LED light sources into white light, on the bulb itself rather than the LEDs as is often done.

That warm white is in contrast the light from the bulbs now being sold under the EcoSmart brand at Home Depot. For example, the general-purpose bulb A19, which is a 40-watt replacement, is rated at 3,032 Kelvin, making the light a clear white (but not blueish).

Obviously, color temperature is a personal preference but I think the warm yellow white will feel familiar to people used to incandescents and halogens. Some LED manufacturers offer the option of warm or white light versions of their bulbs.

The shape of the Philips bulb was designed specifically to improve the light dispersal, Casanova said. By their nature, LEDs direct light, which makes them very good for downlights or flood lights. I used the Philips bulb in an overhead lamp and was happy with it; I'd say it would work fine in table lamp, too.

In terms of efficiency, the lumens per watt on the 12 watt EnduraLED comes in at 67. That's slightly better than EnergyStar-certified CFLs, which put out 800 lumens with 13 watts to 15 watts for an efficacy of between 53 and 61. But, this LED is rated to last 25,000 hours, about three to four times that of CFLs. The EnduraLED is also dimmable.

The design of the 12-watt EnduraLED is the same that Philips used in its entry into the L-Prize, a Department of Energy contest to develop a bulb able to put out 900 lumens and use under 10 watts. So far, it's the only bulb that's entered the contest.

Competition for commercial LEDs aimed at consumers is most likely going to get fierce. In addition to Philips, other LED companies are developing their own attempts to dethrone the 60-watt incandescent and prices are projected to come down over the next few years.

Obviously, paying between $40 to $50 for a light bulb seems like a lot for people used to spending a few dollars at the hardware store. But for people willing to take a longer view, energy efficient lighting with LEDs looks like it'll be a compelling option.