Readers' reaction: Are LED bulbs on your shopping list?

CNET members share their thoughts on LED bulbs.

Lee Koo Community manager / CNET
5 min read

For the last year, I've been kicking around the idea of replacing all the CFLs and a few straggling incandescent light bulbs around my entire house with LEDs, as more manufacturers are coming out with them, and their prices have come down significantly from several years ago. However, even though prices have come down, at an average of $8 per LED bulb, and having 58 bulbs in my house, that would cost me almost $475 to replace all my light bulbs! Now that's kind of a lot--there are people who might spend that much on light bulbs all at once. But not me!

Well, last week I finally bit the bullet and went to my local hardware store and dropped $90 for seven LED bulbs to replace some of my burned-out CFLs around my house. You read that right -- $90 for only seven bulbs. For the same amount of money, I could've bought a boatload of incandescent bulbs and a few dozen CFLs--probably almost enough to replace all my bulbs in the house. Note that this is the reason I only bought seven. Now the motivation behind my quest to start replacing my CFL bulbs one at a time with LEDs is that they last longer -- a lot longer. LED bulbs are supposed to last a couple of decades and some manufactures have warranties to back that claim. For me, I know the upfront investment in these expensive bulbs isn't going to reap immediate savings, but for me it's a long-term investment and knowing I am slowly getting the payoff over the long-term is really what matters to me. But what about other people -- is price the only thing that's holding you back from jumping on to LEDs or are there other reasons too? Out of curiosity, I scoured CNET, reading through some LED light bulb reviews and articles just to get an idea of what some of our members are saying about this latest innovation in lighting. Below are a few things some of our readers had to say about them:

Member Afvia commented in CNET's Light bulb buying guide, telling us it's sticker shock every time he thinks about buying a LED bulb:

"As for LED lights, I do not have any experience using that type of bulb. Every time I have entertained the thought of buying one, I see the price and immediately change my mind. It's not worth me paying a minimum of four times as much for a bulb that will only "possibly" last me two times as long." Read this member's full response.

Member Mad_russian31 commented on the GE Reveal BR30 LED review , saying how happy he is to finally see LED bulbs becoming mainstream. However, he has his doubt that prices will come down anytime soon:

"LEDs are wonderful and I'm happy to see them starting to find a place in mainstream use. I'm not convinced yet though, that the cost will come down much more in the coming years. The companies producing them have to make up for consumers not needing to replace them on a regular basis. At its current pricing, they are still a great value in the long run. But that's the hard part, convincing some consumers to pay three times as much for a bulb now for a long-term savings." Read this member's full response.

Member TrackSmart commented on the GE Reveal BR30 LED review saying for now he will be sticking to CFLs, but maybe he'll pick up a few to support the trend:

"I'll be sticking with CFLs for the time being. You get similar light output for a lot less money. And they don't use much more power than current LEDs. That being said, bravo to those who buy these products now, despite the higher cost. Because of you, prices for LEDs will come down even more as economies of scale increase. Heck, maybe I'll reconsider and pick up a few LEDs myself, now that I think of it. Support the trend." Read this member's full response.

Member Jim43210 commented in CNET's Light bulb buying guide, expressing how much he loves his LED lights--saving him money and giving him great lighting at the same time:

"I love my LED porch light. It only uses 3.5 watts, so I can leave it on as much as I want with negligible power consumption. The light above my kitchen sink is a LED spotlight - which is great because it is hard to replace. Both lights have a Color Rendering Index of 92. As far as I can tell, LEDs with a CRI above 90 are indistinguishable from incandescents. I hate the unnatural colors that come from CFLs and cheap LEDs. In my experience, the only downside of LEDs is that some of them can fail after only a month or two, so the lesson I learned is never to buy LEDs that don't come with a warranty." Read this member's full response.

Member Jerry G. commented on the GE Reveal BR30 LED review and said he been using LED bulbs for a few years and warns others to keep those bulbs well ventilated or it may shorten their lifespans:

"I have been using LED lighting in my home for the last three years. The early LED lights were fairly expensive compared to today. Over the last few years the performance for the price has far improved. I use LED lights on dimmers in some areas. I made sure I bought the combination of lights and dimmers that were rated for each other. The efficiency of LED lighting is far ahead of most anything else. It is best to use them in a fixture where they can keep on the cool side. Heat will reduce their performance and lifespan." Read this member's full response.

Now that you've read some responses from our members, where do you stand when it comes to LEDs? Will you be moving to LED bulbs anytime soon? Or is still too expensive for your blood? Maybe you've already started the transition to LEDs -- how do you like them? Do you think LEDs are better than CFLs or incandescent bulbs, or the other way around? Are you convinced LEDs are wave of the future, or do you think it still has some time to go? Do you think they will last as long as the manufacturers claim? Share with us your thoughts on LED bulbs. We look forward to reading what you have to say!