Just a few years ago, 100-watt replacement LEDs with lots of brightness would set you back at least $20 a pop. Now, you've got options that cost a fraction as much.
Head to Home Depot and you'll find one of those new, cheaper options from EcoSmart -- a dimmable 100-watt replacement LED that sells in a two-pack for about $10. Screw it in, turn it on, and it'll fill the room with 1,597 lumens of light -- right on par with what you'd get from an old-school 100-watt incandescent. Of course, this is an LED we're talking about, so it puts that light out from a power draw of just 15 watts, and will add less than $2 to your yearly energy bill, on average. That 100-watt incandescent would cost you about $12 over the same stretch.
That makes this bulb an affordable money-saver for folks who like lots of light from their lamps and fixtures, and I like its quality of light, too. With a color temperature of 2,700K, it offers a familiar, yellowy glow. The bulb's simple, omnidirectional design does a nice job of putting light out in all directions, making it a good pick for something like a bedside reading lamp, where you want lots of light shining downward.
It's not quite as good a pick for dimmer switches, though. While it was able to dim down to a satisfying average minimum of 6 percent across all of the switches on our dimming rig, it struggled to get that low with an old-fashioned rotary dial. It also emitted a soft buzz at medium settings on a majority of the switches I used it with -- not the worst hum I've heard, but noticeable.
For that reason, I think that the Utilitech 100W Replacement LED is a slightly better value pick. That bulb costs a little bit less while still offering slightly better efficiency, comparable brightness, and better performance with dimmer switches. It's close, though. The EcoSmart bulb sells at Home Depot while the Utilitech bulb sells at Lowe's, and I'd probably be inclined to pick one over the other based simply on which store was closer.
At any rate, it's encouraging to see bargain-priced bulbs like these hold their own against bigger-branded competitors from the likes of Philips, GE and Cree. All three of those make bulbs that outperformed EcoSmart -- but not by as much as the difference in price would suggest. Save a few dollars by going with EcoSmart, and I doubt you'd regret it.
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