I imagine that a lot of shoppers will be asking themselves what the heck "HD Light" is the next time they stroll through the lighting aisle -- and for that, we have GE to thank. That's because "HD Light" is the new branding you'll find on the venerable manufacturer's latest LED lineup, which includes bulbs of all kinds of shapes, sizes, wattages and color temperatures.
To be clear, there is no such thing as "HD Light," but the idea that GE wants to convey here is superior light quality. And to be fair, some of these bulbs -- most notably the "Reveal" LEDs, with their high color rendering scores -- offer light quality that's noticeably better than average. But none of them are perfect, and most fall closer to mediocre in terms of brightness and dimming performance.
Still, with all-around acceptable specs and with prices on regular, A-shaped bulbs starting at $8 for a two-pack, GE's lineup of HD Light LEDs are a decent enough value to warrant consideration, especially given what they can do for the color quality in your home.
GE offers three standard 60-watt replacement options in the HD Light lineup. The first is the "Relax" LED, which casts a warm, candle-like glow designed to help you wind down in the evening. The second is the "Refresh" LED, a daylight-tinted bulb intended to help you feel more focused and energetic during the day. Last up is the "Reveal" LED, which sticks to years of GE Reveal branding to promise better color quality in rooms where it might matter -- the kitchen, perhaps, or maybe a living room with a lot of colorful decor.
There's nothing inherently unique about any of them -- no smarts, no gimmicky lighting tricks and no unusual designs. These are pretty plain old light bulbs, save for the fact that they're high-efficiency LEDs.
GE's 'HD Light' LED Bulbs
|GE Relax LED||GE Refresh LED||GE Reveal LED|
|Brightness (stated/tested)||800 / 770||800 / 790||570 / 554|
|Wattage||10.5 watts||10.5 watts||10.5 watts|
|Efficiency (lumens per watt)||73.3||75.2||52.8|
|Tone||Soft White||Daylight||Soft White|
|Color Temperature (stated/tested)||2,700 K / 2,611 K||5,000 K / 4352 K||2,850 K / 2,598 K|
|Yearly energy cost (average use of 3 hours per day @ $0.11 per kWh)||$1.26||$1.26||$1.26|
|Expected lifespan||13.7 years||13.7 years||13.7 years|
|Dimmable range||12.6 - 100%||11.6 - 100%||13.4 - 100%|
|Warranty||5 years||5 years||5 years|
|Price||$7.97 (two-pack)||$8.97 (two pack)||$9.97 (two-pack)|
So how efficient are we talking? Each bulb draws 10.5 watts, or 17.5 percent of what a standard 60-watt incandescent would use. That incandescent will add about $7.20 per year to your energy bill if you use it for an average of three hours per day. By the same metrics, any of these three GE HD Light LEDs will add roughly $1.26 to that annual figure.
That's a savings of $5.94 per year, per bulb, meaning that each one will easily pay for itself within 12 months, then continue saving you money for years on out. Unlike incandescents, which will burn out after about a year of use, these HD Light LEDs promise an expected lifespan of 13.7 years, and come backed by a five-year warranty. Replace that incandescent and use GE's LED for its entire lifespan, and you're looking at a total energy savings of $81.38 -- and that's just for one bulb.
Still, those savings aren't unique to GE, or to any other LED manufacturer. LEDs are just inherently more efficient than any other readily available lighting option. All of them will save you money if you're upgrading from incandescent bulbs (or even fluorescent ones, for that matter). To judge an LED's real value against its competitors, you have to factor performance in, as well.