If you've been waiting for the right time to upgrade to LEDs, things are starting to get pretty compelling. Case in point: the newest 60W replacement bulb from Philips, which costs just $5 at Home Depot -- no utility rebates necessary.
That's as cheap an LED as we've seen from the big brands, and with an 800-lumen light output from a power draw of just 8.5 watts, it's an especially efficient performer, too. Replace your incandescents with them, and you'll have a tough time telling the difference -- at least until you get your next power bill.
This isn't a bulb without compromises, though. Unlike the majority of LEDs, which are rated to light up for 20 years or more, the Philips bulb only promises 10. It also isn't rated for use with dimmer switches, so if you like to dial the light down low without flicker or buzz, you'll need to look elsewhere. But for basic, everyday home lighting, it's a very safe pick, and a borderline no-brainer in the lighting aisle.
Designed with value in mind
There's nothing terribly high-concept about this bulb's build, because that's exactly what it is: a bulb. That bucks a recent trend of LEDs with reinvented shapes, including Philips' own flattened down, which, until the arrival of this new 60W replacement, was the brand's most budget-friendly LED.
The new bulb gives Philips a new price tier beneath the SlimStyle's $5-$10 range, and Philips separates the two with dimmability -- the StyleStyle has it, the new bulb doesn't. If you weren't planning on dimming your lights anyway, then the new bulb should make a lot of sense. On the other hand, if your home has dimmer switches and you like being able to dial the lights up and down without flicker or buzz, then you'll want to look elsewhere (and potentially avoid the SlimStyle, too -- it didn't do too well).
60W Replacement LEDs
|Philips 60W Replacement LED||Ikea Ledare LED (frosted)||Cree 4Flow LED||Philips SlimStyle LED||Osram 60W Replacement LED|
|Lumens (measured / stated)||821 / 800||658 / 600||835 / 815||815 / 800||852 / 800|
|Efficiency (lumens per watt)||97||60||76||76||100|
|Yearly energy cost (3 hr. per day @ 0.11 kWh)||$1.02||$1.20||$1.32||$1.26||$1.02|
|Color temperature (measured / stated)||2,701 K / 2,700 K||2,632 K / 2,700 K||2,617 K / 2,700 K||2,653 K / 2,700 K||2,580 K / 2,700 K|
|Color rendering index||80||88||80||80||78|
|Dimmable (measured range)||No||Yes (6.3 - 100%)||Yes (5.6 - 100%)||Yes (11.1 - 100%)||Yes (0 - 100%)|
|Dimmer switch flicker/buzz||N/A||None||None||Moderate||Light|
|Lifespan||10,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours|
|Weight||1.80 oz.||4.10 oz.||1.90 oz.||2.20 oz.||4.15 oz.|
|Warranty||3 years||none||3 years||3 years||5 years|
Aside from the nondimmable design, the specs are right where you'd want them for a 60W replacement LED. The bulb claims a light output of 800 lumens at a warm, familiar color temperature of 2,700 K. It also draws just 8.5 watts of power. Run it for 3 hours a day, and it'll tack just over $1 onto your yearly energy bill. A typical 60W replacement fluorescent will cost closer to $2 per year to run, while a 60w incandescent will cost over $7.
The math comes down in favor of this LED. At $5 upfront and with a yearly operating cost of $1, you're looking at a total year one cost of $6. That's cheaper than using an incandescent you got for free.
Incandescent comparisons aside, the Philips LED's 8.5 watts are lower (and more efficient) than almost every other 60W replacement LED we've tested. The only one that matches it is, which sells at Lowe's. I like that bulb quite a bit -- it's plenty bright, it dims like a champ, and it promises twice the lifespan of the Philips LED -- but at $10, it also costs twice as much.
In sum, the value proposition here is quite strong. For $5 per bulb (or less, if you catch the introductory two-for-one pricing at Home Depot), you're getting an LED that holds its own against some impressive competitors, and one that beats them outright when it comes to the upfront cost.