A. For starters, the number of LED bulbs made is infinitesimal compared to the number of incandescent bulbs in production. Lightbulb manufacturers are still learning about this technology. Producing LEDs takes a lot of effort and the process is expensive, says Dr. John W. Curran, a technical consultant on solid-state lighting who counts manufacturers and the government as clients.
The LED bulb contains a number of components including a heat sink, driver, aluminum and semiconductor chips. “You make the semiconductor devices just like any other, but the trouble is a very slight difference in the chemical reaction can change the results in the bulb’s brightness and color,” says Curran. “These manufacturers work very hard to specify color and brightness, but they can’t control it the way they like.” As for prices, he believes that just like other electronics, LED prices will continue to come down as performance goes up, with LED replacements for 60-watt bulbs priced at $15 to $20 in the next year.
The 10 LEDs in our latest lightbulb Ratings range in price from $20 to $60. We also tested 26 CFLs and typically they cost $10 or less. Lightbulb rebates are available, so be sure to visit www.dsireusa.org/incentives or www.energystar.gov to find utility rebates and search the websites of manufacturers for their rebates. Many are instant so you won’t have to do any paperwork.
Thanks to our Facebook followers for posting such great questions about our lightbulb tests, including this one. We’ll answer as many as we can in the coming weeks.