With the price of many household staples going up, it’s good to know that some energy-saving lightbulbs are coming down in price. LEDs are still expensive, but as prices fall so does the payback time. Combine that with the discounts being offered by Home Depot, Lowe’s and other retailers and perhaps a rebate and the bulbs become affordable.
Until recently, the Philips AmbientLED 12.5W 12E26A60 was $40 at Home Depot. Now it’s $25 and drops again if you qualify for a $10 utility rebate. It’s our top-rated bulb, replaces a 60-watt incandescent, and is supposed to last 25,000 hours. At $40, the payback period was six years, compared to an incandescent; at $15, it’s less than two years. After that you’re saving money by using less electricity, and you’ll receive a $10 rebate from Philips when you spend $30 or more on their LEDs.
The prices have also been lowered for other high-performing LEDs we tested from GE, EcoSmart (Home Depot), and Philips—as much as half off. “The poor economy has manufacturers bringing prices down,” says Larry Lauck, a spokesman for American Lighting Association, a trade group. He adds that more people are buying LEDs, production is up, and there’s more incentive for the price to come down.
Several CFLs we tested also cost less than they use to. You’ll find the brightest bulbs of the batch by checking our Ratings of 26 CFLs and 10 LEDs. And be sure to visit www.dsireusa.org/incentives
or www.energystar.gov to find rebates offered by utility companies or manufacturers.