In the ultimate battle of the bulbs, a Philips LED won $10 million in the Department of Energy's L Prize competition for energy-efficient 60-watt replacement bulbs. To win, the bulb had to meet high standards for brightness, cast a warm light evenly, last 25,000 hours, be highly accurate in revealing colors, use 10 watts or less, be dimmable, and be assembled or partially manufactured in the U.S.
In our initial tests of the Philips L Prize LED, the bulb instantly provided a warm and bright light, meeting its claim of 940 lumens. That's about 100 lumens brighter than its sibling, the Philips AmbientLED 12.5W 12E26A60 60W 409904, making the L Prize LED the brightest 60-watt replacement we've seen. The bulb's Color Rendering Index (CRI) is around 93, also much higher than others we've tested. So it's much better at showing the true colors of furnishings.
So far, so good. We're putting the L Prize LED through our full battery of lightbulb tests and will report back. At $50 it would take about seven years to pay for itself compared to an incandescent and save about $140 in energy costs over its lifetime.
Acceptance of LEDs and other replacement bulbs is growing, according to a recent survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. About 90 percent of Americans have used LEDs or CFLs, with most choosing CFLs. Almost 75 percent currently use CFLs and 26 percent use LEDs. Just 7 percent have switched back to using only incandescent bulbs. Potential energy-cost savings and longer bulb life are the top reasons people bought efficient bulbs, followed by a desire to help the environment. To find the right bulb for your fixture, see the results of our lightbulb tests.