Let's use the occasion of the shortest day of the year to say so long to another energy-wasting incandescent lightbulb. Federal law mandates that 75-watt bulbs can no longer be made in the U.S. or imported as of January 1, although retailers can sell remaining stock. Fortunately, in Consumer Reports lightbulb tests we found an LED that uses only 17 watts but is as bright as a 75-watt bulb.
Most screw-in bulbs have to use at least 27 percent less energy by 2014 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The phase-out started last January with 100-watt bulbs and now 75-watt lightbulbs will fade away. If you're looking for replacements consider the Philips AmbientLED (model 17W 75W A21 Soft White 418400). Using 17 watts, it instantly brightens and casts a nice warm light—it scored an impressive 99 out of 100 after 3,000 hours of testing. This dimmable LED can be used in lamps and ceiling fixtures.
Philips claims these LEDs will last 25,000 hours, or nearly 23 years when used 3 hours a day. If that sounds awfully long, it is. An incandescent typically lasts about 1,000 hours. But at $40 this LED takes about 4.5 years to pay for itself. However, our lightbulb tests found you can save about $160 in electricity and replacement bulbs over its lifetime, compared to 75-watt bulbs. Our lightbulb Ratings include dozens of CFLs and LEDs, so take a look, and be sure to check online for rebates from manufacturers and your utility for Energy Star-qualified bulbs.