The price of energy-saving LEDs continues to drop and Philips says it will introduce a $10 LED lightbulb by the end of the year that replaces a 60-watt incandescent, the most commonly used bulb. Until then, Philips has just brought out a $15 LED at Home Depot. That's good news for consumers and a signal to Philips' competition.
"We're trying to get LEDs in the hands of people who aren't in areas where utility rebates are offered, but still want a quality product at a decent price," says Silvie Casanova, a spokeswoman for the manufacturer. The $15 Philips LED 10.5W 420240 replaces a 60-watt bulb yet uses only 10.5 watts and is supposed to give off a whiter light, like a halogen bulb. Consumer Reports' lighting experts will put this LED through some preliminary tests and report back in the next week or so.
So how did Philips add a $15 LED to its lineup? The company dropped the dimmability, says Casanova. This LED is claimed to last 20,000 hours, or about 18 years when used three hours a day, and not the 25,000 hours that is the minimum requirement for Energy Star.
Our past tests found that among 60-watt replacements, the dimmable Philips AmbientLED 12.5W 12E26A60, $25, was excellent overall, instantly offering a bright light and shining it right where you need it. The light color is warmer and yellower and this Energy Star-qualified LED is claimed to last 25,000 hours. If you're lucky enough to live in an area with a $10 utility rebate then it too costs $15.
For more details on the results of our tests of LEDs, CFLs, and halogen bulbs, check our Ratings. You'll see that some LEDs cost as much as $60. But Philips isn't the only one to lower prices. The top-rated LED is an EcoSmart lightbulb from Home Depot. It's around $14, down from $26 just several months ago.