|Cree and Philips drive LED lamp price toward $10|
|08 Mar 2013|
|Cree delivers omni-directional 60W-equivalent lamp for $13 while Philips Lighting offers a $15 A-lamp in a snow-cone-style design.|
|Cree and Philips Lighting have new 60W-equivalent LED A-lamps on the market at $15 or less and Cree also offers a 40W-equivalent product just under $10. Clearly 2013 will see solid-state lighting (SSL) replacements for 60W incandescent go below $10.|
The Cree LED bulb family comes to market with three product options – a 6W $9.97 450-lm 2700K lamp, a 9W $13.97 800-lm 5000K lamp, and a 9.5W $12.97 800-lm 2700K lamp. The omnidirectional designs all have a CRI of 80 and support dimming with legacy triac-based and other phase-cut dimmers.
The Cree design looks very much like a traditional incandescent bulb as you can see in the nearby photo. There is a heat sink located at the base of the lamps, although it's white and not obtrusive in any way. The dome of the lamp is made of glass which Cree says offers better light transmission that the plastic globes broadly used in LED-based retrofit lamps. The glass is covered with a thin layer of silicon that presumably is present to protect the glass.
Cree said that the lamp is undergoing the Energy Star certification process at this time, but it expects approval. Still, a spokesperson said, "We expect to be qualified, but we're proud to offer the bulb at a price point that makes sense and pays for itself even without rebates."
To meet Energy Star guidelines, an omni-directional lamp must uniformly radiate light. Based on a purely unscientific evaluation, the Cree lamp seems to spread the beam very well. The lamp has a noticeably darker spot at the top of the globe when lit. But if you place a reflective sheet above the lamp, the light appears extremely uniform. And in a lamp shade, the lamp also provides excellent light distribution down on a table surface.
“The Cree LED light bulb was designed to offer consumers a no-compromise lighting experience at a compelling price,” said Chuck Swoboda, Cree chairman and CEO. “Over the last couple of years we recognized that the consumer is instrumental in the adoption of LED lighting, but we needed to give them a reason to switch. We believe this breakthrough LED bulb will, for the first time, give consumers a reason to upgrade the billions of energy-wasting light bulbs."
Initially the lamp will be available at Home Depot with wider distribution planned for later in the year. Cree said that if customers replace the five most-used light bulbs in their home with the new LED lamps, that on average they will save $61 per year on energy. That makes the payback on the lamps just over a year.
Philips, meanwhile, quietly brought its $15 lamp to market without any major publicity push. Late last year the company had introduced 60W-equivalent lamps that were white in the off state yet were still shaped like the remote-phosphor-based lamps that have been among the market leaders (www.illuminationinfocus.com/news/3/12/1). Those products were priced at $25. The new Philips 10.5W A-lamp is priced at $14.97 and features a traditional round globe.
The Philips lamp outputs 800 lm at a CCT of 3000K. The lamp looks largely like a traditional incandescent bulb, although what would be the lower half of the bulb is actually not transmissive, meaning the lamp only emits light in the upper hemisphere. But there is no evident heat sink – just a smooth white surface on the lower half of the lamp.
Philips Lighting CEO Ed Crawford said the goal of the new design was to make the product affordable without utility rebates. Philips cut the cost by not including dimming support. Crawford said only one in ten installed light bulbs are connected to a dimmer.
Crawford was also bold in discussing coming products from Philips He said, "We have a $9.97 product coming this year. He said the next product could be an evolution of the $15 product or a new architecture.
Both the Cree and Philips lamps should offer consumers long installed life times. Cree rates its lamps for 25,000 hours and is backing the products with a ten-year warranty. Philips' new lamp is rated for 20,000 hours which the company says translates to more than 18 years in a typical usage scenario.
|About the Author |
|Maury Wright is the Editor of Illumination in Focus.|
|Name: jim shamp Posted: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 01:03|
|Okay, let's start with full disclosure: I'm an early adopter of some technologies. My wife, son and I designed and built a passive/active solar timber frame home in Durham, North Carolina, incorporating feng shui characteristics some folks might consider goofy. I'm a Cree neighbor and a small investor in the company because I believe in smart lighting and investing in local job creation. But I'm not employed by, or shilling for, Cree. I am, however, looking forward to finally taking advantage of this new bulb from Cree, because I truly believe a 2,700K dimmable 60W equivalent at under $15 is far more important than any media seem to recognize right now (and I'm a former newspaper science writer). I think Phillips is a fine company, and I own several of its LEDs. But to me, it makes no sense to buy any bulb now that's not 2,700K or dimmable, because I want bulbs I can move from fixture to fixture, lamp to lamp, over the 20 years I'll now be able to live with my LEDs. And even if I have a basic on-off wall switch running things now, I can easily replace that with a dimmer if I have bulbs that can accommodate. And that flexibility, plus true warm-white coloration, is a game changer. Case in point: I'm a loyal Costco member. Love the no-question return policy, the high quality on most products. But I won't touch any of the so-called "warm white" 3,000K LEDs Costco tries to offload, because the nexus of incandescent-like "warm white" is 2,700K, not 3,000. The difference is significant, and it's high time we get better definitions of "warm" and its effect on our comfort. That said, last weekend, after my weekly Costco run, I went to a couple of local Home Depot stores in Cree's home turf of the Research Triangle of NC last weekend, and neither had the Cree LEDs in stock yet. Bummer, Mr. Swoboda. as Cree CEO, If you're saying Cree has this goodie at Home Depot, make sure you have this goodie at Home Depot. I do believe this bulb is significant. I do believe it'll have a Kelvin temperature that won't make my wife go "Eeeeuw" when I do my "Ta-Daaa" with my latest energy-saving "accomplishment." And after too many trips to Goodwill with theoretically promising strings of Christmas lights and other LED marvels that turned out to be blue fibrillating Costco disappointments, I'll still put my idiotic optimism at risk with this Cree bulb technology. Truly warm coloration, omnidirectional beam (Listen up, Scotty), dimmable, quick-enough payback. I'm still somewhat annoyed that my electric company will give me a rebate if I buy mercury-laden CFLs, but not yet on LEDs. Some stuff just doesn't make sense. But I do know my Cree stock has doubled since I bought it. Seemed like a bright idea at the time. I ain't anybody with supreme insight, but I do believe these bulbs are a bright idea at this time. |
|Name: thefutureisbright Posted: Tue, 23 Apr 2013 19:04|
|I picked up 3 of these CREE bulbs in Warm White 9.5W (60W rating) over a month ago, and for the price, these are definitely fine bulbs. They don't have the 90CRI of the L-Prize bulb, but out of the 20 different types A19 LED bulbs I have installed, they are nicest to look at. Their 80 CRI is much better than most of the other LED bulbs at 2700K which only have a 70 CRI. The Philips L-Prize bulb is still running 49.97 at Home Depot, so we have moved these for use as make-up lamps for the girls. They are brighter than the L-Prize bulbs we have, even though the L-Prize are rated for higher lumens on the package. Kill-A-Watt shows they consume the same power between the bulbs. I've purchased 20 more of these CREE Warm White 9.5W (60W rating) bulbs, and I'm just as happy with each one of them. I'd have to rate them as the best bulbs I have, short the slighly higher color rendering of the L-Prize bulb. The silicone coating is great, and doesn't collect dust like I expected it would.|
|Name: lightsmart Posted: Thu, 19 Sep 2013 22:09|
|With the LightSmart app and running the ROI calculator, the payback in CA for the $12.97 800lm lamp is less than a year! That's worth the trip to Home Depot now. I'll try this and certainly hope it out performs those cheap LightofAmerica LED lamps I bought at Costco. Two of three already failed and the plastic 'bulb' fell off because the glue wasn't able to hold it on after just a few momths of use.|