Do we need the best LED bulb, when we could have the right one?

By Katya Evstratyeva

Everyone agrees that LED bulbs save energy. Many people like LED bulbs. Those who really like them, buy them, but many people who would like to retrofit their homes with LED bulbs (not just one or two units to try out), might have second thoughts simply because LED bulbs are still expensive.

Currently, the 12W LED equivalent of the 60W incandescent light bulb costs around $25 (Philips 'Endura' at CA Home Depot stores, for example). Home Depot sales associates indicate sales are steady, but the lamps mostly attract the attention of early adopters and/or those who are willing to pay $25 for a light bulb.

Most industry players consider the "sweet spot" in terms of pricing for sales of LED replacement bulbs to be $10 for the 60W incandescent replacement. Recently, I had a conversation with a general manager at a Chinese manufacturer, that exports 80% of his LED bulbs to Europe. According to him, the industry should focus on manufacturing good quality lamps the equivalent of the 60W incandescent lamps with compatible light quality, such as 2700K, and the CRI of 95, dimming features, and everything else a good quality LED bulb has to offer; however, the lifespan of these lamps and,” consequently, the pricing, should be not 25,000 hours at $25, but 10,000 hours at $10. His reasoning is that sockets are already there and filling them with the correct light is more important than waiting for the best solution.

From the manufacturing point of view, achieving the desired $8 - $“10 price range, using the standard 25,000 hours benchmark is unrealistic; durability and quality come at a price. The question is, then, can manufacturers make LED bulbs that are just right?

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