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Customer Discussions > Home Improvement forum

Is there an LED floodlight bulb that is worth the price?

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Showing 1-25 of 76 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 21, 2009 4:48:21 PM PDT
Bad Grandpa says:
I have 5 recessed ceiling cans in my kitchen that shine down on a granite counter top. The problem is that halogen floods are bright but give off a lot of heat, and flourescents floods have a bluish hue. I'm looking at LED bulbs but man they are expensive. Don't want to make a big mistake. It's an 8' ceiling.

Posted on May 22, 2009 10:18:52 AM PDT
Check them out at your local costco.. not really expensive and the specs seem to work for your ceiling.
I have not tried them but I sure will when my fluerescents go.
Another option is to check out your local home depot and ask for the various types of them I know they currnetly have 3 types of fluorescent and they actually have a dispplay of how they light up. Not all of them are blue !

Posted on May 22, 2009 1:12:02 PM PDT
jh in socal says:
I bought 1 of these from Costco last week, as a trial, and I'm not impressed. I tried it in my hallway (8' ceiling) and the lit area was pretty weak. Sorry, I don't remember the manufacturer name - there may be others that are better, but as far as I've seen, LED's are not there yet...

Posted on May 22, 2009 6:05:03 PM PDT
Bass Cadet says:
We're waiting for the prices to drop, too. Did you leave the light on for a while? They do seem take some time to "warm up."

Flourescent floodlights seem to be improving, though. We recently bought some dimmable ones at Costco. They don't work well alone, though, so I combined one incandescent with two flourescent lights. You might try mixing technologies and even styles.

Posted on May 23, 2009 1:36:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2009 2:50:23 PM PDT
OldAmazonian says:
"Worth the price" is meaningless without more information.

When replacement costs are very high, LED floodlights that cost $100 each may be worth their price because of their very long average time before failure, especially in frequent cycling applications. Traffic signal lights are an example of this.

Area lighting LED costs are predicted to decline steeply in two or three years as new types such as the organic LED come to market.

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2009 4:07:50 PM PDT
B. Kaufman says:
No. Not yet. Soon. Very Soon. Be Patient.

Posted on May 27, 2009 9:35:10 AM PDT
Robert says:
I bought one from Sam's Club for $15. I am not impressed.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 6:02:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 2, 2009 9:43:15 PM PST
Dale N Scott says:
There are two desticntly different types of LEDs available in the consumer market (many more in the commercial/industrial market). If by your definition 'Worth the price' means 'Cost Effective', the short answer is 'No'. The two types I'm referring to are: 'Clustered' (consisting of a large # of low-output indicator type LEDs in a bunch) and 'high-output' illumination LEDs (characterized by one or more diodes). I've been testing every type of LED I can get my hands on for a couple of years now as well as attending lighting trade shows and conferences in Las Vegas (Light Faire), Silicon Valley (Strategies in Light) and The Pacific Coast Builders' Conference (PCBC) in San Francisco. Without getting into a long-winded, pedantic dissertation, I'll offer some observations: Traffic lights are 'indicator' LEDs (fine to see but not for illumination). Clustered LEDs are a waste of money. The usual hype is 'equivalent to XX watts'. The 'diode' or 'di' in each 'bulb' is encapsulated in a medicine capsule shaped, plastic lens (typical beam spread 15 to 35 degrees). They might give the XX equivalent stated within that narrow beam but, remember that standard incandescents and compact florescents (CFLs) spread light in nearly all directions (requiring a reflector for beam control). High-output LEDs generate heat and are almost always surface-mounted on a PC board and have a heat sink (this is why they are expensive). If you look at a cheap LED you will notice that there are two metal structures that stick up into the plastic lens/capsule and they don't get hot. High-output LEDs are usually quite small and have very little in the way of a lens covering a yellow (in white LEDs) light emitting patch of phosphor. These can get hot enough to burn flesh and need a heat sink to operated properly. If you would like to see an inexpensive example of this type of light, I suggest buying one from <> for $15 (free shipping). They make excellent reading lamps with good contrast. Color temperature has been a major hurdle for LED manufactures and the first 'white' LEDs gave off a very cold, bluish light that was not very complementary to skin tones. This is what's known as the 'Color Rendition Index' (CRI) and has been overcome just as it did with the first florescents. In summary, what's so at this time is that the technology is maturing rapidly and companies like Philips are abandoning incandescents entirely and there is even talk of legislating them out of existence! If you'll pardon the pun, 'The Future Looks Bright for LEDs'. At this point in time, though, it's for specialized applications and 'early adopters' primarily. The timing couldn't be any better, either, given that LEDs require an average of 10% of the energy of conventional incandescent bulbs, and can last for many thousands of hours.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 10:59:44 PM PDT
Kevin Wolf says:
Actually, the technology IS here- Our school recently converted a parking deck to all LED- They are very bright. Bright enough to compete with the HPS lamps installed previously. But, I wouldn't be surprised if they spent tens of thousands of dollars to do it, either. The technology is here, the sexy price tag is not.

Posted on Jun 5, 2009 2:21:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 21, 2009 10:56:20 AM PDT
Amazon fan says:
I am currently trying the Evolux sh 13 watt LED. My initial observations:
1. Very bright, equal or better than a 100 watt incandescent bulb vertically.
2. Does not put out much light laterally--it all goes out the top.
3. Emits some fan noise--yes, it has a fan built in to control the heat! The noise is easily masked by household appliances in a typical fixture. However, I have found them to be quite loud when placed in typical recessed can lights--it seems to amplify the noise. A shame, too, considering their beam characteristics. Is the noise worth the energy savings? That's the $20/ year /bulb question.

I am going to try some of Advanced Lumonics reflector bulbs for the cans, but have not ordered them yet. They only claim 800 lumens, which may not be bright enough in my application. (In contrast, the Evolux sh claim 1000 lumens, and I believe it.)

Oh, I got the Evolux on sale at Smarthome for 20% off the normal $80 price. You can also get them from Advanced Lumonics at a discount if you buy in bulk. And no, I do not work for either company!

Follow up:

I am sending the Evolux back. My family cannot tolerate the noise they make when installed in recessed cans. We may keep them in the pendants--not as loud there.

Posted on Jun 6, 2009 12:15:24 PM PDT
The best solution at this time is to consider a product manufactured by Cree Lighting. They offer the "LR6" and have a newer version of the same product that gives off even more light. If you have existing 6" recessed cans, the "CREE" product should easily fit. They offer a trim that is self contained with LED lamps and uses aprox 12 watts of energy. Two color options are available 2700K and 3500K. Retail price is around $ 100 each , but you may be able to do better if you search around. We are a distributor of this product and have sold over 1000+ pieces to schools and universities at a price point of $ 70 or so based on the large quantity.

Since I want to remain unbiased, I will not list the company I work for ( and it is not CREE, I work for an wholesale electrical distributor). Many customers are asking our lighting professionals for solutions, and the lamp by itself can work, but I'm not impressed with it compared to this "CREE" product.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2009 8:20:56 PM PDT
Dale N Scott says:
My guess is that the fan in Evolux will quit before the LED dies. I don't have much faith in that design. A well engineered heat-sink is a more elegant approach. Fan noise is not acceptable in many installations either.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 1:29:41 PM PDT
Coogs says:
Lots of good information so far. I'll simply add that when shopping for LED lamps, your best bet is to peruse the online offerings. Many of the dedicated websites offer detailed information about lamp performance. A cheapy shop like Costco is more likely to carry bargain basement lamps that are painfully dim and cast the dreaded blue light. But even the lay person can go online and check the color temperature and lumen output before making a selection. With the upfront cost of LED lamps, you shouldn't make any purchases until you've at least examined those two characteristics.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 2:31:14 PM PDT
Cruddy Puppy says:
Bought the Samsclub flood type for my daughter's shower because she always leaves it on. Also because they supposedly could produce any color temp. It turned out to be a sickly bluish greenish white not at all complimentary to the earth tone tiles in the shower. Glad I only bought one. Heard better ones are coming.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 12:44:58 PM PDT
ArchLD says:
As an architectural lighting designer, I work with LEDs almost every day and I agree with Dale and others. I'd have to say that so far there is not an LED floodlight that is "worth the price" for a residential consumer. As someone else said, not all CFLs have a bluish hue. Look for a bulb with a high CRI (sometimes marketed as "full spectrum") and a warm color temperature ("warm white", or 2700 to 3000 degrees Kelvin) from one of the three major manufacturers: Phillips, Osram Sylvania, or GE.
LED luminaire technology has gotten very good in the areas of specialty application lighting and low-profile linear fixtures in both white and colors, but general illumination (ambient lighting traditionally done by incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, and CFL sources) is not something that LEDs are very good at yet. If you're trying to meet an energy code with a maximum watts per square foot requirement in a commercial application, then LEDs are worth considering for general illumination, but for residential use the benefits probably don't outweigh the drawbacks.
As several others have said, the technology is rapidly improving and LEDs will soon be much more viable for general illumination. Manufacturers are pouring money into R&D for LED sources. At this year's Lightfair where about 850 manufacturers gather to show off their new products, there seemed to be more LEDs than any other type of source.
LED fixtures, especially retrofit bulbs, usually have several problems that they still have to overcome:
1. Color "temperature" - The color of the light. Because of the chemistry used to make LEDs create light most of them don't naturally emit a warm pale amber glow of light that feels good, the way incandescent sources naturally do. Many LEDs (though not all) tend to either be somewhere between a cold bluish white and a greenish yellow. Some manufacturers are fixing this by combining cool white LED chips with amber chips in the same fixture to provide a wider range of light, but these are rare.
2. Light quality - This is what CRI is meant to describe. This is different than color temperature and it's somewhat difficult to quantify (CRI is less precise than many would have you believe) but this is generally the way that the light renders color in people and objects. If you put a red apple (or a person) under a warm white light with a low CRI and poor light quality it will not look as good as one you put under a warm white light with a high CRI and good light quality. This is also related to how the light 'feels' when you're looking at it. Most LEDs aren't so good at this yet, though they're improving.
3. Light distribution - the pattern of the light that comes out of the fixture. An incandescent bulb, a good halogen bulb, or even a CFL lamp generally have a fairly soft, even distribution of light when they hit a surface. Because the optics (lenses and reflectors) used in many LED fixtures have not been perfected yet, you tend to see a lot of fixtures with ugly light distribution - striation, shadows, lines, and fast, awkward drop offs or hot spots in the light.
4. Intensity - most LEDs are not quite bright enough to light something more than a couple of feet away. There are some exceptions - Beta LED Lighting makes very impressive street lights and Phillips / Color Kinetics makes fixtures that can reach over 100', but they're very large and very expensive. Fixtures that are the size of normal household bulbs are generally not quite bright enough yet to compete with more traditional technology when lighting a surface more than 3 or 4 feet away from the source.
5. Cost - LEDs cost less to operate and last a long time without needing to be replaced (many claim up to 50,000 hours of use before the light output drops to 50% of the original level), but they're still very expensive at the outset. In the long term, they're often more cost effective than incandescent, but frequently not as cost effective as fluorescent or metal halide sources, especially considering the other drawbacks above.
So until LEDs get better at general illumination, I'd recommend using halogen sources if the light quality is most important to you or CFL sources if low energy usage is your main concern.
All of that said, if you really want to try LED sources, Nexxus Lighting and CRS Electronics are both making some of the best LED fixtures that I've seen. They still have a ways to go, but they're ahead of the pack. Though I'm not sure how available they are to the home consumer.
If you want to learn more about various LED manufacturers, search for "PLSN LEDucation III exhibitors" for a list of most of the major manufacturers working with LED technology.

Posted on Jun 15, 2009 3:15:09 AM PDT
cree lr6 and lr4 are the only good ones at a reasonable price. i have 16 or so of the lr6's and they are awesome.

you can get em with normal yellowish light or with the fluorescent looking white light. i got all yellow ones for the more natural look. they don't get hot either. but i can say it was hard finding a dimmer that wouldn't occasionally flicker. but you can check on the cree website to see what is compatible. oh and they even have the rings that go around them in different colors like brushed nickel and whatever else...

highly recommend and i got all of mine from winderlumen or something like that. he was really nice and totally hooked me up with the best price by far on the net. u should check out the site and then call and he would prob give u a discount.

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 12:05:44 AM PDT
Dale N Scott says:
One competitor not mentioned yet is Luxion. They are on par with Cree and Osram and are worth a look. This is a good thread and I hope the interest keeps up and the flow of information also. Thanks to all who have taken the time to contribute and thank you, Mr. Ferguson for asking the initial question. I'll bet you got more answers (maybe not solutions) than you bargained for.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2009 10:52:58 AM PDT
Amazon fan says:
Cree is soon to come out with a new LR6 "can replacement" that uses half the current LR6 power and emits the same amount and quality of light. I quote their press release below:

Cree Demonstrates Prototype LR6 LED Downlight with 102 Lumens per Watt Fixture Efficacy

DURHAM, N.C., MAY 5, 2009 - Building on its leadership in LED lighting, Cree announces it is demonstrating a prototype version of the LR6 LED recessed downlight that consumes just 6.5 W of electricity, resulting in 665 lumens, an efficacy of 102 lumens per watt and a power factor greater than 0.9.

Shown at LIGHTFAIR International in New York, the high-efficiency LR6 prototype features TrueWhiteTM technology, resulting in a 92 color rendering index and a 3500 K color temperature.

"By using the latest Cree LEDs, the XLamp® XP-G, we were able to achieve this great efficiency," said Gerry Negley, chief technologist for Cree LED Lighting. "We continue to push the envelope with LED technology-because consumers deserve high-quality light without toxic mercury or wasted energy."

Posted on Jun 21, 2009 4:13:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 23, 2009 3:39:28 AM PDT
OldAmazonian says:
News about the world's most efficient pure white LED ---

Posted on Jun 21, 2009 9:16:09 PM PDT
ILoveAmazon says:
I use incandescent. I hate the way fluorescents make me feel. We use dimmers with low watt bulbs, and our electric bill is consistently $45. a month. I only use fluorescent for my front porch (bug lite yellow) and in my laundry room. I'm excited about LED's and loves reading the feedback.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2009 12:31:04 AM PDT
C. Wahlstrom says:
I am a lay person. i am not sure what to check for in terms of color temperature and lumen output. Can you give me a reference to a (standard) 60, 75, and 100 watt Incandesant bulb? Does the temperature have anything to do with heat output?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2009 3:35:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 23, 2009 5:15:43 AM PDT
OldAmazonian says:
C. Wahlstrom,

I'm a lay person too, but I read a lot.

Color temperature is "the temperature (usually measured in kelvins (K)) at which the heated black-body radiator matches the color of the light source". In layman's terms, it's the blueness or redness of light ---

CRI (Color Rendering Index) is the "measure of the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source". In layman's terms, it's the ability of light to show colors like daylight would ---

Neither color temperature nor CRI determines the heat output of a lamp. The heat (infrared) output is determined by the energy supplied to the lamp and the lamp's efficiency. A more efficient lamp converts a larger percentage of its input energy to visible light, and therefore converts a smaller percentage of its input energy to heat.

This will probably tell you more than you ever wanted to know about incandescent light bulbs ---

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 1:03:29 PM PDT
I have purchased several LED lights and have found most do have a bluish tint but not all. I purchased for 3 reasons. Dispite the upfront cost i ill save money because 1. LED's don't burn out for YEARS. 2. they are almost shock proof and nearly unbreakable (not uncrushable), I have saved a TON of money on electricity by switching these out. The more you purchase the lower the cost is going to become like any new technology. I also found this company (Eaglelights folks to be very helpful.. give them a call. they let me try some bulbs out for a new lamp after i purchased some bulbs from them. They are very helpful. C. Crane VFL Par 20-LED Floodlight Bulb VFL Par 20-LED Floodlight Bulb

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 1:18:02 PM PDT
I picked up one of the Costco branded LED cluster lights a few months ago, as an impulse buy $16 or so. Didn't get a chance to install in in my entry way until recently. But this thing blazes like the sun. It is installed about 20 feet up in a brick entryway, that is about 8 feet wide, so I can't say how wide the beam projects, but within the confines of my porch, there are no longer any dark shadows. If it lasts longer than an incandesent or halogen bulb, it may be worth the extra cost.

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 1:29:54 PM PDT
Coogs says:
Kyle, could you provide some technical details about the lamp you purchased? I think people would like to know, especially since it seems to be functioning well. Also, for a high-functioning LED lamp, $16 is incredibly cheap. It will last significantly longer than any incandescent lamp and use considerably less energy, so you don't need to worry about covering the additional cost. Some LED lamps cost upwards of $80, and they're still worth the money in the long run.
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