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A Great Light For The Price
on December 8, 2012
I'm a big fan of LED lights, but in all my research, I've learned a few things about LEDs. First is, that it's hard to get the color temperature you want just by reading labels. As you may know, the lower the number, the warmer the bulb. A true 2700 temperature is close to your typical incandescent bulb. 3000 is a typical halogen and cool white is about 4000. Lastly, daylight is about 5000. Now with all that being said, what is the best light? Typically in a home, people prefer warm light. We're used to incandescent bulbs and we always try to get that same tone when buying alternate CFL or LED bulbs. The strange thing is, it seems different manufactures claim different things. I suppose if someone claims 2700, it might be true that light in the 2700 spectrum is being disbursed somewhere in there, even if the overwhelming light produced is actually more like 3000 or 3200.
Now I don't know what standards are out there, but I'm sure disappointed that there is not some kind of consortium to rate true claims of temperature. Why am I dedicating so much to light temperature? Because LED's are still somewhat new to this type of lighting. They still don't make the volume it takes to be competitive with CFL's. We're buying online where we can't see examples of light. Even when going to Home Depot or Lowes, we don't always have the bulbs we want to see on display in a working lamp. I've seen many reviews on many different LED bulbs and one of the biggest complains is light color (temperature). The next complaint, or maybe even the top complaint, is the light power, or Lumens.
LED technology has really exploded in the past decade. If you see the running lights on some of the newer cars like Mercedes, those LED's down there are REALLY bright. Now it's a balancing act for the manufactures to create efficient LED lights for the home that are of the right color temperature and right lumen power. In my opinion, Philips are making the best LED lights for the home period. You know, those yellow looking bulbs? Yeah, those are amazing and my home and my rentals are full of those. The reason I don't simply buy everything Philips is because they cost a lot and I don't always want to use $29 bulbs everywhere. My kitchen for example.
Before I go on to reviewing the HitLights, I want to explain one last thing to people that are still learning about the technology. LED's run on DC power and our household uses AC. There must be conversion in the fixture. LED performance largely depends on correctly engineering the fixture to manage the heat generated by the LED, which causes deterioration of the LED chip itself. Over-driving the LED or not engineering the product to manage heat in high ambient temperatures can result in overheating of the LED package, eventually leading to device failure. Adequate heat-sinking is required to maintain long life. This is why you'll see very cheap LED's get bad reviews because they are failing. The LED itself is usually the most reliable part, but a bad circuit or small head-sink can simply ruin it all.
So now that I've gone in the very basics of LED's, I hope to give a fair review of the HitLights bulbs. I, like most of you, go by reviews. We can't see products in person usually, if on Amazon, but we help each other with reviews. So here I am. Initially, I had never heard of this brand. Typically, I don't trust unknown brands, but I like to give "new guys" a chance. Even if these guys are not so new. I actually don't know how long they've been around, but they are new to me.
I've purchased at least 6 brands of LED lights in the past years, and as I've mentioned already, the Philips to me, are the best. But they are not necessarily the best bargain. My kitchen has 8 recessed 4" cans and I wanted something that would replace the small (no longer made) Ikea CFL bulbs I had in there as they kept failing and are no longer made. When I installed the cans I put more in that usually needed, but I wanted a nice spread of light, so 8 cans it was, and I planned on using lights that were equivalent to about 40 watts. In all my review reading, I kept coming back to these. I actually waited a week or two before pulling the trigger. Now, the only thing I can't review is how well they're built. I can't tell if they will start failing in a year or two, so I'll go by what I have now and update this if I ever need to.
I was happy when I opened the box because they are physically a little smaller than most I have purchased, and that suited me just perfectly. They sit in the recessed cans perfectly and emit a color temperature very close to a halogen. Closer to 3000 than the 2700 they claim, but in a kitchen, I have no problem with the light being a little whiter than 2700. For many, this might not be warm enough, but as I said, for me, in this application, they are perfect. Also, they are a little brighter than I expected. In a strange way, you can't have too much light in a kitchen, if like me, you cook a lot. The biggest plus is the price. At today's price of $10.88, you really can't beat them. Especially if they come anywhere near the claimed 50,000 hours of use that LED's are fully capable of. Lastly, you should know that these are not dimming bulbs. These are simple on or off. Again, for me, that is perfectly fine.
I expect the price of LED bulbs to drop, like all evolving technologies, but consider these bulbs a good investment. Your power bill will start to drop, and you might not be replacing bulbs for another 10 years. Hopefully.
Last little tip to consider if you're a first time LED buyer. LED's emit light in one direction, so most of these type bulbs throw light outward only, and the half globe helps disperse it to the sides as well, but nothing will be thrown back like a traditional bulb. The Philips that I keep mentioning throw light in all directions because of the design of the bulb. I suggest, for important locations where this is crucial, to look at the Philips. I use them in table lamps. I would never use these HitLights in lamps with shades unless you are okay with lighting up only the top of your lamp shade.
1/27/14 Over a year gone by, bulbs are still working fine.