Ditching CF light bulbs — Are LED bulbs ready yet ?

The contestants: 5W LED, 7W LED (both Philips), 15W CFL (Megaman)

The blister is just terrible to open…

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A real glass dome!

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Made in China, what else.

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Some info. There’s also a ‘cool white’ version out there. And another one that is dimmable, like its bigger 7W sibling. What pisses me off is that currently I can buy these ‘upgraded’ versions at hardware stores, but they are NOWHERE to be found on any Philips website! Please update more often guys.

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Yes, we’re saving energy.

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The 7W model:

It is much more suitable for lighting up a place as a single bulb and comparable to a 40W incandescent. The glass dome is not as opaque as on the 5W model. Therefore the internal LEDs mimic the tungsten filament of old fashioned bulbs much better. Without power the LEDs appear as a yellow blob.

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Tabular comparison:

A B C
Brand Philips Philips Megaman
Type Econic Econic DorS Dimming
ID G087279
00851489
G087279
00871715
MM44112
Dimmable no yes 4x w. switch
Wattage 5 7 15
measured 4.2
equivalent 25 32-40 75
Lumen 250 350 800
Color temperature 2700K 2700K 2700K
Illumination 1/2 shperical mostly downward quasi omnidirectional
Lifetime 25.000h 25.000h 10.000h
Aging effects no data no data discoloration, slow ‘warming up’
Cost 14.95€ 24.95€ 12-20€
Comment Only good for small places, if used alone. Mimics incandescent bulbs pretty well Gets pretty hot
Instan-On yes yes no
Contains mercury no / negl. no / negl. YES

Why I chose to get rid of the CF bulbs? Here’re my reasons:

  • I need ‘Instant-On’ lights
  • I don’t like mercury vapour. As I’m clumsy, I might break one.
  • My CFL made ‘ugly light’. Sorry, I don’t have a spectrometer at hand.
  • The older my CFLs get, the longer they need to ‘warm up’

Put one of these in your hallway and what you instantly see is: DARKNESS. Before they’ve managed to come up to full brightness, you’re out of it again. Because of that I’ve got used to leaving the CF bulb in my hallway on all the time, which defies the whole purpose of ‘energy saving’. I need ‘instant on’ in these places. The same goes for my kitchen and bathroom as well.

Comparison 5W Philips vs. 15W CFL:

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My camera’s exposure settings were locked to the left bulb (5W LED). It is obvious that a 5W LED (250 lumen) can’t compete with a 15W CFL (800 lumen) face to face. The LED bulb’s glass cover is truly opaque, whereas the CFL has a plastic shell with a silicone cover that creates a ‘frosting’ effect. Therefore the internal structure of the CFL is visible as ‘hot spots’ in brightness.

Comparison 5W / 7W Philips vs. 15W CFL:

Initially the CFL is the dimmest of the three (right).

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After 5 minutes the CFL has finally reached its maximum brightness, followed by the 7W bulb (left bottom) and the 5W bulb (left top).

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Verdict:

The 5W bulb is tolerable for places that are only lit up from time to time (hallway, storage …) and you don’t plan to do any reading or living in. It’s good for additional lighting, for setting visible accents and so forth, but not as the primary source of light.

The 7W bulb is more like it and is comparable to a 40W incandescent one. Used in a 5x chandelier it easily lights up a small living room. As the light is emitted mostly downwards (2-pi emitter) putting it above a table is a good idea.

I’ll keep my CFLs as long as they are in good condition, but I will _definitely not_ buy any new ones. They’ll be replaced by LED bulbs once they start emitting ‘terrible light’.

Death to CFL bulbs!

So long… and thanks for all the fish!

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7 Responses to Ditching CF light bulbs — Are LED bulbs ready yet ?

  1. James Mahon says:

    Use better CFLs.
    I used dimmable megamen and they were not good (very blue light).
    In general, you can’t dim CFLs as the colour temperature does not shift to the red (as it does with incandescents), you get a cold dim grey “death light” as you dim CFLs.
    I would expect the same with LEDs.
    When you dim an incasdescent, you get a redder light which feels cosy, and people like it (including myself).

    I switched to non dimmable Philips Tornados and they were much better.
    They are also much cheaper ~e6 for a 20 watt (1350 lumens) @ 2700K. Much better.
    See how much it costs to replace one of those with LEDs.

    IMHO, the LED vs CFL thing has become a religious argument where each side only talks and doesn’t listen to the other, so I will say no more.

  2. robert says:

    It’s nice to hear that there are better CFLs out there.

    Best to let time decide which faction will win ;-)

  3. Helmut says:

    Seit dem Einsatz von LED bulbs ist meine kurzfristige Abenddepression
    wie weggeblasen.:-)

  4. robert says:

    Besser ist das ;-)

  5. Good one. Really enjoyed reading.

  6. DiAnne says:

    I’ve tried so many times to switch to LED bulbs. The problem is, after a month or two (literally!!) they have become so dim that they are unusable. I really wanted the LED bulbs for lamps that would be always on (accent lights). I went with LED because the energy consumed was so minimal that I could justify leaving the lamp on constantly. For the first few weeks, they were great. But after that, they started losing their brightness to the point that after two months, it was almost like having no light on in the room at all. I tried three different brands, all with the same results. I’m done. I’m going back to CFLs.

  7. robert says:

    Bummer.

    I hope mine won’t fade that quickly. Anyhow I’ve kept the receipts. If they go bad I’ll just return them and get my money back – or new ones.

    I don’t know which brand you got, but big companies like Philips or GE wouldn’t throw these on the market if they weren’t lasting as expected. Or at least pretty close. They can’t afford to lose big bucks on this.

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