Energy-efficient light bulbs

October 8, 2010 8:30:20 PM PDT
When it comes to buying energy-efficient light bulbs, you have new choices.

LED bulbs are just hitting store shelves now. They claim to last five times longer than CFLs and 25 times longer than incandescents. Consumer Reports took a first look at one of the newest LEDs, the Cree CR6, to see how it stacks up.

It's very similar to an incandescent bulb, but it doesn't get hot and it uses less energy. Consumer Reports' testers have the bulb burning continuously. The Cree CR6's manufacturer says the bulb will last a whopping 50,000 hours! That means the bulb would last 22 years if you burn it 6 hours a day.

In a first look at the Cree CR6, Consumer Reports found that it has some advantages over CFLs. When you turn it on, it brightens right away, but CFLs can take a couple of minutes to fully illuminate.

And with the Cree CR6, colors under the light look similar to how they appear under a regular incandescent. But the downside with LEDs is their price. A single floodlight can cost $60.

But Consumer Reports tests show that there are plenty of good-performing CFLs that cost far less. Top Ratings went to some EcoSmart bulbs from Home Depot.

  • For floodlights: the EcoSmart 780-758 that cost $13 dollars for two.
  • For lamp bulbs the EcoSmart 423-599 that cost $6 for four.
  • Consumer Reports tests find they'll burn thousands of hours longer than incandescents.

    Consumer Reports says it will be testing the new LED light bulbs as they arrive in stores. We'll keep you posted how they perform.


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