LED light bulbs are the longest-lasting and most efficient mass-produced light sources to date. And now, they’re also among the most affordable, with some costing less than $10 per bulb — a drastic drop compared to their recent $50 price tag.
They’ll also do anything an incandescent or compact flourescent bulb can do, and more. Last week, the New York Times published aproduct review of LED bulbs from six manufacturers, several with features such as dimming, changing colors, and pulsing. Four of the bulbs reviewed can be controlled remotely: using an iPhone or Android app, users can control the brightness and colors of Philips Hue bulbs, and Greenwave Solution bulbs come with an online app that users can program according to their schedules — turning off all the lights at night or when they’re away.
The article’s author lauds the benefits of LED light bulbs, and with good reason. Even in 2012, when the bulbs cost closer to $50 instead of $10, an LED bulb saved consumers about $100 over its lifetime compared to an incandescent bulb. LED bulbs save energy — from manufacture to disposal, an LED bulb uses 5 times less energy than an incandescent one.
And LED bulbs are far more efficient than incandescent bulbs and last longer than both incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs, as the NY Times points out:
LEDs last about 25 times as long as incandescents and three times as long as CFLs; we’re talking maybe 25,000 hours of light. Install one today, and you may not own your house, or even live, long enough to see it burn out. (Actually, LED bulbs generally don’t burn out at all; they just get dimmer.) You know how hot incandescent bulbs become. That’s because they convert only 5 to 10 percent of your electricity into light; they waste the rest as heat. LED bulbs are far more efficient. They convert 60 percent of their electricity into light, so they consume far less electricity. You pay less, you pollute less.
LED bulbs have been popular installations in flashlights and Christmas lights for the past few years, but maybe this recent price drop coupled with the high-tech features the bulbs boast of — along with the federal phase-out of some kinds of incandescent bulbs — will help spur more regular household use of LEDs — an important scenario to consider, given that electricity used to power homes, businesses and industry is the highest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.