Introduction: LED to Incandescent Comparison

About: i like to tinker.

Is it worth it to replace your cheapo inefficient incandescent with pricier LED lights that run on a fraction of the power?

Step 1: In the Name of Energy Conservation...

...And money conservation!

The house we bought has traditional bulbs throughout and some light switches activate a huge array of bulbs that kill my wallet every time they are switched.

I've decided to replace all the bulbs in the house with LED equivalent as funds allow. My friends have been curious regarding the price, light output, energy usage, and longevity. As far as light output, I hope this "ible" sheds some light on the situation.

Most lights in my house have been replaced with Cree branded LED lights. The bathrooms have 50w globes I've been anxiously waiting to replace with something that has similar light output. Since the bulb itself is exposed, trying to find an LED bulb that was just as aesthetically pleasing while it was off as when it was on has been a challenge. So far Cree hasn't put out anything that I would replace the globes with.

Step 2: The Competitor

While in my local Home Depot I noticed a new display of GE bulbs that were unique. The 60w equivalent bulbs (actual power 10w) came in three packs for just over 9 bucks. Color balance was "soft white" with a Kelvin of about 2850 degrees. I've learned my lesson in the past with cool white bulbs, they are usually too cool so I stick with the "soft white" or "warm white" when replacing bulbs inside the house.

Step 3: POWA!

The fixture in question has 6 bulbs with 50w bulbs in place. 50w X 6 = 300w

Replacement LED bulbs are 10w each. 10w X 6 = 60w

That's a 5X difference in energy usage!

But ... how bright are they?

Step 4: One to One

Traditional on the left, LED on the right, FIGHT!

With an equivalent power rating 10w higher for the LED I expected the LED to be a little bit brighter. It ended up being a lot brighter.

This image was edited so you can see the light difference on the ceiling and wall behind the fixture.

Step 5: Old School Vs New School

Both photos were taken at the same exposure (200 ISO 1/10 @ f7.1) White balance was set for 5000K, which is about the color of daylight.

The color of the light for the LED is just a little less warm than the incandescent but it is much brighter.

Step 6: Conclusion

So far very happy with the results.

I won't feel guilty using my bathroom lights anymore as it uses about the same energy for the full array as it did for just one of the old bulbs.

The shape of the GE "stik" bulb throws light out very evenly. It is very similar to the globes they replaced which is exactly what I was looking for.

As the price of LED bulbs come down they become the logical answer to replacing your aging bulbs as they fail. I like the Cree bulbs as they are made in the US and seem to be made well. The oldest Cree bulbs I am using are outside and have been running 8-12 hours a night for the last year. No failures so far. These GE bulbs are made in China, the column that lights up is plastic, but they seem pretty well made.

Is it worth it? Just the first year of potential savings on this one fixture more than pays for the bulbs I purchased! The savings calculator I used was here:

** this image white balanced to 2850K. Your eyes/brain adjust to the warmth of the bulbs and eventually they would look like this to you in real life.