While compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) once led the way with lower costs, light emitting diode (LED) light bulb prices have been dropping quickly and are now competitively priced at $5 or lower. Growing in popularity, LED sales now account for 15 percent of the 1.7 billion bulbs sold annually in the United States. In fact, leading bulb-maker General Electric recently decided to stop making CFLs and focus on LED bulbs.
With the rise of energy efficient and smart LED light bulbs in recent years, home lighting designers have been enjoying the huge range of lighting options. LED bulbs offer everything from low wattage offerings you can adjust for either outdoor or traditional indoor lighting to smart bulbs you can remotely control to turn on and change color. Multi-colored smart LED bulbs even let you create lighting schemes to enhance video games, movies, and music — or perhaps, a more intimate, romantic mood.
As the calendar coyly draws nearer to Valentine’s Day, let’s look at ways you, too, can fall in love with energy efficiency by installing these top 7 trendy light bulbs in your home.
This is Cree’s most recent energy efficient replacement for the standard 60 watt incandescent bulb. Fully dimmable with no buzz or hum, it delivers 815 lumens of lighting at the classic warm-looking 27,000° kelvin color temperature — but for only 10 watts of power. Energy Star rated and safe to use in enclosed fixtures, it has an estimated life of 30,000 hours, and it’s priced at about $8.00.
This replacement for a 65 watt flood or spot light uses only 8 watts. The lower wattage means less heat which makes it an excellent replacement for can fixtures (known to vent warm air into your attic during the winter). The bulb’s unusual design helps keep it cooler than other “can-safe” LED bulbs — it looks like a ovoid cloud suspended over the rest of the bulb. Also weighing less than other LED options, it’s available in a variety of standard color temperatures and is priced around $12.00.
These have been hot decorative bulbs for years. They use tungsten filament and give off a warm orange glow. While they look great because of the smokey glass and squirrel-cage wound filaments, they don’t put out the same amount of lumens as other bulbs. A 60 watt antique bulb might eat 60 watts of power but only put out 240 lumens and last about 3,000 hours.
Consequently, if you really want that tungsten filament look, you will pay for it every time you turn on the bulb. Fortunately, there are dimmable LED versions that are more efficient, last 20,000 hours and still give off the same warm orange light. You get most of that antique look without all those old fashioned costs.
This technology can produce incredible interior design effects while still providing practical under cabinet illumination in your kitchen. It’s easy to find at a home improvement center and easy to install even if you’re not an expert. Available in spools of white or multicolored light, complete lighting kits run from $20 to $70 – just cut and splice! Complete smart kits are available for about $50.00.
This smart LED light bulb system lets you set color and mood through your smart phone. While the bulbs themselves are not compatible with WiFi or Bluetooth, Hue bulbs are controlled by a hub using an open standards protocol called ZigBee. An app lets you address each bulb connected to the hub. The starter kit with three color bulbs (16 million colors) and the hub is about $200.00. Phillips also offer the Hue Lightstrip.
It’s the world’s first WiFi enabled multicolored smart bulb. You screw it into the fixture, download the app onto your device, and you’re all set. You can program preset themes to match your schedule. There are also cool effects like a music visualizer, candle flicker, strobe, and color cycle. And the top-of-the-line Color 1000 model (1055 lumens) emits the equivalent light of a 75 watt incandescent bulb using only 11 watts. Each bulb is priced at $60.00.
7) Bluetooth Speaker Bulbs
This light bulb technology has been around for quite few years. Sony, eTiger, and Ion all offer smart lighting/audio devices that provide medium lumen output (an average of 350 lumens) with medium music power (less than 11 watts).
But if you’re looking for something to really “Rimsky some Korsakov”, there’s the Sengled Pulse speaker bulb. Each dimmable bulb is capable of 600 lumens and equipped with a 1.75” 13 watt JBL speaker. You can install a pair of starter pack bulbs into standard bulb sockets and then stream your music and set up lights from your smart phone. Total power consumption is 15 watts with a peak of 30 watts — but most of energy use comes from powering the speakers. You can add up to 8 additional speaker bulbs to the system and wirelessly connect the music streaming to the lights bulbs to your existing subwoofer using the Pulse Amp. The starter pair costs about $149.
Are you using LED light bulbs in your home? Have any experience using them to create your connected home? Talk to us in the comments!