Forum Thread

Should I buy older LED bulbs with better construction / heatsinks or the newer, cheaper LED bulbs?

not_crispy 519 212 January 4, 2016 at 12:12 PM
I'm finally seeing the older bulbs start to go on clearance to make room for the newer i.e. cheaper construction bulbs. Does it make sense to buy the older ones over the newer? The older still cost slightly more per bulb but should actually last their stated life.

For the newer bulbs, I'm not talking about the really, really cheap <5K life ones.

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#2
Do you have name brands and model numbers? It really matters if you have seen the tear down videos.

https://www.youtube.com/user/electronupdate has done a lot of teardown videos and he knows his stuff. The 1st gen Cree, and some of the higher end phillips bulbs are a lot better built then the newer bulbs that are the race to the bottom bulbs your seeing now. I should stop by some of my retailers and see what's on sale.

The important thing is is to follow the directions, so if the bulb you buy isn't rated for moisture, don't put it outside or in the bathroom. If the bulb isn't rated for enclosed fixtures, don't put it in one etc.

Personally I am still waiting to find a good deal on some retrofit can style LED's for my kitchen at a good price.
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#3
Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
Do you have name brands and model numbers? It really matters if you have seen the tear down videos.

https://www.youtube.com/user/electronupdate has done a lot of teardown videos and he knows his stuff. The 1st gen Cree, and some of the higher end phillips bulbs are a lot better built then the newer bulbs that are the race to the bottom bulbs your seeing now. I should stop by some of my retailers and see what's on sale.

The important thing is is to follow the directions, so if the bulb you buy isn't rated for moisture, don't put it outside or in the bathroom. If the bulb isn't rated for enclosed fixtures, don't put it in one etc.

Personally I am still waiting to find a good deal on some retrofit can style LED's for my kitchen at a good price.
Retailers are clearing out older bulbs finally like the Cree TW series. One local walmart must have found some in the back somewhere. Most are tagged at $5/bulb now but wondered if it was even worth waiting it out for further price reductions. Okay bulbs are $2.5/bulb now.
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#4
Depends on the specific bulb. Some newer bulbs produce less heat, but there are things about some earlier designs that are more desirable. Teardowns and technical reviews are good when you can find them.

I'd be happy to buy Cree TW's for $2.50.
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#5
Quote from not_crispy View Post :
Retailers are clearing out older bulbs finally like the Cree TW series. One local walmart must have found some in the back somewhere. Most are tagged at $5/bulb now but wondered if it was even worth waiting it out for further price reductions. Okay bulbs are $2.5/bulb now.
I would buy all lots of the Cree TW for that price. Pretty sure the cree bulbs were a HD exclusive
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I haven't found a good all-in-one bulb yet, I have to get different types for if I want them to be dimmable (and not buzz), enclosure-safe (and not dimmanble), small (i.e. fit in encloure), and also 100W (60W and 75W aren't enough) - I would get a couple of each and test them out see how they work for you.
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Quote from slapshot136 View Post :
I haven't found a good all-in-one bulb yet, I have to get different types for if I want them to be dimmable (and not buzz), enclosure-safe (and not dimmanble), small (i.e. fit in encloure), and also 100W (60W and 75W aren't enough) - I would get a couple of each and test them out see how they work for you.
Ya not sure there is going to be a all in one bulb that meets all those needs. I actually find most LED's are brighter than their conventional bulb of the same "Equivalent" wattage. I agree about trying, but the Cree TW bulbs are great.
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Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
Ya not sure there is going to be a all in one bulb that meets all those needs. I actually find most LED's are brighter than their conventional bulb of the same "Equivalent" wattage. I agree about trying, but the Cree TW bulbs are great.
My experience too - "60W" LEDs I've used are noticeably brighter than the CFL on incan equivs.
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Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
Ya not sure there is going to be a all in one bulb that meets all those needs. I actually find most LED's are brighter than their conventional bulb of the same "Equivalent" wattage. I agree about trying, but the Cree TW bulbs are great.
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
My experience too - "60W" LEDs I've used are noticeably brighter than the CFL on incan equivs.
Packages now list the brightness (measured in lumens) of the bulbs; incandescents tended to be 700-800 for a 60W, CFLs were 800-850 for a 60W equivalent, and LEDs tend to be 850-900 for a 60W equivalent. LEDs (and CFLs to some extent) can also put out a range of light colors / temperatures (warm white, cool white, etc), whereas incandescents tended to be one color / temp. A cool white 800 lumen bulb may appear brighter than a warm white 850 lumen bulb, even though the warm white bulb is putting out more light.

The whole idea of "measuring" a light bulb's brightness with its wattage was a terrible idea, and the industry took too long to add / highlight the brightness measurement on the package. Brightness is brightness, and power use is power use. They are often related, but not always by the same amount.
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Quote from mmathis View Post :
Packages now list the brightness (measured in lumens) of the bulbs; incandescents tended to be 700-800 for a 60W, CFLs were 800-850 for a 60W equivalent, and LEDs tend to be 850-900 for a 60W equivalent. LEDs (and CFLs to some extent) can also put out a range of light colors / temperatures (warm white, cool white, etc), whereas incandescents tended to be one color / temp. A cool white 800 lumen bulb may appear brighter than a warm white 850 lumen bulb, even though the warm white bulb is putting out more light.

The whole idea of "measuring" a light bulb's brightness with its wattage was a terrible idea, and the industry took too long to add / highlight the brightness measurement on the package. Brightness is brightness, and power use is power use. They are often related, but not always by the same amount.

Indeed; I realize that wattage is a poor choice for light output, but that was the industry standard. When switching to new technologies you are stuck with old terminology due to consumers. It's like using the term "MPG" for electric cars. Consumers need to be sure they are buying the "same" as what they have so you have to use the same terminology to avoid confusion, and unfortunately it takes a long time to change that.
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Quote from jkee View Post :
Depends on the specific bulb. Some newer bulbs produce less heat, but there are things about some earlier designs that are more desirable. Teardowns and technical reviews are good when you can find them.

I'd be happy to buy Cree TW's for $2.50.
8-9W 800 lumen used to be the norm. Now it is 10-13W for 800 lumen. The newer bulbs should generate more heat; maybe they dissipate it better?

I don't think the Cree's locally will make it that low.
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Quote from slapshot136 View Post :
I haven't found a good all-in-one bulb yet, I have to get different types for if I want them to be dimmable (and not buzz), enclosure-safe (and not dimmable), small (i.e. fit in enclosure), and also 100W (60W and 75W aren't enough) - I would get a couple of each and test them out see how they work for you.
Not to mention differences in the light distribution pattern which can be very important depending on the application.

For some locations that really benefit from more light like garages, crawlspaces, unfinished basements, etc. (where aesthetics matter less), another option is a "Y" adapter that lets you connect 2 light bulbs to 1 socket. These can be a good option when used with led and cfl bulbs, often 2 60w equivalent bulbs can be had for the price of 1 75W+ equivalent bulb.

I really wish there were some fairly cheap bulbs that were 'non-dimmable' but can handle an input voltage of around 100-120V (105 or 110 might be low enough), in order to accommodate use in lights with dimmers at 100% and lights with older photocells and motion sensors.
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Last edited by jkee January 5, 2016 at 11:55 AM
#13
Quote from not_crispy View Post :
8-9W 800 lumen used to be the norm. Now it is 10-13W for 800 lumen. The newer bulbs should generate more heat; maybe they dissipate it better?

I don't think the Cree's locally will make it that low.
I must have misread what you posted, $5 is still pretty good for cree tw's.

It really comes down to specific models. Different quality tiers aren't going away. Wattage can be tricky, on reviews I've seen some bulbs are actually more efficient than the wattage rating they give.
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Last edited by jkee January 5, 2016 at 11:54 AM
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#14
Quote from slapshot136 View Post :
I haven't found a good all-in-one bulb yet, I have to get different types for if I want them to be dimmable (and not buzz), enclosure-safe (and not dimmanble), small (i.e. fit in encloure), and also 100W (60W and 75W aren't enough) - I would get a couple of each and test them out see how they work for you.
All of them will "work." I'm just worried about longevity vs price paid.

I'm really looking at GE Bright Stiks - $3-3.33/bulb. Can't tell if reviews are fake though.
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Quote from jkee View Post :
I must have misread what you posted, $5 is still pretty good for cree tw's.

It really comes down to specific models. Different quality tiers aren't going away. Wattage can be tricky, on reviews I've seen some bulbs are actually more efficient than the wattage rating they give.
Cree TW's are $5 for soft white, $5.30 for daylight at a few of my local home depot's. I thought that was still pretty high per bulb.

That was my question if the life expectancy of the older bulbs would be worth the $2-2.64/bulb premium.
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