GE's Reveal LED bulb emits color–enhancing light.Stock up soon on your favorite 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent (traditional) lightbulbs for table and floor lamps and track lighting. At the end of this year, in keeping with a federal law passed in 2007, manufacturers like General Electric and Philips will no longer be allowed to manufacture such bulbs for sale in the United States. So whatever remains on store shelves on Jan. 1 is all there will ever be.
But what about when that supply is gone?
Lightbulb makers have been preparing for this deadline for two years,since the production of traditional 100-watt incandescent bulbs was outlawed in 2012, followed by a production ban on traditional 75-watt incandescent bulbs this year. Now there are alternatives aplenty in the form of new LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs, older CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs and halogen bulbs. You can even buy some other incandescent bulbs that were exempted under the law, the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).
LED lightbulb options
Those traditional bulbs for table and floor lamps are known by their lighting industry style name "A19,"while floodlight bulbs made for track lights and in-ceiling fixtures are dubbed "BR30."Your best long-term alternative to either style is extremely energy-efficient LED technology.
Philips' LED lightbulb has a rated lifetime of 22.8 years.The LED equivalent of a 60-watt A19 bulb consumes only between 9 and 12 watts, and provides about the same light output, measured in lumens. A 40-watt equivalent LED bulb consumes only 6 to 8.5 watts. And a 65-watt BR30 (floodlight) replacement LED bulb consumes only 10 to 13 watts.
Moreover, an LED bulb's lifespan is practically infinite. Manufacturers typically estimate a bulb's lifespan based on three hours of use per day. By that measurement, an LED bulb will be as good as new for at least a decade, manufacturers say. Under the same conditions, an old-fashioned lightbulb may work for only about a year before burning out.
For example, GE's equivalent Reveal LED bulb has a rated lifetime of 15,000 hours or 13.7 years. Philips'equivalent LED bulb has a rated lifetime of 25,000 hours or 22.8 years.
LED bulbs will continue to light up even after their rated lifetimes expire; however, brightness may drop or the color cast of the light may change.
GE, Philips, Sylvania, Cree and other brands all offer LED bulbs that output the most popular "soft white"light, at retailers including Home Depot, Target and Walmart. In addition, GE recently expanded its Reveal lineup of color-enhancing lightbulbs (a coating filters out yellow tones to enhance colors lit by the bulb) with LED replacements equivalent to 40-watt and 60-watt A19 bulbs and to a 65-watt BR30 bulb. "Daylight"LED bulbs, which provide a whiter light than soft white or Reveal bulbs, are available, as well.
To be sure, LED bulbs cost a lot more than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. For example, GE's 60-watt–equivalent soft white LED bulb, sold under the Energy Smart moniker, retails for about $11, and Philips' version retails for about $16. GE's Reveal LED bulb costs between $20 and $22. By comparison, one of GE's outgoing 60-watt Reveal incandescent bulbs costs about $1.
But occasionally, these LED bulbs go on sale, potentially reducing their prices to as low as $5-$8 each.
CFL and Halogen bulbs
Other replacement lightbulb choices consume more power than LED bulbs and have shorter rated-lifespans, but cost much less upfront.
A 60-watt–equivalent CFL bulb from Philips, for example, consumes 13 watts and has a rated lifetime of 12,000 hours (or about 11 years) when lit for three hours a day, but retails for only $1.50-$2.00.
While technically a form of incandescent lighting, halogen bulbs are more efficient than traditional bulbs, and so the ban does not affect them. But they are still no match for LEDs. A 60-watt–equivalent halogen bulb from Philips consumes 43 watts and has a rated lifetime of 1,000-1,250 hours (up to 417 days or 1.1 years). However, it retails for just $1.00-$1.25.
Other lightbulb alternatives
EISA will also stop the manufacturing of candle-and globe-shaped 60-watt incandescent bulbs (the types used in chandeliers and bathroom vanity light fixtures). However, the law doesn't affect 40-watt versions of those bulbs, nor three-way (50 to 100 to 150-watt) incandescent A19 bulbs. So, those will continue to be an option for you, as well, in fixtures that will accommodate them.
|Lamp (A19) |
|Price per bulb|
(Hrs. @ 3 hrs./day;
varies by Mfr.)
(Varies by Mfr.)
(Varies by Mfr.)