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The Best LED Lightbulb!

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The Best LED Lightbulb Is the Philips L-Prize

I”m replacing my old favorite LED lightbulb, the Philips 12.5 watt ambientLED, with the company”s next-generation L-prize bulb, now that its finally less than $40 ($37) online.

Philips”s next-

generation bulb is based closely on the bulb that won the $10 million government contest to create the future of lightbulbs. It”s called the L-Prize bulb, and it is more efficient at 9.7 watts (instead of 12.5 watts) than the bulb below. It”s also brighter at 940 lumens versus 800 lumens, has a much better light quality rating, and lasts 30,000 estimated hours instead of 25,000.

But let”s get this out of the way: It costs $37. LED lightbulbs aren”t cheap. But they are cost effective, lasting anywhere from 15 to 25 years, compared to about a year for regular bulbs. And they use one-fifth of the power that older bulbs require. In the long run, then, LED bulbs can save you hundreds of dollars by lasting longer and being more energy efficient.

Having said that, everyone”s house is different, and so is the kind of ambient light paint, and your preference for warmer and cooler light. Philip”s last-generation bulb was very warm. Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper (my favorite long-form reader and general hawkeye) said so and so did my friend Joe Brown, editor of Gizmodo.

The good news is that the new bulbs are less warm, says LED-light-review.com: “The Philips 420224 projects a clear and warm/yellow light. It’s not overly warm/yellow like its cousin, the 409904. The 420224 isn’t even as warm as our reference 60-watt incandescent. With the L-Prize bulb, Philips has struck a keen balance between warmth and clarity.”

Keep in mind it”s not a flood and it”s only an indoor lamp. And the shape of it is a little weird, so you can”t use lampshades that attach to the bulb head themselves. When switched off, the lamp”s orange and silver sections also look a bit strange in uncovered fixtures. But these are negligible quirks for such an efficient replacement for the standard bulb.

I”m not an expert in lightbulbs. But listen to all this love for the AmbientLED”s predecessor from green tech writers who have tested several types (keeping in mind the new bulb is even better.)

Treehugger”s Michael Graham Richard says, “[It”s his] favorite right now.” FWD”s John Herrman, who wrote a Popular Mechanics magazine feature on next-generation lightbulbs, says, “I like the Philips bulbs (they”re called lamps, technically) because they were a lot like regular incandescents.” Gregory Han, Apartment Therapy”s managing tech editor, at the end of an incredible 18-lightbulb roundup, says, “Yeah, so far the AmbientLED proved to be the best model we”ve tested from a home decor perspective, since it produces nearly the same color temps of an incandescent.” Greg”s team also gave the bulb a “Strong Recommendation,” the only bulb in their roundup to receive such a score. Consumer Reports awarded it 98/100 points, which is even more impressive considering the second-place bulb received a mere 70 points and costs $5 more than the Philips. CNET”s Candice Lombardi did a side-by-side test and found the Philips to be a lot like a regular old lightbulb in light quality.

And again, the next gen L-prize bulb is better.

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