Emily and I just moved into a new apartment. The place is larger and has much better natural light and interior lighting than our old place, which should make the Chicago winter pass more easily. However, this great interior lighting comes courtesy of a lot of light fixtures, most with incandescent bulbs. I believe I counted all of them: 54 bulbs, and they range from 35 watts (track lighting) to 100 watts (recessed cans), save a couple 13-watt CFLs.
This was unacceptable to yours truly. Even in the previous apartment, which was much smaller, I had replaced all of the bulbs with CFLs and some tolerably performing LED bulbs, though the use of the latter was limited by their poor output per dollar a couple of years ago.
However, LED bulbs for general 110-volt home lighting recently have improved significantly in light output and beam spread. That has allowed the replacement of most of the lights in this new apartment with the following two bulbs:
GT-7D LED Globe Light Bulb (warm white version) — I have been buying bulbs from Golden Gadgets for years. They have always had among the lowest prices for advanced bulbs, and I have never had a problem with the quality of bulbs I’ve purchased from them. This seven-watt LED bulb looks good. It is best for fixtures that face up or down (in a ceiling can, a ceiling fan or a vertical lamp), but we have them mounted horizontally in fixtures as well. The bulb looks good, especially if only the lit globe is visible, and a casual glance does not betray the fact that it is an LED bulb. Light output, to my eyes, is comparable to a sixty-watt incandescent in the area directly in front of the bulb, though off-axis lighting is less. Fifteen of these bulbs have replaced or are replacing forty-five- to one-hundred-watt incandescent bulbs around the apartment. Three- and five-watt versions are available, too.
Dimmable E26 A60-M 6-watt LED, warm white — For better or worse, more than half of the fixtures in the house are on dimmer switches. Unfortunately, my trusty Golden Gadgets does not list a lot of dimmable LED light bulbs, so I turned to Amazon. This bulb got mixed reviews, but I chalk most of the negative ones up to people who don’t understand or acknowledge the limitations of off-axis LED lighting and have not seen how far this technology has come and how much prices have dropped. This bulb works with no noise or flickering with the variety of dimmer switches that are in this apartment, though results with other switches may vary. The light output on high power is similar to the non-dimming bulbs discussed above. These bulbs dim at a consistent and pleasant color (unlike incandescents that turn orange at low power). Twenty or thirty of these have been or are being deployed around the apartment to replace incandescents.
While our first trial bulbs of each type have been in service only a couple of weeks, and the remainder only days, there have been no bulb failures. Neither bulb creates any appreciable hum or other noise, no flickering and no harshly colored output. The bulbs look nice, with the fairly standard LED heat sink and a frosted dome. Neither bulb has demonstrated any start-up lag. I highly recommend you try replacing high-draw incandescent bulbs with low-wattage LEDs, starting with these two models. If you currently use CFLs, good for you, but you should see much longer life, especially if you frequently switch them off and on, with LEDs than with CFLs. Also, LEDs are far more disposal-friendly than mercury-laden CFLs.