Cree LED Light Bulb

I’m a big fan of Cree LEDs. I use them in almost all my flashlights. Last month, a Cree LED light bulb was introduced that replaces a 60 watt incandescent bulb. (Cree Press Release) The bulb retails for $12.97.

Specifications from Cree:

  • 9.5 Watts (84% less energy)
  • 800 Lumens brightness
  • 25,000 Hour rated lifetime
  • $1.14* Annual energy cost
  • Lifetime savings: $139*
  • Warm color temperature: 2,700K
  • Lights instantly, omni-directional
  • Mercury free
  • Safety-coated glass
  • Dimmable
  • 10-Year Limited Warranty
  • UL damp rated
  • Fits most lamps
  • Diameter: 2.4 inches
  • Length: 4.6 inches

*Cree’s calculation of $1.14 yearly operating cost is based on 3 hours/day and $0.11 per kWh. Cree’s lifetime savings calculation is based on $0.11 per kWh when compared to 60W incandescent and 25,000 hour lifetime.

It seems that the Cree LED Light Bulb is only available so far from Home Depot. I bought my bulb online from Home Depot and with $1.17 sales s surprised that the light bulb’s envelope felt like it had a rubber coating. It has a standard North American Edison screw E26 socket. I replaced a 15W warm compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) that was in a table lamp with the Cree LED Light Bulb. The LED seems brighter.

When I removed the lamp shade to photograph the bulb, I noticed that the bulb was hot enough so that I couldn’t hold it – so despite consuming only 9.5 watts, it still gets very hot. There is a heat sink around the base of the envelope.

When I photographed the illuminated bulb, I set the camera’s color balance for daylight, so the yellow color of the light reflecting off the wall in the background is a good representation of what it looks like to the human eye.

For the chart below I used the following cost assumptions:
Incandescent bulbs: GE 60-Watt Reveal A19 General Purpose Incandescent Light Bulb (6-Pack) $8.77 ($1.46/bulb, 1000 hour life)

CFL bulbs: Feit Electric 15 Watt ( Mini Twist Dimmable Light Bulb (12-Pack) $104 ($8.67/bulb, 8,000 hour life)

LED bulb: Cree 9.5-Watt A19 Warm White (2700K) LED Light Bulb (1-Pack) ($12.97 25,000 hour life)

Cost of electricity from PG&E, about $0.13/kWh.

To get 25,000 hours with a 60 watt incandescent bulb, you would need 25 of them, at a cost of $36.50. The cost of 4 CFL bulbs for 25,000 is $34.68. The cost of the Cree LED bulb for 25,000 hours is $12.97.

There’s no question about the cost savings of the LED bulb versus incandescent. Total cost for 60 watt incandescent bulbs for 25,000 hours is $231.50. Total cost for 15 watt CFL bulbs for 25,000 hours is $83.43. Total cost for a 9.5 watt LED bulb for 25,000 hours is $43.85.

People who want to keep using incandescent bulbs may not be able to do the math or maybe they’re using them to keep their popcorn warm.