Finally! Time to Buy Small, Round Dimmable LED Bulbs

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It’s about time.

Well, actually, it’s about energy conservation, saving money and light quality.

For years, I’ve been looking for a frosted, round candelabra base (G16) dimmable LED bulb that I can use in my high-use fixtures. And yesterday, I found what I’ve been looking for in my local hardware store.

Apparently, GE is making a big push for it’s LED bulbs because in a matter of weeks, my store went from selling a smattering of off-brand bulbs to carrying a wide variety of GE LED bulbs. Included was this little beauty. So, in the name of energy geekery, I purchased one at the outrageous price of $21. Outrageous because I just looked on-line and it turns out I can get the same bulb for $5.44 at Walmarts in the area. While I don’t regularly shop at Walmart, this deal is too good to pass up.

The good

  • It’s a visual replacement for the small round bulbs in my fixtures. When it’s not lit, without looking closely, you wouldn’t realize that it’s different.
  • The $5.44 Walmart price can’t be beat. I calculated my yearly energy cost, per bulb, in my kitchen as around $26 so this will pay for itself *fast*.
  • It’s brighter than a typical 40W incandescent bulb. 350 Lumens vs. under 300.
  • Long life. 20,000 hours vs. 3,000 hours. I swear the life of the incandescent bulbs is even shorter. I’m constantly replacing these.
  • Light quality is very good. Without looking closely, you wouldn’t think anything was amiss.

The bad

  • It doesn’t dim very well. Other manufacturers have mastered dimming for years. This bulb dims but it’s glaringly obvious which bulb is the incandescent and which is the LED once you turn down the dimmer
  • It’s brighter! Why’s this bad? Because it stands out from the non-LED bulbs, so unless you replace all bulbs that are near enough to compare, it’s going to be obvious that “one of these things is not like the other.”

The Savings

My kitchen lights stay on almost all the time. We try to turn them off at night but often they burn 24/7. At the very least, they’re on 12 hours per day, so I’ll use that for a cost analysis. YMMV.

Bulb analysis

Conventional: 12 hours/day * 365 days/year * 40W  = 175kWh/year

At $0.15/kWh, that equals $26.25/year per bulb

GE LED: 12 hours/day * 365 days/year * 5W = 22kWh/year

That’s $3.30/year per bulb, a savings of $22.95/year!

I’ve got 6 bulbs in my kitchen in those fixtures, so, excluding bulb cost, I’m going to save about $138 in electricity in my kitchen alone.

What about bulb cost?

If I buy these at the Walmart $5.44 ($5.77 w/tax), those 6 bulbs will cost $34.62 so they’ll pay for themselves in just four months. Even if I factor in the cost of driving to the store, it’s well worth it. The only problem I have is that I can’t seem to buy more than 2 at my local Walmart so I have to wait to change out the bulbs. In the meantime, I have to keep burning money keeping those ancient, inefficient incandescent bulbs lit up!


4 thoughts on “Finally! Time to Buy Small, Round Dimmable LED Bulbs

    • I haven’t noticed a peep out of them. I’ll have to listen more closely.

      I also just recently installed a Home automation switch dimmer which works amazingly well from 0 to 100 percent. I was shocked at how well they dimmed.

  1. Is the bulb at Walmart being subsidized? I know you live in PA and I have recently moved from PA to Maine. We can get CREE 60w equivalent LED’s at Home Depot for $1.97 but they are subsidized by Efficiency Maine. My conservative heart says that is BS but in reality at that price it hardly makes sense to buy incandescent. I am waiting for CREE to make a bigger equivalent in a three way. We have a light that is on a lot at 150w three way and it is not just the electric savings I am after it is the heat output. As you may have discovered a high wattage bulb puts out a lot of heat and that damages expensive shades if you leave it on long enough.

    I did try the CREE 3/8/18 three way but found the max output to be too low for reading. The lamp also went bad after a few weeks so I think their quality may need to be improved on three way technology. But that was only one example.

    • Probably, because that price is much cheaper than I found the bulb elsewhere.
      I’m with you on the 3-Way. I’m using a giant CFL for that purpose now but would love to have an LED that’s bright enough. If you ever find one, let me know!

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