Nearly two years ago, rising efficiency standards spelled the end of the 100W incandescent light bulb. Thankfully, your options have been steadily expanding ever since, with a full crop of new LEDs promising that same level of brightness from a substantially smaller power draw.
Of these new bulbs, the GE 100W Replacement LED is one of the best. Drawing just 16 watts to put out a very bright 1,600 lumens, GE’s dimmable, omnidirectional bulb ranks as one of the most efficient we’ve ever tested. Switch over from an incandescent, and it’ll pay for itself in about two years — a full eight years before the 10-year warranty expires. Its retail price of $21 sits above worthy competitors from Cree and Utilitech , but considering just how much GE gets right with this bulb, I think it’s well worth it.
GE didn’t put much effort into hiding the hardware on its 100W replacement LED. Rather, this bulb embraces a heat sink-centric design, with long, vertical fins around the bulb which help to disperse the heat, and which also create the illusion of a traditionally-shaped light.
Obviously, this makes for an LED that’s rather conspicuous in appearance, but my real concern was whether or not those fins would affect the light output. With the bulb hidden under a lamp shade, I was happy to find that they didn’t — the light output was perfectly even and omnidirectional, with no fin-shaped dim spots to speak of.
Plenty of light from GE’s 100W Replacement LED (pictures)
Measuring its light output, GE says its bulb puts out 1,600 lumens’ worth of illumination at a warm-toned 2,700 K. Under the scrutiny of our spectrometer, that color temperature rang in closer to 2,600 K — lower and more yellowy than any other 100W replacement we tested.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and may even be a good thing if you prefer warm tones in your home. For my tastes, I like a more golden glow from my lights, and GE’s bulb certainly fits that bill. If you’re hoping for a more neutral daylight tone, though, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
|Cree 100W Replacement LED||GE Energy Smart 100W Replacement LED||Philips 100W Equivalent LED||Sylvania 100W Replacement Ultra LED||Utilitech 100W Equivalent Warm White LED|
|Efficiency (lumens per watt)||89||100||88||84||100|
|Estimated yearly energy cost||$2.17||$1.93||$2.29||$2.29||$1.93|
|Color temperature (stated / measured)||2,700 K / 2,663 K||2,700 K / 2,602 K||2,700 K / 2,628 K||2,700 K / 2,664 K||3,000 K / 2,999 K|
|Lifespan||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||18,000 hours|
|Color rendering index||80||81||80||83||85|
|Weight||5.80 oz.||5.65 oz.||8.50 oz.||11.45 oz.||7.80 oz.|
The bulb’s most impressive spec is that it only consumes 16 watts of electricity, efficient enough to put out 100 lumens per watt. That ties it with Utilitech’s bulb, making the two of them the most efficient 100W replacements we tested. Nothing else was able to get above 90 lumens per watt.
With that power draw, GE’s bulb would add less than $2 to your energy bill each year, assuming you’re paying 11 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) and using it an average of 3 hours per day. Under the same parameters, a 100W incandescent would cost more than $12 per year, assuming it lasted that long (incandescents are typically rated to last about 1,000 hours). Like other Energy Star-certified LEDs, the GE 100W Replacement LED is rated to last 25,000 hours — well over 20 years.
GE backs its longevity claims up with a 10-year warranty, the same warranty that Cree offers for its bulbs. That’s as long a warranty as you’ll find on a brand-name light bulb, and an exceptional deal for skeptics who aren’t sold on LED value just yet.
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