Despite cost, LED lights are better than CFLs

Just when you were adjusting to CFL bulbs (though some people still refuse to use them), a new and perhaps happier lighting solution is getting more popular – the LED.

LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are more energy efficient as well as brighter and longer-lasting than CFLs, compact fluorescents and those incandescents you may be hoarding in your garage. The real problem: Five or six good-size LED recessed-can lights could cost as much as filet for two in an expensive steak house.

But LEDs could nudge other bulbs into extinction if their prices keep dropping and technology keeps improving.

LEDs are already all over your house — inside your flat-screen TVs, alarm clocks, radios, flashlights and phones. Last Christmas, you may have hung strings of LEDs on your tree. LEDs, which came out of the computer industry, are basically semiconductor diodes that give out light when voltage is applied.

Here are some price changes and improvements: A couple of years ago, an LED to replace a 65-watt recessed-can light, the kind found in ceilings all over Arizona, used to cost from $85 to $90. Now it’s $20 to $30. A couple of years ago, you had to buy a retrofit kit for the can to insert the LED bulb. Now you can screw an LED bulb right into the socket – no problem. A couple of years ago, the overly bright LEDs could make you feel as if you were sitting in a police interrogation room. Now you can buy LEDs that cast a glow that seems warmer and less blue. Read more…