LED bulbs nearly ready for primetime

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LED bulbs are nearly ready for primetime, though you’ll still pay an early adopter premium if you buy them at this point.

I recently found LEDs from LG at Costco Wholesale in two-packs for $20. (Home Depot has Phillips LEDs available for $40 per bulb.) I snatched them up at Costco and plan to go back to buy more.

Have I gone crazy? A traditional bulb can cost as little as 25 cents…and I willingly paid $10 for each LED bulb at Costco?!

The true cost of a bulb is not the price, but the cost of electricity it uses over time. LEDs offer phenomenally lower operating costs than traditional bulbs. And they last a lot longer to boot. A well-crafted LED can last up to 30 or 35 years.

The energy savings with LEDs are massive. It’s really a twofer if you think about it: A traditional incandescent bulb generates heat during the summer that increases your cooling costs. So using an LED saves you on energy twice during the summer, because it throws off less heat. (Some would argue an LED can actually raise your winter heating bill because it’s not throwing off as much heat during the cold months.)

For me, the best part about LEDs is that the light they give off is so good, compared to CFLs that have wait times to warm up and also contain small amounts of mercury.

My advice? Wait one or two years and you’ll be rewarded with much lower prices on LEDs. For the first time in history, that will make them a mass-market purchase.

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired Sept. 2011.



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