This is a guest post by Peter Galletta from Green Home Huddler
I recently got my hands on 2 different LED light bulbs. These two in particular are Par30 flood lights, which is what an average residential recessed light uses. Light number one came courtesy of EarthLed and light #2 was found at Costco.
I was shocked and awed by the EarthLED LED light bulb out of the box; and the Lights of America (LOA) LED light bulb was about as exciting as one would expect a light bulb to be. The LOA bulb I got appeared to be repackaged for Costco. Whether there's any difference between what Costco sells and other LOA offerings I can not be certain (In my past experience with Costco, they carry some items packaged for them that are slightly different than what's sold at other retail chains, especially electronics/computers).
The EarthLed is a work of art. I just want to look at it on my desk like a mini sculpture. It has the attention to detail that you'd expect from a company like Apple with any of their chic gadgets, so it was a surprise to see it in a LED light bulb. The outer portion of the bulb is an aluminum heat sink. The front of the bulb is glass. Good looks aside, the overall weight of the bulb is beefy too, feels substantial, durable and overall feels extremely well built. In contrast, the LOA LED is opposite in every way. It looks like a plain jane floodlight (yes, I realize that's not important to earth lovers), the outer casing looks like plated aluminum and the lens cover was plastic, not glass. Overall, the LOA had a cheap, plasticy feel to it.
There is actually quite a bit of difference in the length of these 2 led light bulbs. The EarthLED is about 1.5" shorter than the LOA. I'd say the LOA is the more standard length when compared to traditional flood lights and the EarthLED is more similar to a "Short Neck" style flood light. This was actually a pleasant surprise for me. All my existing floodlights for my recessed light cans are short necks (you can get short necks at Home Depot or Lowes, they just don't come in as wide of a variety of wattages as normal length bulbs). My logic is I want the light "recessed" in my recessed light can, not flush with the ceiling like normal length bulbs appear to do.
The LOA LED light bulb appears to be made up of an array of small LEDs, each LED similar to what you'd see on a keychain light, just a whole bunch of them (I count about 60). The EarthLED has a central location where the LED is located. The LED itself is covered by a yellow overlay, so you can't really see the actual LED light. Regardless, this leaves me to believe there is only one or so central LED's doing the work.
Both bulbs were placed in areas of my home where they wouldn't be overly influenced by natural light or other lights in the area (the same space has halogen floodlights). The EarthLED takes about 1.5 seconds to turn on after the switch has been flipped. Not horrible when compared to CFL's and the amount of warm up time they require, but long enough that it took some getting used to (at first I'd flip the switch back and forth as if the circuit had blown or some other issue). The LOA LED turned on instantly, no delay.
Lets see, if I leave these bulbs on non-stop and their stats are to be believed (EarthLED 50,000 hours/LOA 30,000), I should be back in about 5 years to report on their lifespan. If something comes up before that, I'll let you know. Since the lifespans are rated differently by the manufacturer, it's hard to compare
Light Color (Color Temp)
This part is a bit more difficult to compare since they are spec'd at different color temperatures. The EarthLED LED light bulb is 3000k (Warm White) and the LOA LED light bulb has no kelvin measurement (though, the model number is 2002LEDR30-65K, so I think the 65k might be the kelvin, 6500 k?). The EarthLED has pretty good coloring (especially compared to the LOA LED, more on that later), but, it's still a touch too blue for my taste. I'm not sure if its because my eyes are wired for incandescent or not. I'll need more time with it to tell for sure. That said, its perfectly sufficient and I'm sure it would grow on me with time.
In contrast, the LOA LED light bulb was horrendous. The color temp was so far north on the scale that it just might be 6500k. The light it emits is almost a neon blue. Having someone stand under the light (like my son in the photo to the right) is reminiscent of a poor soul being sucked into a spaceship (Think "Fire in the Sky" or "Close Encounters of Third Kind"). It did provide sufficient brightness, but I could not imagine a single location that I would actually want to use this bulb. I have 32 recessed light cans in my house, and all of them will be sans LOA LED.
I'd stick with Costco for buying 3 gallons of ranch dressing or perhaps a nice engagement ring, but I'd steer clear of the Lights of America LED light bulbs for now. It is refreshing to see a major retailer trying to sell this bleeding edge green tech, but the product they are offering just isn't there yet (regardless of cost). If you have the financial resources, the EarthLED EarthPar 30 LED light bulb is the way to go. For me, it will be a slow transition as my existing bulbs burn out, but I could see using these in high use areas for the future.