Tuesday, March 07, 2017

LED Replacements for 15 and 25 watt incandescent bulbs?

About four years ago when LED light bulbs were still relatively new, I paid up to CA$ 25 for one that could replace an incandescent 60-watt bulb. Things have come a long way since. Just six months ago, the move was made to swap out most of the CFL light bulbs with LEDs where I lived. It wasn't that difficult a decision with 60-watt equivalent bulbs and under going for about CA$ 5 from some brands and even lower from others. The worry for me then was in finding brighter LED bulbs to replace ceiling and wall lamps. More recently, the problem reversed itself: finding dimmer bulbs to replace desk lamps. Specifically, it was in finding dimmer bulbs with more common E26 bases.

The problem initially arose when I stuck, what I thought, was an already dim bulb in someone's desk lamp and the person said it was too bright. That LED was rated at 400 lumens which I had used for table and desk lamps without issue. I didn't find any LEDs I was satisfied with so just went with a 15-watt incandescent, but I recently decided to look again to see if anything had changed in March 2017.
Ikea LEDARE 200 lumen bulb bought around 2013

An E26 15-watt or 25-watt equivalent LED light bulb?
I wanted LED bulbs with E26 bases that were rated at 225 lumens or less. From random googling, that range should have been covered by a 15-watt or 25-watt incandescent bulb.

Plan A: Was the tiny 200 lumen Ikea LEDARE still around?
There used to be an Ikea LEDARE bulb with a 200-ish lumen rating -- I would know, I bought one in 2013. Upon checking the Ikea.ca website in early 2017, I couldn't find it anymore. What I did find were LED bulbs with ratings like 200 lumens and 100 lumens, but again, not E26. There was an E26 200 lumen RYET bulb on the American website though -- this RYET was rated at 2.8 watts with a price of US$ 2.79 for a pair according to its product page.
Assortment of Ikea and Philips LED Bulbs bought in 2016
Plan B: Check other stores?
With Ikea out of the running, the plan was to check other major retailers. This did not end up being as easy as I thought with price, availability, or something else generally getting in the way. For example, when I checked in March 2017, I did find 25-ish watt equivalent LED bulbs with the right base on a popular online retailer. However, they were from third-party sellers, brands I'd never heard of, and in packs of six.

Elsewhere, I ended up finding quite a few 300 and 350 lumen bulbs with what looked like the right base -- there was even a 250 lumen bulb but at almost CA$ 20 for a single. However, my problem started with a 400 lumen bulb so going significantly lower was more desirable.

One of the closest options was, from the product page, a GE LED bulb rated at 170 lumens and 3.5 watts with a candle-shape going for about CA$ 14 a piece (model 85766). Another option was a Philips "A15 Vintage filament bulb" rated at 220 lumens and 2 watts for about CA$ 9 each according to the product page (model 465468).

Plan C: Just buy a 15-watt incandescent bulb
Exactly what I went with. Unfortunately, it looks like these old bulbs use four times or more electricity than an equivalent LED using the info above. LEDs should also have a longer life.

It'd be great if the Ikea RYET 200 lumen bulbs made it to Canada. Otherwise, I'm somewhat interested in the Philips vintage bulb for under CA$ 10. It doesn't look that cheap but it's not outrageously expensive to me. In the meantime, I'm sticking with the incandescent bulb until it burns out.

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