Wednesday, May 15, 2013

IKEA LEDARE 10W ("60W") LED Bulb Review

So, I finally got around to splurging on the new 10W LED E26 bulb from Ikea. As you may know from my previous post, this is not a "real" 60W incandescent equivalent because the rated output is only 600 lumens, as opposed to 800 lumens. And if you're interested, here are my reviews for the 4.5W and 8.5W bulbs from Ikea.

Behold, the "60W"-ish Ikea bulb!

Ikea LEDARE 10W (600 lumen, ~60W equiv.) Package
To blow $15 on a light bulb is a fun endeavor considering the fact that CFLs can now be had relatively cheaply. However, by 2016, Ikea (Canada at least) plans to stop selling CFLs and only have LEDs on sale -- mercury, yo. The good news is that this commitment and mass production should eventually lead to lower prices. And why not be ahead of the curve and buy a few "samples"? Seriously, you don't have to worry about mercury in broken bulbs anymore, concerns about UV light emitted by light fixtures are lower, and the LED bulbs I've seen so far are all plastic, so they shouldn't be as easy to break.

The 10W LEDARE is the "top of the line" model being the only LED bulb advertised as dimmable that Ikea offers at this point. If you've been to Home Depot lately, you'll have seen the absolute whoring of the Philips line of bulbs. Last I checked, the Ikea bulbs are generally competitive in price to the Philips bulbs. However, Philips has more choice and brighter bulbs -- they have "real" 60W, 75W, and 100W equivalents. You'll just pay through the nose for the brighter and dimmable bulbs.

Just so you don't get bored, here are some pictures of the Ikea bulb and a CFL bulb used for comparison purposes. Yes, I do have "60W" CFLs, but I was too lazy to get them for this demonstration. Sorry?

Anyways, the thing that you should pay attention to is that the "60W" LED is brighter than the "40W" CFL (duh). The table and camera position was left completely the same -- I finally got a tripod. Pay attention to the light on the curtain. I'm going to guess that the camera's auto-focus and shutter distorts the apparent brightness.

Naked CFL ~8W (4100k, 40W equiv.) 
Shaded CFL ~8W (4100k, 40W equiv.)
Naked Ikea LEDARE 10W (2700k, 60W equiv.)
Shaded Ikea LEDARE 10W (2700k, 60W equiv.)
Ikea LEDARE 10W LED Bulb - $14.99
Colour Temperature: 2700k (warm)
Output: 600 lumens (60W-ish incandescent equivalent)
Dimmable: Yes (according to product literature)


Just had to screw it in. Lefty-loosy, righty-tighty. This is a standard E26 base, so it should fit a lot of fixture types.

As with all LEDs I've used so far, the first thing I noticed when removing the bulb from the package was that it was heavier than both CFLs and incandescent bulbs. The mid-section is usually metal and the "glass" is plastic too. Ikea's website says that the lens is polycarbonate.


Don't hang it off a wire?

Expandability / Customizability

You can choose any of thousands of shades and fixtures to put it in.

Everyday Use 

It's almost bright enough to light up an entire room on full. With a fixture that fits two bulbs, it would be more than adequate for me. Otherwise, I'm sure there's a table lamp or two that I can find a place for it in. For my purposes, I have installed my bulb in the stairwell because it's more than adequate for that small space. And I didn't even have to get my ladder out.

Funny and stupid story: I wanted to test out the dimming feature of the bulb, so I put it into a 3-way switch (tri-light) socket. It's been over five years since I got that lamp and I completely forgot that those bulbs don't actually "dim". They have 2 separate contacts for low, medium, and high settings. Luckily, I didn't start a fire because on Mr. Google, there's a report of someone who popped a new LED bulb by putting it into a tri-light -- there are also dozens of people who have successfully used regular, non 3-way switch CFLs and incandescent bulbs in tri-light lamps. Without an actual dimmable fixture in the house, I'm out on luck on the dimming part of this LEDARE bulb and can not comment on if it works or not.

Update: Not having a dimmable fixture in the house, the dimming function was never a concern with me. According to recent research though, dimming is much more complicated than a bulb being advertised as "dimmable" and "non-dimmable". LEDs are relatively new technology and dimmers may only be designed for older incandescent bulbs. It's a somewhat interesting read if you bother to google it. The key point that I got out of it was that dimmable LEDs were not guaranteed to work with all dimmers. Some bulb manufacturers actually produce compatibility lists (i.e. specific bulb models tested to work with specific dimmer models).

Overall, it's a bulb: it makes light and hasn't blown out yet. Check back with me in ten years to see if it's really as durable as advertised? You can get a "real" 800 lumen, 60W equivalent bulb at Home Depot for about the same price. It's a Philips LED rated at 10.5W that goes for $14.88. This one isn't advertised as dimmable though.