Micro Center had the Inland warm white A19 LED bulbs on sale this week and had a hard time keeping them in stock. I snagged an 800 lumen (60W equivalent), non-dimmable bulb, which uses 10 watts, for $13. It’s not the state of the art in 10W LED bulbs, but the price is right and it has a 3-year warranty.
They also sell a dimmable version for a couple of dollars more, but it uses 11 watts and doesn’t output quite as many lumens. Since I wasn’t planning on using the bulb with a dimmer, there’s no reason to pay for that capability in three ways.
It’s a noticeable improvement over the 400-something-lumen CFL bulb it displaced. Aside from the brightness, I can’t tell much difference between it and the other inexpensive LED bulbs I’ve been buying for the last couple of years. The light temperature is about the same, and while it’s not quite instant-on, it’s faster than some of my CFL bulbs. Anything at this price point in mid-2012 is going to have some compromises.
Regarding the light temperature, they call it warm white. It’s closer to daylight than soft white. I prefer soft white, but I haven’t seen any soft white LED bulbs at this price point. It may take some more time for that to happen. Inland advertises these as 3000K bulbs; Philips advertises its ballyhooed (and costlier) bulbs as 2700K.
Inland also markets bulbs in the 400-500 lumen range (40W equivalent) and the 1000-lumen range (75W equivalent). The local Micro Center hasn’t been able to keep the 1000-lumen bulb in stock at $20. At 13 watts, I would have bought one of those if I could have. I’m sure a non-dimmable bulb in the 1,000 lumen range, if it could sell for a couple of dollars less and consume about 12 watts, would be an even bigger seller. I hope Inland considers it.
The only complaint I have about the 800-lumen bulb I bought is that it seems to have a little bit more girth than the 400-lumen-class bulbs I’ve been buying, so I had a little bit of trouble putting it in a pendant light. A socket extender would have made that easier. I was able to get the bulb in without one, but the extenders are an option if needed. I’ve had to use them with CFLs at times too.
I can’t speak yet for the bulb’s longevity. The warranty is shorter than the big-name bulbs, and with the shorter warranty and much lower price, I would expect less quality. If it dies shortly after its warranty period I won’t be happy, but at that point an equivalent replacement will probably cost much less.
I think I’m losing the CFL bulbs I purchased prior to 2008 at a rate of about one every two months now. So I’d say my chances of buying at least a couple more of these this year are pretty good.