So I took the plunge and bought a package of the Ecosmart 40w equivalent soft white LED bulbs last week. As long as you’re aware that it’s not dimmable–let me repeat that, it’s not dimmable–it’s a really good bulb, especially at $10 for a package of two, assuming no local subsidies.
For $5 each, you get 450 lumens of soft white light while consuming only 6 watts of power.
The packaging bills it as instant on, and indeed, in my ceiling fan with three other LED bulbs, it’s the first to light up. It’s also the softest white of all four of the bulbs, comparable at least to the Cree bulbs that I favor.
Being non-dimmable is a problem for some, but keep in mind you get a lower price and better energy consumption without it. I’d rather save the money where I don’t need the ability to dim, and there are a lot of places I don’t need it.
The bulb is very close in shape to a traditional incandescent and it’s much lighter than the LEDs I was buying a few years ago. If you drop this bulb on your foot, you won’t hurt yourself, which I can’t necessarily say about early LED bulbs. It also won’t break if you drop it on most surfaces, but I still don’t recommend doing that.
The bulb comes with a five-year warranty, which, while not industry-leading, is still better than some. Save the UPC and the receipt, and write the date of purchase on the bulb.
Regarding sizing, I can typically light a room with 3-4 of these 40W equivalent bulbs, or 2-3 of the 60W equivalent bulbs. So if your light fixture takes four bulbs, get 40w equivalents. If it takes three, get 60W equivalents. The 60W equivalent bulbs give you a few more lumens per dollar right now, but in the long run you’ll save more money by using 40W equivalents where it’s appropriate.
Cree’s 60W equivalent bulbs are ever so slightly more efficient (both brands’ 40W equivalents are rated at 6 watts), but the Ecosmart 40W equivalent LED bulbs cost half as much as the Cree. The Cree has a longer warranty, so it probably is the better bulb. But there’s a caveat: We know how to make LED bulbs that give 100 lumens per watt, it just doesn’t happen at this price point yet. By the time these Ecosmarts reach the end of their life, I’ll probably be able to replace them with bulbs that are using 50% less energy.
Knowing that there are more efficient bulbs on the horizon in a year or two, these may be my go-to bulb for a while, since they’re affordable, give off nice light, readily available, and I’ve been scooping up 60W equivalents for the last year or so.