It was bound to happen. LED light bulbs are making their way to retails shelves.  It SHOULD be easy to figure out what’s best for consumers’ needs, but it is not.  Why, oh, why is this so! Let me provide useful information as I rail against the industry.  And I’ll let you know of one bright spot, pun intended.

LEDs have been around (in consumer products) since the late 1960s, first in battery-operated handheld calculators. I remember having one at that time. It was a no-name model, and the numbers were created from little pinpoint red LEDs. It was magical, though a simple four-function calculator. I remember it was my friend’s dad who sold them. No one else had them.  This novelty was among the gadgets that got me hooked into a lifetime interest in consumer technology.

Then, a few years later came the Pulsar LED digital watch, using what appeared to be the same kind of display, from those little pinpoint red LEDs.

Along the continuum of LED technology have come so many products that most consumers now hardly notice.  Your TV remote and other remote controls near the TV are likely signaling the equipment to make the desired changes using infrared LEDs behind the lens that is likely at the top front edge of the remote control. That is why we aim these remote controls toward the equipment.  The LEDs emit pulses of light invisible to the naked eye, received at the equipment’s receiving LED. Just for fun, if you want to “see” this invisible light, get out your digital camera or camcorder and point the remote control at either one.  Turn it on in picture-taking mode so you can see what the camera sees.

Now start pushing buttons on the remote control, while aiming it at the lens of the camera. This is perfectly safe!  If all goes as planned, you will likely see pulses or what appears to be solid light coming from the remote control. The camera’s chip-that-sees is sensitive to otherwise invisible infrared light, allowing users to see infrared light! If you want MORE fun, try this in a really dark room, aiming the remote away from the camera.  The infrared light from the remote control, when seen with the digital camera’s lens, appears like a beacon, as if pointing a flashlight to light the room.

Where else are LEDs in use today? In traffic signals and by the auto industry where they are used in taillights, interior lights and in the future, watch for very bright LEDs behind high tech headlight technology.  LEDs are also used in modern flashlights, as they offer the brightest lights for the least amount of power. The LEDs powering them are virtually indestructible.  Old-fashioned flashlights’ bulbs do not last very many hours and they are delicate. They also could not be as bright as most LEDs.  LED flashlights will do much better on battery life than any old-school flashlights.  If you dropped the old flashlight it was likely that the filament inside the bulb would be toast.  Seeing a pattern here?  LEDs are better, brighter and last MUCH longer than almost any other light source.

More LED tech?  You’ve either seen in person or know of large and colorful, bright TV-like billboards. Yes, these, too, are lit with LEDs.  And let’s not forget about TVs and computer monitors.  LCD TVs are increasingly lit from behind with LEDs and not the old fluorescent tube lights of old.  Ditto for computer monitors.  Seeing a pattern here?

Is it any wonder why LED light bulbs are ever so slowly gaining favor with consumers who have switched to CFLs?  What are CFLs?  Compact Fluorescent Lamps, a similar technology to what is providing the light behind older LCD TVs and computer monitors!

Fast forward to recent years.  LED light bulbs have been on the market for a few years, but those early products were terrible. They were priced at under $20 and touted standard bulb equivalencies to 40W.  This was a joke. I tried.  Oh, yes, I tried to like them. The problem was that they ALL failed, most multiple times. They either outright failed 100% in only a few days or weeks OR they dimmed a significant amount over only a few weeks and then failed completely.  Even when new, there was no way they were even close to the equivalent light from a standard 40W bulb.

For the past couple of years I have tested one household bulb that was different from the garbage I have seen.  This was the GeoBulb from the C. Crane Company. So impressed was I that I featured it in a YouTube video created during my visit to the 2010 CES in Las Vegas.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osuQ9e_As44&rel=0]

 

I’ve continued to check into and check out what has come since then. I’ve been underwhelmed, to put it mildly. It appears that manufacturers other than C. Crane are deliberately deceiving and misleading with their specifications and unrealistic performance details about their LED bulbs.

To understand where we are today, I want to go back in history for perspective.

Old-fashioned, more than 100-year old technology-based incandescent lights have to go!  They use massive amounts of energy, about 90% of which goes to heat, NOT light. They have a delicate wire filament inside that burns out and breaks usually in relatively few hours – maybe 750 hours, maybe 1000 or more hours, often far fewer! The heat they generate can also add to your cooling costs.  They are being phased out of existence.  Lots of folks are not happy about this, mainly because they don’t like the look of the popular alternative.

That alternative is a Compact Fluorescent Lamp, or CFL.  These became popular because they use much less energy for a similar amount of light, but there are problems.  Most serious is that they contain toxic Mercury. First, we get CFLs pushed on us and then we are told that they contain toxic Mercury. They have ALWAYS had Mercury inside, but now it is a big deal.  A CFL delivering similar light to a standard 60W bulb uses only about 13W of electricity.

On an annual basis, if left on and using a standard per Kilowatt-hour figure for the cost of electricity, EACH one of the old 60W bulb costs about $61 per year to run.  It might require replacement as many as 8 times in the year at about 85 cents each.

A 60W equivalent CFL typically lasts about 7500 hours and costs about $13 annually in electricity, a big savings over the $72 figure. If run nearly full time daily, that’s more than 8500 hours, so figure you’ll be into your second CFL bulb before year’s end.  13W CFLs can cost under $1 if bought in bulk or as much as $2-3 if purchased individually.  Some, even more expensive models claim much longer life. You can see the savings in electricity, BUT many of us do not like the apparent flickering of some CFLs and others complain about the general look of the light from them.  And they do not start up at full strength, which many of us do not like.  Brighter CFLs are available, but they use more energy, some more than about 42W for a 150W equivalent CFL. If you need lots of light, 100W equivalent or higher CFLs may be a smart choice. But remember that 26W or more energy used for a 100W equivalent CFL.  They’re not good where it’s cold, either.

What about the new LED technology in light bulbs?  Here is where the confusion is.  The industry leader today with the best 60W equivalent LED bulb is NOT a name you know, in all likelihood.  Surprised?  I was!  GeoBulb is best.  C. Crane, a name that is not well known by the masses, designed this bulb of the future from the ground up and it’s impressive: GeoBulb produces more light per watt used than anything else available today. More than incandescent, more than CFLs, more than other LED bulbs. They are also rated to last an amazing 50,000 hours and guaranteed for 5 years, even if left ON all the time, and that is an important distinction! CFLs dim as they age, too. Others cannot offer this, as you will learn!

 

C. Crane GeoBulb

Think of GeoBulb as the workhorse of efficiency for the person that wants the most efficiency. The Cool White version may be more of a work type bulb because of the bluer color of this 60W incandescent equivalent GeoBulb-3 Cool White’s bluish color.  You decide. Or maybe you prefer the look of the Soft or Warm white that you see and have similar, only slightly less apparent brightness.

Now would be a good time to watch my newest video about LED technology AND the GeoBulb.  I liked the product SO much and let C. Crane know. They have asked me to work with them to promote this excellent product.  Now, it is the best of both worlds.  I get to continue to recommend C. Crane to you, as always, and to recommend GeoBulb to you, as always, only I am getting paid to do so.  It’s still the same old me, still recommending ONLY what I believe it, never chancing disturbing the trust you have placed in me.  I would never do that. I cannot be bought.  I recommend only what I believe in. That I get paid to recommend both C. Crane and GeoBulb to you is a privilege and responsibility I do not take lightly.  You can trust me, as ever, with any information imparted to you.  

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdzobRKg76c&rel=0]

 

Remember that I mentioned efficiencies of 50,000 hours for these GeoBulbs?  If left on continuously, that’s more than 2083 days, or 5.7 years!  CFLs cannot and do not measure up when left on continuously. You’ll go through up to 7 CFLs in 50,000 hours.  And equivalent basic CFLs still use about twice the electricity of an energy-sipping 7W GeoBulb, if not more. I can tell you and you can see from my video that GeoBulb puts out a lot of useful light, aiming most of it out the top, so if they are used in an interior mud room or porch light fixture or in high ceiling in recessed fixtures, they provide an ideal amount of light. Think about where you need lights mostly ON.  The initial cost is high, but GeoBulb is built for efficiency and longevity, which is why, when used in the best scenarios, always or mostly on, they will pay for themselves in relatively little time.

Note: LED bulbs with frosted globes have several LEDs under the frosted cover.

Where others fail, I think C. Crane understands what consumers want and need in LED indoor light bulb technology and is the most honest and realistic about specifications and expectations.

For more than 22 years I’ve known, trusted and recommended C. Crane as the best catalog retailer, with the best products, best customer service, too.  They’re my go-to company for high performance radios and now, for high performance LED lights.  I NEVER receive complaints about THIS recommendation.

So what do we consumers want in an LED bulb? See if you agree.  I think we want the lowest possible energy use so they cost as little as possible to operate. We want reliability up to and even exceeding that 50,000-hour mark I told you about earlier. And we don’t want this at the expense of brightness.  The color of the light emitted has to be just right, pleasing to the eye. C. Crane’s GeoBulb has the right stuff, the right mix of positive attributes.  Others, such as one found at The Home Depot for about $40 and that uses 12.5W for its claimed equivalent 60W of light, for example, put out good light. However, that 12.5W LED runs hotter than the 7W GeoBulb.  Also, like so many others, it is rated at “only” 25,000 hours and 15 years, but I read the fine print.  Be sure you also read the fine print when you shop.  Common to the industry other than C. Crane, the usage figures are based on only 4 hours use per day.  Who uses lights that way? That’s how they arrive at the impressive of 15 years in use claim.  With the extra heat generated by 12.5W of electricity to get the brightness they claim, I’m not convinced it can last as long as claimed.

The C. Crane GeoBulb is designed to deliver its 50,000 hours of performance even if left on ALL THE TIME. That’s right, NEVER OFF.  Used only four hours each day like the one I compared, and the others, the C. Crane GeoBulb might last MORE THAN 34 years, and remember, this is while sipping only 7W of electricity, not 12.5W!  The cost of electricity for the GeoBulb will be nearly half that of the 12.5W model, for example!  Now, that’s economy, performance AND longevity.  I think this is what we want! And we want honest, realistic specifications.

The final thing we all want is a dirt-cheap price.  That is not in the cards yet.  The technology is in its relative infancy for this purpose, so be patient on the price.  They’ve come down somewhat and will continue to do so in the product generations to come. Today, however, to get these best-of-the-best, they are still expensive, but they will can pay for themselves over time, especially if installed where they are in use most of the time or ALL the time.  And these GeoBulbs are rated to last longer than the others, with exemplary amounts of usable light, so their higher cost is well understood.  The more use they see the less expensive they become.  That is why I indicated where installing Geo-Bulb makes the most sense – in locations difficult to reach AND where lights need to be ON most or all of time.  In addition, as costs for electricity continue on the rise in the years ahead, this LED technology, in the best products, also makes more sense.

What about color? Also, in my experience, I like and prefer the brightness and color of the GeoBulb Cool White.  Everyone else to whom I have shown the three choices has agreed.  It’s the brightest and most efficient of the three GeoBulb-3 models, and the one most like daylight sun in color.  This is the one delivering light most similar to a 60W incandescent bulb. When I look at standard cool white incandescent bulbs or cool white CFLs after being around the GeoBulb, light from the others looks dirty and unnatural by comparison. The fact is, it really doesn’t matter if you choose cool white, soft white or warm white. They all appear to emit a similar amount of light to my eyes, especially after becoming accustomed to having them installed. When you watched my video, with them all lined up from cool to warm to soft white, what was your impression?  I think most of you will easily adapt to and like GeoBulb. The color may look different at first, but you’ll soon forget all about it and simply appreciate the amount of light and the money saved.

The point I want to impress upon you is to compare LED bulb specifications when you look around.  Now YOU know what to look for!  LED bulbs from any other maker today cannot deliver the goods like these GeoBulb LEDs.  A bold statement, but I am confident it’s true, and you know I would NEVER steer you wrong.

I think it is also interesting that LED bulbs, unlike incandescent and CFL bulbs, do NOT attract bugs. Why?  LED bulbs do not emit ultraviolet rays as do incandescent and CFLs. It is likely that flying insects cannot detect light from LED bulbs because of this.

Did you also know that, unlike CFLs, LEDs reach full brightness instantly? I’ve been testing/using GeoBulb in all its versions since it was first introduced. I’ve had not one failure.  I’ve seen how the brightness has increased with each generation of Cool White GeoBulb.  I’ve connected it to my KILL A WATT EZ to confirm its consumption of ONLY 7W and I have seen how it sips electricity, costing less to operate and delivering MORE light than any other bulb of which I am aware.

I’ve tried here to give it to you straight, the useful information about LED bulbs.  I hope you are as excited about this technology as I am.  Get more information about my favorite LED bulb, the incomparable GeoBulb, online at GeoBulb.com, including the latest pricing. And you are also encouraged to call C. Crane at 1-800-522-8863. You will be treated with respect by the helpful staff located in northern California. They love to answer questions. You’ll never experience high-pressure sales tactics.  I know you will be impressed.  When you get your first GeoBulb, please let me know how much you love it.  As always, I’m on email:  MrGadget at MrGadget dot com.

Thanks for taking the time to educate yourself about household LED bulbs.

DISCLAIMER:  Recently, AFTER my personal evaluation of generations of GeoBulb, I have begun working with C. Crane to promote GeoBulb, a product in which I have the confidence and I am pleased to recommend.  This is the best of both worlds for me.  I get to share my experience with you, as always. I am privileged to recommend a company I trust and respect as I have without any compensation for more than 22 years. And I get to help promote GeoBulb.  I am being paid to do the same thing as I always done without being paid.  And I still commit to all of you that I can’t be bought.  My comments are my own and you can always trust my recommendations.

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