Intelligent Energy

The market's top 10 LED reflector bulbs

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Thanks to a new study, choosing an LED reflector bulb for a home, commercial or industrial business just got a little easier.

Consumers looking for the most efficient, functional and cost-effective lighting have more choices -- and information -- to sift through than ever before. Thanks to a new study, choosing an LED reflector bulb for a home, commercial or industrial business just got a little easier. The Institute for Electric Efficiency commissioned Ecova, an energy and sustainability management firm, to determine the best LED reflector bulbs on the market. TopTenUSA.org, a nonprofit organization that ranks products for energy efficiency, posted the findings on its website earlier this month.

The study measured the energy efficiency, payback period and lifetime cost savings of each bulb; and evaluated how it compared with a halogen incandescent reflector bulb in terms of light quality and dimming capability. The study, which was released earlier this month, focused on so-called reflector bulbs, which contain a reflective coating inside the bulb to direct light forward. Flood lights, designed to spread the light, and spot lights, which concentrate the light, are two type of reflector bulbs. Parabolic aluminized reflectors, or PAR, produce highly concentrated light and are often used in track and recessed lighting. The study focused on LED reflector bulbs because of their potential for energy savings and because they're often used in hard-to-replace locations, such as recessed lighting fixtures in ceilings, the IEE said in a release.

The overall winner was a 17-watt PAR (meaning parabolic aluminizes reflector) 38 bulb made by Technical Consumer Products. The LED bulb has a lifetime cost savings of $200, produces a soft, warm light that is similar to a haolgen incandescent and dims smoothly, according to the study released earlier this month. At the cost of $42, the LED bulb has a payback period of 4.1 years and an estimated useful life of 23 years.

The study was divided into PAR38, PAR30 and PAR20 categories -- the three most common sizes of LED reflector bulbs. As more reflector bulbs come to market, each category will have 10 product listings. To qualify, the bulbs had be available for purchase either online or at a retail outlet; produce light within the "warmer" light range of 2,700 to 3,000K (Kelvins).

PAR38 LEDS

  1. Technical Consumer Products (17W floodlight; it replaces a 90W halogen flood)
  2. Osram Sylvania (18W floodlight; it replace a 75W halogen flood)
  3. Philips Endura LED (17W narrow floodlight; it replaces a 75W halogen flood)
  4. The Home Depot, EcoSmart (18W floodlight; it replaces a 75W halogen flood)
  5. Samsung LED Company (  (18W floodlight; it replaces a 75W halogen flood)
  1. TCP (14W floodlight; it replaces a 75 halogen flood)
  2. The Home Depot, EcoSmart (15W floddlight; it replaces a 65W halogen flood)
  3. Duracell, CMG Energy Solutions (12W narrow floodlight; it replaces a 50W halogen flood)
  4. Samsung (15W LED narrow floodlight; it replaces a 75W halogen flood
  1. Osram Sylvania (8W medium floodlight; it replaces a 35W halogen flood)

Photo: TopTenUSA.org

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Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure