Light up her life: find an LED version of a 40W incandescent
August 25, 2012 5:46 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a LED light that gives an equivalent brightness and spectrum as a 40W incandescent. Can you help me?

My mother dislikes strong lights because she has sensitive eyes.

She is unenthusiastic about compact fluorescent options (please do not suggest compact fluorescent options, she will not get them).

She likes 40W incandescent bulbs, but these are becoming more difficult to find. It would be nice to find something that has a similar spectrum and brightness and it seems like a LED option would make the most sense.

Please help me help her find the lights of her dreams.
posted by sciencegeek to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've seen people rave about the Philips LEDs that replace 60-watt and 75-watt bulbs. Philips makes a 40-watt replacement, too.

Two raves for the 60-watt replacement version can be found at Unclutterer and Apartment Therapy.

Apartment Therapy also recommended (but didn't give its highest rating) to the GE Energy Smart LED and the EcoSmart LED, both 40-watt bulb replacements.
posted by jeri at 6:17 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

In my opinion the higher wattage replacements don't actually produce as much light as the incandescent bulbs. I would try a 60 watt and see what she things. Another option might be a dimmable led - or a higher wattage version in an enclosure (or shade) which produces the right color of light for her...
posted by NoDef at 6:24 PM on August 25, 2012

Best answer: I recommend highly the Philips AmbientLED Dimmable 8-Watt bulb (that jeri linked to). I'm sitting in my living room right now, lit by the same bulb, and it's just great. I've tried a few LED bulbs, and the Philips AmbientLED is head and shoulders above the others.
posted by waldo at 6:50 PM on August 25, 2012

Best answer: You might find Marco Arment's LED bulb writeup useful. It has photo comparisons.
posted by gwint at 7:41 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

She may just be dug in. If she's, say, 65+(or some other arbitrary age), I'd probably look for 40W incandescent bulbs on the web. If she's pretty young, I'd let her deal with it on her own.

Somebody made a tester with incandescent & cfl bulbs in identical fixtures. I could not tell which was which. I do strongly prefer the cfls with a globe, largely for safety, as I've had a number of twisty bulbs break, and it's a pain.
posted by theora55 at 8:38 AM on August 26, 2012

Response by poster: Went out this morning and bought a Philips 40W equivalent LED bulb (about $9, but this was a sale price) as well as an ECOsmart something er other 40W equivalent (I think it was about $20). Installed them in two identical lamps alongside a third identical lamp with an incandescent. I couldn't see the difference between the Philips one and the incandescent - both fairly yellow soft light. The Ecosmart bulb was white light and was thus eliminated from the competition.

I'm waiting now to hear how the Philips 40W works at night for a reading light.

Thank you all for the guidance so far.

I will update sometime after sunset.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:41 PM on August 26, 2012

Response by poster: Well, close but no cigar. She says that the Philips LED is somewhat brighter than the incandescent. I'll either have to try a few more bulbs or just figure out how to install some rheostats and use the dimmable bulbs.

Thanks for the help.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:08 PM on August 26, 2012

Best answer: I have a number of LEDs right now: I keep a pair of Utilitech 40 watts in conventional shaded lamps in the bedroom for reading; by themselves, they induce too much eyestrain, but at opposite ends of the room, their intersection is pleasant. They're designed to throw light at ~5000 degrees Kelvin (490 lumens), which is a little harsher than a standard white, to the point where it feels more like a flourescent. In pairs, they cancel out the effect well enough, and consume about 7.5w per bulb, which is close to 2 night lights.

In the den, there's a 40w Sylvania rated at 450 lumens, and though it claims to be soft white, it seems more like bisque, particularly when it's shaded. That bulb's used in an accent lamp, as it was too irritating for reading.

LEDs on average are initially brighter than their incandescent cousins, though there's a chance of them fading gradually over the course of 3 or more years. I'd therefore suggest a lower rated bulb, like a 35w equiv. or even lower. There's a set of 25w equiv. decorative bulbs I have in a multi-head floor lamp near a hallway, and in tandem, they would work well for reading, though any area out of the direct path of the bulbs is especially murky due to the leds' limited foot-candles. Given the bulbs' reduced power draw, though, your mother could consider some extra fill lights in whichever available corners either for entertaining guests, or any times at night when the TV's not on.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:09 AM on August 27, 2012

Best answer: Consumer Reports has evaluated LEDs for their October 2012 issue.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:31 PM on August 29, 2012

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