If you've been waiting for brighter and more affordable options in the LED aisle, then you're in luck.
Today, Philips announced Energy Star certification for their second-generation 75- and 100-watt replacement LEDs, along with exclusive discounts on both bulbs at Home Depots nationwide. Combined with the regional utility rebates that come with Energy Star certification, this means that consumers in some parts of the country will be able to purchase the 75-watt replacement for less than $10, with the 100-watt replacement going for just under $15. For the rest of us, the bulbs will retail for $19.97 and $24.97, respectively.
Both bulbs give off an impressive amount of light. The 75-watt replacement glows at 1,220 lumens, which is noticeably brighter than the 1,125 lumens or so that you'll get from a common 75-watt incandescent. As for Philips' 100-watt replacement LED, it gives off 1,680 lumens, an even more noticeable bump in brightness from the 1,500 lumens that a comparable 100-watt incandescent will put out.
Aside from the differences in price and brightness, there's not much separating the two bulbs from one another. Each one glows at a warm, soft white color temperature of 2,700K, and like most LEDs these days, both are rated to last 25,000 hours (just under 23 years at three hours a day). Both bulbs use a common A19 base, so you can expect them to fit into most standard household lamps and light fixtures.
The 75-watt replacement uses 15 watts, while the 100-watt replacement uses 19. This gives the 75-watt replacement an efficiency rating of 81.33 lumens/watt, with an even more impressive 88.42 lumens/watt for the 100-watt replacement. Compare that with the traditional 15 lumens/watt that you get from incandescent bulbs, and you can begin to see why Energy Star is on board with these LEDs.
Compare the two of them with Philips' own 60-watt replacement LED, however, and you'll notice a slightly different design, with the higher wattage bulbs separated into three sections for more efficient heat dissipation. I was curious to see if this design would lead to any issues with the omnidirectionality of the bulbs' light output, like the slight issue we saw with Philips' SlimStyle LED. In our light box, however, all we saw was bright, evenly dispersed light.
Looking at the bulbs, you'll also notice that both are noticeably longer than Philips' lower-wattage bulbs. If you want to use them in a fixture that doesn't offer a lot of vertical clearance, you may want to break out the measuring tape first.
I was also curious to see how Philips' LEDs would compare with some of the competition, particularly the Cree 75-watt replacement LED. Like the Philips 75-watt replacement LED, Cree's bulb can be found for $19.97 at Home Depot, but unlike Philips, it hasn't received Energy Star certification yet. Cree submitted that bulb for certification in December, and with a testing process that takes three to four months, it should be hearing back sometime soon. With efficiency and lifespan stats similar to the Cree 60-watt replacement LED, which is Energy Star certified, Cree expects their 75-watt replacement to follow suit. For now though, Philips has the pricing edge in those regions that offer utility rebates.
As for the how the two bulbs perform, both are dimmable, and both claim a color temperature of 2,700K -- though Cree's take on 2,700K is a bit more yellow than Philips'. Also, the Philips LED is clearly the brighter of the two bulbs, which makes sense given that it claims 1,220 lumens compared to Cree's 1,100. Cree's bulb uses 13.5 watts while the Philips LED uses 15, so the Cree bulb will cost slightly less to use in the long run. Cree can also claim the longer warranty, with 10 years of coverage compared to 5 from Philips.
Philips 75- and 100-watt replacement LEDs are available now at Home Depot's newly discounted prices both in-store and online.