LED flood light bulbs 6-pack for $36

Sure! If there’s one thing I love to talk about more than lighting I’m not sure what it would be.

Let’s get the good news out of the way: The LED source itself. It’s designed to last (maintain 70% of its brightness) for 35-50,000 hours. But that’s at 25C and in 3 hour bursts. Even then I’m willing to praise it as a decent source of light that will last a really long time when the weather is nice.

Now we get into the parts nobody wants to talk about. The electronics.

Heat is the enemy of LEDs. The phosphors degrade and migrate from the center of the lens, causing the source to shift closer to its natural blue color. The electronic driver inside begins to have issues and does what all sensitive electronics do without a fan, fail. Should your LED be mounted outside in, say, Texas, you’re obviously pushing your luck. But your typical semi enclosed wall sconce? About 60C, with an 8 watt source. Ceiling can lights, especially air sealed ones required in California? Now we’re starting to see some heat, as your 65 watt light bulb can raise the temperature of a 10’ cube by a degree in an hour. Imagine what happens when it’s in a 6" diameter tube after a few hours.

Now, as for what the claims the manufacturers are actually making, we have to look at the warranty information. If you buy a new car you can get a six year warranty on it. The manufacturer is saying that with all the various moving parts in various conditions with normal wear and tear, six years or sixty thousand miles is something they openly claim to be an acceptable life on the car that they are willing to take responsibility for their work. Cars are pretty complex, so that’s pretty impressive. How hard can a lightbulb be?

The TCP products you mention above don’t really have a working warranty page, so I can’t be sure of their exact claims, but in the meantime we’ll look at the other larger manufacturers: Feit, Philips, and Cree. They are 2 years, 1-3 years (depending on initial design hour claims), and 10 years, respectively. And there are use limitations of 6-12 hours a day for these. Cree is the only one saying these will last 20,000 hours and even then it’s not over 20 years. Because nobody is actually saying that. They haven’t even manufactured these products for 20 years to know, let alone tested them for that long.

There is a 114 year old incandescent still burning, but no manufacturer is claiming all incandescents will burn for a million hours. LED lamp lives are part marketing, part specific math, and part hope that nobody calls them on it. I’ve been specifying LED products for over 10 years now and have seen a lot of long-term installations go awry, ones that used products in the $300 per linear foot pricerange or $600 per downlight.

The diode might be up to it, but everything behind the diode is not, and the entire system isn’t being accounted for when claims of 18.3 years of lifetime are made. It’s a bold lie made worse by people not calling them on it because they don’t know any better. And even if these products do last that long, half of them are scheduled to fail prior to that. The ones that do survive will see increased power use with decreased light output and gradual color shift (even after one year of use).

I hope this has added some clarification as to why their claims are essentially meaningless. I’m not looking to attack, only to correct the numbers thrown out by the industry. They are blind hope and a fast-moving marketplace that forgets quickly, and I don’t like to see people throw their money away without knowing the product’s limitations.


Weeeelll, I think you need fewer lumens distributed properly.

Square waterfall at twilight
"September 11th Memorial and Museum" by User:Aspensti. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

This plaza is lit to 1 footcandle and uses about 2-3 lumens per square foot.

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You said it, not me.

Fantastic explanation.

In my current house I have all led lighting (we had to replace all the crappy lighting anyways, and it was cheap). The major and incremental improvements we have made the last year–new windows, exhaust fans, LEDs, and sealing cracks–have cut our electric bill in half. I have experienced two failures, as in the glue used to hold the glass failed and it fell off.

Actually I revise that. I have three Edison style bulbs in the front room for ambiance.

I think we have had this conversation before and if memory serves you are still critical of them, and don’t I understand that quite well :smile:

(This reminds me,I need to build my greenhouse asap)


My main criticism is actually the light quality. I switched to halogen lamps, so my 100 watt incandescent turned into a 72 watt halogen. Full range of dimming. Finest color rendering available, 33% less watts.

As I move around the house I turn things on and off. I basically bring my 75-150 watts around the house with me. It’s literally not worth my quality of light to use LED or CFL right now, I think it looks terrible and it’s not how I want to spend the 6 hours or so of my lit time at home. I get enough of it during the day that I’m willing to pay the higher energy cost because it’s very minimal in the overall scheme. HVAC, the hot water heater, the dryer, these things use real energy.

LED and fluorescent are perfect for retail and office environments. These sources are on 12 hours a day, low energy high output, and stay on no matter the amount of people in the open office. I’m all about bringing down that energy use to less than 1.1 watts a square foot.


I had some halogens in my previous previous kitchen. They make everything sparkle.

But now I have huge, clean, uv resistant south facing windows. To be honest I don’t even turn on my lights all that often.

There is one area near the china and wine glasses I may put some halogens. Halogen track lighting may be a tad passé, but nothing beats it for drama in a kitchen or dining room.


Well, I spot the culprit right there. Only a profligate spendthrift wastrel bothers to heat their hot water. I, myself, employ a cold water heater.

nyuk nyuk nyuk


We take it extra hot in our residence, do you expect us to make tea in a kettle?


When I replace my panels I am upgrading to tankless, along with one of those 160f sink faucets.

But that is after the sewer gets replaced, the roof, the overhead electrical to the garage, the fence, the stove hood, the stove…

My list has made me depressed again :smile:


You should burn your list in the fire pit. That would cheer me up.

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I’ve given up on LEDs and CFLs and gone back to mini halogens.

I’ve tried a load of different brands but LEDs all seem to either flicker or buzz, both of which are major migraine triggers for me.

Just my opinion - and it depends on one’s needs, location & whatnot - but I find a natural gas-fueled tankless water-heater to be waay more efficient, economical while having much better delivery than an electric tank water heater.

My experience with a gas tankless water heater is from my parents’ house in Oregon. When I grew up in their house, it had an electric tank water heater - then later - in the early 90s a combination solar-electric dual tank water heater (the water was preheated by a roof mounted array.) The solar unit lasted about 7 years then they went back to an electric tank system.

The solar was great and with the solar power & tax credits broke even - or it would have except for the downtime due to maintenance and other crap.

The last few years they’ve had a natural gas on demand tankless water heater that is low maintenance, more efficient, & delivers all the hot water you want - all day, all night.

A former house of mine back east had a tanked natural gas water heater that was better than electric tanked - almost as efficient as the tankless natural gas. It seems that on demand (tankless) hot water - electric, gas or whatever is um…better than the tank-based ones.

My experience was with both tanked & tankless systems were central systems. It’s my understanding that distributed systems - a heater for each bathroom, kitchen & etcetera - tanked or non - gas or electric - is even better.

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The one thing LED bulbs cannot do well is operate upside down. http://www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/led-insights/4423570/That-60W-equivalent-LED--What-you-don-t-know--and-what-no-one-will-tell-you-

Well, they are able to operate in some can lights with holes, non-IC fixtures, that have been venting hot air into ceilings and attics for years. However, with the recent push to air seal these holes, especially legislation in California requiring IC (insulation contact) housings, the room heat now rises to the highest point and stays there.

You can totally put them in upside down in a desk or standing lamp if that’s what the fixture calls for. There’s plenty of room for the air to move around there.

My cheap CFL bulbs I buy from Home Depot have had an average life of 2 months. TWO MONTHS for bulbs that cost an order of magnitude more than incandescents that last for a year. I’ll pass on this next “improvement” as well, thanks.

I’ll wait until they work out the problems and replace my bulbs with Quantum Dot bulbs or Flux Capacitor bulbs.

Thanks! I updated the post.


Holy cats, the system works! Thanks Mark, education is where I think these guys are screwing up. I watched it happen with CFL and i’m watching the same players make the same mistakes all over again. Except this time they took a page from the pharmaceutical companies and now market directly to the consumer instead of wasting time with people concerned about the entire building.

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Tangentally, when shopping, make sure you know whether the flood bulb is rated for exterior or interior. The exterior rated ones are way more expensive.

Even more tangentally, when do we get to stop calling them “bulbs”. Lighting no longer needs a shell of glass resembling a kind of plant root.

Beats me, I’ve been calling them lamps for a very long time now.

A startling number of the LED bulbs I bought of 2011 vintage no longer work. All in relatively light duty, inside. These are all “60w equivalent” household bulbs, though that is often wishful thinking. I keep hoping the 2014 and 2015 models I replace them with fare better…