This post was written by Keith Dawson for UBM Tech’s community Web site All LED Lighting, sponsored by Philips Lumileds. It is archived here for informational purposes only because the All LED Lighting site may go dark at any time. This material is Copyright 2013-2015 by UBM Americas.

2014-07-30

1000bulbs.com's Low-Priced LED Bulbs

In the war for the incandescent replacement socket, 1000bulbs.com has broken new price ground. Its products are pitched to the B2B market, not to consumers.

I spoke with Jeremy Foster, director of marketing for 1000bulbs.com. He clarified a few points that weren't spelled out in the initial press material.

The company announced an 800-lm, 60W-equivalent, A19 LED light bulb for $5.99. It is not dimmable. Foster told me the CCT is 2,700K, and the CRI is 82. The efficacy is 80 lm/W. The bulb is for sale here on the 1000bulbs.com site but not through any retail or distributor channels.

Wider product line coming
This bulb is one point on a wider spectrum of rock-bottom-priced LED products the company plans to roll out over the next two or three months, according to Foster. The variations include 40W- and 50W-equivalent bulbs, dimmable versions of each, and a higher-efficacy variant on the 50W bulb. In general, the dimmable versions will cost $1.00 more.

The bulb is branded by 1000bulbs.com under its PLT (Precision Lighting & Transformer) line. These are products specified by 1000bulbs.com and manufactured under contract. Foster told me the initial 60W-equivalent bulbs come from a single factory overseas, but the company is dealing with multiple factories across its planned rollout of LED products.

The table below summarizes my understanding of the plans for the line of low-priced, PLT-branded bulbs.

Incand. equiv. Lumens CCT CRI Efficacy, lm/W Price, $ Apply for Energy Star? Availa- bility?
Not Dimmable
60W 800 2700K 82 80 5.99 no now
50W 600 ? ? 80 4.99 no 1–2 mo.
40W 450 ? ? 80 3.99 no 1–2 mo.
Dimmable
60W 800 ? ? 80 6.99 yes 1–2 mo.
50W 600 ? ? 80 5.99 yes 1–2 mo.
50W 600 ? ? 100 7 – 8 yes 3 mo.
40W 450 ? ? 80 4.99 yes 1–2 mo.

Bifurcated
The product line bifurcates into nondimmable and dimmable versions. The former are specified and manufactured for rock-bottom pricing. Their quoted lifetime is 25,000 hours, and the company warranties them for two years. The light distribution pattern is not sufficiently omnidirectional to meet Energy Star requirements, so these bulbs will not be eligible for rebates.

The dimmable versions, as shown on the left, are another design. The heat sinks are larger and clunkier, and Foster said the light distribution will be closer to omnidirectional. These bulbs will be submitted for Energy Star certification, so they should eventually qualify for rebates of $5 or more. That would bring them into the price range of the now-discontinued incandescent bulbs.

Note that the bulb illustrations are from the 1000bulbs.com site. I don't know whether the image of a dimmable bulb shown here is true to the product's eventual appearance or is merely representative. To my eye, it looks like a bulb similar to the top illustration would have a wider light distribution pattern.

These products are intended for a B2B market; 1000bulbs.com cannot offer the same kinds of consumer-friendly subsidized shipping that the likes of Lowe's or Amazon can. When I put together a mock order on the website, I was quoted a shipping charge of $10.43 by UPS Ground for any quantity from 1 to 10 bulbs. Even at 10 bulbs, that's an extra $1 per bulb for shipping in 5-8 days.

— Keith Dawson Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page, Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting