You probably would not know this just from looking at the picture, but there is actually a bulb in the middle fixture:
Just not a useful bulb.
On a whim, the last time I was at Wal-Mart, I purchased a Feit Electric AccentLED 0.9W 18LED light bulb as a curiosity purchase to see how far along LED bulbs have come in the past few years – after all, my LED flashlights are pretty badass little darksuckers, and I am all about saving money where I can, so why not give them a shot and see if they are worth it?
They are not.
Now, my first warning probably should have been the “For Decorative & Accent Use” line right beneath the name, but since when do people but ‘decorative’ lights in ceiling fans? Anywise, I got home, screwed it into our bathroom fixture along with five other standard 60W incandescent bulbs, threw the switch… and started giggling.
The below images were taken with the same shutter speed, the same aperture, and at about the same distance from the respective bulbs. Can you guess which one was the LED?
That is just gorramed pathetic.
As you can see from the picture to the right, the LED bulb sucks up 0.9W and puts out around 70 lumens of light. On the other hand, a 60W incandescent puts out somewhere around 900 lumens. In order to be even competitive, LED bulb manufacturers are going to have to increase the output of their products by ten times, at least.
Even better, guess what I paid for that stupid thing? $7. For one bulb. Anyone remember how much standard 60W incandescent were before their 100W equivalents were effectively outlawed and prices started inflating? Between $0.50 and $1, depending on quality and features. We pay somewhere around $0.068 per kilowatt-hour – I would have to leave that LED bulb on for 88,000+ hours straight (assuming my drug-addled math is accurate) to make up the price difference between the two, and as its picture shows, its lifespan is maybe 20,000 hours.
And it cannot even light up its own fixture, much less the room it is in.
For the time being, compact fluorescent bulbs suck – they contain unsafe levels of mercury and will unquestionably not be disposed of properly, their color and warm-up time is all wrong, their refresh rate can cause problems anywhere there is moving machinery (said problems include spinning things appearing to be still), and we have not noticed that their lifespans are any longer than a normal incandescent. On the other hand, LEDs may be no healthier, and their output is… well… pathetic.
So here is to the Glorious and All Knowing Federal Government invading our liberties and telling us what we can and cannot buy and use in our own homes. If I have the money to spend on the wattage, I should bloody well be permitted to have whatever the hell kind of bulbs I want burning in whatever sized fixtures I want, wherever I want in my house. Period.
Hell, I might just go buy a horribly inefficient and wasteful Edison Bulb and leave it running until it dies, just to piss off the Greenies…
[Edited To Add] Look, folks, I get that the LED bulb I purchased is not comparable to an average 60W incandescent. I was not trying to compare them. I cannot afford an LED that is equivalent to a 60W incandescent, and that is exactly the point I was trying to make – due to their prices, LED bulbs, as replacement for incandescent bulbs in normal fixtures, simply are not ready for primetime. Trust me, I want them to be, because lighting my entire house off a scant few watts without annoying fluorescents is pretty high on my “shiny” list, but the truth is that most people cannot afford them, and will not bother with them, and, if for no other reason than that, they bloody well should not be being forced down our collective throats by governmental fiat. [/Edited To Add]