Even though the relentless LED revolutionists at Cree
recently pledged to help free the American workforce from the unholy terror that is overhead fluorescent lighting
, this doesn’t mean the North Carolina-based company has completely shifted its focus from consumer back to commercial lighting.
Following last month’s release of a LED replacement for halogen PAR38 bulbs — you know, those clunky n' chunky one-directional beasts commonly used for indoor track lighting and exterior flood/spot/security lights — Cree has now bravely waded into somewhat uncharted consumer lighting territory: three-way bulbs.
While LED replacement bulbs for three-way fixtures do indeed exist, they’re somewhat of a rarity — and often prohibitively spendy. And so, many consumers have been left to settle with inferior CFLs and inefficient three-way incandescents, which, as specialty bulbs, have not been phased-out
by the federal government alongside with their single-output siblings.
With a sticker price of $24.95, a lifespan of 25,000 hours, and a shape that mimics the reassuring contours of the incandescent, the new 3-Way Cree LED
consumes a staggering 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs that perform the same function, and not nearly as well.
Although I personally don't use three-way incandescent bulbs, I had been using a CFL three-way in a lamp in my living room. When I swapped it out with the new Cree bulb, the difference in light output was dramatic. It was like I had never really experienced a true three-way light bulb before — just something that was loosely 2-and-a-half-ish with little noticeable difference between the “medium” and “high” outputs.
Instead of relying on differences in wattage as three-way CFL and incandescent bulbs do, the 3-Way Cree LED, designed to replace 30/60/100-watt three-way bulbs, measures its trio of brightness levels in actual light output: 320 lumens at 3 watts, 820 lumens at 8 watts, and 1620 lumens at 18 watts. Again, the difference in brightness between each level of light, particuarly the top two levels, is markedly noticeable and not just vaguely/slightly/not really apparent to the naked eye as was the case of my old CFL three-way.
Want to join Cree in a little hot and heavy three-way light bulb action? The American-made bulb is available now online
or at your nearest Home Depot.
It’s also worth noting that Cree, alongside other energy-efficient lighting heavyweights such as Philips and Osram Sylvania, appears to be on board as one of the dozen-or-so Apple HomeKit
partners, so expect more news on that front in the coming months.
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