The LED Promise Land : A Connexion Market Perspective
The reason LEDs have not yet displaced CFLs from the market are twofold: the first generation LED bulbs had a narrow and focused light beam, and the cost of LED technology is still too high. With this said, both CFL and LED technology are viable options today when looking for a replacement for incandescent lamps.
We can't stress enough that this lamp technology market is no different than any other emerging market. There are numerous profiteers in the market spewing forth their too-good-to-be-true claims and misinformation for the sake of the quick sale before the dust settles and the facts surface. The old axiom, 'if it sounds too good to be true it probably is', certainly applies here. The U.S. market is flooded with cheap LED products manufactured overseas with inferior components that produce low light levels, that can't possibly live up to their exaggerated energy saving and long life claims. Unfortunately, these cheap imports are being sold on well known web sites and through big box retailers.
Also worth noting are the many so-called 'manufacturers' who are in fact resellers and simply repackaging the same inferior products offered through the import channel. And to further add to this confusion, are the more reputable manufacturers that offer a lesser grade LED lamp expressly for the consumer market and a higher grade for the commercial market. As you probably guessed, the commercial grade products come at a higher price point and perform significantly better - but are easily confused with the lower priced consumer grade products. If you're making your decision solely on price, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. The keys here are Lumens and Lumens per Watt Efficacy. This is where the Lighting Facts label comes into play. The Department of Energy (DOE) is an advocate for quality and has established the Lighting Facts program to ensure that the LED products you find on the market meet your expectations for performance. These products include LEDs for everyday lighting purposes, such as table lamps and outdoor light fixtures. They do not include flashlights, nightlights, or holiday lighting.
Participating manufacturers voluntarily pledge to report their products' performance results. Those results appear on the Lighting Facts label, which those manufacturers must include on product packaging or in the product literature. Retailers and other industry buyers can then make informed purchasing decisions for their lighting inventory.