Just over a year ago, a 60-watt equivalent light-emitting diode bulb was selling for about $10.
Now, the price has come down again, with Philips offering its SlimStyle, a dimmable 75-watt equivalent, for slightly less than $8 at Home Depot when paired with a utility instant rebate in certain locales, such as Maine.
Philips and Home Depot are hardly alone in pushing the envelope on pricing. Wal-Mart rolled back its prices to just below $9 for a 65-watt equivalent BR30 bulb. Other lighting makers, such as GE and Cree, as well as big-box stores such as Ikea and Lowe’s, are also pushing down prices on consumer LEDs.
Philips' slim bulb design does not require an aluminum heat sink, but rather uses the flat surface to conduct heat away from the LED, which the company says helps to reduce the cost and weight of the bulb without sacrificing omni-directional light.
“It has been the bestselling LED offering in the Philips consumer lighting portfolio, proving that customers appreciate its innovative design and reasonable price,” Bruno Biasiotta, president and CEO of Philips Lighting, Americas, said in a statement.
The efficiency of LEDs has continued to improve considerably in 2014, and utility rebates for the bulbs are increasing. But there is still room for improvement in the color rendering index of LEDs to where they have the same warm light quality offered by incandescents. The SlimStyle 60-watt equivalent, for instance, has a CRI of 80, compared to an incandescent’s CRI of 100.
Consumers may also be clamoring for more than just warm light when it comes to LEDs in coming years. Savvy customers may also be looking for well-priced bulbs that can be networked as they make the jump to LEDs.
GE offered a lower-priced LED smart bulb earlier this year, with a starter kit with two internet-connected bulb selling for $50. That entry price is lower than a Philips Hue connected bulb starter kit, which retails for about $175 on Amazon.
The lighting manufacturers aren’t the only ones pushing LEDs into the mainstream. Connected home platforms such as Apple’s HomeKit, Google’s Nest, and offerings from security companies such as Alarm.com and Vivint are also offering LEDs as part of a smart home ecosystem that more consumers are increasingly interested in, even if they’re not quite sure what it means.