The millionth time could be a charm.

Lighting Science Group just manufactured its millionth light bulb, and to commemorate the event, that millionth bulb is one that the company hopes will let LED bulbs go mainstream.

The bulb gives off 850 lumens, or around the same amount of light as a 60 watt incandescent bulb. The bulb, however, will only cost around $30 when it hits shelves soon. Two years ago, 60-watt equivalents sold for $100. A single LED bulb can save around $10 to $12 a year in energy costs. The lower price tag could make this bulb easier to sell to consumers.

The other interesting part, however, is that Lighting Science bulbs actually work quite well. We've tested a bunch of LED bulbs recently--a 40 watt equivalent from Lemnis Lighting, a 30 watt equivalent from Toshiba, a 60 watt equivalent from Philips--and a 40 watt equivalent from Lighting Science has beat them all. (See video tests here and here.) The $20-ish Lighting Science bulb is also less expensive than the Lemnis and Philips bulbs. You can buy them in Home Depot now under the EcoSmart brand. The Lighting Science bulb gives off a more white light than the Lemnis or Philips bulb (which give off a more familiar yellow). It also buzzed in two separate sockets, which was incredibly annoying. I'm actually sitting under that bulb now and noticed it is buzzing again. If it fails in the market, the noise will be the reason.

Still, for pure illumination, it hasn't be beat. The 40 watter only gives off 429 lumens so the 60 watt bulb--expect to see it at Home Depot under the EcoSmart brand too--will give off even more light.

Osram and General Electric will also soon come out with household LED bulbs. The Consumer Electronics Show is just around the corner in January. Coincidence? I think not.

LEDs also last 30,000 to 50,000, or decades in a single light socket, way more than incandescents and fluorescents. Lighting Sciences gives this new bulb a 50,000 hour life: in an ordinary household socket, that translates to almost two decades. That long life means lower maintenance: lower maintenance and energy costs will allow LEDs to grow faster in businesses than homes. Groom Energy and GTM Research estimate that LEDs for business will be a $1 billion market by 2014.