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Sunlite G30 LED Globe Lamp (light bulb)

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Review of Sunlite G30 LED Globe Lamp (light bulb), made by Sunlite

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)

Reviewer:

In the lighting industry's parlance, a "light bulb" is called a "lamp." To most consumers, a lamp is a fixture. Just to be clear, when I refer to "lamp" in this review I mean "light bulb" rather than the fixture that holds the lamp, socket, etc.

I've written about lighting extensively, for electrical trade magazines and a newsletter put out by a major electrical distributor. So keep that in mind when reading this review; it may help you feel more comfortable with what I'm about to tell you.

LED (light emitting diode) is not a variation of CFL (compact fluorescent). The CFL is a bad idea that I never bought into. In the typical home application, a CFL lamp actually results in a net waste of electricity versus an incandescent lamp. That's because of the high inrush current and abominably low power factor; it takes time to "pay off" those minuses with run time, and the typical run time isn't long enough. A CFL lowers the efficiency of all connected loads, including your refrigerator, by lowering power factor on the load side of your service. CFL also gives you light that is of unacceptably poor quality. CFL isn't compatible with existing lighting controls; if you have dimmers for incandescent lamps, you have to replace those with CFL-compatible ones. CFLs also have a short lifespan, quite the opposite of the propaganda that they are long-lasting.

LED is solid state, and thus efficiency is very high. But that also means it runs at the same voltage as what's inside your computer. So an LED lamp needs a 5V (or lower) power supply. If it's a direct replacement screw-in for a 120V incandescent, as this G30 is, that means it needs a power supply in its base. The power supply generates waste heat which, in some circumstances, is too much for a given application. For example, you generally do not want to use an LED in a recessed lighting "short can" fixture (the tall can is fine).

LED gives you many advantages. These include:

  • Ultra long life. This varies by model, but it's several times what you can get from an incandescent or CFL.
  • No mercury. Fluorescent lamps use mercury, and the CFL is no exception. How that device ever got onto the market I still do not understand. Having a few T8 lamps in your garage is one thing, having glass containers of mercury all throughout your house is just stupid. Count how many "light bulbs" you have.
  • Great color rendition, color temperature, etc. (if designed for those features, and most LED lamps are). Depending on the model, you can have very nice lighting.
  • Ultra low energy usage. Your typical 60W incandescent lamp puts out about 750/850 lumens. An LED direct replacement will use about 10W (most of that consumed by the power supply). If you replaced several of your most commonly used (in your home) incandescent lamps with LED lamps, you would see the difference in your electric bill.
  • Many interesting shapes and styles.
  • Compatibility with controls, such as dimming (if designed for that, and most LED lamps are).

The first LED direct replacement lamps that came out were not dimmable. Then it dawned on the lamp manufacturers that the target market for energy-efficient lamps would be, duh, people who cared about energy efficiency. What a concept. Such people have already made extensive use of dimmers. In our home, nearly every light is on a dimmer rather than just an on/off flip switch. That meant we could not buy LED lamps. Today, most such lamps are dimmable (including this one). Always look for that on the package. If you have dimmers in your house, it is best to buy ONLY dimmable lamps so you do not inadvertently mix and match.

The Amazon product page does a good job of describing this lamp and its features (for example, that page tells you it's dimmable). So I won't rehash what's on there. This is a globe lamp, and that shape means you need the right application for it. This lamp isn't suitable for recessed lighting, because it does not have a rear reflector. You really need a flood lamp for that type of fixture, because the lamp must direct the light back out through the fixture opening.

But put a flood lamp in an open style fixture, and it casts a shadow underneath itself. That's where a globe light, er, shines. I put this in an open style fixture in our main hallway, and light emanates in all directions just as expected. It's perfect. It's also 2200 lumens of light, which is quite high for a lamp that draws only 8W (see again those numbers I provided earlier). The light has a nice color to it, and the globe design does a good job of simply lighting up the entire space. No shadows around the lamp. This style of lamp also means those 2200 lumens are spread rather than focused. So it could seem as if this lamp is dimmer than a lower lumen LED of another style, depending upon where you are standing. For general illumination of a room, this lamp will light that baby up. If you want a task light, you need a different style lamp (with this much light, you probably won't need task lighting).

If this review is a little too, er, glowing for you, please understand that I keep adding LED lights and have yet to meet an LED light that I don't like. I now have 12 LED lamps in my home. I have several LED flashlights, two LED worklights, and an LED "trouble light" (for automotive work). It is really hard for me to say "this LED product is the best one I've encountered" because each product serves a particular purpose. I buy the correct LED lamp for a given purpose and I'm always highly satisfied with the results.

Because I've replaced so many incandescent lamps with LED, I'm using considerably less electricity each month. In the summertime, this savings is amplified by the decreased load on the air conditioning (which I use sparingly, but when temps go past 100 DegrF that baby runs). If Congress (the opposite of progress) would end Daylight Wasting Time, I would not need to use lights in the morning. I'm still not sure why Congress imposes this energy-wasting, public endangerment (traffic fatalities and industrial injuries spike for the 3 weeks following each clock change) on us, but they do.

The big energy savings (even with DWT) also means less coal burned to satisfy my needs, so less mercury ending up in tuna fish, less acidification of the oceans, less destruction to coral reefs, etc.

I'm not saying buy a few LEDs and you save the world. My home is very energy-efficient in other ways, including all energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient HVAC/heat pump system, insulation, energy-efficient habits, etc. What was missing prior to the emergence of dimmable LED lamps was a way to meaningfully reduce the electricity used in lighting. The LED lamps solved that problem.

 

 

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