TCP 75 Watt Equivalent 1-pack, Energy Star PAR30 LED Reflector Lamp (light bulb), made by
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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. Below this review is an explanation of LED; for
most people it is worth the time to read. But it's not specific to this
The Amazon product page does an OK job of describing this lamp and its
features (for example, that page tells you it's dimmable).
But it does not do a great job. As a reviewer, I will fill in the gaps
This is a PAR 30 lamp. Most people gloss over that, not understanding
what PAR 30 means. It's important to understand, however. You may have guess
that PAR, being in all caps, is an acronym. It stands for Parabolic
Aluminized Reflector. This reflector (combined with a diffusing lens) is
basically what makes LED lamps even usable. The number (e.g., PAR 30, PAR
38, etc.) refers to the dimensions of the bulb. In a PAR 30, the bulb is
3.75 inches in diameter at its widest. The lamps also come in long neck and
short neck versions. This is a short neck lamp, but I installed it in a
recessed can fixture anyhow. When you do that, what you get is reflection
inside the fixture and more light dispersion. But sometimes the result isn't
what you want. In this case, it worked out perfectly. Always worth a try.
This is also a flood lamp, something impossible for LED until only a few
years ago. This flood, like all floods, casts line in a cone pattern. So
when deciding were to use the lamp, observe the illumination cone. If used
in a recessed can in a white room, there's backlight above the cone. Note
that, because these LED lamps require a power supply similar to what's in a
desktop computer (to provide the 3VDC to 5VDC power for this solid state
device) all LED lamps of this type produce heat greater than what an
incandescent does. That means if you use them in a recessed can, that can
must be of the tall type suitable for use in fiberglass insulation if used
inside a residence or office ceiling. If used in free air, no problem.
I tried this first in a full bathroom in the fixture above the vanity
(which is against one wall). The cone wasn't sufficient for the light to be
sufficient. Then I tried it in a half-bath where the single light fixture is
exactly in the middle of the ceiling area. That looks amazingly good. This
lamp replaced a 60W incandescent flood lamp and the light is noticeably
The white light makes it easy to see in there, so cleaning it is easier.
Also, for those who like to read while on the throne this daylight spectrum
light is much easier on the eyes than soft white.
LED lamps can be an excellent choice in the right application, or a bad
choice in the wrong application. I gave you two applications to illustrate
this point. Based on those, you should be able to determine if you can find
a good place in which to install this lamp. Note that it doesn't have to be
a ceiling fixture. I've got one of those tall gooseneck "floor lamps" and
installed an LED in it. This one I'm reviewing would also work well in that
Some information on LED lighting
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.
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
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, insulated doors and windows, wall insulation,
extra insulation above the ceiling, 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.