Best LED Light Bulb – TCP

by Ben N on December 15, 2014

Recently, I refit my whole house with LED lighting. The next month’s electric bills was one of the lowest ever. Even with central air conditioning and all our modern electronic gadgets, lighting is still a major part of most people’s electric bill and one of the best ways to fix that is to convert to high-efficiency lighting. But which do you pick?

Cree, Feit, & TCP LED bulbs

For the last several months, I’ve been buying various LED bulbs here and there, one at a time, whatever happened to be on-sale or a new brand I hadn’t tried before. All are MUCH more efficient than incandescent, and costs have come down enough now to really make them worth while. When I finally decided which bulb I liked the best, I just bought a whole bunch of them.

So here it is – my favorite general purpose LED bulb – the TCP 8.7 watt 5000K bulb, bought as a six-pack.

This bulb has a very pleasant “sunny day” daylight 5000K color temperature, is rated at 900 lumens, and uses a mere 8.7 watts of electricity. (The 2700K bulb is also very good, at a slightly less bright 800 lumens.)

Unlike some other LED bulbs, this one does NOT have an ugly and hard to dust aluminum heat-sink around it.

Overall direction of light from this bulb is very good. It’s not quite as good as an incandescent, but better than any other LED bulb I have seen. The only situation I’ve seen it as a problem in was my closet with a single bulb fixture, which was sideways AND pointed OUT of the closet instead of IN. In that one case the LED bulb didn’t put out as much light as the CFL I had in there (which was a bit more omni-directional.) I pulled out the two screws holding the lighting fixture to the ceiling, spun the fixture 180 degrees, and put the screws back in. Then I put the LED bulb in. At that point, it DID light the closet better than the CFL formerly did, as well as doing it using fewer watts.

These bulbs are especially good in my main room, which has lots of windows and a skylight, in the ceiling fan light fixture. Our house is open concept, with the living room and kitchen just being one large room with a vaulted ceiling. The four bulbs use just 35 watts (8.7 x 4 = 34.8) to light our entire living and eating area.

The current cost on the bulbs comes to right about six dollars (U.S.D.) They are available on and in six packs for $36, usually including free shipping.

Official life-span of the bulbs is rated at 18.3 years. They more than pay for themselves in energy savings over that time. Plus, you never have to get at that really hard to reach fixture for another 20 years! For anyone who doesn’t really have trust in that rating, here’s a little tip – write the bulb installation date on the base of the bulb with a permanent marker. If it ever burns out, you have the date right there and know exactly how long the bulb lasted.

These bulbs are non-dimming. Some people love dimmers and have them everywhere. If so, there are other LED light options out there for you. I only have two bulbs in my house that are on a dimmer and used different LED bulbs in those.

One more thing, which I forgot to mention in the video, is color CONSISTENCY. When CFL bulbs came out, there was quite a bit of range of colors. Not only between brands and sizes, but often the same size/brand/model would be enough different in color from one to the next that it was noticeable to the naked eye. This was not ideal for a place like, say, above my bathroom sink, where there are four bulbs in a row. On the other hand, the TCP bulbs have very consistent color. Side by side by side, they all look the same.

If you are looking for some great, all-purpose, energy efficient bulbs the TCP 8.7 watt is a good choice!

PS: LED bulbs, including this one, are usually made of plastic rather than glass. That’s a huge benefit in situations where you want shatter-resistance. LED screw-in bulbs make GREAT shop lights! They have no filament to break, like an incandescent does, and come on instantly to full brightness – which CFL does NOT do in a cold winter garage or workshop.

PPS: Somebody asked me what the financial R.O.I. is for these bulbs. I ran the numbers, and it turns out that a 10 watt LED bulb instead of a 60 watt incandescent bulb pays for itself in about a year at 3 hours use per day. Even better than that, it saves that same $6 per year, every year for the next 17 years, saving about $100 over its lifetime. I’ve already switched over to thirty-some LED bulbs, saving several thousand dollars on utility bills over the next 18 years. How could this money be used? It’s nearly enough to buy a 3 Kilowatt Photovoltaic system for my house! See how those numbers crunch at

{ 2 trackbacks }

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lance December 15, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Thanks for this work Ben! I just ordered the bulbs, and TCP has a promo on Amazon right now, so I got them discounted even further (about $5.10 a piece).

2 Bob December 20, 2014 at 9:03 am

ROI compared to 100yr old edison bulbs isn’t a fair comparision. Anybody will to spend $6 on a bulb switched from Edison to CFL years ago. The ROI simply isn’t there when compared to CFL. LED does offer numerous advantages over CFL, but ROI isn’t one of them.

3 Ben N December 22, 2014 at 11:25 am

I don’t think that I would convert from CFL to LED SOLELY based on financial return on investment. I would do it because I really think that LED is better lighting than CFL. However, just out of curiousity, I ran the numbers comparing a 13 watt CFL to an 8.7 watt LED (which is brighter than that CFL) at four hours per day and 13 cents per kilowatt-hour, and it came out to 7.4 years to recap the investment on a $6 LED bulb. That’s a long time, but the lifetime of the LED bulb is longer, so I think it still DOES make economic sense. It is however a small amount of money over a long time. On the other hand, I would also enjoy BETTER LIGHTING those seven years and beyond.

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