By John DeFore
Eager to ditch your incandescent light bulbs, but worried about the mercury content of compact fluorescents? The most promising competitor to CFLs is the LED — but while light-emitting diodes have turned up in all sorts of other applications, they’re not at all common in a form you can screw into a regular light socket. Lemnis Lighting hopes to change that with a product called Pharox.
LED replacement bulbs aren’t new, but anecdotal reports suggest that many have underwhelmed users, working best as targeted task lighting or emitting a flickery light that doesn’t promote peace of mind. The Pharox doesn’t suffer from this problem: In tests here, it turns on instantly (suffering none of the delay of some CFLs) and emits a steady, warm white glow. If not for the enlarged metal band around its base, in fact, you might mistake it for a regular frosted incandescent when looking directly at it. When covered by a lamp shade, there’s no discernable difference.
The bulb is currently only available in a model comparable to 40-watt incandescents, which is fairly dim — think bedside table lighting, not kitchen illumination. The company’s engineers are working on more potent versions, and a rep tells us “a 60-watt equivalent is slated to be released later in 2008.” She also notes that a dimmable bulb (many LEDs and CFLs are not compatible with dimmable light fixtures) is on the horizon as well, suggesting one might be available in the first quarter of next year.
The inevitable downside is price — a single bulb costs $40 — though the bulb’s advertised life span makes it a better deal for far-sighted consumers: Lemnis promises it will last as long as 50 conventional bulbs, and it uses one-tenth the electricity to produce the same amount of light.
Don’t look for the Pharox at Home Depot just yet. The company says it is “in discussion” with several brick-and-mortar chains, and hopes to place its wares on shelves early next year. Until then (or until Amazon.com starts selling it in about six weeks) there’s only one American vendor: A company called Upscale Lighting, which as of this writing is out of stock, though they expect a delivery some time this month.
Copyright © 2008 | Distributed by Noofangle Media