Tech Info >> LED Bulb Shootout: Super Bulb Fighter > Page | 1 | 2 |

We than gathered all of our data and compiled the following charts to illustrate the pros and cons between the various bulbs.

Bulb vs LED Comparison Chart - Measured Light Output

To create the above chart, we used our digital light meter to gather data from the various bulbs. Keep in mind, we kept the maximum Front View values and used the minimum Side-View values during testing. We chose to use this technique in order to illustrate the key differences between incandescent & LED lighting technology.

Bulb vs LED Comparison Chart - Power Consumption

The above data was acquired using our laboratory-grade DC power supply set @ 13.5 VDC. As you can see, the incandescent bulb consumes the most current but also creates the most light; most importantly, it does this from all angles.

Bulb vs LED Comparison Chart - Operating Temperature

We then gathered operating temperature data with our digital IR thermometer. Each bulb was installed in our test light and illuminated for 10 minutes at ambient room temperature. Our power supply fed each LED with 14.5 VDC, simulating a car's running electrical system. With a reading of 202° degrees F, the heatsinked LED reached very high operating temperatures.

Bulb vs LED Comparison Chart - Purchase Price (USD)

Money always matters, and for $1.50 USD
per pair you simply cannot go wrong with a standard incandescent bulb. It should be pretty obvious that the cost vs. return is horrible for the plug-in LED products. Basically, you pay anywhere from 4x to 16x more for an LED bulb that does not perform as good nor is there any guarantee that it will last as long as advertised. Unless plug-in LED solutions get brighter and more reliable, there's absolutely no benefit in paying the additional cost to downgrade your lighting, unless all you care about is pretty white color.


Light Output Tests: Even though the LEDs were given the advantage when being measured head-on during the Front View tests, most were able to emit barely HALF the light output when compared to the incandescent. And while the "Twins" managed to score a max value of 750, that value was very difficult to obtain due to their very narrow viewing angle. This is embarrassing, especially if you take into consideration that all of the Front View data was obtained @ peak head-on values which were within the optimal viewing angle of the LED. This just goes to show just how nicely incandescent technology radiates light in a 360° degree radius.

Viewing angle plays a very important role which is very noticeable during the Side-View tests, where all of the LEDs failed miserably. Manufacturing, let alone selling a product where
the best Wide Angle LED bulb nicknamed the "Tower of Power" had over a 70% reduction in light output is pathetic. The lower quality LED bulbs scored much, much lower - which really drives the nail into the coffin.

While some of these LED bulbs look promising, the problem is that there is no such thing as a plug-and-play LED solution. At the very least, one would expect that an upgraded LED light should meet, let alone exceed its incandescent counterpart. Both the photos and the tests show that plug-in LED bulb products are absolute rubbish. The fail visually in the photos we took
and they fail on paper based on the charts and the data we collected.

Buyer beware.