Cree, which already produces the top-selling LED light bulbs, has launched a next-generation that is 20 percent cheaper and looks more like a traditional incandescent bulb.
The new bulbs, which are equivalent to traditional 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs, retail for $7.97. Cree’s least-expensive first-generation 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs sold for $9.97.
Durham-based Cree, which unveiled the new bulbs Tuesday, said they should be available immediately online from Home Depot and will be sold in Home Depot stores in November.
The new LED bulbs also use the latest Cree technology, unveiled last week, that enable the elimination of the clunky heat sinks at the base of the bulbs that set them apart visually from traditional bulbs despite their similar shape. Heat sinks dissipate heat, but Cree was able to dispense with those in its new bulbs because its latest technology enables the bulbs to work reliably at higher temperatures.
Customers have been telling Cree that they want their LED bulbs to look more like the bulbs they’ve become accustomed to, said Cree spokeswoman Lauren Taber.
“You still get the same great light output,” Taber said. “You still get the same 25,000 hour lifetime. You still get the same energy savings. It just looks more like an incandescent at a lower price.”
CEO Chuck Swoboda foreshadowed the next-generation LED bulbs last week during the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call.
“It’s about (having) a better product that expands adoption” of LED bulbs, he said.
LED bulbs are a small sliver of the lighting market but are growing rapidly as prices decline. The higher price tags of LED bulbs are more than offset by the their longer life span and energy efficiency.
Cree LED bulbs are sold exclusively by Home Depot.