An $18 Lightbulb that Lasts 5 Years? -

Amanda Wills

May 10, 2011
Orange, California


Managing Editor Amanda Wills received a sample of the new A19 Pixi LED bulb in April 2011. The product was provided by Pixi Lighting free of charge. This is her review.

With the impending federal phaseout of incandescent light bulbs, consumers — myself included — will have to find alternative lighting options to replace their 60-watt ways in 2012.

Not to be confused with the love-it-or-leave-it CFL bulb, the Pixi bulb is a LED (light-emitting diode). While these types of bulbs come with a considerably higher price tag, they save a monster amount of energy. In fact, if every American switched to Energy Star LEDs, it would save 700 million kWh of electricity each year, equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road.

I have received reader complaints in the past about LED bulbs, mostly concerning their upfront cost, which can sometimes reach $50 per bulb. Readers have also noted that LEDs aren't dimmable, and the bluish-gray light they cast is off-putting.

The Pixi bulb addresses all three of those issues.

I replaced my desk lamp's 60-watt incandescent light bulb with the A19 40-watt equivalent. The first thing I noticed is that my office space was considerably cooler after two hours of lighting time.

My former 60-watt GE incandescent had a light output of 820 lumens, and the Pixi only measures in at 463 lumens. Despite the lower lumen, I didn't notice a decrease in lighting. This is because of Pixi's shape. Its body is made of aluminum stamped heat sink fins that allow downward light to pass through. This type of design is also found in gaming consoles and notebook microprocessors. [Editor's Note: The original post said the 40-watt Pixi bulb had an output of 300 lumens. That was updated to the correct output of 463 lumens at 5:40 p.m. EST on May 10, 2011.]

The No. 1 most appealing thing about it is its price — $17.99 for a 40-watt equivalent (used in this review), $9.99 for a 25-watt.

While that's more than I spent on my incandescent, consider that the lifespan of the Pixi bulb is 50,000 hours, compared to just 1,500 hours for the incandescent. That's almost 34 incandescent bulbs for one LED. Eighteen bucks for the Pixi bulb, or $66 for a pile of incandescents? The math made my decision for me.

But the Pixi is missing one crucial thing — a recycling option. The body of the bulb is made from 99.7 percent pure aluminum, a high-value recoverable material. The rest of the bulb's components will no doubt require disassembly, and Pixi doesn't yet have a solution for that.

According to Pixi Vice President Rey Roque, the company hasn't started a program because there isn't yet a need due to its long life. Will Pixi resolve that issue by the time my bulb burns out? Check back in 2,083 days.

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