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Everyone is slashing the price of their LED bulbs, but Cree says its light quality deserves its $20 price

Recently, GE announced it would stop making compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) in favor of focusing more on light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. It’s not a surprising move, as these bulbs are long lasting and are finally coming down to a price that consumers are willing to pay for something that lasts at least 20 years.

But there’s something interesting going on with LED makers. Osram Sylvania cut the life expectancy of its A19 LED bulb from the standard 20,000 or 25,000 hours to about 11,000 hours. That’s about 10 years of life for $3, a price many consumers are likely happy to pay, especially if it means not having to change difficult-to-reach bulbs for a decade.

But that race to the bottom, price-wise, worries Mike Watson, VP of project strategy for bulb manufacturer Cree. As companies begin offering LEDs that last fewer and fewer hours, “it’s basically dumbing down LED technology to the reliability performance of an incandescent, which takes away one of the major advantages,” he tells Digital Trends.

Cree isn’t trying to make the cheapest bulb but one that offers the best experience, says Watson. The company prides itself on offering customers what it calls “better light.”

“Ultimately what better light means is when you see it and you’re in it, you love it and you’ll never want to go back,” Watson says. “You notice the difference.”

Today, Cree announced two new PAR30 bulbs to its lineup: 75-watt replacement, 25,000-hour flood and spot lights, now on sale at Home Depot for $20 each. These are the types of bulbs you’ll typically find outdoors and in recessed and track lighting.

While Cree is facing competitors that offer significantly cheaper bulbs, Watson says Cree is so confident in its light quality, that it offers a satisfaction guarantee: If you don’t like them, you can return them.

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Jenny McGrath
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jenny McGrath is a senior writer at Digital Trends covering the intersection of tech and the arts and the environment. Before…
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