Lights Of America LED GU10 “Accent” Bulb Review

Serendipity is a term used to describe a situation that turns for the better without any effort on the part of the receiver.  This is how I would describe the finding of these Lights-of-America LED lights that are replacements for the GU10 Halogen bulbs that I have in the track lights above my kitchen sink.

While the Halogens produce a lot of light, they are also hot and one-by-one have burned out, all in less than three months.  Grrrrrrrr.  So when looking for Monkey Butt Powder at Ace Hardware one morning (yes they have that), stumbling on to these LED GU10 replacements was serendipitous indeed.  (The town I live in is kind of small and we don’t get a lot of high-tech cutting-edge gizmos so I was really astounded at being able to purchase such a thing at a brick-n-mortar store live and in person.)  As usual, though, I was skeptical.  I knew the LEDs would not be as bright as the Halogens but also would not put out as much heat.  And I needed them.  What did I find out?  Let’s find out.

First, note that the location and purpose of my track lights is as a supplementary set of task lighting within my kitchen:  they are not the source for the overall ambient lighting.  I bought the track lights to help alleviate the shadows that the ambient light casts onto the kitchen sink counter when someone is at the sink area.  The track lighting really brightened up the area.

Four G10 bulbs are used by the track lights

As mentioned, the track lights originally came with the MR16 GU10 50 Watt (250-300 Lumens) type of Halogen bulb.  These are small and strong (and cheap — $4-$6 each) but pump out a lot of heat.  They also burned out one-by-one, which forced me to start thinking about replacement bulbs.  And that’s when I happened to bumble onto the LED replacements.

I shouldn’t use the term “replacement” however: the LED’s have the word “Accent” right on the packaging in red letters.  So that should send up red flags: these are not meant to be replacements for task lighting.  But, in my defense, those letters are in artistic script and look like a cute marketing flourish rather than a warning that these are not going to be one-for-one replacements for your existing GU10’s.

Note the term “Accent” in red letters

These are the specifications for the LED’s from the package:
Light Output: 31 Lumens
Rated Life: 30,000 Hours
Wattage: 1 Watt
Color of Light: 6500 Kelvin

And, for comparison, these are the specifications from a GU10 similar to the originals in my track lights:
Light Output: 250 Lumens
Rated Life: 4000 Hours (aha!)
Wattage: 20 Watts
Color of Light: 2950 Kelvin

And here are specifications from a similar compact fluorescent GU10:
Light Output: 250 Lumens
Rated Life: 10,000 Hours
Wattage: 11 Watts
Color of Light: 2700 Kelvin

As I installed the LED’s into the track lighting I thought it would be an interesting test to photograph the area using the light from the one remaining Halogen bulb against the newer LED’s.  The following photos show just this.  The camera was set up on a tripod at the same location, shutter speed and F-stop.   Unfortunately it’s difficult to tell  from the photos.

I can tell you, however, what you probably already know:  the LED’s are not as bright as the halogens were.  And the amber color of the track lights’ shades are rendered into a harsher blue tone, that was something that again I didn’t expect but probably should have.  So the lights now have a more high-tech look than old world style.

All-in-all though, I’m content about the following points:  First LED bulbs are now coming into their own and are no longer found only in large cities or on the Internets; they are not as expensive as they once were; they do not put out as much heat as the Halogens; they light up instantly (unlike CFL’s); they supposedly have a longer lifetime (I say supposedly because I’ll believe when I see it).

Something you should consider before taking the plunge:  They are more expensive than the halogen counterparts; they will not produce as much light (but hey, just put up more track lighting); they can alter the color of the shades of your lights.

But I’m sticking with these and will be buying more (hopefully not because they burn out).

UPDATE

The original photos were taken on December 31, 2009.  Here is an update of the photo with three LEDs taken on January 29, 2010, almost a month later . . .

Three LED shot, taken about a month later NOTE THAT THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN AT A DIFFERENT ANGLE THAN THE ORIGINALS. 

Update #2 — taken March 09

Taken about 2 months later. FYI ISO 100; F-8; 0.6 sec

Update #2 — taken May 01

Taken about 4 months later

 

Product Information

Price:$10
Manufacturer:Lights Of America
Pros:
  • Less heat, now available, longer-life, mercury-free, instant on
Cons:
  • Not as bright as halogen; little more expensive; casts blue tone
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews

17 comments… add one

  • Jim January 28, 2010, 1:00 pm

    As you’ll find out LEDs don’t burn out as much as decrease in brightness over time. Most reputable manufactures (and the DOE and IES) consider end-of-life for LED based lighting to be when brightness is reduced to 70% of the initial brightness.
    LOAs website says lifetime for these are still in test…http://www.lightsofamerica.com/en/Product%20Categories/LED.aspx
    I would suggest you repeat your pictures every week for awhile and see if you notice a difference. I suspect at that price you’ll see a noticeable drop in performance within a month.

  • Janet Cloninger January 28, 2010, 1:24 pm

    Robin, I’d love it if you could update this post with some pictures so we can see if the light levels drop off like Jim believes. I’m very interested because LOA makes two types of LED replacements for halogen fixtures we have. The halogen bulbs are too expensive to have to replace them every month like we have to, and they do put out a lot of heat. I’d love to be able to replace them with some LEDs, and the blue light wouldn’t be a problem for me – I like the cool white lights better than warm white.

  • Cobin Rox January 28, 2010, 3:46 pm

    Can do. The original pictures were taken on Dec 31 so it’s almost time for a new set of photos.

    By the way, one of the CFL lights in my main lighting chandelier just went out too.

  • jason January 28, 2010, 6:02 pm

    The LEDs are also more directional.

  • Moe Rubenzahl January 28, 2010, 9:32 pm

    I found some 4W LED MR16 replacements at bargain seller dealextreme.com and they are very bright — nearly as good as halogens and a lot whiter. I ordered three more, which just arrived and I haven’t installed yet. But the one I did install looked great. I think I paid a bit under $10 each.

  • Uli January 29, 2010, 2:42 am

    I’m waiting for quite some time now to replace my halogen spotlights with LEDs but have refrained from “real testing” for price reasons.
    Anyway – experience from LED torches might be applied for track lights as well:
    – Multiple LED bulbs are not as bright as
    single high power LED bulbs
    – There are LED bulbs in different Kelvin specs
    “warm white” is gradually creeping into stores
    – There are LED lights with different projection angles,
    but they tend to be even more expensive than others

    So, in a nutshell, what I’m waiting for are 3- or 5-Watt warm white single high power LED track lights (those available right now range around $50) at a reasonable price. Once I can get my hand on I’m prepared to change my lighting grand scale. Promise.

  • Janet Cloninger January 30, 2010, 7:22 pm

    Thanks for the updated picture, Robin. It may be just a little darker in there, or it may be the angle is a little different and that’s why the background is a little darker. I’ll have to check in to these. They cost more than the typical halogen I’m using now, but the halogens burn out so fast! We put 5 new bulbs in (at $6 each), and four of them burned out in less than a month! Even a dimming light is better than no light!

  • Cobin Rox January 31, 2010, 9:27 am

    @Janet — yah, I noticed that the angle was different after I had posted the photo. I will take another one soon, the problem is that my camera has been on the fritz and I just sent it back for service, so it may be another month or so before I get it back.

  • Janet Cloninger January 31, 2010, 6:41 pm

    @Robin You don’t have to worry about the angle, but I wouldn’t mind an update in another month to see how the lights are holding up.

  • andix February 1, 2010, 11:54 am

    as far as regular photos go, you may know this but I hope that you’re using manual settings on your camera, and keep the exposure/iso/aperture at the same values, as well as cut out all other exterior light (or take the photos at night for lack of a better term).

    if you don’t do all these, the camera will adapt to the ambient lighting. I do not see any difference between the December and January photos.

    sorry if I gave advice about something you were already doing.

  • John Wilder February 2, 2010, 1:15 pm

    As mentioned there are differences between LED lights for accent and replacement. We carry 12V LED lights designed to replace 20-watt halogen bulbs.

    Geobulb® MR16 LED Bulb (Cool White)
    Light Output: 240
    Rated Life: 50,000 Hours
    Wattage: 3
    Color of Light: 5100 Kelvin
    Warranty: 5 years
    Pin Spacing: GU5.3

    Geobulb® MR16 LED Bulb (Warm White)
    Light Output: 160
    Rated Life: 50,000 Hours
    Wattage: 3
    Color of Light: 2750 Kelvin
    Warranty: 5 years
    Pin Spacing: GU5.3

    More about these particular bulbs can be read here: http://www.ccrane.com/lights/led-light-bulbs/geobulb-mr16-led-light-bulb.aspx or at http://www.geobulb.com. Unfortunately they would not be perfectly suited to you because it seems you need a GU10 base and these are a GU5.3 base. However, we will have GU10 base MR-16 LED bulbs within the second quarter of 2010. These will have similar output ratings as the GU5.3.

    To further help your readers, when shopping for LED bulbs with a color that matches their needs they should look for Kelvin rating. The following is a basic guideline for Kelvin rating (color temperature):
    8000-8500 Blue-Violet
    5000-5500 Cool White (sunlight)
    3000-3500 Soft White
    2500-3000 Warm White

    John Wilder
    http://www.ccrane.com
    800-522-8863
    http://www.facebook.com/ccranecompany

  • gu10 February 22, 2010, 9:31 am

    there are different kinds of new gu10 low energy bulbs available.

  • Nick March 8, 2010, 11:06 am

    Thank you for your detailed review.
    I am also very excited about the led lighting technology and bought a bulb last year from dealextreeme.com. It was cheap, so I didn’t care (I think I paid $5 with free shipping). I also found that the light was very “blue” and very weak. It is also possible that it was a low quality bulb. I ended up finding use for it in the bathroom as an ambient light. The bathroom has a blue/green theme so it worked out. I’ve been using it for over a year now, so it seems to be okay.
    Looking forward to more pictures from you.
    Nick

  • Janet Cloninger May 6, 2010, 7:47 am

    @Robin Thanks for continuing to take pictures so we can see how the LED lights are holding up. They don’t really seem to have dimmed, do they? I’ll have to see if my local Ace Hardware has any of these lights in stock.

  • Cobin Rox May 12, 2010, 8:21 am

    FYI – i just saw some of these (but different manufacturer) at Wallyworld.

  • Rose November 6, 2010, 11:25 am

    Hello, Im Rose Taylor and I was wondering if any of you know the 1-800 #for this company if you do plz tell me thank you and have a nice day.

  • Trey January 3, 2011, 8:47 pm

    I purchased a dozen LED bulbs for efficiency and duration at Sam’s Club and they did not last six months; they were inexpensive for LED so I replaced them (don’t recall the initial brand). The next set was from Home Depot (Lights of America 2025lede12-30k 120v-60hz 1.5w) and 75% have burned out in less than three months. Of course I discarded the packaging and could not find my receipt so I could not go back to the stores but I did contact Lights of America hoping they might stand by their products. I explained and asked and was told where I can buy more (LOL). I am done with LED and Lights of America!

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