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3M LED Advanced Light (Product Review)

April 11, 2013

LED3MPkg3M LED Advanced Light
3M
Dimmable, LED Light Bulb
60W Equivalent, 13W actual usage
Lifetime: Up to 25 years.
Retails at Wal-Mart for $24.88

The light emitting diode (LED) has been around for a long time (50-ish years or so) but their expense has always put off their use for mass consumption. Like all good technology, the price has come down to a near palatable level in recent years. You can find LEDs in Christmas lights, car headlights, taillights, interior lights, flashlights and just about anywhere you need light.

The final frontier has been home lighting due largely to the high price. Now, 3M has manufactured an affordable LED lamp that not only outshines (Sorry about that)  its competition but it also outlasts them by many years and contains no harmful elements.

I’m the guy who ran through his house and replaced every incandescent bulb (traditional light bulbs) with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in 2006 or 2007, when they became cheap enough to use on a larger scale. I have far too many multi-bulb ceiling fans to spend a huge amount of money on new bulbs all at once. CFLs last three to four years, even in ceiling fans*.

The problem with CFLs is that they contain about 4mg of the poisonous element mercury (Hg). That’s really a very small amount and a very small problem if the mercury is reclaimed through recycling.

I don’t like incandescent light bulbs because of the amount of heat they give off. It’s actually kind of scary, when you think about it. That heat also accounts for the short life of the incandescent style bulb. CFLs are much cooler and more energy efficient. Still, they aren’t cool or efficient enough.

LEDs give off almost no heat even after extended use. CFLs are still too hot to touch while lit. The 3M Advanced Light is an interesting product. It’s brightness is constant from switch on to switch off. CFLs get brighter after a few minutes of being on and get dim over time as they age. CFLs also burn out oddly and I think dangerously by burning out in part of the casing.

I changed out my CFL office light with the 3M Advanced Light and have been very pleased. The light is brighter and whiter than the yellowish CFL and I’m not sure I could go back to that odd yellow glow now that I have seen the light (Sorry again).

The 3M Advanced Light is also dimmable whereas most CFLs are not. I have dimmers in my house and that’s a major CFL fail.

The only downside to the 3M Advanced Light is the price. At $25 per bulb, I would have to space out my conversion but would gladly do so if I had a guarantee of at ten years of life from each bulb. I expect the price to come down some over the next couple of years to a more comfortable level, say in the $10 to $15 range. I’d be more than happy to convert my house to them.

One minor thing about the LED bulb is that it’s heavy. It feels like it might weigh close to one pound, which is heavy for a light bulb. I don’t carry many around with me but it’s just something that I noticed.

The one single thing to note about these bulbs is that they’re manufactured by 3M in the United States (Minnesota) and most of its components are also made in the USA. On that fact alone, I’d say that this product is a must buy. In addition to making a great purchase of an excellent product, you’re also helping keep 3M’s manufacturing in the US. A fact that cannot go unnoticed. $25 per bulb is chicken feed (cheap, cheap) (Sorry, I keep doing that), when you consider the economic impact.

3MBulbThe key points to this product are:

  • Made in the USA.
  • Contains no mercury.
  • Gives of very little heat.
  • Lasts up to 25 years.
  • 3M quality.
  • Dimmable.
  • Comes in two colors (Warm and Cool)
  • 40W and 60W equivalents.

The only point of this product that keeps it from being a 10/10 is price. I love this product and I highly recommend that you try one to start with and then see what you think.

Review: 9/10

*Ceiling fans have vibration associated with them which seems to shorten the life of bulbs.

NOTE: You cannot install this bulb in a fully enclosed fixture. It requires an opening for heat management. See the FAQs.

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