The good guys - Philips SLS 25, SLS R 40/20, and SLS/D 23

Philips Universal Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Philips Flood Compact Fluorescent Reflectors

Philips Dimmable Compact Fluorescent Lamps

The SLS 25 is a 25 watt bulb that puts out 1750 lumens and is a '100w' equivalent. About $15 at Home Depot. Works very well, but expensive.

The SLS 40/20 is a 20 watt flood light compact fluorescent bulb that put outs 875 lumens and is a '75w' equivalent. About $24 at Home Depot. It is a bit lopsided, and a bit longer than a normal flood, but works very well, and is quite expensive.

The SLS/D 23 is a 23 watt bulb that puts out up to 1500 lumens and is a '90w' equivalent. It works with a conventional incandescent light dimmer. About $20 at Home Depot. Works very well, but expensive.

The bad guys - Lights Of America Overview

Lights Of America

I bought a bunch of Lights Of America compact fluorescent bulbs, because they were inexpensive. I have had 4 of them fail, the 100w quad light, two 150w mega lights, and their 3 way light. It seems clear to me that their rated life of about 10,000 hours is sheer fantasy, or their quality control sucks. None of my Philips compact fluorescent lights have failed. I would not recommend Lights of America products under any conditions

Also as detailed below, they produce far less light than their "equivalent" incandescent ratings indicate, as well as far less light than Philips compact fluorescent bulbs.

I bought a few 2127 ('100w equivalent') quad lights. They have a replaceable base. After about 8 months owning it, I noticed it was getting dim. I moved it to a different socket, and after a few hours, there was a bright flash, and no more light. A new bulb (same base), showed that both the bulb and the base had blown. Good thing they have a 1 year warranty...

The bad guys - Lights Of America Low Light Output

Lights Of America

As can be seen below, I was suspicious of the claimed light output of the Lights Of America Products. Therefore I conducted an informal test. I obtained a photographic light-meter. I measured a number of bulbs to see how much light was put out. Except for the circular Lights Of America 2730 bulb, all readings were taken with the bulb base in the same position, and the light meter in the same position. The 2730 bulb was in a different, slightly higher fixture. All light levels are measured in foot-candles. This is not a very rigorous test, but rather shows the relative brightness of several different types of bulbs.

BULB                  MEASURED BRIGHTNESS        NOTES
60w  incandescent     25 fc
75w  incandescent     36 fc
100w incandescent     42 fc
150w incandescent     75 fc
Philips '75w'         30 fc                      Slightly dimmer than real 75w
Philips '100w'        42 fc                      Same as real 100w
LoA 2730 low '50w'    20 fc                      Close enough to 60w, see above
LoA 2730 med '100w'   38 fc                      Close enough to 100w, see above
LoA 2730 high '150w'  not tested
LoA 2332 '150w'       41 fc                      Not as bright as real 100w,
                                                 nor as bright as Philips '100w'
                                                 compact fluorescent.

Lights Of America 2127

Lights Of America

I bought a few 2127 ('100w equivalent') quad lights. They have a replaceable base. After about 8 months owning it, I noticed it was getting dim. I moved it to a different socket, and after a few hours, there was a bright flash, and no more light. A new bulb (same base), showed that both the bulb and the base had blown. Good thing they have a 1 year warranty...

Lights Of America 2332

Lights Of America

So I replaced the broken '100w' quad light with a 2332 ('150w' equivalent') mega light. It burned out after about 2 hours of being on. Good thing they have a 1 year warranty...

Well, after 8 or 9 months, it broke. I took it back to The Home Depot, and they gave me a new one. Well it broke again after another 9 months. I would estimate no more than 500 hours of use. A far cry from 10,000 hours. Since it has failed 3 times, I think it more likely bad design rather than poor quality control.

For comparison, none of my 5 Philips compact fluorescents have given me any trouble.

The 2332 looks like a 'traditional' compact fluorescent. About $18 at Home Depot. It draws 34 watts, and is supposed to be equivalent to a 150 watt incandescent bulb. On the package, it says 2400 lumens, but on their web page, it says 1475. Their 100 watt equivalent bulb is rated at 1400 lumens (web page), and their 200 watt equivalent bulb is rated at 1600 lumens (web page). There is no way that the bulb puts out the equivalent of 150 watts of incandescent lighting. I switched it back and forth with a normal GE 150 watt bulb, and it was much dimmer. See the chart above for the details. I think the web page numbers for lumens are much more accurate than the numbers on the packaging. I am returning this, as the Philips draws 30% less power, and is just as bright. Another interesting point is that the packaging says 10,000 hours of bulb life, while the web page says 12,000 hours of bulb life.

I called their customer support number. They referred me to their technical support 800 321 8100 x503. The guy I spoke to was totally unhelpful. Initially, I didn't have the bulb numbers. He said he needed the numbers to do anything. Well, they have exactly one '150w' non-circular compact fluorescent. He shouldn't need the number. But I said I would get it from their web page. He then hung up on me. Not a very nice thing to do. Perhaps it was a language barrier problem. I told him the bulbs ware way too dim. He said let them warm up. I did so, for over 10 minutes. Still way too dim. He said, these are new designs, perhaps I got a bad one and to exchange it. I had already exchanged the bulb once, because it had to be screwed into a socket much tighter than one would suspect, and I thought the first one totally defective. Now I measured the power all the bulbs drew (with a true RMS voltmeter and ammeter), as well as some conventional incandescent bulbs. They were all drawing roughly the correct amount of power. Why should I use their '150w' bulb that is no brighter than the Philips '100w' bulb that draws about 33% less power? I am quite unimpressed with Lights of America, and I cannot recommend their products under these circumstances. Their '200w' equivalent bulb is a joke, based on the lumens specified on their web page. Their customer support people match the performance of their '150w' bulbs. I am also dismayed that the lumens specified by the packaging differs so much from the web page.

Perhaps Lights Of America thinks people are stupid, and can't tell how bright lights are, and can't compare a '150w' equivalent bulb with a real 150 watt incandescent bulb. It is not a subtle difference.

Lights Of America 2370

Lights Of America

The 2730 is a '3-way' replacement circle light. About $20 at Home Depot. It draws 34 watts according to their packaging puts out 800/1600/2400 lumens. In reality, the settings go low, high, medium, rather than low, medium, high. What is more annoying, is that I have observed that while the light is on the high setting, the brightness varies widely. Usually it is quite bright, but intermittently it gets much dimmer over the period of about a minute. After awhile, it gets bright again. I can't determine what causes the brightness to vary, but it is quite annoying.

After about 30 months, it broke. All light levels. I would estimate that it was used for about 1000 hours at the most. Lights of America claims a life of 10,000 hours.

Lights Of America 9000

Lights Of America

The 9000 is a 'Outdoor Electronic Light' About $8 at Home Depot. It draws 13 watts according to their packaging puts out the same light as a 60w incandescent. It can either be switched remotely, or turn on automatically when it gets dark. I have had one installed for about 8 months, and it is working fine. It even has a replaceable bulb.

I bought 2 of these units. The electronics are supposed to be good for 75,000 hours of use. Assuming it is on for 12 hours a day, that would mean it should last for 17 years. Both of my units failed with less than 5 years of use. Even if it was on 24 hours a day, that is still 8.5 years. Why is the warranty only 2 years? I think they knew it was more likely to last 2 years than 75,000 hours, and simply made up a big number to make people want to buy the fixture.

Ikea undercounter light

I recently purchased an undercounter light from IKEA. I have purchased similar lights in the past, so I was not expecting any suprises, but in this case I got one. The light fixture said that it comes with a switch, which is nice. I get home and look at it and find that while it has a power switch, there is no power cord at all and the connector is non-standard. Perhaps I missed it, but I did not see anything on the display that said power cord not included. Since I live quite some distance away, I called the phone number for the store, but if you want to actually talk to a person you get transferred to some call center in another state. I think that this is a bit deceptive since it is really not the phone number for the store. It seems like, for what now is obvious reasons, IKEA does not really want to talk to the customer. I was told that they had the power cord in stock, but since I was so far away I pushed to ensure that they really had one and to also ask if it could be held for 1 hour so that I could go and get it. I was told that they could not hold it at all. I asked to talk to a supervisor who was a bit nicer and who called the store and found out that they were completely out of stock, which means the inventory is no accurate, but that they would receive more in two weeks. It is a good thing that I pushed the issue since it would have been a long way to go and a big waste of gas just to find that the first person provided false information to me.

So, two weeks go by and I call again to make sure that they got it in and based on the last experience I really did not want to trust that it had arrived, which, as it turns out, was a really good thing to do. I was on hold for a long time, but finally got a real person and I asked to talk to a supervisor since that is the person who can call the store and talk to a person there. I was on hold for a long time again and it seems that I was just transferred into some other phone queue who was not a supervisor. So, start over again and more time on hold. Finally I talk to a supervisor and I am told that the part is discontinued and they will not be getting any more in at all, which means that the claim that they would get the part in was another false statement.

IKEA is selling products which can't be used without modification since you can't just go and get a power cord which will work with it. I am told that IKEA will not ship this product, but the inventory says that a store even further away from me claims to have it. I can't talk to a person at that store and even if they have it, they will not hold it at all. I can't talk to a person at that store and see if I could find some way to get them to ship it. It is a $5 part and having to spend over $20 in gas does not seem cost effective. IKEA has its rules and will not do anything to correct the situation.

The bottom line is that IKEA is not providing any customer service and has provided false information numerous times. It is quite deceptive in my opinion to sell a product which is not complete and which they don't even have all of the required parts to make it work. The product box does not say that it is missing the power cord, the product display does not say that it is missing the power cord nor does it say that it is a discontinued item and the part number is not accessible online (600-938-31) or anywhere else. IKEA does not care if a customer wastes times and gas to get to one of their locations only to find that they don't have the item at all.

Personally, due to all of this I don't intend to ever buy anything from IKEA at all. I don't think it is reasonable to expect the customer to open the package in the store and make sure that everything that is needed is either there or available. I don't think that it is reasonable to sell an incomplete product and not have all the required items and the customer should be informed if they are buying a discontinued item.

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