On January 1, 2014 the federal ban on manufacturing 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs went into effect. One of the main implications of this ban is that consumers are slowly going to be forced to opt for LED or CFL light bulbs. However, the shape, cost and light quality of LED light bulbs has not made them very popular with consumers thus far. Philips aims to change that by releasing an innovative LED light bulb, which is called SlimStyle, retails for less than $10 and is flat.
The Philips SlimStyle bulb produces 800 lumens using 10.5W, which makes it a 60W equivalent model with a 76 lumens-per-watt efficiency. The SlimStyle is rated for 25,000 hours of life and is dimmable. Its CRI rating is 80 and it has a color temp of 2700K. Despite its unconventional shape it is able to project light in an omnidirectional pattern, which results in even lighting in all directions.
The reason why the bulb is flat is that this shape has allowed Philips to do away with the heat sink found in other LED bulbs. Even though LEDs don’t get as hot as incandescent bulbs, the LEDs themselves are very heat-intolerant meaning they need to be kept cool. In most LED bulbs this is achieved via a metal heat sink around the base of the bulb. By making the bulb flat, Philips engineers could arrange LED diodes in a horseshoe pattern, which helps to dissipate the heat. More specifically, since the diodes are not arranged in a tight circle, as in other LED light bulbs, the heat they radiate is directed outward, in an arc across the surface of the bulb.
The SlimStyle light bulbs are lighter than other LED light bulbs, owning no doubt to the elimination of the metal heat sink. The light quality they produce is also reportedly the same as the light cast by other 60W LED bulbs. One of the main drawbacks of the SlimStyle is the fact that it is only offered as a 60W. However, should it gain traction with the consumers, 75W and a 100W alternatives will likely be released.
The SlimStyle bulb is definitely challenging long held beliefs about what a light bulb should look like. However with LED technology there is little need to keep the shape of the traditional Edison bulb and guture LED bulb designs could differ even more wildly.
The new SlimStyle light bulb will hit retail stores on March 1, 2014, though it can already be ordered online from Home Depot.