We use hundreds of PAR bulbs in our buildings, many of which are on 24/7. Anything that’s not dimmable I switched to CFL about a year ago, and found the light quality really really poor. I wanted to switch to LED but at $10-40/bulb at Menards (similar to Home Depot to those not familiar) we couldnt afford it. I bought a few LEDs from Menards and the local lighting supply house to try and really liked the light quality.
I buy a lot of stuff on eBay, and I’ve noticed the stuff that’s made in China often comes direct from China at really cheap prices. The wife had bought jewelry from AliExpress before, so I figured that might be a good way to get some LEDs for pennies on the dollar.
I did a lot of research first, particularly looking for posts/articles by others who had already tried this, and couldnt find anything. So I gave it a shot and placed a few sample orders myself. I want to share what I found in case anyone else is considering it. So far I’ve received about 100 bulbs and installed them.
They’re advertised as PAR20 but they’re actually smaller, I’d call them a PAR16 short neck. I ordered 120v, they sent me bulbs labeled 220v but assured me they would work fine on 120v and they did. I got the 30 degree beam angle (which is more spot than flood), warm white, non-dimmable. They work out to being $2.70 per bulb, shipping included. They feel very cheap and lightweight, but they are in fact brighter than the cheapest similar bulb Menards sells ($9 each) and do not get NEARLY as hot to the touch as most of the LED bulbs I’ve bought from Menards or the supply house. I’ve had several of them burning 24/7 for about 3 weeks now, and no failures. Interestingly I noticed the exact same bulbs being used in a Chipotle that just opened. Their “warm white” is a little less pink than most, which is fine by me.
Next up I tried these:
They are a true PAR20 and more similar to what I’ve bought locally. I got 60 degree beam angle, warm white, non-dimmable. Their warm white is the more typical “slightly pink” warm white I am used to. These are for all intents and purposes very similar to the PAR20s from Menards, Home Depot, etc, except they are about 200 lumens less (the manufacturer’s lumens rating seems accurate). They worked out to being $5.75/lamp. They also operate a lot cooler to the touch than the Menards ones. I’ve had some of these burning 24/7 for about a week with no failures.
These arrived today:
I have had more interaction with this seller than any of the others. They didnt make the bulbs until I ordered them, the other sellers seemed to have them ready to ship. They were very responsive and their customer service was very good, however they seemed very new to the online ordering process and missed the deadline to have them shipped by. Rather than say anything I extended the deadline a week and they met it with no issue. I ordered 9W, 45 degree beam angle, warm white, non-dimmable. They worked out to being around $7/bulb. They are short neck PAR30 which wasnt clear from the ordering page, I was expecting long neck (which usually are cheaper). They are a traditional slightly pink warm white with excellent light quality, probably best of the three.
I have some PAR38’s on the way from the same seller as the PAR30.
I also am going to try these:
From the same seller as the first ones.
If anyone else cares about this, let me know and I’ll keep updating.