San Jose company’s LED light bulbs hit store shelves

When it comes to light bulbs, Silicon Valley consumers can now go green and support a local company at the same time. But it will cost them.

Switch Lighting, a San Jose company that designs LED light bulbs, announced Wednesday that its bulbs are now being sold by retailers. The company announced a deal with Batteries Plus, a nationwide chain of stores offering batteries and light bulbs. The bulbs will also be available from “mom and pop” retailers, according to company representative Deanna Siste.

Consumers will have to pay a premium for Switch’s bulbs. Batteries Plus is charging $50 a bulb for them. That’s twice or more what you’ll pay at your local Home Depot for a comparable LED bulb.

Previously, Switch’s bulbs were only available for restaurants and hotels through commercial distributors. The company had initially planned to start selling its bulbs to consumers a year ago.

“As you know, start-ups experience delays all the time, and Switch has been spending this time perfecting the bulb and setting up their network,” said Siste in an email, adding, “Reinventing the light bulb is hard work.”

Like the rival bulbs at Home Depot, Switch’s bulbs are designed to replace the venerable 60-watt incandescent bulb, producing 800 lumens of light. And like those bulbs, Switch’s bulbs use less than a quarter the power of a 60-watt incandescent bulb and are rated to have a lifespan that’s at least 20 times as long.

Switch hopes to stand out from the pack with its design. LED bulbs come in a bizarre range of shapes, including ones that look like bug lights, others that look like weapons and still others that look like they’ve been flattened.

By contrast, Switch’s bulbs have won awards for their sleek, modern design. They come with a brushed metallic base, and some models have a clear glass bulb around the LED lighting elements. Switch officials have told me that they designed the bulbs with the thought that they will become decorative elements, that consumers will want to show them off.

Still, when comparable compact fluorescent bulbs sell for about $1.50 a piece and similar LED bulbs sell for as little $18, $50 is a steep price, even if you are getting a product with a standout design from a local company.


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  • Steve

    The price will, of course, come down. Those $1.50 fluorescent bulbs, shaped like springs, hit the market with a $27 price tag. I bought my first one about 12 years ago, at a specialty lighting store. Within a few years they were down to $5.00 per bulb at Walgreens and now, as Troy points out, they’re super cheap.

    Now it turns out the burned-out fluorescent spring bulbs are hazardous waste, because they contain mercury and need to be disposed of at special recycling centers.

    The age of the LED is here. Within a few years we’ll see LED bulbs that are available in brighter wattages, and with warmer light, and in colors.

    Somebody has to buy the early, expensive bulbs to keep the research and development underway. I use the dimmable LED spotlights in my recessed ceiling fixtures; don’t like the cold, harsh light, so I smear a thin film of pink-and-yellow acrylic paint on them, which warms up the light.

  • Anne

    Light spectrum adjusted to maximum, much better than traditional lights.
    -Pays for itself many times over in energy savings -Runs cooler than traditional lights
    -Protective glass providing high light transmittance of up to 98.5%
    -LED estimated lifespan of over 50,000 hours -No maintenance: no additional ballasts or lights that require changing

  • Kosta

    This is a load of crap. Its taken this company years to come to market and now they expect us to pay $50 for a light bulb? I don’t see this happening!

  • Thomas Roberts

    Here is a first sneak peak:

    According to them the build quality is superb.

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