Don't Waste Your Money: LED vs traditional Christmas lights - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Don't Waste Your Money: LED vs traditional Christmas lights

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By John Matarese - bio |email

(WTOL) - If you're shopping for Christmas lights, you'll notice more and more LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights on the shelves, and fewer traditional light sets. 

The LED lights all claim they will save you money on your electric bill.

But considering their higher cost, are they really worth it?

LED Lights Dominate

Walk into any big retailer, as I did recently with a hidden camera, and you will find the new LED lights everywhere. 

While Walmart still had plenty of traditional Mini Lights (at a bargain $2.48 a box), at Target and Lowe's, the new LED lights now dominate the shelves. 

Consumer Reports Magazine says LED's only downside is they are a bit dimmer. But it says they are safer, last longer, and use between 50 and 90 percent less power. 

The magazine says that's an energy saving of $1 - $2  per strand of miniature lights over a holiday season, roughly 300 hours. 

Put up 10 strands, as many homeowners with outdoor displays do, and save at least $10 on your December electric bill. 

Bigger outdoor bulbs will save even more, as much as $50 on your December bill.

Doesn't that Stink?

But from the "Doesn't that Stink?" file, the fact that LED lights require a big initial outlay. 

It's hard to justify paying $9.98 for a box of 60 LED lights at Walmart, for instance, with those $2.48 standard bulbs just down the rack. Doesn't that stink? 

If stores want us to make the move to energy saving bulbs, lower prices would help.

Money Saving Option

Don't mix LED and standard bulbs: the light each gives off is very different, and does not blend well. 

If you'd like LED lights, but right now can't justify their price on a tight holiday budget, consider waiting until after Christmas. You'll be able to buy them for next year, at half the price they cost now. 

Watch John Matarese's Don't Waste Your Money reports Monday, Wednesday and Friday on WTOL 11 News at 5.

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