That 60W-equivalent LED: What you don’t know, and what no one will tell you…
Back to our story: Turns out that the consumer’s assumption is not valid: that the LED bulb is just another upgrade like the CFL. As noted, folks assumed that anywhere you had the 40W or 60W incandescent, you could screw in the CFL. This is not at all the case for a 40 or 60 watt-equivalent.
Within an LED bulb the internal generation and distribution of heat is such that it “desperately” needs access to cool surrounding air. The fact that it has that metallic housing is irrelevant in restricted air.
That 60 watt Wal-Mart bulb, when operating base down in open air and not even using a shade, has its internal LED case at 85°C, the absolute upper end of what is considered “safe” for full life expectancy. The same deal is true for competitive bulbs. Put a shade around it... and it’s a little warmer. Put it into any kind of base-up socket and it gets a lot hotter and all life expectancy numbers are off the table. Put it into any kind of porch or post light fixture, and it can fry, with its internal power supply components at the cliff edge of failure. Put the lamp in a ceiling-mounted fully enclosed fixture and set the timer for when failure will occur.
In other words, totally unlike incandescent and substantially unlike a CFL, reliability and life expectancy go down hill sharply as soon as you install it anywhere that air is restricted. Guess what? A large percentage of places for LED best value is in those place where access is difficult and air is restricted. LEDs do not target a “table-lamp-only” marketplace.