Vu1 – A New One

After CFL and LEDs, now a completely new lamp technology from an independent company is finally about to enter the market!

Quoting part of the October 2010 introduction from the C|Net  article “Vu1 readies efficient lightbulb Edison would love“:

Vu1 (pronounced “View one”) today said that it received UL certification for its first lightbulb which it says matches the light quality of incandescent bulbs but uses a fraction of the energy and costs less than current LEDs.

Its technology, which the company calls electronically stimulated luminescence (ESL), is derived from cathode ray tubes used in televisions, said president and CEO Philip Styles. Electrons are fired at a bulb coated in phosphors which are excited and emit light. The effect is a “natural light,” which is the same as a traditional incandescent, Styles said.

“It’s basically old technology that everybody just gave up on some years ago because it’s based on the TV side, not lighting,” he said.

Because of the phosphors Vu1 is using, it can better match the light spectrum of incandescent light than competing technologies, Styles said.

Its first product, which Vu1 intends to start making early next year, is an R30 floodlight for recessed cans which produces as much light as a 65-watt incandescent at 870 lumens while consuming 19 watts. An Energy Star-compliant compact fluorescent light with similar output consumes about 13 watts. But unlike compact fluorescent bulbs, Vu1 bulbs will not have mercury. The cost is projected to be under $20, said Styles.

And now the day has come!

Well, almost… Last Friday, ahead of official launch date, Lowe’s started selling the long-awaited Vu1 lamps online (for a lower price than projected, $14.98) but only a few lucky buyers were able to place an order. Yesterday, the Vu1 corporation CEO issued a letter explaining why. It seems Lowe’s need to revamp their website to create a new product category since the Vu1 will not fit into existing lamp categories. Once that’s taken care of, online order should work again.

Early reports from those who received their bulbs are mostly positive regarding light quality. (I’ll be back with a review if I can get hold of one myself.) Update: seems that may be several years down the line as they are not yet produced for European mains voltage.

Update Aug 2012: The Vu1 lamp has received much positive attention but the company seems to still have problems delivering the lamps to U.S. retail stores, so eager consumers have to be very patient.


  1. January 12, 2012 at 12:12 am

    I think you’ll like this one once you see it.

  2. halogenica said,

    January 12, 2012 at 4:39 am

    I hope so. It has gotten good reviews so far.

  3. nicolasx007 said,

    March 29, 2012 at 6:03 am

    I hope so too!

  4. otitismedia 1842734 said,

    April 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Those vu1 guys are too secretive (to the public, not to the Chinese…) about their product.
    Spectral distrubution: where’s the graph so we can see if it’s any better than the white + orange-red 90CRI led lights?
    Electron beam: What’s its intensity, is it classified as beta radiation, what is used to shield it?

    For the time being, it looks like my favorite directional lamp at European line voltage will continue to be exactly this one, with a long, linear filament producing a smoot beam (- the U-bent ones won’t because the frosting has gotten so lousy without fluoric acid),

  5. halogenica said,

    June 28, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Otismedia, that’s my favorite lamp too. Except for bedside reading and some 7W decorative window lights, I prefer incandescent/halogen reflector lamps in my home as they create a cosy atmosphere. (Naturally, I only turn them on when needed.)

    Still haven’t seen a Vu1 lamp. When I called Vu1 Corp and asked for a sample, I was informed that sending me one will do me no good as it won’t work here in Europe, and they’re not going to produce a lamp that works for European line voltage until they sort out the US market. Which they still seem to have problems with…

    And while most reviews are good, some say it has a greenish tint. That does NOT sound good. I’ve had enough of greenish tint from poor quality CFLs and LEDs. But I’ll withhold final judgement until the day I can lay my eyes on one.

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