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December 23, 2007|David Colker

The product: LED holiday lights

Advantages: Light-emitting diodes have become popular for Christmas decorations for several reasons: They use far less electricity than traditional lights, run cooler and last longer.

Disadvantage: The initial price. It costs about $60 for enough maximum-size LED lights to cover a 50-foot span, according to a survey by Consumer Reports magazine. Covering that span with traditional bulbs costs about $22.

Making up the cost: Eventually, the LEDs would pay for themselves. For 300 hours of use (about seven hours a night for six weeks), they would consume only 14 cents' worth of electricity, Consumer Reports said. The traditional bulbs would cost about $11 to operate for the same number of hours. So you'd make up the price difference during the fourth year of use. In the meantime, you'd also be greener.

-- David Colker

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