The Best LED Lightbulb

After researching more than 70 LED bulb options, selecting 18 finalists, and testing them in an alcove with a light meter and a dimmer switch, we found that Walmart’s Great Value LED 60 Watt Equivalent (10 Watts) Dimmable Soft White hits all the marks that make a bulb great. And for the price, investing in these LED bulbs makes way more financial sense than buying another set of fluorescent bulbs. Walmart’s bulb spreads light in all directions, lights well and dims evenly, turns on instantly at full brightness, and emits a warm, bright light spectrum that shows colors accurately enough (or, more technically, has a color-rendering index of at least 80). We also had one more key criterion: We wanted a modest price tag. At $6 per bulb, our pick was the least expensive dimmable bulb we tried. This price makes converting to LEDs a reasonable expense—and with regular use, each bulb can pay for itself in the first year.

Last Updated: September 17, 2015
Our new top pick for the best LED bulb is the Walmart Great Value LED 60 Watt Equivalent (10 Watts) Dimmable Soft White bulb. If our pick is unavailable, the GE LED 60W Replacement (11 Watts) Soft White Dimmable is our runner-up, as it satisfies all our requirements but costs about a dollar more. The best 40-watt equivalent is Walmart’s Great Value LED 40 Watt Equivalent (7 Watts) Dimmable Soft White bulb, which has the right brightness and light spread for a bedroom or reading lamp.
Expand Most Recent Updates
February 17, 2015: Added a review of the Green Creative 60W replacement Titanium LED bulb to the What to Look Forward to section.
January 15, 2015: We removed our alternative pick for enclosed fixtures, the Switch Infinia since the company has closed its doors and its customer support line is going unanswered. We'll find a new choice for enclosed fixtures when we do our next round of testing.
November 17, 2014: The $10 Osram 60W replacement is an interesting new bulb that could challenge our Cree pick. CNET gave it 4 out of 5 stars and called it "a very safe bet." We'd like to try it out ourselves to see how natural the color looks in person and how well it works on a dimmer switch. For more about it, jump down to the What to Look Forward to section.
October 31, 2014: Cree has a redesigned version of our pick that is said to give off light more like that of an incandescent bulb. Its unsubsidized price of $8 will be cheaper for some people, and this bulb offers more lumens, weighs less than our pick (1.9 oz vs. 3.7 oz), and is slightly more powerful at 11W. But CNET found in its tests that the redesigned 60W-equivalent bulb is less energy efficient, and the warranty is chopped from 10 years to 3 years. We need to consider if the redesigned 60W Cree (or the 40W version) is the best option for most people as of now, and will update the guide once we've come to a decision.
August 6, 2014: Added GE's Energy Smart LED 60W equivalent to the competition section.
July 17, 2014: Added Ikea's Ledare bulb to the competition section.
June 12, 2014: Because readers asked about Cree's new 3-way LED bulb we updated the guide with an explanation.
May 8, 2014: Updated to note that Cree now makes a 100W-equivalent bulb. This article specifically focuses on 60W-equivalent bulbs, and there are very few 100W-equivalents out there. But the Cree 100W-equivalent bulb is a good choice if you need a lot of light. It provides 1600 lm, twice the light of a 60W-equivalent bulb.
May 7, 2014: Updated the guide to note why we don't test cheap, white-label bulbs from brands like Monoprice and Walmart: they're not Energy Star certified.
May 1, 2014: Added new information about how Cree will only honor warranties if accompanied with a Home Depot receipt. See our warranty section for details.
Walmart Great Value LED 60 Watt Equivalent (10 Watts) Dimmable Soft White
This bulb spreads warm, bright light in all directions and dims evenly. It also costs less than almost every other bulb we found.

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.

GE LED 60W Replacement (11 Watts) Soft White Dimmable
This bulb, sold in a two-pack, satisfies all our requirements just as the Walmart bulb does. It costs a little more per bulb and has a metal base instead of plastic, which doesn’t affect functionality.
If our pick is out of stock, or if you can’t buy from Walmart, the GE LED 60W Replacement (11 Watts) Soft White Dimmable meets all the same criteria: It has no warm-up time, the light spreads evenly in all directions, and it works well in a dimmer. This bulb isn’t quite as cheap as our pick, but it usually costs only about a dollar more per bulb. Like our pick, this bulb will more than pay for itself over its lifetime.

Also Great
Walmart Great Value LED 40 Watt Equivalent (7 Watts) Dimmable Soft White
This bulb has the right brightness and light spread for a bedroom or reading lamp. It’s the cheapest dimmable bulb we found at this wattage.
For bedroom and reading lamps that need 40-watt bulbs, we like the Walmart Great Value LED 40 Watt Equivalent (7 Watts) Dimmable Soft White. Like our 60-watt pick, this dimmable bulb offers the right combination of warmth, brightness, and spread for less money than the competition.

Table of contents

Why you should trust us

We spoke with Margery Conner, proprietor of Designing with LEDs, a site that documents the technical elements, evolutions, and upgrades across dozens of kinds of bulbs. Conner, who authored the previous version of this guide, studies LED bulbs as a business, and has performed many product teardowns. We also interviewed Ry Crist, an associate editor at CNET who has filed many reviews of popular LED products. We spent hours researching bulb specs using resources like Consumer Reports, which helped us determine how testers measure the quality and quantity of light. We shopped several bulb retailers for hours, and then tested the finalists by climbing up and down to a ceiling socket in an alcove dozens of times to confirm whether they met our criteria.

Should you switch to LED?

If you’re still using incandescent bulbs, note that LED bulbs have the potential to save you about $20 per year per bulb. A 60-watt-equivalent LED bulb uses only 8 watts, or 13 percent of the energy of a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Saving power equates not only to immediate savings for your household but also to an overall smaller impact on the environment. Many homes, even in these modern times, still get their power from coal plants, particularly in Texas, the Midwest, and the Southeastern United States. Anything you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, pollute less, and slow down climate change is a dandy idea.

If you’ve fully converted to compact fluorescent bulbs, you’re already seeing some savings—but switching to LEDs will save you even more.
If you’ve fully converted to compact fluorescent bulbs, you’re already seeing some savings—but switching to LEDs will save you even more. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs use about a third to a quarter of the energy of incandescents, and two to three times as much energy as LEDs. LEDs also tend to work better with dimmers than CFLs do. When your CFLs die, upgrading to LEDs will definitely be worthwhile.

Generally speaking, LED bulbs are still expensive compared with four-for-a-dollar incandescents in their heyday. That said, they have come down significantly in price even since our last major iteration of this guide, to the point that the rebates (varying by state and energy provider) that used to play such a big role no longer matter so much. Generally, rebates covered about $10 of the cost of a single bulb. Now, you can easily find a bulb for less than $10, and the cheapest, made by Philips, is available for less than $5.

Consider their cost in use: A single incandescent bulb that you use for eight hours a day, every day, costs you about $22.78 per year (at the national average of about 13 cents per kilowatt hour). A 60-watt-equivalent LED costs you $3.80 per year. And that’s per bulb—if you use even five bulbs that much, you stand to save nearly $100 per year. LED bulbs cost a few dollars more per unit, but they more than pay for themselves within a year, and most have warranties promising that they’ll last at least three years with average daily use. Either way, you stand to save about a hundred dollars over the guaranteed lifetime of an LED bulb versus using an incandescent. It’s the perfect reason to switch.

How we picked

Choosing an LED bulb comes down to personal preference in two metrics: brightness and color temperature. According to Conner and several other resources we consulted, 60-watt equivalent (800 lumens) is the standard brightness for most rooms in a home. Bulbs also come in a range of color temperatures measured in kelvin, where lower temperatures run red/yellow while higher temps run white/blue; a warm candlelight, for example, is about 1,500 K and a daytime blue sky is at least 15,000 K. We found that 2,700 K, which manufacturers typically call “warm” or “soft” white, is the most popular color temperature, so that became a key detail in determining our pick. So-called “daylight” bulbs, which measure at 5,000 K, are also common, but they have more specialized uses (such as lighting a garage), and they tend to be a bit more expensive than soft-white 2,700 K models.

We found that 2,700 K, which manufacturers typically call “warm” or “soft” white, is the most popular color temperature, so that became a key detail in determining our pick.

The most common bulb base shape is A19, the pear shape typical of incandescents. And the most common type of bulb in this shape is the 60-watt bulb, so we made that our primary area of exploration. We also looked at some 40-watt-equivalent bulbs; according to Conner, those are the second-most-popular kind, often used in cozier settings like bedrooms or dens. The brighter daylight-spectrum bulbs, at 75 watts or 100 watts, typically work best in more specialized or task-oriented settings, such as on a desk, so we decided not to include this range in our testing.

Choosing bulbs on their specs used to be pretty crucial in order to get rebates—it involves making sure that they’re Energy Star–certified, and in the the case of California residents, confirming that they meet the California Quality specs (here’s a more digestible summary). The most difficult requirement is the standard that the bulbs have a CRI, or color rendering index, greater than 90. However, LED bulbs have come down in price significantly since the last time we wrote about them, and many cost less than $10, which is about the rebate amount. Philips is releasing a type of non-dimmable bulb that sells at about $4, and Walmart now offers non-dimmable house-brand bulbs that are about the same price.

To return to the matter of CRI for a minute: The color rendering index of a bulb is a measurement of how accurate colors appear in its light compared with a “reference” light source that has perfect color accuracy, with 100 being the perfect score. In the same way that a set of colored pencils, for example, will look different in broad daylight versus in candlelight or under a blacklight, any colored objects will look different under different bulbs. It’s important for a bulb to have a reasonably high CRI, because you don’t want colors to appear distorted as a result of your light source.

An example of how color rendering index can affect the appearance of objects the light touches. Lighting Matters

An example of how color rendering index can affect the appearance of objects the light touches. Photo: Lighting Matters

CRI is a fine thing to include in considering a bulb, but higher CRI is not absolutely better or necessary, and anything 80 or above is more than sufficient.
However, as important as CRI is, it also has a reputation as an imperfect measure of bulb quality. It relies on reference standards and has trouble with the warmer Kelvin-scale temperatures that are standard in the home.1 For our purposes, CRI is a fine thing to include in considering a bulb, but higher CRI is not absolutely better or necessary, and anything 80 or above is more than sufficient for any situation where you don’t need absolutely perfect color rendering. “For most people, 80 CRI bulbs are fine, you wouldn’t notice them unless you are really particular, Crist said; he gave the example of someone who might select a very particular color-coordinating scheme for their living room furniture and drapes. Crist told us the difference between an 80 CRI bulb and, say, an 83- or 84-CRI one is nearly imperceptible, and it’s hard to see a distinction until the bulb is around an 87 CRI or higher. Even then, the difference between 80 and 87 CRI is “like the difference between 720p and 1080p resolution” in a display, Crist said. It’s “worth it to put [high-CRI bulbs] in some parts of your home,” Conner told us. She suggests the entryway and dining room as good places for high-CRI bulbs—you wouldn’t want to flatten the colors on the food you worked so hard to buy, serve, and eat, after all. Elsewhere, such bulbs are not really worth the extra expense.

Conner noted that one way of assessing a bulb’s build quality is its weight. And counterintuitively, lighter generally means better. Many inferior bulbs use hunks of metal as heat sinks, which experts regard as a sort of shoddy, shortcut construction. “It’s a cheating way to do it,” Conner said. “Anyone who designs that way has probably cut some other corners.” Among the bulbs we tested, we didn’t find overall weight or heavy heat sinks to be an issue, but it’s something you should be wary of when shopping. For context, the Cree TW series 60-watt-equivalent bulb was among the heaviest we tested at 6.1 ounces, while our Walmart 60-watt-equivalent pick weighed 2.75 ounces.

An even light distribution is an attribute that most, but not all, bulbs have. A bulb that casts light across a wider field is better—a narrow beam of light, like that of a flashlight, doesn’t cover a room as well as a bulb with an ambient glow does. LED bulbs tend to have an opaque section between the base and the translucent portion that sheds the LED light. The larger the translucent section, the wider the light distribution. We sought bulbs that exposed as much of this area as possible, and as a result we disqualified some bulbs, such as those with a top-half omni design.

Dimmer compatibility is a particular matter of concern for LEDs—either the bulbs can be incompatible, they can dim unevenly, or they can hum in the socket. According to Energy Star specs, compatible bulbs must output no less than 80 percent brightness at the top setting of a dimmer, and no more than 20 percent at the bottom setting (10 percent in California). Basically, they must have a brightness spread greater than 60 percent (greater than 70 percent in California). Some bulbs cheat at this with an uneven brightness distribution along the spectrum—for instance, a bulb might dim only 5 percent as you slide the dimmer from 100 to 5, but as you slide the dimmer from 5 to 0, the bulb brightness drops 80 percent. On top of that, not all bulbs are compatible with all dimmers. But dimmer companies test with lightbulb companies and put out compatibility sheets (here’s an example).

The major brand of dimmer we used for testing was a Lutron Skylark, one of the most popular dimmers available from hardware stores and a model that is compatible with many bulbs. In our experience testing bulbs, we did not find the Lutron compatibility chart to be 100 percent accurate—some bulbs that were supposed to work did not, and some that weren’t supposed to work functioned just fine, without even making noise. So unfortunately, the only way to be sure a bulb will work, dim sufficiently, and not hum in your dimmer is to try it. We avoided bulbs that were not marked as dimmable; however, among LEDs, these types of bulbs are not as different as, say, dimmable and non-dimmable CFLs. The cost difference in most product lines between dimmable and non-dimmable bulbs is $1 or $2.

We eliminated bulbs that had no warranty or a warranty less than three years, but we did not seek out warranties any longer than that. Warranties used to matter a great deal for LED bulbs, as a way to earn buyers’ trust and to bring new technology into homes. When the first such bulbs appeared, a 10-year warranty wasn’t uncommon; now, coverage longer than three years is rare. The change in cost is likely a factor in shrinking warranties, as individual bulbs used to cost tens of dollars and were genuine investment pieces. Now they’re cheaper and more disposable. Frankly, it’s impressive to see companies provide any sort of multiyear warranty on something that costs between $3 and $10, but as most purchases are in bulk, it’s fair to expect some insurance.

On our previous guide, we received several commenter requests for consideration of IKEA bulbs. We researched the brand and found that some of the company’s bulbs are not dimmable, and that they all lack a warranty. That meant we couldn’t consider them this time around.

Beyond those metrics, we cross-referenced our list of potential products with that of Consumer Reports, which examines bulbs’ CRIs and ratings for warm-up time and light distribution in its efforts to thin the herd. CR’s info seems a little outdated though: The testing house’s top pick, a Samsung bulb, is no longer sold.

After applying our criteria to more than a hundred bulbs, we narrowed the field to 18 bulbs for testing across the 60-watt-equivalent and 40-watt-equivalent categories. Then we put those bulbs through a bunch of observational tests to see which one was the best.

You can see on the piece of metal encasing the bulb socket here that the GE bulb (left) casts a slightly narrower spread of light than the Walmart bulb (right) by how high the shadows come up on the metal on the right side. This effect occurs because the GE bulb is slightly rounder, while the Walmart bulb bulges more around its midsection. The difference wasn’t significant enough to alter our rankings, but it illustrates how bulbs can vary in this respect.

You can see on the piece of metal encasing the bulb socket here that the GE bulb (left) casts a slightly narrower spread of light than the Walmart bulb (right) by how high the shadows come up on the metal on the right side. This effect occurs because the GE bulb is slightly rounder, while the Walmart bulb bulges more around its midsection. The difference wasn’t significant enough to alter our rankings, but it illustrates how bulbs can vary in this respect. Photo: Casey Johnston

How we tested

We tested bulbs for brightness, light spread, warm-up time, and performance in a dimmer. Our method for warm-up time and brightness involved climbing up onto a shelf in an alcove over and over again, reaching to the ceiling, screwing each bulb into a dimmer socket, pointing a light meter at it and measuring the brightness off the wall behind the bulb at the dimmer’s highest and lowest setting, waiting five minutes, and measuring the brightness at the highest and lowest settings again and noting any changes. We then climbed up to unscrew that bulb and try another one.

These numbers are most valuable for quantifying any warm-up a bulb needs to do in its first few minutes—if a bulb needs no warm-up time, its light-meter readings will remain constant after five minutes—and don’t have a ton of meaning in comparing one bulb to another. But for posterity, in making our picks, we converted the light meter’s stats to a measure of luminance (a measure of a light’s intensity per unit area in a given direction) using the reflected-light exposure equation for each bulb so that you can get a sense of its light spread. Again, your results may vary depending on your dimmer.

At the time of turning on the bulb and after five minutes, at both dimmer extremes, we listened for any humming or buzzing the bulb might make. We also tested for light spread in a more open non-dimmer socket, and we found most bulbs to be beyond reproach with a couple of exceptions noted in The competition.


Photo: Casey Johnston

The Walmart Great Value LED 60 Watt Equivalent Dimmable Soft White bulb.

The Walmart Great Value LED 60 Watt Equivalent Dimmable Soft White bulb. Photo: Casey Johnston

Our pick

Walmart Great Value LED 60 Watt Equivalent (10 Watts) Dimmable Soft White
This bulb spreads warm, bright light in all directions and dims evenly. It also costs less than almost every other bulb we found.

The Walmart Great Value LED 60 Watt Equivalent (10 Watts) Dimmable Soft White (about $6) was as good as the other models we tested and was the least expensive bulb that hit all our criteria: It didn’t buzz in a dimmer or take time to warm up in our tests, and it has a CRI of 82, higher than our minimum requirement of 80. In the dimmer we used to test, the bulb could go from very bright to very dim, per the Energy Star mandate, with a luminance of 48.8 (candelas per square meter) at top brightness in the dimmer and 1.2 at the dim end. Similar to all of the finalists we checked out, this Walmart bulb also offers an omnidirectional spread of light, so it diffuses its brightness over a wide area. As it meets all our requirements and has the lowest price we found, this bulb represents the most affordable way to transition to an all-LED house.

One general point in favor of LED bulbs over CFLs is that their housing is almost never made of glass. LED bulbs have a plastic shell, sometimes combined with metal, that imitates the glass-bulb shape of incandescents. This Walmart bulb is no exception, which gives it huge durability points over an incandescent or CFL. Most of the LED bulbs we tried, our pick included, are tough enough to survive a short drop to a floor, usually.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Next to our runner-up from GE, this Walmart bulb has a slightly cheaper-feeling plastic and a white plastic base that’s lighter in weight. Overall, though, either bulb’s size and weight are easy to manage with one hand when you’re screwing it into a socket. At any rate, if you’re looking to get an ASMR charge out of the tactile feeling of LED bulbs instead of screwing them into a socket to shed light within your dark home, you’re reading the wrong guide.


Photo: Casey Johnston

The GE LED 60W Replacement Soft White Dimmable bulb.

The GE LED 60W Replacement Soft White Dimmable bulb. Photo: Casey Johnston

Runner-up 60-watt equivalent

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.

GE LED 60W Replacement (11 Watts) Soft White Dimmable
This bulb, sold in a two-pack, satisfies all our requirements just as the Walmart bulb does. It costs a little more per bulb and has a metal base instead of plastic, which doesn’t affect functionality.
The GE LED 60W Replacement (11 Watts) Soft White Dimmable (sold in a two-pack for about $7 per bulb) hits all the same marks as the Walmart bulb but costs about a dollar more per bulb. In our dimmer, it displayed a wider brightness range, with a luminance of 78.1 at the brightest end and 1.36 at the dim end at the same settings as the Walmart model. Like the Walmart bulb, it provides an omnidirectional spread of light, but as the photos above show, the GE bulb casts a slightly narrower spread of light than the Walmart bulb. Visually, however, the difference is hard to determine—in our tests, the color temperature, color rendering, and brightness were all basically equal between the two.

These bulbs come with a five-year warranty, and GE says to expect them to last that long with everyday use of three hours per day. Walmart claims that its bulbs will last 25,000 hours, which is 22 years at three hours per day or 8½ years at eight hours per day. We’d love it if the bulbs did last this long—we can’t say either way—but even by the time you’ve exhausted the five-year warranty, the bulbs will have paid for themselves many times over.

The GE bulb has a nearly opaque translucent plastic shell, and the base is a light metal, so it’s easy to support and screw in one-handed. It has a bit more heft than the Walmart bulb but is no more difficult to handle.

Best 40-watt equivalent

Also Great
Walmart Great Value LED 40 Watt Equivalent (7 Watts) Dimmable Soft White
This bulb has the right brightness and light spread for a bedroom or reading lamp. It’s the cheapest dimmable bulb we found at this wattage.
The Walmart Great Value LED 40 Watt Equivalent (7 Watts) Dimmable Soft White (about $6) was the least expensive 40-watt equivalent we tested that hit all the marks (no buzzing in a dimmer, no warm-up). Walmart’s other bulbs have some reports of buzzing in a dimmer, but we didn’t detect it with either of ours. The shape of the light spread is sufficient, and the bulb comes with a three-year limited warranty. The brightness spread of this bulb was a little narrower than most others in our tests (we measured luminance at 24.4 at the bright end and 1.6 at the dim end via the light meter), but it is only a 40-watt equivalent. To the naked eye, it performed as well as anything else we tested; what matters is that it offers such performance for a lower cost than the other models.

This Walmart bulb is made of the same materials as the retail chain’s 60-watt equivalent, so all the same judgments apply: easy handling, good durability.

What to look forward to

After we finished this round of tests, Cree contacted us to let us know that it is releasing an updated version of its 60-watt-equivalent 4Flow bulb that will have a CRI of 83, up from 80 in the previous version. Meant to last 30,000 hours, the new bulb also comes with a five-year warranty and costs about $8. It’s coming out in mid-September; we’ll test this bulb once we get it.

About connected LEDs

Some new LED bulbs allow you to do things like turn them on remotely, change their colors, or make them part of a scene—you could set up fixtures as entryway lighting for your arrival home, for example. We did not consider such products for this guide, as they cost significantly more than regular bulbs and really belong in their own product category. PCMag has a guide dedicated to this category that recommends the Philips Hue system ($199 starting price) above all, with the company’s less expensive starter kit as an alternative. Crist likes this kit, but also recommends the TCP LED Lighting Control System ($86) as a budget alternative for someone who’d like to get started with connected LEDs.

The competition

40-watt equivalent

Cree Soft White LED 40W Replacement (6 Watts) with 4Flow Filament Design, Dimmable ($8): One of Cree’s older designs, this bulb has vents near the base and at the top of the bulb, so light emitted in those directions is somewhat brighter and uneven. This bulb’s price is also higher than that of our pick and our runner-up.

Cree TW Series Soft White LED 40W Replacement (8.5 Watts) Dimmable ($3 in California with rebate, $13 elsewhere): Cree bulbs have the longest warranty at 10 years, and the TW series is notable for its high CRI rating of 93. These bulbs are a good deal if you live in California, but outside that state they’re not worth the cost for most people.

Feit Electric LED Dimmable A15 40 Watt Replacement (4.8 Watts) Soft White ($13): This bulb is expensive, and it took a bit to warm up in our tests.

Osram Sylvania Ultra LED 40W Replacement (6 Watts) Soft White Dimmable ($7): In our tests, this bulb took time to warm up, though the light spread was satisfactory.

Osram Sylvania 6-Watt (40W Equivalent) A19 Dimmable Soft White LED ($12): This bulb has a weird freely moving plastic piece inside that you have to kind of jiggle into place. The piece is meant to help spread the light, but if you screw in the bulb and the plastic piece is off-center, the light spread will be uneven. We also found that this bulb buzzed lightly with our dimmer.

Philips 7-Watt (40-Watt) A19 LED Soft White Dimmable ($13): This bulb had a warm-up period and is also pricy for a single bulb.

Philips SlimStyle 40 Watt Equivalent (8 Watts) Soft White Dimmable ($9): This bulb is one of the few to take advantage of how tiny light emitting diodes actually are. It has a flat shape, but the light spread is still good, and the bulb has Energy Star certification. However, though this bulb is approved to work with dimmers, it did not work in ours. And even if it had worked, it costs more than our pick.

60-watt equivalent

Cree Soft White LED 60W Replacement (9.5 Watts) Dimmable ($6 in Utah, $10 in most other locations): This bulb offered a nice light spread and a fine brightness spectrum across our dimmer’s range, but it’s too expensive for most people.

Cree TW Series Soft White LED 60W Replacement (13.5 Watts) Dimmable ($2 to $4 in California, $15 elsewhere): This bulb emitted a faint hum when we tested it with our dimmer, but that was the only mark against it. We want to highlight this bulb because it’s one of the least expensive models that California residents can get through utility subsidies, which reduce its price to $2 to $4. If you don’t live in California, Cree bulbs remain somewhat expensive, so they are hard to justify as a purchase. These bulbs have a CRI of 93, and are slightly less yellow than our picks, as their TW (for “True White”) name suggests. They are still of the warm type for lighting a home, as opposed to the daylight-spectrum bulbs designed for more task-oriented uses.

Feit Electric LED Dimmable A19 60 Watt Replacement (9.5 Watts) Soft White ($13): This bulb performed fine, with no buzz and no warm-up time. Its price is high, though, and we can find nothing about it that makes it worth that extra money.

GE Reveal 60W equivalent 11W Soft White LED ($15): The GE Reveal line’s selling point is its high CRI of 90, which means it’s compatible with California standards for rebates and generally  produces better light (if you accept CRI as a good measure of color accuracy). If you need a high-CRI bulb for performing tasks or meeting California standards, this model is fine; we found it to be more dim overall than the standard GE Soft White we chose as our runner-up, but that effect was possibly due to our dimmer. This bulb did not hum or take time to warm up, and its light spread was good.

Osram Sylvania 8.5-Watt (60W Equivalent) A19 Dimmable Soft White LED ($9): This bulb performed fine and neither hummed nor required warm-up time; it’s simply more expensive than our pick.

Osram Sylvania 10-Watt (60W Equivalent) A19 Dimmable Soft White LED ($15): This bulb contains a free-moving plastic piece just as Sylvania’s 40-watt equivalent does. That element aside, this bulb did not buzz, though it did have a minor warm-up time.

Philips LED 9.5W A19 60 Watt Equivalent Soft White Dimmable ($10): As this bulb dims, it turns a warmer color for a sunset effect, which means in a dimmer it’s quite a bit warmer than a normal 60-watt, which can throw colors off. We also found that it had a faint hum in our dimmer.

Philips LED A19 60W Replacement (8.5W) Soft White ($4): This bulb is not dimmable, so technically it did not qualify for our tests, but because it has received a lot of attention over the past few months for its low price and it meets the rest of our criteria, we called one in for testing. It’s a perfectly serviceable bulb for an excellent price, save that it does not dim; if you are certain you won’t need a dimming bulb, this is a great alternative.


1. According to a University of Nebraska study, one major problem with CRI is the “inability to compare the Ra [another notation for CRI] of sources with different correlated colour temperatures,” particularly for temperatures warmer than 5,000 K. A new, comparable index called R96a exists, but it’s a long way from becoming an industry standard. Jump back.

To send this guide via email, fill out the fields below:
Message Sent!
Oops! Please try again


  1. Lightbulb buying guide, Consumer Reports, July 2015
  2. Maika Nicholson, The Light Stuff--Which Bulb to Use: Nitty-gritty, Stanford Alumni Magazine
  3. Xin Guo and KW Houser, A review of colour rendering indices and their application to commercial light sources, Lighting Research & Technology, September 2004
  4. Electricity Monthly Update, US Energy Information Administration, June 2015

Originally published: September 18, 2015

We actively moderate the comments section to make it relevant and helpful for our readers, and to stay up to date with our latest picks. You can read our moderation policy FAQ here.

  • Todd Barnard

    I just bought one of these last week and was impressed as well. I had a few dimmable LEDs in my last house and regretted leaving them behind. Home Depot has 6pks of these and the 40W equivalent at a discount. I have 2 Packs of the 40s on the way right now!

  • Michael Morowitz

    I would love to see you do the same for LED flood lights. I’ve switch to LEDs in all my lamps, but my kitchen uses a number of recessed flood lights. I think I’ve found the answer, but I’ve had to do a lot of testing to get there.

    • Caleb Hicks

      What’d you find works for your recessed can lights?

      • Michael Morowitz

        Right now, i’m testing the Philips 13W BR30, soft white

        Currently, it seems brighter than the equivalent incandescents. But I think it’s the best I’ve seen.

        I have one of them in right now, but i’ll need 8 overall. It was about $35 at home depot. I haven’t seen a better price.

        • Michael Morowitz

          Also, my standard lamp LED is a philips 12.5 soft white, $15 at Home Depot. I don’t have the model # off the top of my head.

        • Mr. Luigi

          Hi Michael,

          I believe this is the same Phillips recessed can bulb as the one from your link. It’s $25 dollars at Amazon. If you’re a Prime member you get free shipping. Until Congress acts on the online tax law there is also no tax for most states.

          • Michael Morowitz

            Thanks very much. I saw that and I wasn’t sure if it was soft white or not. It looks like from the comments that it is.

          • Michael Morowitz

            I ordered one from amazon and received it. It is exactly the same. At $25, this is a much more sensible replacement bulb, since even and incandescent can run about $6.

            So 4x the upfront cost uses less than 20% of the energy over a significantly longer lifespan makes a ton of sense on these.

          • Mr. Luigi

            Hi Michael,

            Thanks for confirming the bulb you were testing and the one being sold at Amazon is the same. As you say, the savings over Home Depot are rather significant.

            One additional thought on all this, perhaps semi-unique to folks in my situation. Of the many recessed can lights I have in my house (too many to replace even at $25 a pop right now) I have 8 that are located way, WAY up in vaulted ceilings. Those lights have always been death defying to replace and have required borrowing a “theater ladder” to swap out. Nothing else but “hand on bulb” would remove them. I changed those to CFL’s as they are more long lived than incandescents. But, now those are dying. A BIG advantage of LED’s for me is their longevity in situations like this. You only get to live once and I would prefer to have that last as long as possible LED’s in these hard to access locations can, literally, save a life by making bulb changing much less frequent. I have installed two outdoor LED’s in a motion detector unit also, for the same reason. It is located so high that the tallest ladder barely reaches the unit. And the ground is tilted in that area. VERY DANGEROUS. In my opinion, it was well worth spending the extra money for the LED bulbs in that location so I will probably never have to go up on that ladder again.

            No light bulb is worth a life! :-)

      • Chris B

        I just replaced 26 (65w) Ceiling can light bulbs with TCP 12w LED bulbs that I got at OSH. The regular price is $24.99 each, but they were on sale last week for $14.99. The color temperature is 2700k, and they look wonderful. More light output than the lights they replaced, and they work great on dimmers. Color rendering is more pleasant than the incandescents they replaced too.

    • Vera Comment


      That’s the Instapaper creator (he’s since sold it).. from what I’ve read of all his “reviews” they’re spot on. He turned me on to the Crees, and I’m just waiting for the CFLs i have to die before replacing them with LEDs.

      I live in the owners unit of an apartment building so I’m responsible for the lights in the public areas, the long life of LEDs (even compared to CFLs) is especially attractive, because replacing bulbs in the garage/stair wells involves a ladder and screwdriver (pain in my buttocks… )

  • Richard

    I bought a bunch of these at Home Depot and I must say, they’re great. They sell 40 and 60 watt (equivalent) models and both put out a lot of light and they sell both warm and cool color. Warm is great inside, cool puts out more light outside. This is a great product.

  • Mr. Luigi

    I was just at the Durham, NC Home Depot branch. No Cree LED’s. Odd that the Home Depot in the home city of Cree wouldn’t be all over this product. Maybe they had them tucked away in a special location…which would make no sense IMO.

    I hope Cree is working hard on bringing this low price LED technology to recessed can lights. My home has over 50 recessed can lights. No way I can afford to convert those to LED’s at the current prices…no matter what the long term return on investment. I’ll have to stay with CFL’s for now.

    • arbus

      A few months ago went to HD to find the Cree bulb. Could not find it. Asked a HD worker who pointed out they were right by the entrance. NONE at the bulb section. Not smart…

      • Mr. Luigi


        • mikeswimm

          I’ve purchased all my Cree bulbs at the Durham, NC Home Depot. Then are on end caps at the front of the store, not with the other LEDs.

          Hope that helps.

          • Mr. Luigi

            Thanks mikeswimm!

            I like to “cruise the isles” at the Durham, NC Home Depot when life is getting me down :-) and did discover the Cree bulbs (including Cree’s new recessed can lights) on those end isles. I think it’s great to Promo them on the end of the isles. Long term, I am sure (and hope) they will make their way into the main bulb section.

      • Adam Leach

        they also only have a single 40W bulb on display! what about all the other watts?! HD, you’re dumb.
        Despite HD’s marketing stupidity, i purchased a 60w soft white, and a
        60w daylight to test them out. 90 day return policy, though. So at least
        i have time to decide. You also can only buy them individually at HD.
        After i test them out i’ll probably buy the package deal online.

  • Doug Curley

    I like Cree’s new marketing of this bulb, and I’ll definitely be picking some up to replace my bulbs that die. Living in Raleigh, I’m familiar with Cree and a big fan of their work on our awesome “shimmer wall” on the convention center. I was going to buy some of their new bulbs to support the local guys, even happier to see them as your #1!

  • Alma Dewberry

    Cree is good but it is not the best. I have been purchasing my bulbs from and none of their bulbs are priced as high as cree is.

  • jwardell

    Be aware that local stores may offer significant pricing differences thanks to discounts or rebates offered by your local utility. Because of that, here in Boston, the (IMO much better) new 11W Philips bulbs are the same $13 as the Crees.
    I made a video comparing the two:

    • jwardell

      I have a new video updated with 2014 models. Check it out:

  • Nick Bodmer

    Would love a recommendation for a LED replacement of a GU10 Halogen bulb.

    • Marcy Holmes

      I recently bought a GU10 LED bulb for a fixture in my hallway. The LED bulb is brighter than the 2 remaining halogens, but also cooler. The color temp is annoying right now until the other 2 burn out, then I don’t think I’ll mind, but I wouldn’t want it that cool in a living area.

      The only other downside is my fixture has these round ‘plates’ that snap onto the front of the bulb to complete the look – they won’t fit on the LED GU10 because it’s smaller in diameter. I am going to try to find a way to get them attached, but for now I have a bare bulb which isn’t a great look.

      • Nick Bodmer

        Can you share which one you bought?

        • Marcy Holmes

          I think I still have the package on my table – I’ll definitely check when I get home.

          I got it at Home Depot (in Clackamas, OR) with all the other light bulbs.

          • Marcy Holmes

            It’s a Feit electric mr16 gu10 base, 3w, 200 lumens, ‘warm white 3000k’

  • nsw

    I have one of the Cree bulbs, and like except for two things:
    1) It is *still* somewhat larger than a standard incandescent bulb, meaning it can’t comfortably fit in some of my fixtures. This is the most confounding problem.
    2) I find it doesn’t dim all the way down (using a CFL/LED-compatible dimmer for testing).

    But overall it is a pretty nice package at a nice price. I like the rubberized globe.

  • breedm

    Great article! Seems like I need to finally be ready to purchase LEDs over CFLs now.

    Do you have any recommendations for an outdoor recessed/can fixture? 120 degree dispersion would be all you’d really need, I think. How might I include a daylight or dawn/dusk sensor in that? I know they build them into the bases on a lot of bulbs, but in a can light it would need to be at the top…

    Something I’ve searched for before is an LED that has a dawn/dusk sensor and a motion sensor built in at the top. But I’ve only ever seen them on Chinese manufacturers/distributor’s websites (Lylight, I think). I haven’t found anyone selling it in the US. I could think of some great applications for those if the price is right!

  • Kent Wang

    Which is the best for the 240V world?

  • CiiDub

    Nearly every lamp in my house is a 3-way fixture. Two came with one-way CFL bulbs. If you put a one-way bulb in, two of the positions do nothing. “Click, Click, ON”, are there any good CFL or LED 3way bulbs? If not, why not?

    • usernameguy

      I’ve found the GE Energy Smart three-way bulb to be pretty much indistinguishable from incandescent. My mom once got a Bright Effects LBP50, which was awful. The middle was actually dimmer than the low! It also had a very long warm-up and noticeable turn-on lag (the GE is maybe half a second).

  • Cassandra Allen

    Interesting points, thanks for this. While the prices of LED may not be near CFL prices, the many benefits of LED, especially its efficiency and environmental friendliness, make it a better option than CFL. Here’s one article that compares both –

  • Mr. Luigi

    Here is some news I just read in my local paper (July 17, 2013). As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am from Durham, NC (home of Cree) so my guess it that this is not something that was written up in many publications.

    “Cree releases LED Flood Light for Consumers

    DURHAM–Durham based light maker Cree Inc. announced Tuesday that it is expanding its portfolio of consumer lights with the release of a new LED flood light that looks like its incandescent equivalent.

    The new LED flood lights announced Tuesday were designed to have the shape, glass done and color of the typical incandescent flood light that they’re meant to replace. The lights have a 10-year limited warranty and will be sold at The Home Depot.

    The soft white 65-watt incandescent flood light LED replacement sells for $19.97.”

    So, it looks like our desire to have a Cree LED Flood light for our recessed cans has come to pass! :-)

    Cheers, Mr. Luigi

  • Ron Lichty

    Any hope for 75W or 100W replacements any time soon?

    • rappjo

      Had the exact same thought after reading through this article. After a bit of digging, the best I could come up with is the Philips A21 100 W Equivalent LED

      I’ve had it installed for a little over a month now, in my main lamp in my living room. So far, I really love this bulb – it puts out a nice light, very similar to a traditional incandescent bulb to my eye (though some reviewers on Amazon have indicated that it’s only a CRI of 80). A lot of people seem to care if bulbs are dimmable (which this one claims to be), but I always run it at full blast. The biggest downside to it is that it’s egregiously expensive – so I think I’ll wait a while to replace any more bulbs with this model, in the hope that the price comes down a bit. I’ve also noticed that there’s a 75W equivalent bulb in this series and it’s more reasonably priced, so worth considering, depending on what your need is.

      Ultimately I’m not sure I could call this a cost effective replacement to a CFL or incandescent bulb today, but I hope that day comes soon.

    • RonK13
      • tony kaye

        Yep we’re on it – see above in the guide under our ‘What To Look Forward To’ section.

    • tony kaye

      They’re available and we’re currently researching them!

  • Vinnie Tesla

    I still don’t understand why the intensity ceiling on LEDs seems to be so low. Where are the 100 watt and 200 watt equivalents?

    • Keith Schauweker

      Menards carries a 150w equivalent (2200L) Feit LED lamp now.

    • dr2chase

      LEDs don’t like to be too warm; it reduces their lifetime. Packing that much light output into a small package would make overheating more likely and not make a good product (i.e., if here were limits in the usage instructions, many customers would ignore them, lights would fail, then customers would complain). As the LEDs get more efficient and put more and more power into light and less into waste heat, more powerful LED bulbs will become common.

      Your other alternative is to go somewhat custom — LEDs are well-suited to strip lighting because the strip acts as a heat sink out in the open air. Air movement is a huge win; I can imagine someone making a compact, bright LED light bulb incorporating some sort of a small fan. But then there would be problems with noise, and the fan might not last as long as the LEDs, so that becomes another potential cause of early failure.

      • Vinnie Tesla

        It’s starting to seem like making LEDs pretend to be incandescent is basically perverse. As you say, strips and sheets seem to be more suited to the technology’s strengths.

  • indolent83

    Walmart just released their $9 great value brand LED bulb. I’m looking forward to an update to this article.

  • ctchrisf

    Any word on cheaper bulbs? like 5 bucks with Edison base? I have i think 12 bulbs along walkway, currently have 40w incandescent bulbs. I’d love to find some 3-5 watt led bulbs that would work. but 10 bucks a bulbs is kinda pricey.

    Ohh I also own the Phillips Hue bulbs. wow are they cool. You can play with light schemes and timers and used in conjunction with IFTTT app makes a pretty useful device. We have the energy setting wake us up at crack of dawn. then go to sunset color scheme for after work relaxation.

    Truly a great product. wish it was half the price though so could do some more rooms.

  • NigelHall

    A news on when Cree will sell their LM16 bulb — MR16 replacement — to the public. They’re only available from installers at the moment. I have a lot of MR16 track lighting and I’m pretty sure the LM16 would save me a lot of money, very quickly.

  • Matthew Mahon

    These are on sale at Home Depot for about $7.

  • Pavan Samtani

    These are on sale this right now at Home Depot for $7.97 – not sure if it is a local thing or nationwide, but I am in Northern NJ.

  • Jacob Marttinen

    These are $5.97/each at The Home Depot in Redmond, WA for me.

  • Lee Mesnekoff

    Great write-up, really appreciate the details and comparison to CFL. Would you happen to know of anything that is a good low profile flat ceiling mounted LED for a garage? I found the Pixi Beveled LED Flat Light Luminaire which is only a 1/2 UNH thick but got terrible installation reviews?

  • Skip Edmonds

    Bought one last night at HD. Tried warm white in the living room lamps, bedroom lamps, and outdoor porch lamp. It is not a warm white and a bit bright compared to the incandescent. I’ve seen much warmer LED bulbs. The light appears to be closer to 3000k than 2700. Will take back to HD tomorrow. Paid $12.97.

  • Actionable_Mango

    Do these turn on instantly in cold weather? I have a CFL porch light and it takes minutes to get up to full brightness. In other words, it is useless as a porch light.

    I have tried so-called instant-on and cold weather CFLs, and it’s marketing BS. They do not work noticeably better than the normal CFLs, but managed to sucker me out of extra money.

  • fud

    It would be useful to test for RFI [radio frequency interference] with a nearby AM radio tuned between stations. The Homedepot house brand EcoSmart LED bulbs have been awful RFI generators. I tried several, returned them all.

  • ctchrisf

    6 watt bulb is now $4.97 – at Home Depot. Running down now to pick up mess load.

    • tony kaye

      Which location are you in? The upper northeast part of the US by chance?

      • ctchrisf

        In Ct. is it just a regional deal ?

        • tony kaye

          Yes, we’re under the impression that Home Depot has dropped the prices of these in-store only, and specifically in the Northeast region of the US.

  • Andy

    I was at Home Depot last night. It appears that they have lowered the prices on the cree bulbs. the 40W(6W) is $6.97 the 60W (9.5W) is $7.97.

    • tony kaye

      What area do you live in? A little while back they were doing the same thing in the northeast part of the US, but that was it. Not available online as far as I can see.

      • Andy

        I’m outside of Boston, I looked online this morning (setting to a local store) and verified the prices… It certainly could be regional.

        • tony kaye

          Yep I’m fairly certain it’s a northwestern US thing. I’ll keep on looking though. Thanks for the tip!

  • Todd Kuipers

    Thanks much for the recommendation. I’ve replaced over half our bulbs with Crees in the past 6 months.

  • J Lewis

    In addition to spotting a lower price at one (but not all) HD’s in my area (Portland, OR), I noticed there has been a silent redesign of the bulb, possibly for cost reduction. (BTW, I found the 40w eq. for $6.97 and the 60w eq. for $9.97).

    You can actually see the difference just by glancing at the bulb – the heatsink has different fins that extend slightly over the plastic electronics casing towards the socket. Compare the bulb pic on this review page to the updated HD product page:

    Other than the minor external difference, I wonder if there has been internal redesign, as I measured a power factor somewhere between 0.78 and 0.87 (as opposed to the 0.98 measured in Margery’s review). I also noticed a louder hum than I hand anticipated when the bulb was on a dimmer. Unfortunately, I don’t have one of the original CREE’s to compare to in either of these regards. I also have not gotten the nerve to disassemble one yet to look for visible internal differences.

  • rufosanch

    Has anyone experienced any buzzing with the Cree bulbs, especially when dimmed? I hear them a bit even at full brightness, but when dimmed they’re loud enough to be a bit distracting. I swapped them out for old-fashioned incandescents in the same lamps and there’s no buzz, so I know it’s not the dimmer.

    I’m thinking about taking them in to the Home Depot to be swapped out in case it’s a bad batch, since all reviews talk about how silent they are… but I’m mostly wondering whether or not this is endemic to them.

    They’re otherwise fantastic bulbs, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them in non-dimmed situations – but until I get this sorted out I’m not sure I’d recommend them for dimmable lights in quiet rooms.

    • AloXander

      Just popped a Cree 60W into a dimmable lamp and there was a distracting, loud buzzing audible from 10+ feet away. There’s no buzz/hum from the same bulb in a normal light fixturing.

      This seems to be a pervasive problem. See all the comments in the Margery Connor link above. Also:

      Wirecutter, have you noticed any buzzing in a dimmable fixture? I also don’t think the bulb light quality is as comparable to an incandescent as suggested by this article. I’m leaning towards returning these still pricey and imperfect bulbs until they get it perfected.

    • David Rogers

      Absolutely. I’ve tried 40 and 60 watt equivalent models, and from what I’ve read elsewhere, replacing the dimmer switch is ineffective as well.

  • mayhap

    main product links are dead now

  • rarnedsoum


    Not sure what all the hullabaloo is about, as I have been using the Philips 8E26A60 lamps around my home for almost 2 years now.

    Its the warmest, dimmable, consistent bulb out of the dozen or so different LEDs I have in and outside my home.

    It uses 8W and is 2700K. Real 2700K. I’ve bought LEDs that say 2700K on the package, but side by side with other bulbs, were NOT 2700K.

    The only downside is that its made in China (none have failed, or have problems), and it looks like a yellow egg yolk is inside of it when its turned off, but I have it in a fixture so not an issue. 6 year warranty.

    And I am very particular. I run a home automation, security and energy efficiency ESCO.

  • Adam Goldfarb

    Did you guys test or consider Ikea LED light bulbs? I got a flyer in the mail saying although they’re regularly $6.99, on Friday Dec 27th they will be $3.99. If you guys think they are pretty solid then I would pick up a bunch. Let me know…thanks! They are called Ledare LED Globe. 400 lumens = 40 watt incandescent, approx 25,000 hours. Not super bright I guess but still seems decent enough for most lamps, etc.

    • Geoff Cleary

      I was at IKEA yesterday and looked at the LED bulbs. They seemed to be of solid construction and gave off a pleasing, omnidirectional light. I wanted them to be brighter than 400 lumens though, so I didn’t purchase any.

  • Geoff Cleary

    My ceiling fans take A15 type bulbs (smaller screw base than the Cree bulbs mentioned in the review). Can anyone pass along recommendations for good LED bulbs of the A15 variety?

  • Bryan

    I’m thinking of replacing some T8-style fluorescent lights – does anyone have experience using LED versions of these that produce warm light from 2700-3000K? Something like this:

  • Brian Schack

    Can you recommend a lamp? I’m thinking a paper floor lamp. This is the first hit for ‘lamp’ on

  • relaxatorium

    I think someone asked lower in the thread, but I’ll second a request for word on the IKEA Ledare bulbs. Looks like they’ve got some compromises (can’t find *any* warranty info), but the prices seem very competitive with the Walmart one and I’m curious as to the actual quality.

  • JesseNiou

    Home Depot has some CREE TW Series Soft Whites available for $9.97. These have a CRI of 93, and they produce fantastic light. I don’t think you could really beat that. Perhaps you want to factor these into consideration?

  • JoshEngleman

    Not sure if this is the case everywhere, but the Cree bulb is $6.97 at my local Home Depot (Wilmington, NC).

    • tony kaye

      Hi Josh. Yes that is indeed a regional pricing deal. Thanks for the info though!

  • KVFinn

    What’s the difference between warm white and soft white? Cree lists both types with the color temperature of 2700k.

    This very article actually says the best is warm white, but the bulb you link to is described as soft white?

  • Mike

    Anyone who lives in or around South Eastern Pennsylvania can get these bulbs at Home Depot at a subsidized price from PECO Energy. PECO subsidizes LED and CFL bulbs for super cheap. And this is money off at the register, not some type of main in rebate or something. I got these Cree bulbs for $7.97. Costco also sells LED and CFL bulbs for good subsidized prices. I got 65watt equivalent indoor LED flood bulbs for $5.99 and 90w eq. LED indoor/outdoor flood bulbs for $10.99. They have standard 60w eq. LED bulbs for $5.99 but they aren’t quite as good as the Cree bulbs. Additionally they have 4-packs of 60w eq. CFL bulbs for $1.99. I picked up and few boxes of these CFL bulbs for lights that rarely get used and don’t warrant the LEDs.

    The places don’t require you to prove you’re a PECO customer so anyone in the area can purchase them so if you’re near the area or will be in the area and want bulbs on the cheap bulbs throw Home Depot, Costco and Lowes into the GPS. I’m from northern Delaware and outfitted my entire house, indoor and out, with PECO subsidized LED bulbs from the Costco and Home Depot 20 minutes from where I live.

    PECO also subsidized some appliances and other high energy items that you can find out on their website so if you need any of them and are within a reasonable distance it’s worth calling the store and asking the subsidized price.

  • Andreas Fuchs

    I have a couple of these Crees around the house, and every other week or so, one bulb (not on a dimmer, but a regular flippable switch) emits a short, loud screeching noise when it’s turned on or off. I don’t get that from the other bulbs, but it’s pretty disturbing. Beware defects from shipping, I guess ):

    • tony kaye

      Margery (our expert on this guide) had this to say about any buzzing bulbs on her personal site – it’s in the reply to a comment from roughly a year ago:

      “Buzzing usually goes along with an isolated bulb design due to the transformer.”

      She also went on to note that any supplier will refund or replace the bulb if it’s defective so definitely try a return/swap out if you can and as always thanks for the feedback!

      • David Rogers

        So she’s saying that buzzing is inherent to the design? Might want to mention that a little more prominently.

  • Dave

    This does not give enough credit to bulbs with good CRI. Less than 90 is basically unusable – entirely crappy color. This article needs to be re-done to take that into accounts. Cree TW has good CRI, LEDnovation has some ~94 CRI bulbs. The bulb you recommend gives ugly ugly light.

  • Aaron Smith

    2 notes. For God’s sake stop buying low color temp bulbs. 5000-6500 kelvin is beautiful. 2nd, when will we see 200 and 300 watt equivalent bulbs? You can get these in CFL’s outputting 4700 lumens. We have lots of light posts on our property and quite frankly, if they outputted 10,000 lumens at 5500K we’d be happy. If you’d like an example of a 300 watt equivalent CFL bulb with 4700 lumens check here There is no reason a mass array of CREE bulbs couldn’t output 5000+ lumens. We have lots of property to illuminate and need LED bulbs with mega output. I realize this would be a HUGE bulb size, but so is the previously linked ESL85T. And it fits just fine in our lamp post. We also installed 20 of these in our remodeled garage and you can get a freaking tan in there. I hope someone makes a large sized super high power LED bulb.

    • Dr Malady

      Why should everyone stop buying warmer color bulbs just because you have a different preference? I personally prefer a warmer light, especially at night (which, astonishingly, is when I use my lights the most) when I don’t want a bunch of blue light messing with my circadian cycle.

      • Aaron Smith

        I can understand your preference indoors if you can’t deal with the melatonin interfering higher color spectrum. But for outside, if you want the best longest range visibility – I stick by going with very white. I absolutely hate yellow street lights. Make a city look so drab, We use Dahua (also known as q-see and EvoSavvy brands in the US 2 megapixel (1080p) and 3 megapixel cameras. We don’t have to have the cameras go into black and white IR mode with our array of 5500-6000 Kelvin LED bulbs. Looks like sunlight out there.

        • Dr Malady

          I’m with you–the application makes the difference.

  • Peter Bratt

    Any recommendation on an led replcaement for eight 75W Halogen bulbs in recessed lighting cans? I’m looking at the Philips BR 40 bulbs, but the price ($38) is giving me pause.

    • tony kaye

      We’re currently researching other options in this guide. Sit tight!

  • FirefighterGeek

    I totally agree with this recommendation. After trying several brands of LED, I was using the Philips one but when I tried the CREE I was instantly sold. After using a couple of them for a while, I have fully committed to this brand and every light bulb in the house that we read by, and most of the rest, are all switched over. I hate hate hate cfl bulbs.

  • DCfxBroker

    I bought some, and it’s really thes best I have ever had.

  • ArthurHero

    It is misleading to state, “which means you see all the colors of the rainbow accurately.” Incandescents primarily produce yellow-orange light and are poor for blue or green. Color rendering is a complex issue with all light sources. It is more accurate to say that we have adapted to the light produced by an incandescent or incandescent-halogen & assume that the color rendering is accurate.
    Incandescent light is in the range of 2500K to 3000K and is not suitable for all tasks or ages. Again, a complicated subject.
    The amount of mercury in a CFL is roughly the same as the mercury in a bite of tuna so stop using fear of mercury as a reason to not use CFL lamps. Also little free mercury is left in a CFL at the end of life, the mercury is absorbed into the phosphor. Both items are from research by the Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Lighting Research group. The reveal CFL from GE produces a soft, flattering pinkish-lavender light that I use in my home.
    Most mercury in the atmosphere and the oceans (hence high-level fish having high mercury levels) comes from coal fired generating plants. There is considerable research into this and into the negative effects on our environment & health.

  • ArthurHero

    Cree also makes LED retrofit units for recessed fixtures. Many other manufacturers also make these units. The best have CRIs in the 90 range. Most are easy to install. These produce better quality light than a reflector LED. Also, some reflector LEDs will fail prematurely in recessed fixtures due to heat.

  • Andrew Stone

    I bought 2 of the 60W Cree bulbs for $4.97 each yesterday at Home Depot (Selden, NY). The sign said “New Low Price” so it doesn’t seem to be an isolated sale. I think it may be subsidized by the electric provider on Long Island so it’s probably not a widespread deal.

    • tony kaye

      Yep these deals always seem to be regional, and typically on the east coast too. Thanks for the note!

  • Daniel Chandler

    Really? Cree is the best? The Switch bulb is unbreakable (all plastic) and has clean surfaces while the Cree bulb has sticky silicone on it’s globe that captures dust like a wet lolipop … that is when the globe does not fall completely off which appears to be a common event. Finally, I’m not sure what dimmers you were using (please tell), but the Switch 60 dims very well in every Lutron and Leviton dimmer we tested. Finally, if you live within 20 miles of an ocean, try using a Cree in your porch light and watch corrosion kill the light engine. Not the Switch bulb. That baby is sealed for life. The Cree bulb is a good value, but it was engineered for a throw away society.

  • brucerb

    Costco carries Feit brand LEDs and has some good pricing. Feit doesn’t get mentioned here – are their bulbs not very good?
    Was also checking Consumer Reports ratings on light bulbs – Wirecutter articles often cite CR. Bizarrely, CR ratings list no Cree or Philips LEDs. They seem to like Feit and list a few other brands as well.

    • tony kaye

      We actually went with an LED expert. Here is what she had to say about some of the Feit’s on her website (

      “Feit has a dimmable LED BR30 for $19.97. And Philips has one for $24.97. However, neither of these has a 10-year warranty, and both are a heavier design with quite a bit of metal. Consumers will probably prefer the Cree.”


  • Max Velasco Knott

    I bought six of these to replace incandescents in my apartment’s chandelier. I returned them after about two minutes. The review claims little buzzing and solid dimming levels, so I’m inclined to blame horrid old wiring in my building. I experienced buzzing significantly louder than my old incandescents and the lowest dimmer setting was at least 70 percent full brightness.

    I use Philips Hue bulbs in every other socket in my home and love them, though wish I could find a solid “dumb” bulb.

    The Cree is too cool, loud, and bright for my needs.

  • John Balog

    Cree has now released a 100w equivalent that seems to be just a larger version of the model reviewed here. I would love to see it tested as well.

  • David White

    I noticed that since the beginning of March, Ikea has bulbs out at about 40% off the CREE’s price point. They are slightly a little yellower and closer to traditional incandescent bulbs. 7.25 for the 60 watt equivalent with out subsidies and 4.50 for the 40 watt equivalent.

    • Andrew

      They have been on special at my local IKEA $4.00 for the 60 watt equivalent for at least the past month. At that price, plus recently having a CFL break, and never really having good luck with them anyway, it was a deal I couldn’t pass up.
      I love them. They are such a step up from CFLs that have to ‘warm up’. I don’t notice any buzzing. I don’t have anything dimmable so I can’t report on that.

  • David F Watson

    Just got the Cree bulbs off amazon, significant buzzing on my dimmer switch, even when it’s at full.

    • tony kaye

      Our expert touched on this via her own site:

      “Buzzing usually goes along with an isolated bulb design due to the transformer.”

      She also went on to note that any supplier will refund or replace the bulb if it’s defective so definitely try a return/swap out if you can. Plus, they have a 10 year warranty, and that ain’t not bad!

  • bdragule

    Just wanted to make a correction to your review about the Cree bulbs. I just took a trip to my local Home Depot (in California), and I took a pic of the 60W bulbs they sell. There are actually 3 lines – Soft White (9.5W), Daylight (9W), and Soft White TW Series (13.5).

    As you can see from the pic, the TW series you mention in the article is actually $15.97 while the regular Soft White is $9.97. For what it’s worth, both products were demo’ed side by side and they are practically the same. If anything, the TW is a little warmer.

    I wound up buying a bunch of these instead:

    Slightly cheaper, and I traded the dimmable feature of the Cree for the ability to go in between the Soft White (2700K) and the Daylight (5000K) for Bright White (3000K), which I found to be a good balance of both.

    Hope this helps!

    • tony kaye

      Thanks for the note!

  • breedm

    Do you have a recommendation for a PAR38 LED lamp?

  • Edward Smith

    Puget Sound Energy has been financing automatic rebates at purchase for these in the Seattle Metro area (https://pse com/savingsandenergycenter/ForHomes/Pages/LED-Bulb-Rebates.aspx)

    At Home Depots I’ve seen a 60w daylight go for $11.97 and adjusted up to $13.97 to balance demand (the warm whites sell much slower on the west coast) from San Diego up to just south of Seattle. 3-4 weeks ago I saw the warm/cool/daylight for $3.97/$4.97/$5.97 respectively in Federal Way, Wa and other local HDs.

    It would be nice to get some studio quality high CRI LED highs with Chroma 75 rendering or better but I suspect that the current “phosphor” chemistry for down converting blue will have to be teamed up with traditional UV phosphors as the UV LEDs allow for spectrum gap coverage. Who knows: maybe even a white temperature adjustable light to slowly fade the blue tones as we near our sleep schedule.

    • tony kaye

      It seems lots of local/regional places in the US have different takes on rebates and discounts for these. We’ve heard reports of this from all over. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Phil Winton

    Is this a CREE funded effort?

    • tony kaye

      Nope. Not in any way, shape or form.

  • themonkeybutler

    Just a heads up on Home Depot pricing. If you visit their webpage from a desktop computer, their site will give you a price of $5.97. If you visit their page from a smart phone, their site will give you a price of $9.97 – a whole $4 more! In store pricing is also $9.97. Very sneaky.

    So for the best price, buy it online from a desktop computer and then do in-store pick up.

    • Charley

      The reduced price tends to be in store only, and is in locations where the power companies are subsidizing the bulb purchases.

  • bryantb

    Ikea recently switched entirely to LED lightbulbs. Any chance their lights will make it into the next review update? They’re accessible and cheap and it would be nice to see how they stack up.

  • brassmonkey

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the Philips Hue line of products? I like the idea, but at $60 a bulb it’s rather pricey.

  • Joel

    These are currently on sale at Home Depot for $5.97 a piece ( Compared to the regular $10 price, this was a steal so I picked up quite a few!

  • Colin

    If you’re in the Philadelphia area, the Home Depots in PA have the 60W Crees for $3.97 now. The Philips flat bulbs are $4.97.

    • tony kaye

      Thanks for the heads up!

    • Justin Shiffler

      Phillips Slim Style now $2 !!

  • Jerry Jurkiewicz

    The 600 Lumen “Ledare” bulbs from Ikea give off a nice warm light and light up a good sized bedroom in a 3 bulb fan unit. The prices have recently dropped too. Need to compare them to the Cree bulbs. I had my Ledare bulbs in bedroom, office, and bathroom for 7 months now without a single problem.

    • Scott Lewis

      I’ll second the Ledare bulbs. How’s this for a story. Moved into a new house, and was on a mission to go LED everywhere. Stuck those in the master bathroom. 60w equivalent Ledare’s. Wife came home and wasn’t happy… it was like standing in the middle of the sun.

      So I bought a package of 10 “SunSun” brand LED bulbs, 3000k off Amazon for $25 ($2.50 a bulb!). 40w equivalent rating, but if they were less dim than the Ledare’s I’ll eat my hat. But hey, they were “dimmable”, so I bought a Lutron dimmer at Home Depot that’s LED compatible.

      Horrible. Anything towards the low end and they started strobing. And at any intensity level including full on, a buzz could easily be heard.

      So on the advise of this website (which has NEVER steered me wrong before) I spent $50 at Home Depot today and picked up Cree 2700k 60w equivalent bulbs. 8 bulbs bought in total. Almost went with the Philips to save $10 overall but Sweet Home said these dim quieter, and it’s two open fixtures, and honestly, the Philips just looked “weird” to me.

      The strobing effect was gone… but TWICE as loud as the SunSun brand… and more than twice the price (granted 60w equivalent versus 40w but still).

      I began to suspect I didn’t buy a very good Lutron dimmer, even though it said CFL and LED compatible, I bought pretty much the cheapest LED compatible one I found.

      Before running back to Home Depot… just for fun, I plugged in the Ikea bulbs. NO STROBE, NO BUZZING. At 40% or higher dim, they are instant on. In the lower dim settings, unless the bulb is “warm” (i.e.: just on recently), there’s a slight delay before they light up. But honestly… it’s perfectly wonderfully great!

      Sorry for the long post… but I wanted to make sure to mention my bad experience with Cree and Lutron, and my surprisingly great experience with Ikea and Lutron.

  • Michael Caputi

    I have Intermatic electronic timers on my front and back porch. I tried a Cree 40 watt equivalent bulb in the fixture and found that the timer was resetting almost on a daily basis. I contacted the manufacturer and their suggestion was simply, “Try a different manufacturer’s LED bulb.” The response seemed a little flip to me, but I went out and purchased a Philips 40 watt equivalent. I’ve had no issue whatsoever with the timer resetting using this bulb.

  • Jon Littell

    Has anyone checked out the $5 Utiltech LED (California price) at Lowes? I know it’s a store brand, but don’t know who the OEM is.

    • tony kaye

      We haven’t, but I’ll forward this along to our researchers!

    • Eric Lofgren

      I think Feit makes those. Might not be related but I bought half a dozen G8-base LED bulbs with the Utilitech brand and ALL of them failed within the Lowes return window.

    • Karl Rowley

      Lowe’s is recently selling the basic 6.5 watt Utilitech LED bulb for $3.99 each, I bought about 30 of them and like them. I don’t see any reason to pay 2-3 times as much for the other bulbs out there.

  • Selim Targay

    The Philips 433227 10.5-watt Slim Style Dimmable A19 LED Light Bulb, Soft White is down to $3.97 per bulb at Home Depot.

  • Theodore Redinbo

    I am using three 18 watt LED bulbs A19 outside to light up my home driveway. They are so bright! The bulbs are in a frosted fixture. How much difference will I notice the brightness if I use the 9.75 watt LED bulbs? I hope this is ok to ask in this discussion?

  • Ben Bayes

    This article is great, but I’d love some expansion! My house has G25 (small, round decorative bulbs), B11 (candle shaped bulbs), MR16 (halogens), and BR30 (reflector bulbs). I wish you could make recommendations for each!

    • tony kaye


  • keltor

    How about including Feit.

  • Marcus Howling

    Hands down, I have tried many LED Lights. If you are looking for the best LED lightbulbs for your business you should check out

  • Doug

    I used the 9.5 watt Cree LED bulb in my new office installing 52 of these without a single failure in a year. I also installed 72 Philips F32T8/TL830 linear fluorescent bulbs and just replaced 10 of them (14% failure rate).

  • Julian Seidenberg

    Could you perhaps update the article to give some recommendations for bulbs that use with a bayonet cap?

    It seems screw caps are common in the USA, but other countries have bayonet caps as the standard, and none of the recommended bulbs come in bayonet varieties, for some strange reason.

    • tony kaye

      Unfortunately I think all of the Cree’s we reviewed were Edison Screw bulbs.

  • Michael Horowitz

    Switch Lighting seems to have fallen off the end of the Earth. The Switch Infinia bulb is out of stock everywhere that I looked. The company website,, is offline. The company has not updated their Twitter or Facebook in many months.

  • Justin Shiffler

    On sale now at Home Depot, so is the Ph
    illips flat model !

    • tony kaye

      Online or in-store only? They’re frequently on sale in certain stores but rarely online.

      • Justin Shiffler

        Both I think. the slim style 40W and 60W equals are now $2 !!!! The cree bulbs are $5 each. In store and online in the 19465 outer Philly area.

        • tony kaye

          Just checked and this is semi-regional. They’ve been doing this for about a year. Last time I heard they were dropping prices crazy low it was in New Jersey. Thanks though!

        • tony kaye

          Just realized it was $3 4 months back in Philly too. Knew that sounded familiar!

  • Licensed Electrician

    An efficient light source like Cree Soft White LED in tandem with controls automatically adjusting
    light levels or turning lights off when they’re not needed cut lighting bill by
    81% in a couple of our projects. The savings if used all over the property are enormous,
    instant and rather hard to believe! To implement this in your house, office or building in the Greater Toronto Area visit:

  • tbone7

    I too would like to see a deeper analysis of Ikea’s LED Ledare bulbs. After a recent trip to my local Ikea, I noticed their prices and selection of bulbs were GREAT. They had a 200, 600, and 1000 lumen option for regular bulbs. Plus, a wide variety of bulbs with different size bases and tips. At $4.50, I think it bears further analysis.

    • tony kaye

      Maybe when we refresh this guide!

  • Jason Druthers

    Interesting that you pick the Cree bulbs as “best.” They are one of the worst LED bulbs I’ve ever used because 1., they flicker at 120Hz which isn’t visible just sitting there, but when you try to film your kid in the room it looks really bizarre, and 2., they make a lot of noise with the supposedly compatible Lutron dimmers I have.

    The Philips L-prize bulbs are far superior in all respects. Unfortunately, Philips discontinued them as soon as they collected their prize from the DoE.

    • tony kaye

      According to our expert engineer that has been involved in the lighting/LED industry for 15 years, they are the best for most people.

      • hunter2

        Do you know if flicker was taken into account? Tastes obviously vary but some people (eg. people who get migraines) are highly sensitive to flickering LED’s.

  • wesmaniam
  • wolftimber

    I installed the other variation of the Cree bulb- the spotlight shaped model in my gallery building in Sept or Oct 2012, I have had two of them in the two front windows turned on for security lighting 24/7 since then, this means they have been running 24/7 now for a little over 2 years with no issues of any kind, I’m impressed

    • tony kaye

      Thanks for the feedback! Glad they’re working out so well for you!

  • Tom Bubnick

    I purchased 2 100 watt replacement bulbs and had 1 die after no more than 50 hours of use. Very disappointing.

  • Chris VanDoren

    might be worth noting that the Cree, and most other LED bulbs, emit RF frequencies that will dramatically reduce the range of your garage door remote if you install them in an opener. I have read that the Philips bulb doesn’t do this and will be testing that out.

    • tony kaye

      Does Philips market this is a feature? Links?

  • Alessandro

    What about the Samsung Led bulbs, like this 75W replacements?

    I’d like to know how they behave compared with our candidates here, ’cause they’re a product easily found in many shops here, but can’t say if they’re as valuable as an Osram or Ikea one!

    • tony kaye

      When we update this guide we’ll compare them.

  • cdason73

    For those of us for whom the quality of the light is the most important feature, it would be great to get this new CEC qualified bulb by Green Creative tested against CREE’s TW offering.

    Especially since it’s available in the colder 3000K and 4000K temperatures that I prefer. Thanks.

  • Dustin Lee

    Not sure if this would be the correct venue for the question, but is there or will there be a piece on “smart” bulbs? It seems like there are loads of these popping up now, and it also seems like the kind of thing that would be reviewed here. If it’s happening, any guess on when?

    • tony kaye

      I’m certain there will be in the future!

  • ColoradoKings

    I am re-lamping a papermaking studio that previously was lit by a lot of T12s. For cost effectiveness I am thinking of using Chipotle-style lighting with LEDs, wherein a very basic base fixture is used with a directional LED flood (broader angle to get diffuse light). I think the bulb recommended in this article wouldn’t be appropriate as a lot of the light would be going up to the ceiling rather than directed to the work area. Feedback on this and/or suggestions for a good bulb for this scenario? Thanks!

    • tony kaye

      This is some direct advice straight from our LED expert Margery!

      From your description, it sounds like a 65W-equivalent BR30 LED flood is the better lamp to use. Either the Cree or the Philips lamps are good; I lean towards the Cree because of the 10-year warranty.

      It’s pretty expensive, but I’ve ordered a linear Cree light as a T12 replacement for a room where I want high CRI.

      It’s $128, but has a CRI of 93 and is dimmable. It’s too expensive for your application, but hopefully the price will come down in the future.

      Hope this helps!

      • ColoradoKings

        Hi Margery, thanks for the feedback, in doing my own digging i came to the same conclusion it’s nice to have it reinforced, i found a rather nice looking BR40 from Lumenova with a 35,000 hr ave life, 1590 lumnes, great color options and high efficiency My biggest concern with the BR40 is it being locally too intense for the viewer in a space with 10′ ceilings (that and i haven’t heard back from them on the price yet!) You have a good point about the Cree, that 10 year warranty is nice.

  • Guest

    I bought these based on the fact that this review said that they had noiseless dimming that tipped the scales in it’s favor, so I was very disappointed when I plugged them, dimmed them and they immediately made an intolerable dimming sound.

  • sptrask

    I bought these based on the fact that this review said that they had noiseless dimming that tipped the scales in it’s favor, so I was very disappointed when I plugged them, dimmed them and they immediately made an intolerable humming sound.

    • tony kaye

      Swap them out. If they still emit a buzzing that your ears are sensitive to, try a different brand.

    • Blake

      I was at my local Home Depot this afternoon and there was a rep on hand describing the utility of the Cree LED bulbs – the new style bulbs with vents in the globe rather than a large heat sink. The rep mentioned that older dimmer switches sometimes have a problem with LED light bulbs. Newer dimmer switches work better with LED lights. Try swapping out your switch to see if that helps.

      • david

        Yeah, that’s a good one.. get a new $30 ‘LED-compatible’ dimmer to work with your new $9 bulb.

        Or you could just buy a good LED bulb, like the Philips 429258 or Philips 433227.

  • pk16

    In a lot of newer or renovated homes the biggest lighting load comes from recessed incandescent lamps. Can you recommend an LED alternative to the most common sizes of recessed bulbs? Color temperature is a major consideration.

  • Timothy Park

    “Your best bet if you don’t have your receipt is to walk into a Home Depot, though.”

    What do you mean by this? I didn’t have a receipt for one my bulbs that went bad after 2 years, and they said I need to go directly through Cree and they can’t do anything about it. On top of that, Cree said they require you to pay for the shipping for a replacement/repair of the bulb.

    • tony kaye

      Lots of Home Depot’s will let you swap out even if you don’t have a receipt. I know mine does

      • Timothy Park

        So I went to three Home Depots (fortunately they’re all relatively close to my home so not that much of a hassle) and they all said I am SOL trying to get replacements from them and need to go through Cree.

        I’ve spoken with Cree and they said they’ll send me replacements with an additional empty box to send back the old ones that are not working. That was a week ago, so standby for more news.

    • Blake

      The rep at Home Depot I spoke with today said that older dimmer switches sometimes have a problem with LED light bulbs. Newer dimmer switches work better with LED lights. Try swapping out your switch to see if that helps.

  • david

    Cree bulbs really suck. More than half of mind have died within a year. The fact that still says they’re the best bulbs makes me really question their other reviews.

    After testing half a dozen other bulbs myself, I can attest that their runner up pick is a good one. Even better than that, however, although more expensive, is the Philips 429258.

    • tony kaye

      That doesn’t sound good. I’ll forward this along to our expert to see what she has to say.

      • david

        As soon as the customer service lady saw me walk in with the Cree bulbs she told me I had to take it up with the manufacturer. Who saves receipts and proofs of purchase for every light bulb they buy?? But that’s what Cree requires for a warranty claim.

        • Margery Conner

          David, your experience doesn’t sound at all good. I checked with Cree, and they are more than happy to honor your warranty. You can contact them at and feel free to mention this comment thread.

        • tony kaye

          Yeah that sounds super odd. Shoot Cree an email with the info Margery provided. They should get you fixed right up!

  • MNightShannalan

    Seattle also subsidizes these bulbs; the step-up pick was $10 at Home Depot.

    (I bought four, and only two worked, but that’s another story.)

    • tony kaye

      Thanks for the tip!

  • Eli Peter
    • tony kaye

      Forwarded along to our expert!

    • Margery Conner

      Eli, I like the new Cree 4Flow bulb a lot. For an 80 CRI dimmable bulb, it’s a great bulb at a great price. I also like it’s light-yet-sturdy sturdy packaging. The Philips bulb you mention below is interesting too, but it isn’t dimmable, according to the article.

    • lizaoreo

      I bought a few of the new bulbs a few months ago, I figured why not, they were a little cheaper. Unfortunately, unlike the older slightly more expensive bulbs, I noticed the new ones hummed a bit when dimming. Not a big deal. But, I’ve already had one burn out. I contacted Cree and they didn’t even ask for a receipt or anything, even though I had it. I have all my HD receipts emailed to me, once you “register” at the register at HD, it remembers the email associated with your card so it’ll always email you the receipt if you want. Err, but yeah, they sent a replacement right out. I’m not impressed with the 4Flow’s to say the least, but I’ll definitely continue buying the regular older Cree bulbs, I’ve already replaced my most used lights with them over the past year and not had any issues with them.

  • Patrick Victory

    I guess I’m in a minority but color accuracy (especially the R9 value!) are far, far more important to me than to the reviewer. To go from 80 CRI with a dinky, near-zero R9 value to 90+ CRI with a R9 value of near 50 is easily worth the extra cash and I still would rather have an incandescent. (I think the real cost savings *might* be a couple bucks a year.)

    I’ve been using the Cree TW series for all my new bulbs and I wish there was a better option. Just today, I found the GreenCreative 11A19G4DIM which claims an R9 value of 80+. It’s another few bucks but worth it as long as the light distribution pattern is good. I’m trying to figure that out, now.

    If these things last even half of their expected lifespan, the amortized cost difference between even a $5 and $20 bulb becomes so tiny it lacks any significance in real life. And, precisely because they are expected to last so long, it makes sense to get the best quality available at the time you need it.

    For some bulbs, like security floodlights et al., color accuracy is nearly irrelevant so make sure you get one that suits the intended use (rated for enclosed fixtures or for exposure to the elements, etc.) then start arguing the pennies-per-year value of the other features.

    Quality of light is too important to sacrifice so you can save a dollar a year. You will never notice the cost difference but everything will look better.

    • Patrick Victory

      Sorry, it has an R9 value of 70. It also uses the new socket mandated in California but in a single Google search I found an adapter for $2.

      The 9A19G4DIM has an R9 of 60 and requires no adapter.

      • gmbuell

        Hi Patrick, did you try either of these bulbs? I’m using Cree TWs currenty and they buzz, even with my fancy ELV dimmers.

        • Patrick

          Yep! I do have the 11A12G4DIM and I like it just fine. It’s likely I’ll buy another unless I find something that’s even better the next time I need an indoor light. However, I have no idea how it will react with dimmer.

          Side note: seeing people talk about dimmers with LED and CFL bulbs totally surprised me. I thought dimmers were a fad that went out in the 70s. They were already old and silly when I was a child and, to this very day, the only dimmers I’ve ever seen have been in old houses.

  • Patrick Victory

    These guys also raise some really interesting questions about LED specification accuracy. It makes me wonder how some of these measurements are made. For example, I really like this line from their page: As recommended by IES LM79-08, we judge that the fitting has stablised when the light output (luminous flux, illuminance etc) varies by less than 0.5% when measured three times with 15 minute intervals.

    Why do I love nerdy details like this?

  • Patrick Victory

    Also, to back up some of my previous statement about the energy usage differences being irrelevant, I’d point to chart on the first page of that CNet review of the older GreenCreative bulb linked in the article. The cost difference between the most efficient and least efficient is exactly 30 cents per year. Even over an optimistic 25-year life-span, it’s not enough energy/money to qualify as an important metric. All other things being equal, maybe, but there will never be a case when things are “equal enough” for 30 cents per year to be the deciding factor.

  • Ezzy Black

    I was just surfing through the Home Depot site and checked out these bulbs.

    They are running a special on the Cree A19 series lights for $42.22 for a six-pack. Seems like quite a deal as the article seems to believe it’s arguably the best bulb except for the price. I imagine at over half off it would come out on top. No huge rush as it says the price is good through 8/24/15.

  • Midimagic

    The very fact that it is “soft white” means it is automatically not the best bulb for me. I want to be RID of the sick yellow color of incandescents. Why can’t (or won’t) they give me a white bulb with a flat spectrum????

  • Ron

    Have you reviewd the Home Depot Brand EcoSmart LED bulbs? How do they compare?
    Do you have a recommendation for LED Candleabra bulbs for chandeliers as cree does not currently make one?

    • tony kaye

      I don’t believe we have. Possibly when we update!

    • Justin

      I just bought some of HD’s EcoSmart LED 40w candelabra bulbs for $4/ea. They’re 2700k, but are much whiter than the incandescent bulbs that they replaced. They also flicker a little bit when dimmed. I’m probably going to return them and get some Cree TW bulbs ($20 for a 3-pack).

      • sborsch

        It’s my understanding that Lighting Science Group Corp makes HD’s budget line called EcoSmart. I’ve purchased several brands of bulbs (e.g., Feit; GE; Philips) and the name brand bulbs are the best.

        By the way, here is a *very* interesting analysis of a bunch of different bulbs and the guy tears several down:

  • charlieok

    I’m surprised that higher temperature bulbs are not more common/popular.

    When a video display (tv, computer monitor, or projector) is calibrated to
    display video signals “as the creators intended”, it is set such that
    the color of white (full on for red, green and blue) hits 6500K. So
    wouldn’t it make sense to also look for light bulbs that hit 6500K
    (in addition to having a high CRI)?

  • Stephen

    Would you guys do a review of recessed LED lights (BR30 style)?? In that arena, the Cree bulbs have a lower light output (lumens) that most of the competitors and the warranty is only 5 years – wondering if there’s a better option. There’s also straight bulb vs trim and bulb in one unit to consider in this area.

    • tony kaye

      Possibly in the future!

  • Matt Baker

    I’m in the HD clearance section and there are shelves full of 40 and 60 watt Cree bulbs. Should I jump on this opportunity to get some @ $6.97 each or should I follow my gut feeling that this liquidation is a bad sign? After reading some of these comments I’m inclined toward the latter. What do you all think?

    • tony kaye

      Sorry I didn’t see this earlier! They often drop in price in several different regions at once. Sometimes the upper northeast, sometimes in the midwest – but never the entire US at the same time. Did you snag some? It shouldn’t be a bad sign I don’t think. Home Depot still has them available online and I haven’t heard anything disconcerting about Cree.

  • Jim Rice

    Costco near me is selling Feit Electric Conserv-Energy 100 watt replacements, soft white, for $14. Will you all be testing these? I’ve got a fixture that needs 100w equivalents to put out enough light for the room. And at $20 each for the Cree 100w bulbs, it’s just too high right now.

    • tony kaye

      Possibly in the future but nothing as of yet.

  • LPC123

    Which is the best LED ceiling recessed bulb? I learned the hard way to avoid Sunsun 12W BR30s. Half of the case was defective, and when I got replacements, they were defective also.

    • JesseeA

      I can’t tell you what the “best” LED recessed fixture is, but I’ve tried several, and I’m very pleased with the latest 4″ and 6″ Cree lights that Home Depot carries. I’ve used both sizes (about 30 altogether). They look great, make no hum or buzz, and put out nice light.

      Cree 6 in. TW Series 65W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) Dimmable LED Retrofit Recessed Downlight

      Cree TW Series 65W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) Dimmable LED Retrofit Recessed Downlight

  • Nee Austin

    My 4 Philips slimlines buzz at 100% brightness and are loud at the lowest setting on my dimmer. At 100% they are loud enough to hear when used in the bathroom vanity. I like their futuristic shape for exposed fixtures, but I’m not buying more, and the ones I have are going to be dispersed to sockets that don’t dim and are not near anyone’s ears.

  • Michael Böckling

    Not sure why the IKEA Ledare get no love here. They have a CRI > 87 at am unbeatable price point. The Cree ones might be better, but certainly not at a “bang for the buck”. If you don’t mind the 600 lumens which are more like 40W, the Ledare really are a no-brainer.

    • tony kaye

      Maybe when we update!

  • sborsch

    Almost every bulb in my house (save for two fluorescent fixtures) have been replaced by LED bulbs. Nearly all of them made by Cree, a company that most don’t know is one of the largest commercial LED makers in the world. The only fixtures not populated by Cree bulbs are ones that took bulb sizes Cree didn’t yet make (e.g., candelabra).

    They are rock-solid and, surprisingly, even worked with 20+ year old dimmer switches in a couple of bedrooms (i.e., no buzzing or aberrant behaviors).

    Costs are finally stabilized. A buddy of mine said to me in 2012, the first year I began replacing incandescents with LEDs, that, “…timing the purchase of LED bulbs is like trying to catch a falling knife.” True, but when Cree started selling in Home Depot, and our electric utility (Xcel Energy) underwrote their “truckload sale” on 60w bulbs, that’s when I bought them like crazy.

    • tony kaye

      You got in at a good time I’d say then! So the Xcel thing is the reason for the super low cost LED bulbs from Cree?

      • sborsch

        Initially, yes. Now I’m not so sure that the Xcel Energy underwriting of bulbs is occurring (the pricing is slightly higher now). But at the time of the truckload sale, I bought a shopping cart full of bulbs since the price for a 60w was $4.97. Now they go for $7.97 for a soft white.

        • tony kaye

          Pardon me for saying but that sounds like one hell of a deal.

  • Nicolas Siver

    Thanks for the review. Would be great to see article about best Wireless Bluetooth LED Smart Light Bulb.

    • tony kaye

      You’re very welcome! And in the future I’m certain we will cover them!

  • Patrick

    I’m horrified by this review. CRI is a bad metric for measuring light bulbs; it is a relic from a time when there was no metric whatsoever and we need to move on. CRI only includes eight of fourteen R values and excludes the extremely important “red” and “skin tone” values of R9 and R13.

    Saying a light has a CRI of 80 is equivalent to saying “it gets some colors 80% right, on average, but some of the values in the average could be really terrible and we’re leaving out other values that are really important because it would hurt our marketing.”

    These bulbs are meant to last 10-25 years. For most of us, they will last longer than any car we will every own. Quality is way more important than a few dollars of savings. I can understand not paying a $50 premium for a bulb but I firmly believe that, considering the lifespan of these bulbs, anything in the $20-25 range and down should be considered to have a negligible cost difference and recommendations should be based solely on quality of light and light distribution.

    A 20-year purchase, even if it’s “just a light bulb,” deserves a little more thought than “let’s buy the cheapest one we can that isn’t completely terrible.”

    • tony kaye

      According to a University of Nebraska study, one major problem with CRI is the “inability to compare the Ra [another notation for CRI] of sources with different correlated colour temperatures,” particularly for temperatures warmer than 5,000 K. A new, comparable index called R96a exists, but it’s a long way from becoming an industry standard.

      If you’re aiming to find the highest CRI bulb possible & have an unlimited budget, sure you can do better. We are aiming to pick the best bulb for most, and based on our research, the best bulb is one that will help people get on board with LEDs for a reasonable price. Thank you!

      • Patrick

        Also worth mentioning, none of my criticism of CRI is related to other color temperatures. Even within the same color temperature, CRI only measures nine particular pastels. It leaves out really important colors. Plus, it’s easy to game the system to get an artificially high index score.

        I’ve also seen some pretty interesting arguments that a lot of manufacturers are increasingly designing bulbs to perform best only in very specific bands so the CRI rating looks good but the quality is very low “between” the colors that make up the CRI.

        There’s also quite a lot of wiggle room in how a manufacturer chooses to test CRI. The best ones will test for color accuracy multiple times: for example, when first turned on and again when the bulb has reached full operating temperature. Plus, they will repeat these measurements at multiple points over the life of the bulb to make sure performance doesn’t degrade. The less-reputable manufacturers will measure one ideal manufacturing run under ideal conditions to get the best CRI they can claim and then stick it on every box.

        This may well be a quality bulb in all respects excepting color but the color quality is disappointing on this bulb and there’s no question about it. For a rarely-used bulb in a corner or a dusty storage closet, sure, I could see these being “good enough.”

        However, anyone can go buy a cheap bulb that’s 80 CRI and not be dissatisfied enough to complain. That’s not what TheSweethome has ever been about. The site is all about reviewing and testing what’s out there to find quality products that might not go toe-to-toe with the absolute best in the world but are the best that can be had at a reasonable price. If this isn’t the case, let’s stop recommending the Bonavita 1900TS and instead recommend the $40 Hamilton Beech with 2,000 reviews and a 4-star rating on Amazon. It’s cheap. Most people who don’t have a coffee machine would buy it and think it a decent-enough purchase for coffee before they stumble off to work. That fits the criteria. Let’s go ahead and update all of the guides to be “the cheapest one that isn’t so awful you’ll complain about it.”

        Yes, it’s an absurd extreme but that’s exactly what this bulb is.

        • Cason

          Everyone has different visual sensitivity, but I agree that this article isn’t evaluating bulbs to the same standard as many of the other articles. The LED bulb market has become a fast race to the bottom, making it difficult for a discerning buyer to figure out what will meet their needs. Lighting affects the look of everything in a room. Certainly worth spending a little more to me, especially for someone that will last years.

          For example, I just bought and returned an entire 6 pack of the Cree TW series 60 watt. The light quality was above average and they’re quite bright, but they don’t dim as low as an incandescent or halogen. The result is a slightly sick-looking light that makes for poor dining mood lighting. I’d rather pay the extra $20 per year in electrical costs until the market is able to offer better. Hopefully a review focusing on the higher end options could help bring that more quickly. thesweethome appears to have a powerful effect on Amazon sales.)

          Maybe rename this to “The best cheap LED” lightbulb and do another focusing on quality. I’m sure it would be a challenge, but it would be much appreciated.

          • Lobster

            I would also be interested in a review that focuses on light quality. It’s my #1 priority — #2 is environment, so I’d really like to switch to LEDs but am sticking with incandescents for now. Could not care less about the difference between $6 and $12 on a purchase that will last 5+ years.

        • Sue

          Hi Patrick,

          Those are some pretty compelling arguments and details. Do you have a favorite LED bulb, then? I would be interested to know, and pick up both the WalMart LED bulb recced here and the one(s) you like best to see if I can truly discern a difference.

          • Patrick

            I haven’t decided on my favorite bulb, no. I don’t replace them often enough to really get a lot of comparison in. For basic things like a random hallway light or a patio light, I have a tendency to get lazy and buy a Cree TW series bulb. For areas with high traffic where people linger, I get a little choosier.

            In the past, choosing a light bulb could be a labor of many weeks. My last purchase was a little more adventurous/experimental but the stats looked good and it was only destined for a bedside lamp, so I thought any flaws would be a little less glaring. So far, it’s been nice, but it requires an extra $2 or so for an adapter. It’s the Green Creative 11A19G4DIM/927/GU24.

            It has a CRI of 92. Its lowest R value is R9 (red) at 70, and every other R value is over 80, only two of which are below 90 and a couple are 95+. Plus, the company has been so forthcoming about all of their testing and certification processes that I feel comfortable believing their numbers are valid as opposed to creative marketing interpretations.

            Since I bought a two-pack of the adapters and the price on the bulb has dropped a few bucks since I bought the last one, I’d consider buying another one. I’d definitely buy one if I started researching bulbs and it turned into another 6-week long trudge through obscure websites and late nights deciphering posts from nerdy forum trolls.

            At the time, I was also considering the 9A19G4DIM/927 from them; the color accuracy is a little lower but you don’t have to buy the adapter.

            Mind you, both of these bulbs are now several months old and the landscape is changing so quickly that they could both be considered antiquated, overpriced hunks of garbage by this point.

            Lastly, this is not intended to be a criticism because I do understand thesweethome’s position on the matter (and they spell it out in the site details,) but they do not recommend products that they can’t get referral credit for. thesweethome is a business and that’s how they make their money. There are a lot of bulbs out there that I’m sure the “experts” here would not recommend due to uncertainty over longevity, quality, or availability concerns. However, because of the sheer number number of sources and the relative immaturity of the LED bulb market, there are also a lot of vendors/manufacturers who are not equipped with referral credit programs, thus removing them from consideration without even looking at the quality of their product. So, until the big vendors and manufacturers begin producing better products for the thesweethome to recommend, I’m left doing way, way too much homework on my own.

          • Michael Zhao

            Hi Patrick,

            I just wanted to address this bit: “They do not recommend products that they can’t get referral credit for.” That is untrue. We recommend several products we don’t get referral credit for, including this bike: Our policy is to absolutely put readers’ interests first.

          • Patrick

            That’s cool! I was only referencing the “Doesn’t getting affiliate fees create a conflict of interest and bias?” section from the “About The Sweethome” page. You’re right, an admitted bias does not mean it’s an absolute law.

      • Lobster

        @thetonykaye:disqus, different things get different people on board. The price difference over a long time period isn’t enough to matter to many people (including me) but I have to live with the light color every day.

        • tony kaye

          Via our expert!

          We’ve noted the CRIs of the two highest-CRI bulbs in our competition section, if price is not an object to you (the Cree TW series and GE Reveal). We’ve also noted those bulbs’ drawbacks, if any. That said, CRI is a flawed metric, as we noted (another link if you’re curious about more real-world examples, and a high CRI bulb is not necessarily better. You may be overestimating how much of an effect CRI will have on lighting quality in all but the most accuracy-demanding situations–think shooting a two-page spread for Vogue. Even then, those photographers are using Lightroom.

          • Lobster

            You’re simultaneously telling me 1) that CRI isn’t a good metric and 2) if I want the best lightbulb I should get the one with the highest CRI. Not the most helpful! I’d still like to see a ‘step-up pick’ that has the best light rendering with some qualitative descriptions of how you thought the light looked.

            This isn’t about performance, it’s about having things look nice on a day to day basis.

          • tony kaye

            I think it’s possible you’re misinterpreting what our expert is saying. We’re simply trying to give most people the tools & information to make a solid decision when it comes to LED bulbs.

            Maybe in the future we’ll have a step-up pick, but for now we don’t. I’m sorry if that’s not good enough for you. Hope this helps!

          • Patrick

            For what it’s worth, it doesn’t sound like you’re misinterpreting anything at all.

    • Josh

      Color failure has been the main reason to hold off on switching to LED’s prematurely.
      Ra usually refers to the R values above 8 which aren’t included in CRI (all the saturated colors – CRI just looks at pastels). California now requires R9 (red, the trickiest component of Ra for LED’s) value to be 50+ to qualify for subsidies. The recommended light doesn’t even meet that standard. There are (more expensive) bulbs on the market with R9 values close to incandescent (100). These bulbs are newer and cost more, but it’s likely they will soon be ubiquitous and lower cost. Being able to see all colors may have health and eyesight implications, aside from aesthetic ones (people looking like zombies, food looking dull) or practical ones (you’d like to be able to match your clothes properly, right?)
      The reviewer may take all of that into account and feel LED color issues are not important enough to pay more to correct, but the reader deserves to understand the tradeoffs being made. At least, I thought it was important when I researched the LED replacements for my own house last month.

      • Patrick

        This is a much better way of making the point I was aiming at. Thank you.

        Because the purchase is such a long-term commitment and the amortized differences in cost are negligible, buying a much better bulb for a few dollars more is going to be the best decision for most people. The “best bulb for most” is going to be the bulb they want to keep, not the one they compromised on because it was the cheapest bulb that happened to be a little better than the other cheapest bulbs.

        • Josh

          Thanks. If for some reason you got on board with CFL’s and have them in your house now, you should upgrade to LED as soon as they burn out, or faster if the color is bothering you – even the worst LED will look better than the CFL’s and will save you money over time as well.
          If you were sticking with incandescent/halogen waiting for a good replacement, LED is getting to that point but you have to pay more for newest-generation technology. Love this site but don’t agree with Tony’s framing that the best bulb is the one that helps people get on board with LEDs. The best bulb is the one that makes it a good idea to get on board with LEDs, and for many people light quality is a critical part of that evaluation. Certainly more than a $10 difference in cost per bulb, since we’re paying a lot more than that sticking with incandescent. But it’s important to understand that higher CRI ratings alone do not inform you whether the improved light quality is sufficient to justify that $10 difference. You have to dig deeper for the full color spread.

          • Patrick

            Agreed. Just pointing at the box and parroting “80 CRI” as if that is the only qualification of a good light is misleading.

            This is a site that recommends a $100 trash can, a $200 coffee maker, a $10 bar of chocolate, a $300 comforter because the stitching goes an extra inch to edges, and a $150 set of sheets because they’re good quality. To then turn around and treat a 10+ year investment with the same regard as you would a 50-cent light bulb meant to last a few months is baffling and disappointing.

    • Jimmy Fu

      Patric, you are right, CRI is just the average value of fourteen R, we need pay more attention on R9, R12 and R13. Some CRI 80, R9 just around zero, that’s terrible. Now i get two type LED with R9>60, R12>60, others are over 90, another one is all of them are over 90. Are you interested in them?

      • Patrick

        You’re partially right. CRI is an average but is only an average of R1-R8; it leaves out R9-R14 entirely.

        High-quality, high-accuracy lights will become the norm. They will become as ubiquitous as incandescent bulbs were, if not quite as inexpensive. That is why it makes no sense to buy a cheap, low-quality bulb now, just because it’s inexpensive. Anyone who waits, or just does a little research, will wind up with a purchase that is competitive for years to come instead of one that is already obsolete and will only become more-so.

        Short answer? Yes, I’m always interested in better bulbs.

  • dwd999

    Great review, but now GE releases its Bright Stik bulbs and Feit releases its Enhance line of high CRI bulbs, and it will have to be done all over again. So many new bulbs its like a moving target. Oh well, something to look forward to! Still its great for those of us who actually like going to Walmart.

    • tony kaye

      We’ll eventually get there!

  • Kraig Higashi

    Where are these 2$-4$ Cree bulbs in California? I live here, and they are about 6$-10$ a piece. Is there some super secret squirrel discount that I’m not aware of? The packages say nothing of a rebate, and the guy at Home Depot said the price is as stated. (Also, I love the site. Great job and keep the content coming!)

    • Patrick

      It’s a rebate. You pay full price for them at the store and get a rebate through your utility provider.

      • Bobby Brenman

        I can’t seem to find this rebate. Do you have a link for details?

        • Patrick

          Short answer? No, I can’t.

          If I understand correctly, the rebate would come from your power company, most likely. You’d have to contact them or poke around on their site. Depending on where you are and who you’re with, it may not be available. Provided you’re in California, however, I think it’s pretty universal.

    • tony kaye

      Our expert says the rebate happens at point of sale!

  • Kraig Higashi

    Also, did you guys think about doing the TCP Led lights that are on Amazon? They have some good ratings and I’ve seen them on a couple of other credible sites.

    • tony kaye

      We could in the future!

  • Tabitha M. Powledge

    Can these bulbs be used in an old-fashioned 3-way socket?

  • feignducky

    If you do another bulb reveiw, could yall look into Candelabra bulbs? I have the hardest time finding decently priced bulbs and somewhat diffused bulbs to put in the fancy chandeliers. I have tiny shades to hide what they are, and swaped the dimmer switch to make my shopping easier, and it’s still seems impossible to find a bulb under $8/ea.

    Also(stupid question), what about LED in moist environments? I read somewhere it was not reccomended to swap to LEDs in bathrooms because of steam. (maybe that was a myth from the heat sink days of LED lighting).

    • tony kaye

      I’ll check with our expert, but I’ve been using LED bulbs in my bathroom(s) for upwards of 4 years now & everything is A-OK!

    • Alessandro

      Great article, and loving the fact is steadily updated!

      I agree with the request of feignducky here: would it be possible to see some research on Candelabra light bulbs?

      Or do the models on the market now so poor and so similar those aren’t even worthy an evaluation? XD

      I’ve three chandeliers, and finding out powerful candelabra light bulbs is really ward, even trying to search for them among the CFL. Basically, I can find bulbs which provide not more than 470 lumen, which is honestly a really low output (even considering using six of them.)

      Are there any improvements I could wait for out there?

  • nnyan

    Funny but most of the people I know (my wife and I included) just think the 60w LED bulbs are just too dim for a typical household setting. In a light fixture with multiple bulbs it’s fine but in an area which is lit by one bulb it’s way too dim. I end up getting eye strain.

    • Patrick

      You’re right. The “wattage equivalence” is a silly and outdated way of comparing things. The lumens output is really the only metric that matters in this regard and I feel that number is still being manipulated for marketing purposes far too much to be reliable. When the light output from a bulb is non-uniform, it opens up so much “interpretation” about the correct way to measure it.

  • Aaron Kavlie

    This guide could really benefit from some discussion of lighting enclosures — most LED bulbs won’t work there, and it’s usually only mentioned in the fine print.

    • tony kaye

      It’s a bit hard since lighting enclosures are all different shapes and sizes, but I’ll see what we can do!

      • Aaron Kavlie

        I don’t even know that you can meaningfully test this; I presume that time in a fixture for an LED not designed for one would mean hot operating temperatures and thus early failure (which could still take years).

        Perhaps there are at least indications on packaging or from manufacturers on the subject worth mentioning. The previous version of this article discussed this point, and had a recommendation (since discontinued) for enclosures.

        • davepak

          They can compare the size of the fixture to a typical bulb of the same light output. This is more of a problem with CLF’s – but things like diamater and height etc. compared to the traditional bulb.

  • Bo Mathis

    Well done article, thanks. The technology on the LEDs seem to change daily and one of the factors that has bothered me is the heat sink at the base of the bulb that restricts the casting of light downward as you pointed out.

    I recently found the bulb below on Amazon that so far has performed fantastically. I also bought 15 of the candelabra version as well and I couldn’t be happier. These are used outdoors and I now have light casting on my grass again (seems insignificant, but, the old style LEDs just send light sideways and illuminated very little). The quality of these bulbs are also very good (the glass is much thicker than conventional bulbs and stays nearly cool to the touch). Anyway, worth adding to your collection of bulbs to test.

    • tony kaye

      Very neat but kind of niche. Thank you for sharing though!

    • Patrick

      I’ve seen a lot of talk about these becoming a sort of “new standard” going forward. They just look more like “normal” lightbulbs and they do a much better job of the warm, yellow light that most people just love. Plus, their design helps them stay cool which suggests they should have a long life and be more dependable in general.

      Tony’s right in that they’re a niche product right now but it will be interesting to see how these develop. I’ve had my eye on a couple as well but the more I learn about lighting in general, the more I lean away from the ultra-yellow look.

  • Alissa K

    We just bought a giant pile of Feit Electric 60-watts, since there is a rebate in my state that brings them down to $1 each. I think the light is fine, but they are not truly dimmable. When a dimmer is moved down to less than about 80%, they flicker. The flickering varies from slightly spastic to strobe as you get closer to 0%. FYI.

  • Peter Moore

    You say above that CFLs use “two to three times as much energy as LEDs”. I assume that is a cut/paste error? As an example the 800 Lumen Good Value CFL is 14W while the 800 Lumen Good Value LED is 10W. So CFL consumes more like 40% more.

  • Jamie Morgan

    Every time I see CFLs and LEDs at a store, I want to try them, but they are very confusing. They all seem to be very weak. 60 watts equivalent? All of my regular lightbulbs in the house are 150/200 watts and up. These new bulbs have so much information on them, but I just want to know which LED or CFL should I get to replace my 150 watts regular lightbulbs. Is there a resource online that makes it easy to understand which bulbs to choose? Thank you.

    • Peter Moore

      As a first cut you want to compare the total visible light that the bulb puts out. That is measured by a unit called the lumen. Wikipedia has a table of approximate lumen ratings for various wattage bulbs. So for a replacement bulb, you want to find a bulb with roughly the same lumen rating.

      For example, to get the equivalent of a 150W incandescent bulb, you want a CFL or LED that puts out 2400-2800 Lumens.

    • Patrick

      Are you sure about the wattage on your bulbs? Even 100W is pretty uncommon and 125W is usually only in a 3-way switch or in an area where one bulb is expected to cover a huge, huge area *and* the bulb isn’t going to be too close to anyone. Any brighter than that and it’s just harsh, blinding, often-painful levels of brightness. 60-75W bulbs are, far and away, what most people find comfortable. Even as high as 90W is going to be uncommon in comparison to the two common wattage bulbs.

      However, if you want to do a direct comparison of brightness, the more accurate measure is “lumens.” Saying one bulb is equivalent to another bulb of X wattage leaves a lot of room for the manufacturer to creatively interpret what that means. Lumens are a definite, clear measurement of light output and getting two bulbs that output the same number of lumens should get you the same brightness.

      Now, if you really do wind up after something that will produce 2000+ lumens, there really aren’t a lot of LED options in the standard A21 shape. With a quick search, the only LED bulbs I’m seeing in this range are around $30 a pop, have terrible color accuracy, and do not distribute light evenly. This means you could wind up with weird shadows; harsh, unnatural light; things looking the wrong color; or the light not shining where you need it. Some older-style very bright bulbs aren’t traditional incandescent at all and use various other methods to produce an intensely bright light. So, depending on which bulbs you have, the fixture they’re in, and direction of light, you may find some of the “low quality” bulbs equivalent or even an upgrade over what you have. It’s impossible to say without knowing your exact usage.

      Even more unfortunate, your usage as you’ve described it (150-200W bulbs) is a fringe case and, being a fringe case, it’s very likely that manufacturers simply haven’t branched out into your particular market segment, yet. It’s inevitable that they will but LED technology is advancing so rapidly that most manufacturers want to stick with manufacturing bulbs that they know they can sell in volume and sell quickly. Maybe soon though!

      • Jamie Morgan

        All of my bulbs are GE’s Crystal Clear 150W/200W (A21 Bulb). On the 150W one, it says 2710 lumens. Why is it unfortunate and a fringe case? It is a normal bulb that is sold everywhere.

        • Patrick

          It’s unfortunate that more manufacturers are not producing quality high-lumen bulbs. These bulbs may not be the most fringe case but if you go to a store that carries a large selection of bulbs you will see that the 150W+ bulbs are probably 10% or less of the 60-watt stock. It’s not rare but so few people use them in their homes that manufacturers will not focus on these in the immediate term. They’re just not a volume item compared to the oceans of 60W bulbs they sell.

        • Patrick

          That being said, I was just looking at Green Creative’s site while researching something for another post and it looks like they do have some new bulbs with reasonable quality of light. I can’t remember the exact lumen output but I think I saw one at 1,700 and there may have been one at 2,100 but I’m not sure.

          You may be able to do something as simple as going on Amazon or Newegg and just sorting all LED bulbs by lumen output and user reviews.

  • Jeremy Lang

    Would’ve liked to see a wider range of recommended options. 100w equiv bulb? Better yet, are there any LEDs that function correctly with a 3 way lamp???

  • Daniel J. Peters

    I would love to know the best 100 watt equivalent in a 5000k spectrum. I need bright white light in a yellow kitchen.