LED Light Bulbs Review

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Why Buy LED Light Bulbs?

The incandescent light bulb has been the standard lighting option for nearly 100 years. In recent decades, the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) has gained popularity because it's more energy efficient and lasts longer. However, the bulb contains mercury and takes a while to shine at its brightest.

LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs are now becoming an even more practical lighting solution. On average, about a dozen watts from these energy-efficient LED bulbs provides the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent. This makes it so you can save on electricity without scrimping on the amount of light you have. Additionally, these lights shine their full brightness as soon as you turn them on. Gone are the days of searching for your shoes in the dark closet as the CFL bulb slowly warms up.

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Some LED light bulbs last up to 50,000 hours, which means you'll be replacing them less than you would an incandescent or CFL bulb. This is nice if you have a light socket in a hard to access area, such as a high ceiling. Another great aspect of LED light bulbs is that they don't contain mercury, so when you finally replace your LED lighting, you don't need to dispose of them as hazardous material.

In our research and testing, we found Philips L Prize, Definity A19 and Sylvania 12-watt to be the best LED light bulbs. For more information, read our articles about LED lighting.

LED Light Bulbs: What to Look For

When you're shopping for an LED light bulb, it's important to find one that provides the amount of light you need, as well as the color of light you like. You'll also want to consider how the light emits from the bulb, and the dimension of the bulb and base. The bulbs in this review are comparable to a 60-watt incandescent bulb.

Features
A standard 60-watt incandescent bulb puts off about 800 lumens. The more lumens, the brighter the light is. LED light bulbs provide many lumens for few watts compared to incandescent bulbs. Since this is the case, it's better to find a bulb that has low wattage but high lumens because it will save you on your energy bill.

You also want to find an LED light bulb that offers a long lifespan. Most offer between 25,000 and 50,000 hours of light. When you look at a Lighting Facts label on the light bulbs, they typically list the lifespan in years. This is based on a standard of using the light for three hours per day each day of the year.

When you're looking for an LED light bulb, another thing to consider is the color of the light. Depending on where the light bulb lands on the color temperature spectrum, lights can be all colors: red, yellow, green, blue and shades of white. The shades of white range from warm to cool white. The lower the color temperature, the more yellow your white light will appear. If the light is higher on the color temperature scale, it will appear to cast a cool, bluish hue. Another aspect of the color is the color rendering index (CRI). The higher the CRI number, the greater the number of objects lit by the light bulb that will appear natural.

The bulb should also be UL listed and comply with part 15 of the FCC as a Class B device, meaning it won't interfere with radio frequencies. It's also an added bonus if the light bulb is Energy Star Qualified.

Design
The dimensions and weight of LED bulbs are not the same as a standard incandescent bulb. LED light bulbs are on average a quarter of an inch taller. The average diameter of these LED lights is similar to that of incandescent bulbs but varies depending on the model. LED lights are also heavier than incandescent bulbs, so you'll want to be sure that your light fixture can support the extra weight.

Most LED light bulbs can't be fully enclosed in a light fixture because heat decreases the life of the light bulb. If you plan to use your LED light bulbs outside, you'll first want to verify that they can withstand damp outdoor conditions. If you want to dim your lights with an LED light bulb, you'll need to have one that the manufacturer has specifically designed to perform as a dimmer.

The beam spread is another thing to consider. While incandescent lights put off light in all directions, LED lighting typically sends its light in one direction. The best LED light bulbs that are comparable to 60-watt incandescent bulbs distribute the light around the bulb as well as from the top.

Help & Support
Chances are you won't need to be in contact much with the manufacturer to use your light bulbs. However, having a practical return policy and warranty are importance since these light bulbs cost more than incandescent and CFLs. A good LED light bulb should come with at least a three- to five-year warranty.

LED lighting presents a new, more environmentally friendly option. It's long lasting and can save you money over an extended period. These lights are heavier than other lighting options, and the bulb is on average a little taller than a standard light bulb; however, the base can fit in standard light sockets. These lights will keep going long after incandescent and CFLs would have stopped working, and they'll save you money on your electrical bill.

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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Philips L Prize Definity A19 Sylvania 12-watt Philips AmbientLED GE 13-watt LED Feit 13.5-watt LEDtronics 7.8-watt ThetaLux Pro GeoBulb 3 EagleLight 6-watt
Philips L Prize Definity A19 Sylvania 12-watt Philips AmbientLED GE 13-watt LED Feit 13.5-watt LEDtronics 7.8-watt ThetaLux Pro GeoBulb 3 EagleLight 6-watt
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Ratings
10.00
8.75
7.93
7.23
6.60
5.88
5.28
4.83
4.58
3.63
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
10.00
10.00
8.75
8.75
8.75
7.50
8.75
7.50
6.88
7.50
9.50
6.25
6.88
8.75
5.63
6.25
6.25
5.00
5.63
6.25
4.38
5.00
8.75
5.00
3.13
9.50
2.50
5.00
7.50
 
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Features
Wattage Equivalent 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 40
Energy Used (Watts) 9.7 13.5 12 12.5 13 13.5 7.8 9 7 6
Lumens 940 800 810 800 800 800 694 700 520 420
Lumens per Watt 94 59 67 64 62 59 89 78 74 67
Color Rendering Index 92 85 90 80 82 NA 85 80 70 75
Rated Life (Hours) 30,000 50,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 50,000 25,000 50,000 35,000
Light Color Warm White Bright White Warm White Soft White White Cool White Warm White Cool White Cool White Warm White
Correlated Color Temperature (Kelvin) 2700 3000 2700 2700 3000 3000 3200 5000 5000 3000
Maximum Operating Temperature (Fahrenheit) 109 104 104 109 NA 81 122 104 95 149
Minimum Operating Temperature (Fahrenheit) -4 -4 -4 -4 NA 27 -22 -4 -20 -4
Number of LEDs NA NA NA NA NA 36 23 6 8 NA
Other Testing Qualifications   Energy Star   Energy Star       
UL Listed
 
 
FCC Approved
  
 
RoHS  
 
 
Design
Beam Spread (Degrees) Omni-directional Omni-directional Omni-directional Omni-directional NA 200 124 180 84 240
Maximum Overall Length (Inches) 4.1 4.28 4.91 4.2 4.43 4 4.5 4.5 4.7 4.3
Bulb Diameter (Inches) 2.3 2.22 2.44 2.3 2.38 2.25 2.52 2.36 2.25 2.4
Weight (Ounces) 4.64 5.6 9.3 NA 4.16 NA 6.2 8 4.8 4.4
Bulb Shape A19 A19 A19 A19 A19 A19 A19 A19 A19 A19
Instant On
Standard Base
Indoor Use
Dimmable
 
Outdoor Use
 
 
 
Help & Support
Warranty (Years) 3 5 3 6 3 2 3 3 5 1/12
Telephone
Email
FAQs