July 15th, 2016 No comments
We decided to compare the top bulbs from the top manufacturers. We chose candidates by looking at results from internet polls, and comparing them with bulbs easy to find at national retailers. Our LED Bulb Reviews are elsewhere on the blog. Here is a summary of our tests, ranked in our order of preference. All bulbs are around 800 lumens, and either 2700K or 3000K.
Philips 9.5W Warm Glow
As usual, Philips' latest light bulb is in first place for our favourite. This is a pretty great bulb that dimmed silently or nearly silently depending on the dimmer. Not only did it dim smoothly with no flicker, its colour temperature dropped just like an incandescent bulb. Barely-detectable EMI. This bulb used to be expensive but a recent price drop makes this bulb just pennies more expensive over 10,000 hours than the Sunbeam/L'Image bulb in second place below.
Sunbeam/L'Image 9.9W (High CRI)
We've only seen this bulb for sale at Costco. Its dimmer compatibility list has a short 11 models on it, but it did dim well with our electronic low voltage dimmer (no flicker/silent), even though our dimmer was not on the list. One advantage to this bulb is that its minimum start temperature is -40C. The bulb's price of $5.10 is very low for a 25,000 hour, 9.9W bulb. Indistinguishable from incandescent. Very low EMI. Overall an excellent bulb.
Noma 810 Lumens 3000K 8.5W 25000 hr bulb
This is an excellent 3000K bulb and is the least expensive bulb over 10,000 hours that we have tested. It looks very different from 2700K so don't expect to mix them in the same room. Perfect for people who don't like the yellow look of soft white but also don't like the blue look of daylight bulbs. Very low EMI.
Feit 2700K 9.5W Enhance (High CRI)
We find it difficult to visually tell the difference between 80 and 92 CRI, but our test equipment could. It is suitable for use in fully enclosed fixtures. Indistinguishable from incandescent. This excellent bulb was disappointing only in its greater-than-average electromagnetic interference.
This bulb is only rated for an oddly specific 10,950 hours instead of 25,000+ like much of the rest of the bulbs we tested. However, this is offset by its lower power consumption and lower purchase price. The bulb appears slightly more red than incandescent bulbs so doesn't match perfectly, but is still pleasing to look at. This bulb produces a barely perceptible buzz, but is imperceptible from more than a foot away. Also has a slight flicker upon turning on, but then is flicker-free.
Cree 4Flow 11W
The is the first Cree bulb we've owned that actually looks good enough to not be relegated to our outside fixtures where we don't have to look at it. Unfortunately, the electromagnetic interference it generates is still higher than the competition, as is its 11W power consumption. This combined with its relatively high purchase price will keep us from buying more. One advantage to this bulb is that it may be used in fully enclosed fixtures. This bulb dims well (barely perceptible buzz). The Cree 4Flow's 11W power consumption and high purchase price makes it the most expensive bulb over 10,000 hours that we tested.
Philips SlimStyle 10.5W
This is the first LED bulb that we ever tested that produced good quality light for a relatively low price. We still think it produces good quality light, and are not replacing our existing bulbs, but its 10.5W power consumption, poor performance with dimmers, and unusual shape, will prevent us from buying more, now that better bulbs are on the market.