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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Light Bulbs Reviewed In 2018Last Updated March 1, 2019
№1 – Philips LED A19 Non-Dimmable 800-Lumen, 2700-Kelvin, 8.5-Watt (60-Watt Equivalent) Light Bulb, E26 Medium Base, Soft White, 16-Pack
№2 – GE 41032-12 75-Watt A19, Soft White, 12-Pack
№3 – Philips 433557 100-watt Equivalent, Bright White (6500K) 23 Watt Spiral CFL Light Bulb, 4-Pack
After lumens, the next concept you’ll want to understand is color temperature. Measured on the Kelvin scale, color temperature isn’t really a measure of heat. Instead, it’s a measure of the color that a light source produces, ranging from yellow on the low end of the scale to bluish on the high end, with whitish light in the middle.
An easy way to keep track of color temperature is to think of a flame: it starts out yellow and orange, but when it gets really hot, it turns blue. You could also think of color temperature in terms of the sun — low, yellowy color temperatures mimic the tone of light at sunrise or sunset, while hotter, more bluish-white color temperatures are more akin to daylight (sure enough, bulbs with color temperatures like these are commonly called “daylight” bulbs). This is also why a lot of people prefer high color temperatures during the day and lower color temperatures in the morning and evening.
Generally speaking, incandescents sit at the bottom of the scale with their yellow light, while CFLs and LEDs have long been thought to tend toward the high, bluish end of the spectrum. This has been a steady complaint about new lighting alternatives, as many people prefer the warm, familiar, low color temperature of incandescents. Manufacturers are listening, though, and in this case they heard consumers loud and clear, with more and more low-color-temperature CFL and LED options hitting the shelves. Don’t believe me? Take another look at those two paper lamps in the picture above, because they’re both CFL bulbs — from the same manufacturer, no less.
Sylvania often color codes its packaging. Blue indicates a hot, bluish color temperature, while the lighter shade indicates a white, more neutral light.
As you’re probably aware, light bulbs come in a fairly wide variety of shapes. Sure, it’s easy enough to tell a hardware store clerk that you want “one of those flamey-looking lights,” or “just a normal ol’ bulby light bulb,” but knowing the actual nomenclature might save you some time.
Are pricey candelabra LEDs a smart upgrade for your chandelier?
Let’s start with the base of the bulb, the part that screws in. In the US, the most common shape by far is E26, with the “E” standing for Edison and the “26” referring to the diameter of the base in millimeters. You might also see E2bulbs from time to time, which is the European standard. Those should still fit into common American fixtures, but keep in mind that voltage ratings are different in the two regions, with American bulbs rated for 120 volts compared to 220-240 volts in Europe. For smaller sockets, like you might find with a candelabra, you’ll want to look for an E1base.
As for the bulb itself, the typical shape that you’re probably used to is an A1bulb. Increase that number to A2or A23, and you’ve got the same shape, but bigger. Bulbs made to resemble flames are F-shaped, which is easy enough to remember, as are globes, which go by the letter G. If it’s a floodlight you want, you’ll want to look for “BR” (bulging reflector) or “PAR” (parabolic aluminized reflector). Those bulbs are designed to throw all their light in one direction only, which makes them useful for spot lighting, overhead lighting and the headlights in your car.
Your automated-lighting options
It used to be that if you wanted your lights to turn on and off automatically, then you had to rely on a cheap wall socket timer, the kind you might use to control a Christmas tree. These days, with a modest boom in smart lighting currently under way, it’s easier than ever to dive into the sort of advanced automation controls that can make any home feel modern and futuristic. Use the right devices, and you’ll be able to control your lights in all sorts of creative ways, and make your life a little bit easier in the process.
The most obvious way to get started with smart lighting is with the bulbs themselves. You’ve got plenty of intelligent options from brands both big and small, and to find the one that’s best for you, you’re going to need to understand what sets them apart.
Connect with these 3IFTTT-friendly smart devices (pictures)
The first thing to look at is how the bulbs communicate with you. Some offer direct connections with your smart phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, which makes setup as simple as screwing the thing in and following in-app pairing instructions.
Others transmit using a distinct frequency like ZigBee or Z-Wave. Bulbs like those might be a better fit for bigger smart home setups, as it’s typically a little easier to sync them up with things like motion detectors and smart locks. Setup can be slightly more advanced, as you’ll need a separate hub or gateway device capable of translating that distinct frequency into a Wi-Fi signal your router can comprehend.
Some smart bulbs come with their own gateway. Others, like the Cree Connected LED, require a third-party control device, like the Wink Hub.
If you’re looking for a little more color in your life, then be sure and take a look at a product like the Philips Hue Starter Kit. Aside from being fully automatable via a mobile app and control hub, the Hue LED bulbs are capable of on-demand color changes. Just pull out your phone, select one of millions of possible shades, and the light will match it. And if you’re into voice control, Hue bulbs hit the compatibility trifecta — they’ll work with Siri, Alexa, and the Google Assistant.
Because Philips opened its lighting controls to third-party developers, you’ll also find lots of fun novelty uses for Hue bulbs, like changing the color of your lights in rhythm with whatever music you’re playing. There’s even an app that’ll sync your Hue lights up with certain TV programming.
Hue lights are also directly compatible with the popular web service IFTTT, with recipes already available that will change the color of your lights to match the weather, or to signal a touchdown from your favorite football team, or even to indicate when your stocks are doing well.
LED vs. CFL vs. Halogen
Now that most incandescent lightbulbs are pretty much a thing of the past, consumers now must choose between LED (light-emitting diode), CFL (compact fluorescent), and halogen bulbs to light their homes. But which is the best option? It all depends on your needs. We’ll take you through the various kinds of lighting, and the benefits that each offers.
LEDs vs. Incandescent Bulbs
Traditional incandescent bulbs measured their brightness in watts; if you wanted a brighter bulb, you bought one with a higher wattage. However, with the advent of LEDs and other types of lighting, that yardstick has become meaningless, and as a result, a bulb’s brightness is now listed as lumens, which is a more accurate measurement of how bright it is, rather than how much energy it consumes. Below is a conversion table which shows how much energy, in watts, an incandescent bulb and an LED typically require to produce the same amount of light.
Other Lightbulb Alternatives
EISA will also stop the manufacturing of candle-and globe-shaped 60-watt incandescent bulbs (the types used in chandeliers and bathroom vanity light fixtures). However, the law doesn’t affect 40-watt versions of those bulbs, nor three-way (50 to 100 to 150-watt) incandescent A1bulbs. So, those will continue to be an option for you, as well, in fixtures that will accommodate them.
LED Lightbulb Options
Traditional bulbs for table and floor lamps are known by their lighting industry style name “A19,”while floodlight bulbs made for track lights and in-ceiling fixtures are dubbed “BR30.” Your best long-term alternative to either style is extremely energy-efficient LED technology.
The LED equivalent of a 60-watt A1bulb consumes only between and 1watts, and provides about the same light output, measured in lumens. A 40-watt equivalent LED bulb consumes only to 8.watts. And a 65-watt BR30 (floodlight) replacement LED bulb consumes only to 1watts.
Moreover, an LED bulb’s lifespan is practically infinite. Manufacturers typically estimate a bulb’s lifespan based on three hours of use per day. By that measurement, an LED bulb will be as good as new for at least a decade, manufacturers say. Under the same conditions, an old-fashioned lightbulb may work for only about a year before burning out.
For example, GE’s equivalent LED bulb has a rated lifetime of 15,000 hours or 13.years. Philips’ equivalent LED bulb has a rated lifetime of 10,000 hours or 9.1years.
LED bulbs will continue to light up even after their rated lifetimes expire; however, brightness may drop or the color cast of the light may change.
GE, Philips, Sylvania, Cree and other brands (including IKEA) all offer LED bulbs that output the most popular “soft white” light, at retailers including Home Depot, Target and Walmart. In addition, GE ‘s Reveal lineup of color-enhancing lightbulbs (a coating filters out yellow tones to enhance colors lit by the bulb) with LED replacements equivalent to 40-watt and 60-watt A1bulbs and to a 65-watt BR30 bulb.
IKEA Tradfri Gateway Kit
Even IKEA is getting into the smart lighting game. Its Tradfri line includes several bulb types, including an A2(essentially an A19), GU10, as well as a remote control, dimming switch, and a motion sensor. These bulbs also require a gateway hub to connect to your smartphone via Wi-Fi. While they currently do not work with any other smart home system, Ikea announced that the lights will work with Alexa, Google Home, and HomeKit by the fall. Not all of the Tradfri lights are available online, so you’ll have to go to an IKEA store for some; be sure to stock up on Swedish meatballs while you’re there.
Light bulb technology
There are three types of light bulb currently available: LED are the most efficient, followed by CFL and then halogen.
Halogen bulbs are being phased out from September 2016, starting with directional bulbs (spotlights) and followed by non-directional bulbs in 2018.
LEDs have a much longer lifespan than other bulbs and are now more affordable, but they are less suited to dimmers. It’s worth checking if the bulb is dimmable before purchasing.
Colour temperature is measured in Kelvins and can help to create different moods around the home. Bulbs with a low Kelvin rating (around 2700K) produce a warm, yellowish light, perfect for relaxing and unwinding, while bulbs with a higher Kelvin rating (over 5000K) omit a cool, bluish colour which is ideal for task-based activities.
Dining room lighting
Pendant lights shine light down onto the table, drawing attention to the main focus of the room. Lights hung in a cluster or a chandelier fitting can really make an impact in your dining area.
Additional floor lamps or wall lights are ideal for entertaining as they provide softer, atmospheric lighting.
A ceiling light provides bright lighting for the whole room while desk lamps or positioned spotlights offer directional light for reading and studying.
Consider an illuminated mirror for applying make-up, these mimic natural light for application accuracy.
Use spotlights to illuminate the inside of a wardrobe to make it easier to see into a dark space.
Children’s bedroom lighting
This lighting should be bright and functional for playing. Celling lights provide good general lighting while table lamps or night lights offer a softer glow in the evening.
A desk lamp is an ideal choice for homework and studying.
Many of our table lamps have a fully encased light bulb to prevent little fingers from touching the hot surface.
Bathroom lights require additional protection from water and moisture, this is indicated by an IP (ingress protection) rating. All bathroom lights need a minimum IP4rating to comply with British wiring regulations.
Bathrooms have three safety ‘zones’ – 0, and These zones are identified by their likely contact with water and determine what type of light you can use in that area.
Only light fittings with a suitable IP rating can be used in a specific zone. Argos’ bathroom lights should only be used in zones and in the bathroom, but can also be used in other areas of the house too.
Zone 0: the inside of the bath or shower (IP6and 12V SELV recommended)
Zone 1: the area directly around the bath or shower, up to a height of 2.25m above the floor and at a radius of 1.2m from the water outlet (IP6recommended)
Zone 2: 60cm wide and covers areas next to and around zone 1(IP4recommended)
The light switch should be a pull cord inside the bathroom or a regular light switch outside.
You’ll need a good level of light from ceiling lights for food preparation and cooking in the kitchen area.
Light fittings which have moveable spotlights allow you to angle light on areas which need additional illumination, such as a worktop, sink or oven. Under cabinet spotlights can also provide extra light for tasks like chopping.
Kitchen areas are also subject to lighting safety ‘zone’ legislation but this is only applicable to the area directly above the sink. This is classified as zone and therefore an IP rating of 4is required.
Table, floor and pendant lights usually always require a lamp shade and this is where you can experiment with colour, pattern or texture. Along with traditional fabric shades, glass, metal and natural fibres like wicker are stylish choices.
Switches and dimmers
These have single, double or triple switch buttons and are usually made from metal or plastic. Switch plate finishes include chrome effect, brushed steel, nickel effect and white. Dimmer switches control the brightness of your light, either by touch, a rotating switch, or remotely through a smart phone.
To Dim or Not to Dim
Dimmable bulbs allow the user to adjust the amount of electricity to the bulb and control its brightness. Thanks to their ability to conserve energy, dimmable bulbs are a great option for those looking to save on utility bills—but not all LEDs are dimmable, so be sure to read the package before buying. Also, keep in mind dimmable bulbs only work when you have installed dimmable light switches.
An LED Bulb’s Useful Life and Yearly Cost to Operate
When shopping for an LED light bulb, you’ll find an estimated lifespan on its package; most bulbs last anywhere from to 2years. You’ll also find an estimate of how much the bulb will cost to operate per year. These estimations are based on an average bulb use of three hours per day. If you leave a light on all day long, the lifespan will be significant shorter, and the bulb will cost more per year to operate.
Naturally, you want a bulb that is sufficiently bright for your purposes. Brightness is now measured in lumens: the higher the lumens count, the brighter the light. Lumens is a relatively recent measure, replacing that of wattages, which we have long been accustomed to measuring the strength of a light bulb by. This is actually kind of misleading, though, since wattage measures something quite different from lumens, namely the power used by the light bulb, not its brightness. However, there is still somewhat of a relationship between energy usage and brightness, and thus a relationship between wattage and lumens. For example, an old style 40 watts bulb emits about 450 lumens of light, whereas a 100-watt bulb will emit around 160 lumens. If you can though, look for the lumen rating of your light bulb; most modern light bulbs will have one.
The efficiency of a certain light bulb measures how many lumens of light output you get per watt of energy/electricity input. The higher the lumens count for a given wattage, the more efficient the bulb is at converting power into light. Whereas generally speaking ALL incandescent lights have exactly the same efficiency, because of the fact that a given wattage of power will invariably heat the tungsten filament to a particular temperature, which will, in turn, translate into a specific output of light; with LEDs and CFLs, which utilize a completely different method of converting electricity into light, the efficiency will differ greatly from bulb to bulb.
The most recognisable type of bulb, and the easiest to replace. Let’s say you have a standard 60W incandescent bulb which you use to light your lounge and replace it with a 12W Verbatim LED bulb. This is overkill, if anything, as the replacement will be noticeably brighter (producing 1,100 lumens – the equivalent of a 77W incandescent bulb and representing 8percent energy saving).
Using some average figures – 15p per kWh of electricity – you’ll save around £per year.
They’re said to last for 25,000 hours – the same as the Verbatim – and you’ll break even in roughly two years.
There are various types of incandescent bulb. The common version – in the photo above – is an E2screw, but it can also have a traditional bayonet fitting. Most LED bulbs offer a choice of either fitting.
You may also have R50 spotlight bulbs (also known as SES or E14) in ceiling light fittings. These are fairly widely available as LED versions.
However, using the same SES / E1screw fitting are many ‘candle’ bulbs. Again, these are easily available in LED.
All of these are inefficient and can be replaced with LEDs. Halogen spotlights are perhaps the worst culprits as although they use less power than incandescent bulbs, they’re rarely used singly. Typically there will be up to six or eight per room, and if each is a 35W lamp, that’s between 200 and 300W. Halogens are notoriously inefficient, such that you can buy ‘energy-efficient’ halogen bulbs, but even these save only around a third.
Halogens come in two main types: GU(mains voltage) and MR1(low voltage – 12V). Just because some are low voltage doesn’t mean they use less power. They don’t.
Don’t forget your outdoor lighting. Halogen floodlights – which have lamps which consume between 120 and 500 watts – can be replaced with 10- or 20W LED versions for around £to £20 per light: you replace the entire light fitting. This 10W model costs only £9.9from Toolstation.
Next up is beam angle. This determines the spread of light the bulb produces. A narrower angle means light will be concentrated on a smaller area, like a spotlight. A larger angle is better for lighting a larger area, but don’t forget this means it could appear dimmer overall. For replacing Halogen downlights, look for a beam angle of around 40 degrees. Incadescent replacements should have a much larger beam angle, say 140 degrees.
CRI is another spec you should see (if you don’t, it’s worth asking for the CRI figure). Here’s why: CRI stands for Colour Rendering Index and is a measure of the light quality from 0 to 100. In other words, the CRI score tells you if objects appear the correct colour when lit using that bulb. Incandescent bulbs had a brilliant CRI, but not so with fluorescent tubes. If you want to avoid bad-looking lighting, it’s crucial to go for LEDs with a high CRI.
Not all LEDs use the same technology. Cheaper bulbs will tend to use multiple SMD (surface-mount device) LEDs, but newer or more expensive ones will use COB – chip on-board LEDs.
COB offers a higher light output per watt, and tends to be used in smaller bulbs such as MR1COB isn’t necessarily better than SMD, though. It depends on the form factor of the bulbs you’re buying and your priorities in terms of budget.
If you are replacing low-voltage halogen bulbs, there are no guarantees that LEDs will work on your particular transformers which may require a minimum power draw to work properly. If the draw is too low from your super-efficient LED bulbs, they may flicker or not work at all. In this case, you would need to either replace the transformers with proper LED drivers, or change the fittings from MR1to mains-voltage GUfittings and buy GULED bulbs instead. Fittings are cheap, and it may be cheaper to go down this route than buy an LED driver for each MR1bulb.
Colour and colour temperature
Warm white, cool light, daylight: choosing a ‘simple’ white lightbulb can be more complicated than it seems.
The colour temperature of a bulb makes a big difference to the kind of light it emits and is denoted by a 4-digit number followed by the letter ‘K’ (which stands for Kelvin).
The colour temperature of most bulbs is between 2000K-6500K. A 2000K bulb would give off a very warm, yellow light, suitable for cosy living rooms or bedrooms, while a 6500K one would be what is known as a ‘Daylight’ bulb, as it is supposed to recreate exactly that.
If you’re shopping for a warm white lightbulb for the home, look for anything around 2500-3000K, while anything over 4000K would give you a nice cool light.
Alternatively, you can find a wide variety of coloured or colour-changing lightbulbs. These will be labelled quite clearly with their colour. ‘RGB’ bulbs allow you to pick from a variety of different colours.
Watts and lumens
Do not use a bulb’s wattage to determine its brightness.
The ‘lumens’ rating gives a more accurate indication of how bright a lightbulb is. This is especially important when choosing LED lightbulbs as they can give out the same brightness as an incandescent bulb using much less power. For example, an LED lightbulb that uses only watts (W) of power emits around the same brightness as a traditional 50W bulb (see to find out how we know this).
Bulbs for general household use will typically have a lumens rating (lm) somewhere between 300-500lm. The lumen output of golfball and candle bulbs may be lower, as they’re designed for use in smaller lamps, while high-powered outdoor floodlights could emit in excess of 20,000 lumens.
The wattage of a bulb should still be taken into consideration to make sure it’s compatible with your fittings. The low wattage of LED lightbulbs gives you a lot more flexibility, but you should still not exceed the stated wattage of any light fixture.
If you’re still not sure about the difference between watts and lumens, find out more
LED lightbulbs are incredibly long lasting compared to their incandescent counterparts. The average rated life of a product will tell you roughly how many hours life you should get out of it before it fails. Importantly, though, don’t mix the rated life up with the manufacturer’s warranty period, as the two may not always be the same.
If an LED bulb fails within its manufacturer’s warranty period, you are entitled to a replacement bulb. If it fails outside of this period, you are not, even if the bulb has not reached the average rated life stated on the product.
The manufacturer’s warranty should be stated clearly on any product. Contact us for help if it is not.
Other technical details
The following points aren’t the most important factors in buying a lightbulb, but may help you find the perfect one for your needs.
If you’re buying spotlights, the beam angle may be something to think about. Measured in degrees, the beam angle of a light determines how wide or how narrow the beam of light is that the bulb emits. A 40° beam angle, for instance, would have a very narrow, focused beam suited to retails displays, while a 100 degree beam angle would cast a wider light more suitable for lighting corridors or larger rooms.
Some lightbulbs come with a CRI (Colour Rendering Index) rating. This tells you how well a bulb reproduces the colours of the environment around it. High CRi bulbs are useful for photography studios, where capturing the natural colour of objects is really important. If you’re just buying a bulb for general use in the home, this is not something you need to worry too much about.
Estimated Yearly Energy Cost
This is an important measure to consider when purchasing light bulbs. You will see that LEDs last significantly longer than incandescent and CFL bulbs. This is really helpful when comparing different LEDs.
While the price of LEDs has been dropping significantly as technology has gotten better, there are still LEDs out there that are not the highest of quality. Check the estimated life to find those that will last long enough to see money savings. The quality LEDs will still run at a higher price, but the cost is well worth it to save a significant amount of money on your electric bill.
This may be the most unfamiliar feature listed on the lighting facts. In comparison to incandescent and CFL light bulbs, LEDs have a large range of color options. This has led to the need to measure the different colors of LEDs so consumers know what they are buying.
Color is measured by a unit called Kelvins (K). If you are looking for something similar to the color appearance of incandescent bulbs, 2700K would be a good place to start. As you get higher on the Kelvin scale, the light becomes cooler and whiter. Office buildings and retail stores typically use a whiter light. If this is the color you would like in your home, look for a bulb around 4000K. Anything above 4500K will give off a blue-white light that is similar to daylight. In comparison, the lower you get, the closer you get to a warmer looking color like that of candlelight.
While LEDs give off much less heat than incandescent bulbs, they still give off heat. Most LEDs include a heat sink to dissipate the heat it generates. However, in an enclosed area there is nowhere for that heat to go. LEDs are much more sensitive to heat so this will greatly shorten the lives of your bulbs. Look for information on the lightbulb packaging to make sure your bulbs are safe to use in enclosed spaces.
If using CFLs to light your space, try to use them in areas where you are not constantly cycling the lights on and off. Because CFLs take longer to reach its full light when turned on, frequent cycling reduces the life of the light bulb.
Pros & Cons of LED Light
LED stands for light emitting diode, which are semiconductors that produce light when charged. LED bulbs have an average lifespan of over 50,000 hours, compared to a little over 1,000 for conventional incandescent bulbs. As a LED ages, the amount of light it gives off dissipates over time.
Pros & Cons of CFL Light
CFL stands for compact fluorescent lighting, which is simply a smaller version of a fluorescent tube. CFL bulbs contain a mercury vapor that lights when it is energized. Because CFLs contain mercury, they must be disposed of carefully, at designated drop-off site (Home Depot, Lowes, recycling centers, etc). An average CFL bulb should last 7,000 hours.
Pros & Cons of Incandescent Light
Incandescent light is an electric process that produces light with a wire filament that is heated to a high temperature by an electric current which runs through it. This is the type of lighting which was the standard in homes up until the 1990’s. Due to its poor energy efficiency, it is being replaced with the newer technology of LED and CFL bulbs. Incandescent bulbs last roughly 1,000 hours.
Pros & Cons of Halogen Light
Similar to incandescent light bulbs, halogen bulbs use a similar electric-filament technology with one important difference; with incandescents the filament degrades via evaporation over time whereas, with halogens, filament evaporation is prevented by a chemical process that redeposits metal vapor onto the filament, thereby extending its life. Halogen bulbs have a lifespan of roughly 3,000 hours.
Color Temperature & Lighting Color temperature is a characteristic of visible light. The temperature of light refers to its warmness or coolness, or hue. This temperature is measured using the Kelvin scale, which for most use ranges from 2,700°-7,500°K. Incandescent and halogen lighting are the most limited in the temperature range at 2,700°-3,000°K. LED and CFL have each expanded their color range to now offering warmer options. Most task lighting, however, benefits from cooler lighting options which include LED, full spectrum, and CFL.
Understanding Lumens & Brightness is a measurement of light output from a lamp, often called a tube or a bulb. All lamps are rated in lumens. For example, a 100-watt incandescent lamp produces about 1,600 lumens.
The distribution of light on a flat surface is called its illumination and is measured in footcandles. A footcandle of illumination is a lumen of light spread over a one square foot area.
The illumination needed varies according to the difficulty of a visual task. Ideal illumination is the minimum footcandles necessary to allow you to perform a task comfortably and efficiently without eyestrain or fatigue. According to the Illuminating Engineering Society, illumination of 30 to 50 footcandles is needed for most home and office work. Intricate and lengthy visual tasks — like sewing — require 200 to 500 footcandles.
1,000-1,400 Lumens is a commonly accepted range for most applications of task lighting. An average of 50 Lumens per square foot is a common measure. efficacy. Efficacy is the ratio of light output from a lamp to the electric power it uses and is measured in lumens per watt.
Demystifying LED Light
When comparing the raw lumen output of traditional lamps with the lumen output of many LED lamps, it may seem that LEDs deliver less light than the conventional counterparts. These comparisons, however, are inaccurate and misleading, since they fail to account for the amount of wasted light in conventional lighting.
Therefore, lumen output is a poor measure of the suitability of a lamp for a given task. The better measure is delivered light — how much light a fixture delivers to a surface, as measured in lux (lx) or footcandles (fc). You can make comparisons between conventional and LED lighting fixtures on the basis of delivered light, as it measures how much of a light source’s raw lumen output reaches a surface or area you are lighting.
Determining the amount of a conventional lamp’s raw lumen output reaches as area, you must discount any light lost in the fixture housing (at times over 30%), as well as the light lost as a result of shading, lensing, and filtering. Since incandescent and fluorescent lamps often emit light in many directions, you must also discount any light cast away from the target area.
Reading area or den
The reading area should have a bright task lamp. A bright desk lamp can prevent eye strain which is helpful in preventing eye damage in the long run. With bright task lamps in the reading area, you can keep headaches away. Thus, you will surely enjoy reading as well as other activities like writing letters or completing puzzles.
Your kitchen is another part of the home that requires task lighting. The dangerous nature of the activities you do in your kitchen is reason enough to get additional task lighting. More importantly, you need enough light to read recipes and to see the ingredients as they cook as well as other practical things. For kitchens, common task lighting fixtures are under cabinet lights that provide extra illumination to supplement the ambient light.
Why you should trust me
I’ve reviewed consumer electronics for more than 1years and have held top editorial positions at magazines including Electronic House, E-Gear, Dealerscope, and others. I’ve also reviewed products for Sound & Vision, Big Picture Big Sound, and Consumer Digest. I’ve been an invited speaker at both the CEDIA and CES expos on the subject of smart home systems. In addition to turning my house into a laboratory for DIY home automation products, I’m also a certified Controlprogrammer.
Who should get this
Smart light bulbs are the easiest way to upgrade your home or apartment lighting to wireless control. Smart bulbs can reduce your energy consumption, especially if you’re just getting around to replacing incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs with the significantly more energy-efficient LED bulbs. An LED bulb can last more than 1years under normal usage. If you’re smart about using the smart bulb’s scheduling and remote-operation features, you can save money by not using them when no one is in the room. However, smart bulbs cost more up front—sometimes a lot more—than non-smart LED bulbs, so the cost savings over time may be more symbolic than actual.
The main reason to try smart bulbs is that they’re fun. It’s okay to admit there’s a little thrill in tapping your smartphone to turn off a light across the room or across the house. Maybe that thrill decreases over time, but it’s still there. Getting up to physically hit a light switch—that’s never fun (unless you’re stopping at the fridge along the way to grab a beer). And smart bulbs do add convenience to your life. It’s easy to shut off downstairs lights when you’re upstairs tucked in bed. If you hear a bump in the night, you can turn on multiple lights at once. Want to turn down the lights for watching TV in the evening? All smart bulbs are easily dimmable from their apps. Most apps allow for scheduling, so you can have groups of lights turn on and off based on your daily activities or to simulate occupation when you’re away from home.
Smart bulbs that change colors are even more fun. Like a softer, warmer light to ease your way into morning? A color-adjustable or tunable white bulb can do that. Want to set a relaxing mood for music after dinner? Turn the lights blue, or green, or whatever palette you like. Set in strategic locations, color-adjusting smart bulbs can be an integral part of your home decor, rather than just something to chase the shadows away.
Many smart bulbs, including our top picks, can be integrated with a variety of other smart-home products, including smart-home hubs, switches, cameras, and thermostats, making a light bulb an easy way to start your smart-home system.
If you already have a couple of smart bulbs or a smart-home system installed, however, you may be stuck with a specific brand or technology. Some bulb brands can be mixed and matched in a system, others can’t; we explain that further below.
The Hue does everything its competitors do, but a wider product and app ecosystem allows for more flexibility and creativity than any other smart bulb.
Since Philips introduced the original A1color-changing bulb in 2012, the company has added several more products to the family, including battery-powered lights, strip lights, light globes, wireless remotes, motion sensors, and plain-white-light smart bulbs. The recent addition of HomeKit compatibility makes Hue lights work with additional products and allows Siri voice control over the lights. This requires the Hue gateway, which comes in the current starter kit.
No need to paint the walls to change the look of your room. Just change the color scene of your Hue bulbs. With 1million colors, you won’t quickly get bored.
Setting up Hue lights requires a few simple steps, much like any other smart-home device. The gateway connects to your home router or network switch via a wired Ethernet port. This connects the system to your network and allows you to control the lights with a smartphone or tablet connected wirelessly to the same network. The gateway connects to the Hue bulbs themselves over a Zigbee wireless mesh network. A mesh network has the ability to repeat signals through all the connected nodes (in this case, the Hue lights are the nodes), which cuts down on errors and improves reliability. The gateway unit is small enough that you can easily tuck it out of sight.
Who else likes them
Pretty much anyone who’s reviewed Philips Hue bulbs loves them. PCMag gave the starter kit an Editor’s Choice award and says “Hue not only adds the convenience of wireless control, but it adds an element of wonder with its ability to easily recreate scenes and moods.” Though CNET wishes the bulbs were a little brighter (newer versions are brighter than the originals), the site agrees with me that smart compatibility makes it a winning choice, declaring “If you have a variety of smart-home gadgets, and you want color-changing bulbs that will work with as many of them as possible, Hue can’t be beat.” The reviewers at Digital Trends called the Philips Hue “just plain fun and addictive.”
Simple Bluetooth control
An inexpensive bulb that’s good for people who want an easily controllable light, not a whole smart home.
GE discontinued its previous Link line of bulbs, which connected using Zigbee, in favor of the new C family. C-Life bulbs connect via Bluetooth, making them easy to connect and control from your smartphone, tablet, or computer, but which also means you can’t control them when you’re away from home or—given Bluetooth’s limited range—even if you’re on a separate floor of the home.
The C-Life bulb is usually sold in a bundle with C-Sleep, a tunable white bulb that you can adjust from a harsh white to warmer tones. The app also allows the tone to automatically track with the time of day, supposedly creating the optimal light for the conditions. Of course, because it doesn’t include a light sensor or any connection to weather information, C-Sleep can’t actually know what the ambient lighting conditions are. Still, it’s an inexpensive tunable white bulb and works well at what it does. Like the C-Life, it also communicated via Bluetooth.
Sylvania Lightify bulbs (which used to be called Osram Lightify) work on a Zigbee network, and as such need a Zigbee hub, either the small wall-plug unit often sold bundled with a bulb or a smart-home hub like SmartThings or Wink. The Lightify RGB color-adjustable bulb is about the same price as the Hue, but it’s shaped more like a traditional incandescent bulb. I measured 500 lux from the top and 250 at the sides, which makes it slightly brighter than the Hue, but the difference is only really noticeable when in a white mode. The colors are not as rich as those of the Hue or LIFX bulbs, but red looks red enough, and green looks green enough to satisfy most people.
The Lightify tunable white bulb measured a little brighter at its peak settings, giving us 600 lux from the top and 320 from the sides.
When setting up your Lightify bulbs, you first need to set up the gateway (unless you’re using another brand’s hub). It didn’t initially want to connect to my network, until I resorted to calling technical support and was walked through a few additional steps that did the trick (turn iPhone to airplane mode, then turn Wi-Fi back on, which disables Apple’s Wi-Fi Assist). Weird, but it worked.
The Lightify app is graphically dull and not as intuitive as the Hue or LIFX apps, but if you’re connecting the bulb to the SmartThings or Wink hub you’ll use that app instead and won’t have to mess with the Lightify one. For a while Lightify bulbs could also be paired with the Hue gateway, but firmware updates seem to have made that more difficult, so it’s no longer a dependable option (feel free to try it, but cross your fingers).
Like Hue and LIFX, Lightify bulbs work with Alexa when connected to an Alexa-compatible hub like SmartThings and Wink, but they won’t work with Alexa independently, and don’t work with Google Home or Apple HomeKit. The lights do work with Nest, so you can create scenes that synchronize with Nest’s Home and Away modes. Those may be factors to consider if your plan is to add a variety of smart-home gadgets to your abode.
Like Hue, these bulbs are part of a family of Lightify products, which also include outdoor string lights and strip lights for indoor use (which we plan to test soon) as well as a wireless remote similar to the one Hue offers. Lightify isn’t a bad way to go if your plans go beyond standard A1bulbs, but the company doesn’t currently integrate with as many other platforms.
The Cree Connected and LinearLinc bulbs.
LinearLinc Bulbz (also sold under the GoControl brand) is a Z-Wave bulb for Z-Wave–based smart-home systems. It works well with both the Wink and SmartThings hubs (and presumably with other Z-Wave smart-home hubs). Putting out 520 lux from the top and 360 from the side, it’s brighter than many of the bulbs we tested, but also more expensive—twice the price of the Cree or GE bulbs. Unlike those bulbs, the LinearLincs responded almost immediately to app commands. If keeping your smart-home devices within a Z-Wave ecosystem is important to you, these bulbs will light the way.
What to look forward to
Sylvania’s Smart+ A1Full Color bulbs, the company’s first line of smart light bulbs, are supposedly the first to allow owners to control them directly via Siri and Apple’s Home app. The Bluetooth-enabled bulbs are expected to ship in September. Once they are available, we’ll see how they stack up to our current picks.
TP-Link’s LB230 smart bulbs are designed to change color and connect to Wi-Fi without a separate hub, and can be controlled remotely through an app. TP-Link says it offers a two-year warranty and lifetime technical support. We’ll test these out as soon as we can and update this guide with our thoughts.
IKEA’s Trådfri smart LED bulbs are now compatible with Apple’s HomeKit (IKEA’s dimmers and other smart-lighting devices are still not compatible, however). According to The Verge, IKEA has also promised Google Home compatibility sometime in the future, but just when that might happen is unclear. They’re certainly cheaper than our current pick and runner-up, but we’ll wait to update this guide until we get a chance to test how they perform with the HomeKit.
You can already find several smart bulbs that include non-lighting features such as music or video cameras. Although we’re not huge fans of those, we expect to see more, and if there’s interest, we’ll check them out. Overall, the biggest trend we expect and hope for is declining prices. Though smart LED bulbs may last you 1to 20 years, they’re still expensive. As they grow in popularity, they’ll inevitably become cheaper, and more people will get to enjoy their benefits.
Headlight Bulb Light Output Color
Headlight bulb manufacturers tend to charge more for bulbs that are brighter and whiter. Brighter bulbs with higher light output, and a higher color temperature tend to cost more, so if this is important to you, be prepared to spend a little more.
Also, halogen headlight bulbs that claim to be whiter and brighter also tend to burn out quicker. Manufacturers are able to provide more light output, but that additional intensity burns them out at a faster rate than a normal headlight bulb.
The way that manufacturers accomplish this is by coating the outside of the bulb glass with a semi-transparent film. In most cases this is a blue film. As the light passes through the glass/film, it changes the color of the light, just as if you were looking through tinted sunglasses.
The problem with this is as soon as there is any film or coating on the glass, you lose light output. You may get the color you want, but you might not be able so see very well at night. So as you are shopping around, keep this in mind.
Value for money LED light bulbs
LED light bulbs are still seen as an expensive option for lighting your home. The upfront costs of LED light bulbs are more than others but this cost is recouped very quickly by reduced energy requirements and longer lifetime hours.
Initially when LED bulbs came out with no standards, manufacturers would claim lifetimes of 100,000 hours with no real testing. Since then the standard has been to scale back to 50,000 hours so as not to over-state claims. (Beware of bulbs that are rated at 100,000 hours unless they state specifically WHY they are rated at so high manufacturing process, heat sink materials etc., I would be wary of trusting this rating).
The lifetime of an LED lamp is generally considered to be the point where the light output has declined to 70% of its initial output, measured in lumens. So, a 300 lumen LED bulb with a lifespan of 50,000 hours will have 2lumens at the end of its lifetime. However, the lifetime of a bulb does not mean it is unusable, only that its light output has degraded to a certain point. The LED bulb may continue to be useful for several thousand hours past its stated lifetime. Unlike old-fashioned light bulbs, it is extremely rare for an LED light to simply burn out. Rather, it will gradually fade over time.
You can see that Cree is by far the brightest. However, there are multiple factors, besides the LED chip that determine the brightness of an LED bulb including the power supply and optics (the lens or lenses that are used to diffuse the light).
Start Using LEDs Now!
LEDs are not a good alternative for all bulbs in a business. Depending on the situation, they make sense in some places more than others. The more people who adopt LEDs, the quicker prices will come down. There is no doubt that as prices come down, and efficiency/light output of the bulbs increase, in a couple of years every light bulb in the world will be an LED Light bulb and CFLs and incandescent will be a thing of the past. The initial investment may be a little hard to swallow, but in the long run, youll be doing your part for the environment and your wallet and making the world a cleaner, greener, cooler place to live one bulb at a time for generations to come.
Incandescent lights work by using electricity to heat up a filament inside a container with inert gas, which produces light after a certain degree. The major drawback to this is its efficiency. Only 2.2% of all energy used produces light or lumens, with the best being still a measly 5%. The rest is converted into heat, which eventually heats up its surroundings.
Halogens work almost the same, only with the addition of a halogen gas inside. The halogen gas redeposits the tungsten evaporated from heat back into the filament, extending its lifespan. This has two downsides, however. First, the tungsten generates UV light which will slowly damage any color pigments it comes in contact with. Furthermore, they are extremely hot. So hot that they are at times used in ceramic cook top stoves! As such, not only do they not increase efficiency, the added heat and UV light make these horrible home lights.
Fluorescent bulbs work by passing electric current and energizing the mercury vapor inside the tubes. The vapor then produces short-wave UV light that causes the phosphor coating to glow. They are much more efficient than Incandescent and Halogens, having a 15% efficiency at best. However, they still generate high amounts of heat (not as much as the Halogen though) and UV light.
To start if off, this LED bulb has a CRI of 80+. Sadly, however, there is no mention of Rrating. It is UL listed as well, so it has some backing.
The TIWIN A1come in only varieties, but it makes up for it on lumens. Both the 2700K and 5000K output 1100lm, and both use 1watts at max power. The high lumens make these a perfect 80w Incandescent replacement for those looking.
According to the manufacturer, these LED bulbs are not suited for full enclosures as the voltage regulator heats up a little too much. They will, however, do fine in semi-closed enclosures.
SGL Inch Downlight
Onwards we go, with this bulb having a CRI of 80+. This bulb is ENERGY STAR and UL Listed, using up to 1watts at max, making this an efficient LED.
These LED bulbs come in versions, 3000/4000/5000K, with lumens being as follows: 3000K: 1050lm, 4000K: 1080lm and 5000K: 1150lm. With their high lumens, this downlight is perfect for an 80w Incandescent replacement.
On another note, this LED bulb boasts an amazing dimmability of 100% to 1%, making it the best dimming LED bulb on this list.
This bulb is rated for enclosed fixtures as well, due to its requirement of a recessed can. While these LED bulbs are dimmable, sadly no percentage is given and as such, should be assumed to be 100-50%. Lastly, this LED light bulb is also rated for outdoor use, making this appealing to those wanting a recessed patio bulb.
Coming with a choice of glows, the 2700K outputs: 630lm, 3000K outputs 650 and the 4000K outputs 670. Every glow also consumes the same wattage, 14w.
As such, they are on the dimmer side in terms of lumens, mostly due to the smaller size and increased attention to CRI. Overall, however, these are an amazing replacement for 60 watt Incandescent bulbs, but will fall behind as 80 and 100-watt bulb replacements.
LOHAS Torpedo LED
As one of the smallest LED bulb around, the LOHAS Torpedo LEDs fall shorter on the spec side. However, these still manage a CRI>80, making them on par with others here on this list. And due to their size, take the least around of watts, maxing out at watts on 100% brightness. Sadly, however, these are not UL-listed, so keep this in mind.
In terms of lumens, the LOHAS fall under with the 2700/4000/5000K all outputting 550lm. As such, these LED bulbs are best used to replace a 40-watt Incandescent, not a 60 watt as advertised. However, due to its design, this LED is marketed as a 360° bulb. As such, when placed in certain fixtures, they may seem brighter than one might expect.
Something that must be noted, is some of the design issues. People have reported issues with the base not fitting all the way and thus making these LED bulbs worthless to them. This is because the base is on the shorter side, making the bulb not fit in every socket.
LEDMO LED Candelabra
Like the LOHAS, these bulbs fall shorter than others. But they are on level fields, with a CRI>80 just like the others. They do, however, take an extra watt on the way, maxing out at watts. These LED bulbs are not UL-listed nor Energy Star
On the lumens side, these are brighter than the LOHAS, with the 3000K and 6000K both outputting 630lm. Unlike the LOHAS however these only have a 270° beam angle, and as such, cover less area compared to the other.
Tube LED Bulbs
A quick note: *most these require ballast bypass as per instructions given by HYPERIKON.
To start it off, these tube LEDs boast a CRI of 84, making them better than most other tubes. Though they are one of the most power intensive, drawing in 1watts. This LED bulb is not ENERGY STAR qualified, but it is DLC qualified. As such, it still is an efficient bulb and has some credibility.
Something to note though: all of these LED tubes are clear, so they
There is some similarity spec wise between this set of LED tubes, and the ones above. And as such, this tube draws 1watts. The lumens are the same all across the glows, with 3000/4000/5000/6000K all outputting 2200lm, just like the double ended. Lastly, this bulb also comes in at a CRI of 84, so this choice is mostly out of which works on your fixture.
Incandescent bulbs: These inexpensive bulbs are probably what you’ve been buying for years, but they’re about to undergo some changes. Forget buying a 100-watt incandescent bulb—they’re being phased out for environmental reasons. While consumers can still purchase incandescent bulbs, federal law requires that they be produced using 30 percent less energy. They’ll emit the same warm light, but even with the federally required changes, these bulbs will still use more energy than some of their greener counterparts.
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs): These bulbs are good for the environment and your wallet: They often last to times longer than incandescent bulbs, and experts say they use 7percent less energy. These bulbs generally cost more up front, but you can break even quickly, thanks to the energy savings. The major downsides: You can’t use them with dimmers, and they take a few seconds to power on. And while they contain a very small amount of mercury, it’s sealed in glass tubing so it’s not released if the bulb is broken. Manufacturers are working to improve these bulbs; for example, they no longer emit an annoying buzzing sound and they’re available in different colors, like cool, neutral, or warm. These bulbs are particularly effective when used in places where the lights are left on often, like a hallway, porch, or kitchen.
Things to Consider
Make sure that you don’t choose a lightbulb with a higher wattage than your lamp allows. It can be tricky with the lower wattages to know what is the right wattage in CFLs or halogens. Energy Star has very helpful charts to help you figure out what bulb is best for you.
If you’re choosing a lightbulb for outdoors, make sure that it’s in a fixture that protects it from getting wet. Many CFLs and LEDs can be used outside, but they can’t get wet.
The lights on this page produce relatively high amounts of visible red and invisible near infrared A (NIR) and have low blue and UV output. Blue and UV wavelengths act to oppose some of the biological effects of red and NIR, light sources with peaks in these regions, such as CFL and many fluorescents should be avoided. Below are some good resources on the topic.
Red NIR on EM Spectrum
Red light and the sleep quality and endurance performance of Chinese female basketball players.
Wavelength output curves of light sources on Kelvin scale.
These incandescent and heat bulbs use E2size screw,the clamp lamp fitting is E27, these are almost always interchangeable. Fittings for these bulbs should be suitably designed for high temperatures at this wattage, even when not using specifically designed heat bulbs. Fittings should have reflectors to focus light where it is needed, some bulbs (heat bulbs generally) also have their own internal reflectors. Where possible I would choose to pair 3-Bulbrite Clear 250W Heat Reflector Light (or equivalent) with 250 Watt Clamp Lamp or above. If purchasing from a different country pay attention to the voltages as there are different requirements. The tripod sets will be easier to set up unless you have somewhere suitable to clamp the clamp lamps.
These clamp lamps are likely suitable for the above bulbs, along with other 250W or lower wattage heat and incandescent bulbs. (If choosing 300W bulbs make sure the clamp lamps are 300W suitable)
Designers Edge L14SLED 1000-Watt Twin-Head Adjustable Work Light with Telescoping Tripod Stand, Halogen
1000-Watt Twin-Head Halogen Adjustable Work Light with Telescoping Tripod Stand
2x 500-watt halogen light bulbs (1000-watts total)
The differing bulbs will also have varying energy efficiency levels. This will affect the energy usage of them and thus the electricity bill you pay. As LED’s give off less light and use less wattage this means that they also remain in working order for a longer time.
A normal incandescent light bulb will emit 60 watts of power. Compare that to the LED bulb that uses around 6-watts of power and the lifespan difference becomes apparent. Whereas the incandescent bulb will last roughly around 1,200 hours, the LED model can provide light for up to a staggering 50,000 hours.
Despite the fact that LED’s are more costly in the short run, their life span implies that after some time they will turn out to be more cost effective. In addition, lighting brands are consistently looking at ways to reduce the outlay of buying LED downlight bulbs.
Search & Filter
Making a search is generally quite simple when on the LightOnline home page. The most relevant light bulbs for general consumers will be listed within the Menu section, where from here, select the Lighting. From the left-hand side of the page, choose the Light Bulbs base and colour temperature and other similar options to filter further.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Light Bulbs wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Light Bulbs
- №1 — Philips LED A19 Non-Dimmable 800-Lumen, 2700-Kelvin, 8.5-Watt (60-Watt Equivalent) Light Bulb, E26 Medium Base, Soft White, 16-Pack
- №2 — GE 41032-12 75-Watt A19, Soft White, 12-Pack
- №3 — Philips 433557 100-watt Equivalent, Bright White (6500K) 23 Watt Spiral CFL Light Bulb, 4-Pack