For the past couple of years we’ve been so disappointed at the quality of LED bulbs that we made peace using a halogen hybrid until we found an LED we liked; that is Philips 410480 EcoVantage 72-Watt (100-Watt Equivalent) A19 Clear Light Bulb.

In the meantime, we’ve kept testing LED’s as they’ve come on the market. Our last posting was a year ago, when we had not come up with anything except some very good information about different kinds of bulbs available. Our two biggest complaints: the quality of the light AND the fact that most gave only a (to our eye) dim 60 watts. So we stuck with the Philips hybrid.

We’ve found that Amazon reviews are NOT very reliable in this case, we suppose because perception of light quality is so very subjective. We learned this the hard i.e. expensive, way by purchasing them. LED’s are way more expensive than incandescent bulbs because they are made to last much longer. In the long run they are cheaper; for testing purposes, EXPENSIVE.

The first disaster was the compellingly-designed Plumen bulb, which looked great OFF but whose light was eery and disturbing. Then we tested the Philips 432195 19-watt (100-Watt) Ambient LED Household A21 Soft White Light Bulb, Dimmable and hated its TERRIBLE cold light!.


Plumen bulb

We’re happy to say we’ve FINALLY found an LED we can live with: that is the Cree LED bulb. Wirecutter’s sister site Sweet Home called our attention to them (and has a great, informative rundown of what to look for in LED’s). Initially, the highest watt Cree made as 60 watt in three different offerings.

The daylight bulb, which we hoped would have the clear daylight of halogen has a cold eery light like the LED’s we experienced before. NOT. Cree’s two warm, incandescent-like Cree 9.5-Watt 60Watt equivalent Soft/Warm White (2700K) LED Light Bulbs are both good, with the Cree Tw Series in Soft White rendering colors slightly better.

Before we learned that Cree has come up with an 18-Watt (100 Watt) of their basic incandescent-like bulb (not the TW series), we figured out a strategy to up the wattage of the standard 60-watt bulbs. We used a Twin Light-Socket Adapter to double the sockets in our standing lamp. Then we screwed in two 60-watt Cree’s. It’s a good hack if you can only get 60-watt LED bulbs.

light bulb dual socket

We find Cree’s 18-Watt (100 Watt) of their basic incandescent-like bulb to be the best buy in LED’s as it produces nice bright light and is dimmable if you want to change the mood. It’s not quite as good as trusty, lovely Philips EcoVantage 72-Watt (100-Watt Equivalent), but we’re willing finally to go with LED’s to help the environment, and our pocket-books.

NOTE 19/5/16: Although we have had no trouble WITH THE 100-watt equivalent CREE bulb, we’ve heard reports of bulbs burning out prematurely and other problems. CREE states they are working on the problem and will honor the lifetime warranty on all bulbs. Until you read ratings showing the bulbs to be reliable and stable again, buy with caution.

Lightbulb Cree 100 watt in package

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3 replies on “Finally, A Pleasing LED Bulb + Our Lighting Strategy

  1. Totally agree about the Cree bulbs. I replaced Cree (warm white) for nearly all the bulbs in the apartment, including the PAR bulbs. They’re whiter, for sure, and also brighter — and pleasant. After a week, I forgot what incandescents were like, and am wondering what to do with my stash of 100W incandescents. The Sweethome has a good review of the Cree LEDs, and Home Depot sells them at a completely reasonable price.

  2. Thank you, Sally. I am very light sensitive in terms of both vision and mood and have been appalled by what was available. I felt with each attempt as though if I used it, I would end up with Seasonal Affective Disorder even in spring and summer. Therefore, I am beyond grateful for this.

  3. Is it me or is the diversity of available LED Light Bulbs really limited in the USA? Just Cree and Philips and very rarely something else?

    Over here in Romania I found a variety of LED light bulbs. Here are the ones I have tried so far:
    -3x Toshiba 60W equivalent:
    It seems they discontinued this one. Other than the fact it is 90 degree it’s a great light bulb so far. It remains to be seen how long it lasts
    -2x UltraLux warm large spherical 100W equivalent:
    Great bulbs so far.
    -1x Osram dimmable Superstar:
    So far this was the only lemon. It trarted pulsing like a strobe light after a few months and unfortunately I no longer had the receipt so I couldn’t return it (it had 4 years warranty). Unfortunately it was incompatible with my current dimmer switches so I just used it as a non-dimmable bulb. It also had a pleasant light.
    -1x Dimmable Hornbach Flair:
    It’s good so far but not really compatible with my current dimmer switches.
    -And now the best of the best, the Transparent Hornbach FLAIR:
    You can see it in action here:
    This bulb is just amazing and it has 5 years warranty. It’s not dimmable but just look at it. The light is really pleasant. I have one so far but, I think, eventually I will replace all the 60W incandescents and halogens I have with this type of light bulb.

    So far I have not tried Philips LED light bulbs because they always were significantly more expensive than all the others and sometimes uglier than the rest. I have not found Cree light bulbs here but I would like to try them. There are many more brands I can choose from. This is just a fraction of what is available.

    In conclusion, sapphire rod substrate LED light bulbs (the transparent FLAIR) are just amazing and a true replacement for good old incandescents. So far I had no luck with dimmable LED bulbs and from what I have seen a dimmable LED bulb is just not the same as an incandescent. As you dim down an incandescent it turns red. The lower the brightness the warmer the light. This does not happen with LEDs.

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