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Published Sep. 21, 2021

LED light bulbs are a bright idea. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, light emitting diodes (LEDs) can save up to 75 percent more energy and last 25 percent longer than incandescent bulbs. These traditional bulbs may be substantially less  inexpensive than LED bulbs, but they’re not as environmentally friendly since they use more electricity. LED lights have been around since 1962, when Nick Holonyak, a scientist at General Electric, invented the technology. However, they have become more popular in recent years because they use less energy and heat to light a space. 

LED lights, or light emitting diodes, work by converting electric energy into light energy. Within the LED bulb is semiconductor material known as the diode that emits light. This technology is much different than its predecessor, the incandescent bulb, which converted electrical energy into heat energy using a tungsten filament to produce light. The LED uses gallium arsenide and different forms of silicone to convert energy into light which makes it much cooler and energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. 

LED technology has grown in popularity, though it’s pricier than incandescent bulbs. But the upfront costs compared to the life expectancy of the LED light bulbs makes them a worthy investment. Some LED light bulbs can last for a decade or more and they aren’t as fragile as incandescent bulbs. We’ve researched the options and compiled recommendations for the best LED light bulbs that provide the most value.

How We Picked These Products

As a home improvement writer who works with contractors and provides cost and hiring information for remodeling projects, I use the most up-to-date, reputable information available to help consumers make well-informed decisions about home improvement projects and products.

To narrow down the choices for the best LED bulbs, I considered several major review sites online and compared the products by top brands. Factors that contributed to my recommendations included life expectancy, brightness, eco-friendliness, versatility, and warranty length. Price was a factor, mainly when determining which product had the most value at a reasonable price. However, the main objective was to try to find value and other great qualities about the product.  

The Best LED Light Bulbs: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall LED Bulb: Philips Hue 548487 A19 Smart Light Bulb

Perfect For Any Occasion

Philips Hue’s smart LED light bulb can give you the white light that you need and incorporate a spectrum of other colors. Philips Hue

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Why It Made The Cut: This smart LED light bulb is long-lasting and can set the right mood lighting with voice activation.

Specs:

  • ‎Dimensions: 2.4 x 2.4 x 4.3 inches
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Brightness: 800 lumens 
  • Power: 9.5 LED watts
  • Temperature: 2700K color
  • Material: Synthetic polymer 

Pros:

  • Simple to install
  • Energy efficient
  • Compatible with Bluetooth

Cons:

  • Not a bright bulb
  • Expensive
  • Not easy to use with certain apps

Nothing attracts a thief like a dark home. But keeping the lights on all day can burn unnecessary energy while your family is away at school and work. So, what can you do in a lose-lose situation like this? Incorporate smart lighting.

Philips Hue’s versatile light bulb provides plenty of white light within your home. This rounded A19 smart bulb has many other colors to choose from, perfect for romantic dinners or parties. Also, if you want to imitate the sun’s power by having a softer light in the morning and varying shades of light throughout the day, you can create this in your home. 

Delivering varying shades of light isn’t all that this light bulb is good at doing. If you have a smart house, you can incorporate this LED bulb so that you can program the lights with your smartphone to do whatever you like, even remotely. You can also use it with Google and Alexa to turn on or off the lights remotely. And best of all, no one has to know that you aren’t at home, and you can use less energy by turning on lights only when needed.

Best Value LED Bulb: Cree Lighting LED Bulb

Two Decades of Light

This dimmable LED light bulb provides robust, long-lasting illumination at an affordable cost. Cree Lighting

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Why It Made The Cut: This light bulb is one of the most cost-effective options on the market, with the ability to last for 20 years or more. 

Specs:

  • ‎‎Dimensions: 2.4 x 2.4 x 4.6 inches
  • Weight: 5 ounces
  • Brightness: 815 Lumens 
  • Power: 10 LED Watts
  • Temperature: 5000K color
  • Material: Plastic

Pros:

  • Dimmable
  • Shatterproof  
  • Great brightening power

Cons:

  • Occasionally burns out before expected
  • Distracting buzzing sound
  • Flickers as you change brightness level

How do you replace bulbs in homes with very high ceilings? With Cree LED light bulbs, you may never have to ask this question again. With a life expectancy of 22 years or 25,000 hours, you can install these bulbs and let them brighten your room for nearly the next quarter of a century. These bulbs are also anticipated to provide 88 percent energy savings. So not only do they last long, but they save you money.

One more thing working to this light bulb’s advantage is that it is shatterproof. Cree has certainly gone all out in the long-lasting department and aims to deliver 100 percent satisfaction for a durable, long-lasting bulb. Cree bulbs are very bright and effective at making the colors in your home pop. Its simple design also resembles incandescent light bulbs, so using it in most fixtures will be a cinch.

Best LED Bulb for Home Office: SYLVANIA LED Light Bulb, 60W Equivalent A19

Stay Focused

Turn on the productivity with these bulbs that improve alertness. LEDVANCE

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Why It Made The Cut: This Sylvania LED light bulb is energy-efficient and extra bright at a great price point.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 0.24 ounces
  • Brightness: 800 Lumens 
  • Power: 8.5 LED watts
  • Temperature: 5000K color
  • Material: Plastic

Pros:

  • Cost-effective
  • Great for home offices
  • Energy efficient

Cons:

  • Doesn’t last long
  • Flickers at low settings
  • Very bright lighting

With many more people working from home nowadays, creating a functional home office environment is critical. Sylvania’s LED light bulb is perfect for improving productivity because its brightness of 800 lumens can help keep you mentally alert. In addition, if you have some other home areas that can use some bold, bright lights, such as the kitchen, basement, or laundry areas, this light is also an ideal choice.

As energy-efficiency standards continue to increase, it is good to know that a light bulb is reasonably priced and able to save up to 85 percent on energy bills. You also won’t have to worry about changing the bulbs out as often because these bulbs have a life expectancy of 11,000 hours. While this bulb may not have all the flash and pizzazz that smart LED light bulbs have, if you want to make your home more sustainable and get rid of older incandescent model bulbs, it certainly can do the job. The rounded design of this A19 bulb also resembles the shape of a traditional light bulb, so it’s great for those who prefer a familiar, more simple design.

Best Smart LED Bulb: Feit Electric Smart LED Light Bulb

Easy to Talk To

The LED bulb that you can use with a smartphone or a virtual assistant. Feit Electric

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Why It Made The Cut: This budget-friendly smart LED bulb comes with a million color options that you can control with an app Alexa, or Google Assistant.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: ‎3.75 x 3.75 x 5 inches
  • ‎Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Brightness: 650 lumens
  • Power: 8 LED watts
  • Temperature: 2700K through 6500K color
  • Materials: Plastic and metal

Pros:

  • Easy connection to apps
  • Automation feature
  • Cost-effective  

Cons:

  • Disconnects frequently
  • Occasionally turns off by itself
  • Doesn’t work well with colors other than white

If you thought that The Clapper was all the rage, then Feit’s light bulb will bring another level of satisfaction in light automation. Instead of turning on your lights at the clap of your hands, you can use your phone, Google, or Alexa to turn your lights on or off. 

Powering your lights on or off isn’t all this light bulb can do, however. You can set the mood for an intimate evening by choosing from a million color options available. Or wake up with soft lights that you can brighten as you go about your day. One thing that may cross your mind is that it seems to do what our top pick, Philips Hue Smart Light Bulb, does. They have similarities and differences, but one substantial difference is that Feit’s bulb has a substantially lower price point.

Most Eco-Friendly LED Bulb: Sunco Lighting 10 Pack LED Bulb

Made In America

This LED bulb is great both for your home and for the environment. Sunco Lighting

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Why It Made The Cut: This flood light brings the look of sunshine indoors and is Energy Star-certified for sustainability.

Specs:

  • ‎Dimensions: 14.17 x 6.57 x 5.35 inches
  • Weight: 2.07 Pounds
  • Brightness: 850 Lumens
  • Power: 11 LED watts 
  • Temperature: ‎6000K color
  • Materials: Plastic

Pros:

  • Recyclable
  • Great sustainability        
  • Useful for porches and protected outdoor spaces

Cons:

  • Not long-lasting as advertised
  • Makes a buzzing noise
  • Light is too bright

It’s one thing to be a great energy-efficient product. Still, it is another thing entirely when you’re a product that is nationally recognized for sustainability. Sunco LED bulbs are both UL certified, and Energy Star listed. Aside from being an environmentally friendly product, this flood light doesn’t buzz or flicker. They’re perfect for use in recessed lighting cans ranging from 5 to 6 inches. Although these lights are very bright, they don’t produce glare, and the frost coating on them keeps the light from forming harsh shadows in your space.

While these dimmable lights are not waterproof, they work well in damp but well-protected areas, such as patios and porches. If you want to continue the pipeline of sustainability at the end of its life cycle, you can recycle this product.

Things to Consider Before Buying an LED Light Bulb

Cost

One significant reason that LED bulbs are better than traditional incandescent bulbs is that they use much less energy. This translates into reduced energy bills of about 75 to 85 percent. Another reason why they are better than incandescent bulbs is that they last longer. LED bulbs like Cree or Philips can last up to 25,000 hours while incandescent bulbs may max out at 2,000 hours. One final important reason that LED lights are better is that they are more environmentally friendly. Not only do incandescent bulbs cause mercury pollution but they also use 80 percent more energy than LED lights.

Color

Before shopping for LED light bulbs, you should know your reason for purchasing them. For example, do you want brighter lights in your home? Then it may be a good idea to choose lights with a bluer hue, usually labeled as cool lights. Warmer lights aren’t literally warmer. It just means that they have a yellowish glow. The color temperature of lightbulbs is measured on the Kelvin scale, with most bulbs ranging between 1,000 to 10,000K, from warm to cool.

Brightness and Shape

When purchasing LED light bulbs, a few other things to think about are that you have to buy them by the lumens, not watts like incandescent bulbs. If you need an LED  light bulb with the equivalent brightness of a 100-watt incandescent bulb, then look for 1,600 lumens. If you need a 60-watt light bulb, the lumens you need will be 800. Another critical thing to keep in mind is the shape of the bulb. You will need to make sure that your bulbs are aesthetically compatible with your lamp or recessed lighting. Also, another thing to consider is whether the bulb fits into your socket appropriately. Most sockets are universal, but there may be variations.

FAQs

Q:

Which light bulb works best in a smart home?

Both the Philips Hue Smart Light Bulb and the Feit Smart LED Light work well in a smart home. However, if you are on a tight budget, the Feit bulb is significantly less expensive with some of the same functionality as the Philips Hue bulb.

Q:

What is the best LED bulb for recessed lighting?

The Sunco Lighting LED Bulb is the best choice on the list for use in recessed lights. It can fit into 5-inch and 6-inch cans, and the frosted part of the bulb keeps it from projecting shadows.

Q:

Which LED light bulb provides the most bang for your buck?

The Cree LED light bulb costs less than its competitors but has top-notch characteristics such as excellent light quality and a lifetime of 25,000 hours.

Final Thoughts

Shopping for lightbulbs these days can be far more perplexing than it was a few years ago when incandescent lights were popular. The price tag for the best LED light bulbs is also quite substantial compared to traditional light bulbs. Despite these disadvantages, these LED light bulb picks can help you save on energy bills, brighten your home substantially longer, and even have a little fun. This will make your initial investment worthwhile in the long run. If you want a warm lighting to enhance your décor in your home, Cree is an excellent option. If you want bulbs that can change colors and are compatible with your smartphone, Philips or Feit are great choices.

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