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Best Lightbulbs

Consumer Reports Ratings for Best Lightbulbs

Best Lightbulbs

We tested 66 lightbulbs to determine the best-performing models. Our expert lab technicians tested each Lightbulb based on the following criteria:

  • Color rendering index
  • Works with fully enclosed fixtures
  • Frequent on and off performance
  • Warm-up time
  • Brightness
  • Light distribution
  • Works with dimmer
  • Claimed life (yrs.)
  • Efficiency
  • Type
  • Light color

Below lists the Lightbulbs that rated best in each of the tests our experts looked for. Learn about how these tests were performed and find out which Lightbulb is rated best when you subscribe.

Consumer Reports Ratings for Best Lightbulbs

Best Lightbulb for Color rendering index

The averaged measured color rendering of ten bulb samples. Those closer to 100 will better enable colors to appear the same as if viewed under the light of an incandescent bulb.


This Lightbulb which tested best for Color rendering index has the following features: Dimmable, Works with fully enclosed fixture, Works with electronic timer, Outdoor not exposed to moisture, Works with photo cell and Works with motion sensor.

Best Lightbulb for Works with fully enclosed fixtures

Manufacturer claims that bulb can be used in a fixture that completely encloses the bulb.


This Lightbulb which tested best for Works with fully enclosed fixtures has the following features: Dimmable, Works with fully enclosed fixture, Works with electronic timer, Outdoor not exposed to moisture, Works with photo cell and Works with motion sensor.

Best Lightbulb for Frequent on and off performance

Frequent on and off performance testing reflects the average number of 2-minute on and 2-minute off cycles each bulb survived.


This Lightbulb which tested best for Frequent on and off performance has the following features: Dimmable, Works with electronic timer, Outdoor not exposed to moisture, Works with photo cell and Works with motion sensor.

Best Lightbulb for Warm-up time

Warm-up time is how long the bulb took to reach near full brightness. Bulbs that take 0 to 15 seconds to reach near full brightness scored excellent. Those taking 16 to 31 seconds scored very good, 32 to 46 seconds are good, 47 to 62 seconds are fair, and over 63 seconds scored poor.


This Lightbulb which tested best for Warm-up time has the following features: Dimmable, Works with electronic timer, Outdoor not exposed to moisture, Works with photo cell and Works with motion sensor.

Best Lightbulb for Brightness

Brightness indicates the brightness (lumens) of each bulb after 3,000 hours of life testing, as compared with the brightness of a comparable incandescent.


This Lightbulb which tested best for Brightness has the following features: Dimmable, Works with electronic timer, Outdoor not exposed to moisture, Works with photo cell and Works with motion sensor.

Best Lightbulb for Light distribution

Measures how well a test bulb duplicates the light distribution of an equivalent incandescent bulb.


This Lightbulb which tested best for Light distribution has the following features: Works with electronic timer, Outdoor not exposed to moisture, Works with photo cell and Works with motion sensor.

Best Lightbulb for Works with dimmer

Manufacturer claims that bulb is dimmable.


This Lightbulb which tested best for Works with dimmer has the following features: Dimmable, Works with electronic timer, Outdoor not exposed to moisture, Works with photo cell and Works with motion sensor.

Best Lightbulb for Claimed life (yrs.)

Claimed life is how many years the manufacturer says the bulb will last based on 3 hours of use per day.


This Lightbulb which tested best for Claimed life (yrs.) has the following features: Dimmable, Works with fully enclosed fixture and Outdoor not exposed to moisture.

Best Lightbulb for Efficiency

Efficiency is the energy, in watt-hours, required to emit a gallon of water into the air.


This Lightbulb which tested best for Efficiency has the following features: Dimmable, Works with electronic timer, Outdoor not exposed to moisture, Works with photo cell and Works with motion sensor.

Best Lightbulb for Type

Whether the bulb is a CFL, LED, halogen (hlgn) or hybrid which is a combination halogen and CFL.


This Lightbulb which tested best for Type has the following features: Dimmable, Works with electronic timer, Outdoor not exposed to moisture, Works with photo cell and Works with motion sensor.

Best Lightbulb for Light color

Actual 3K or 12.5K color temperature (kelvin) is the average measured color temperature of 10 bulb samples. Those with 2700 K are closest to incandescent bulbs; ones with 3000 K are similar to halogen bulbs.


This Lightbulb which tested best for Light color has the following features: Dimmable, Works with electronic timer, Outdoor not exposed to moisture, Works with photo cell and Works with motion sensor.