CREE CR6 light-emitting diode (LED) bulb

Last reviewed: October 2010
Cree CR6
Light years
The Cree CR6 (above) hides the individual diodes, visible on earlier LED bulbs shown below. Many diodes on one LED (bottom right) have already gone out despite limited use.

The Cree CR6 was designed to replace a 65-watt incandescent recessed bulb, and it claims to provide warm, beautiful light without sacrificing energy efficiency or dimming ability. In our initial take, based on a pre-retail sample, the Cree seems more promising than some of the other LED bulbs we've seen.

It brightened instantly when we turned it on, like an incandescent does. It also seems to dim almost as well as an incandescent and better than even the best dimmable CFLs we've tested. And its light color seems truer. At 10.5 watts, the CR6 used 84 percent less energy than a comparable incandescent and 30 percent less than a comparable CFL. But at 575 claimed lumens, this LED isn't quite as bright as comparable CFLs we tested, which provided about 625 lumens after 3,000 hours of testing. We'll buy retail samples of the CR6, put them through our full battery of tests, and report back.

Get ready for the price: $50 to $60, Cree estimates, giving new meaning to investing in the future.

LED bulbs