LED lightbulbs continue to improve, becoming more like incandescents. Take the Philips DimTone. It’s meant for track and downlighting and Philips claims it dims just like an incandescent. So the lightbulb experts at Consumer Reports put it through some preliminary tests. Here’s a first look.
Philips promises that the DimTone BR30 LED creates warm, intimate light as it dims, and our initial tests found it delivered on its promise. This $35 LED floodlight was able to go from the warm yellow of an incandescent to a deeper yellow when dimmed. “All the other LEDs we’ve tested put out less light when dimmed but the light color stayed the same, so it looked unnatural,” said John Banta, the engineer who tests energy-saving lightbulbs for Consumer Reports.
As for the other claims, the DimTone LED replaces a 65-watt incandescent yet used only about 13 watts, and it was as bright as claimed on the package. This LED is also pretty good at revealing the colors of objects and furnishings. That’s CRI, or color rendering index in lightbulb lingo, and the Philips’s CRI was in line with most of the other LEDs and CFLs in this category. Philips says the DimTone has a life of 25,000 hours. That’s nearly 23 years if you use it 3 hours a day.
We’ll keep testing this LED and report our findings. But if $35 is too much to spend for one LED and its color shifting capability isn’t that important to you, take a look at our Ratings of lightbulbs we tested for 3,000 hours, including the Feit Electric BR30 Dimmable LED. We recommend it and it costs $18. And even though LEDs are becoming more affordable, always look for rebates from your utility company and manufacturers.