Too bad price doesn’t offer a clue as to how well an LED will do once it’s in your lamp—it would make choosing LEDs a lot easier. In Consumer Reports latest lightbulb tests a $50 Switch LED performed about the same as a $10 LED from Walmart, and both were impressive enough to make the list of recommended lightbulbs. Here’s a look at some of the best LEDs from our tests after 3,000 hours of testing.
Winners from Walmart. An LED uses about 80 percent less energy than the incandescent it replaces. We tested three types of LEDs from Walmart and all were excellent yet cost less than most, making them CR Best Buys. The Great Value 60W Soft White A19 Dimmable LED is $10 and replaces a 60-watt incandescent. This LED casts a bright, warm yellow light and is supposed to last 25,000 hours. That’s about 23 years if the bulb is on 3 hours a day. It was very good at casting light evenly in all directions.
The top-rated Great Value 65W BR30 Soft White Dimmable LED is $16 and a CR Best Buy. Use it in place of a 65-watt flood/reflector light if you like a bright, warm yellow light. The Great Value 90W PAR38 Soft White NonDimmable LED, $25, provides white light and replaces a 90-watt flood/reflector incandescent. Both LEDs are claimed to last 25,000 hours.
New brands in our ratings. Who isn’t making LEDs these days? LG, Samsung, and 3M do, while Ikea has its brand, and so does Home Depot and Lowe’s. LEDs from MaxLite and Switch are new to our Ratings. The dimmable Switch 100 Bright White LED is top rated. It replaces a 100-watt incandescent and is claimed to last 25,000 hours. But at $65, it’s the most expensive bulb in the Ratings and it casts a bluish white light. The dimmable MaxLite 10-Watt BR30 is $11 and a CR Best Buy. It provides a white light and is meant to replace a 65-watt flood/reflector incandescent.
Before you shop check if your utility offers rebates for Energy Star LEDs and CFLs then check for the Energy Star on the bulb package. Our lightbulb Ratings include dozens of LEDs and CFLs, including recommended LEDs from Cree, Feit, GE, Philips, Sylvania, and TCP.
—Kimberly Janeway (@CRJaneway on Twitter)