2011 LED Light Bulb Review Roundup: For the home, which LED Light Bulb should you buy?
Our recommendations for the top 2011 LED Light Bulbs intended for residential installation.
We just finished up our roundup of the top five made-for-home LED light bulbs. We now hope to provide you with some direction as to which one might actually work best for your specific situation. If you missed any of our prior reviews, please take a look:
So, what’s your need? We've compiled together a number of different scenarios, and came up with specific recommendations for each situation. These are common situations that many homeowners and renters encounter, and we provide recommendations for which LED bulb might work best in that spot. Keep in mind that it all depends on the size of a space and how bright you want it; these are just general guidelines to hopefully point you in the right direction. We also want to hear your voice, so let us know in the comments if you strongly agree or disagree with specific recommendations. And also let us know if there is a different bulb that we should consider for future LED Review Roundups.
Replacing an indoor CFL bulb in ceiling fixture: Ceiling fixture bulbs often need to be visible. For this reason, we recommend the Pharox 300 LED, which is one of the prettiest bulbs around. However, since the Pharox is less bright than some of the other bulbs at 360 lumens (less than a 40-watt incandescent bulb), it might be best for a multi-bulb fixture. If your ceiling fixture needs just one bulb and lights a large space, spring for the Sylvania Ultra-LED 12-watt dimmable bulb, which uses more energy than the 6-watt Pharox, but also gives you more bang for your buck, light-wise.
Replacing an indoor incandescent bulb in ceiling fixture: The GE 9-watt Energy Smart LED bulb would work well in a ceiling fixture. Its unique deisgn allows it to emit “omnidirectional” light that is also fairly bright, at 460 lumens. However, if GE’s $50 price tag is too much for you, try the Sylvania at $40. Sylvania’s ultra-LED 12-watt dimmable bulb has light at a temperature of 2700 K (see a Kelvin color scale to place that) making it one of the most incandescent-looking bulbs we’ve reviewed.
Replacing a dimmable light fixture: The only two bulbs we reviewed that have dimming capabilities are the Pharox, the Phillips, and the Sylvania. The Phillips does not need to be in an open-air light fixture—spare your friends, please—but the Sylvania would look great. The Sylvania does not hold up as well as some of the other bulbs we reviewed, but at 810 lumens, it compares to a 60-watt incandescent and offers a three year warranty to protect you through at least some of its lifespan. Forty dollars for a Sylvania is still a little steep, so if you are on the financial fence and not sure whether to buy a dimmable LED, we recommend you wait a few months for the prices to go down.
Replacing an indoor CFL bulb in wall fixture: The Phillips 12-watt A19 EnduraLED would provide wonderful lighting for a wall fixture, but again, you probably do not want to buy the Phillips unless this light fixture has a cover over it. If not, it depends on how large of an area you are trying to light: if it’s a small hallway, go for the Pharox 300, which only uses 6 watts and has a 5 year warranty, but only gives out 360 lumens—a little less than a 40-watt bulb. If the wall fixture is in a large room, go for the Sylvania, whose appearance won’t scare your friends and whose color is great. Even though it uses 12 watts—twice the Pharox—it uses 22 watts less than a CFL with the same light output. That’s worth replacing the CFL for a better-colored, more energy efficient light source.
Replacing an indoor incandescent bulb in wall fixture: Here we have to say Sylvania, since its color is the closest to an incandescent. Again, though, if you are only lighting a very small area, go for the Pharox or the Feit BPA19 (also marketed as A19 because of the bulb style), both of which only use 6 watts. No reason to light a room brighter than you can need!
Replacing a reading lamp bulb of any type: Either the Feit BPA19 or the Pharox 300 would work well for a reading lamp. Both are about the 360 lumens, 6 watts, and 3000 K. Pharox offers a longer warranty, but Feit is cheaper at Lowes ($12 cheaper, to be exact), so pick your poison. . .
Replacing an outdoor CFL bulb: GE’s bulb has good wattage so you’ll be able to see outside, and the amazing 10 year warranty will keep you from changing your bulb on cold winter nights. GE’s bulb is pricy, but keep in mind that it’s only $10 pricier than the Phillips, which provides just a 3-year warranty
Replacing an outdoor incandescent bulb: The Phillips has a slightly more incandescent-like color than GE’s bulb, but remember warranties while you buy. Also, if you are a huge Halloween decorator and don’t mind leaving them up all year round, use the Phillips bulb—sure to scare kids in any season!
Replacing an indoor desk lamp of any type: The Feit BPA19 is a perfect desk lamp; good color, and just enough light for short-range directional lighting. It’s a short warranty, but desk lamps don’t tend to get as beat up as other lamps, so the Feit might be your best bet.
That concludes our roundup of the top five LED light bulbs for the home, so please leave your comments and feedback if you agree or used LED bulb and found that it did not work as described.