Philips AmbientLED 16-Watt Indoor Flood LED Light Bulb Review
The Philips AmbientLED 16-watt Indoor Flood LED bulb claims the brightness of a 60-watt incandescent flood light. Our review examines these claims.
To begin our series on LED Downlights—also known as “can lights” or “recessed lights”—we look at the Philips AmbientLED 16-Watt Medium Base PAR38 Indoor Flood LED Light Bulb. The Philips AmbientLED 16-watt is meant for indoor use and claims the brightness of a 60-watt incandescent flood light. The Philips AmbientLED, like all of the bulbs we will review in our series, have an A19 base, which means they screw into the standard incandescent base that most people have in their home fixtures.
Today’s review breaks down the design of the Philips AmbientLED 16-Watt Medium Base PAR38 Indoor Flood LED Light Bulb into five components: Design (10 possible points), Light Quality and Details (25), Brightness and Dimming (25), Efficiency and Safety (15), Warranty and Durability (25). We assign points to each section, and at the end of the review, summarize our findings and provide a final rating (out of 100) and recommendation.
Design (9 out of 10):
This compact bulb fits in most cans without any trouble. Its simple design is elegant enough for the bulb to blend in a setting where it would be visible; the dark exterior could either help you or hurt you, depending on your place’s feng shui. It’s pretty beautiful compared to its Frankenbulb cousin in Philips’ EnduraLED series.
Light Quality and Details (12 out of 25):
Light from Philips AmbientLED 16-watt has a great and constant color. The 3,000 K flame puts the light at a white-ish color; not the blue of some CFLs or LEDs, but not the warm yellow of an incandescent. The CRI (color rendering index) of the bulb is 85, which is less than an incandescent, but definitely good enough for a home. No flickering occurs when the bulb is turned on, but there is a short delay when the bulb is turned on.
The only substantial problem with the AmbientLED is the direction of the light. Most indoor recessed lights are either “flood lights” or “spot lights.” Flood lights typically spread light over 40 degrees, while spotlights focus light to a narrow 15 degree distribution. Philips’ AmbientLED advertises itself as a flood light, but spreads its light 25 degrees. This makes for an odd interval between spotlight and floodlight, and might cast shadows or leave shady spots that a floodlight would envelope.
Brightness and Dimming (22 out of 25):
The brightness of this bulb is very good—comparable to a 60 watt incandescent flood light. LED manufacturer comparisons are always a little exaggerated, which is why it’s usually best to just check lumens.
Philips advertises its bulb at 514 lumens, but other estimates range up to 600. Compare that to a Phillips 60-watt incandescent flood light at 700 lumens and you’ll find the brightness has been over-exaggerated a bit, but is still acceptable. This bulb will certainly light a room, but it will be a little dimmer than an incandescent.
This bulb lacks dimming capacity, so be sure not to place it on a dimmable circuit—that could ruin the bulb (and for something you pay this much for, you don’t want to ruin it in the first month).
Efficiency and Safety (13 out of 15):
LEDs use less energy and therefore emit less heat than incandescents, so the safety regarding excess heat is usually pretty good. The AmbientLED even passed the UL (Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.) tests for safety and fire ratings, a top-notch qualification. Can lights without enclosures would work best for this bulb, to minimize fire hazards even further.
Like other LEDs, the AmbientLED does not include mercury or lead. Recent studies of toxicity of LEDs showed possible danger, but even their early results show that white LEDs are the least toxic of any color.
The AmbientLED’s efficiency leaves a little to be desired. We’d like to see it producing the full 700 lumens of a 60-watt incandescent at 16 watts. This is one of the power-hungry bulbs for a room where you need something bright. If it’s using 16 watts, a good chunk for an LED, it needs a few more lumens to show for it.
Warranty and Durability (25 out of 25):
Philips claims this bulb will last for 25,000 hours, which is pretty standard for the current market of LED bulbs. What’s more impressive is that Philips backs up this boast with a 6-year warranty—not quite the 15 years of on-off use they tout on their packaging, but a very good warranty nonetheless. If you buy this bulb, remember: you must produce the register receipt and the packaging bar code in order to return the product under warranty. As we all know, t is always advisable to keep receipts of electronics, especially if they come with a warranty. . . and now you can’t say we didn’t tell you so.
LEDs also tend to be more durable than incandescents because they lack the fragile filament of incandescents. Since downlights are often recessed into ceilings, vibrations from people walking on the floor above can sometimes break the filaments of incandescent bulbs. This LED possesses no risk to such easy damage.
Dimensions and Weight: Depth: 6.000 in.; Height (in.) : 8.812 in; Width (in.) : 5.312 in; Bulb Length (In.) : 6.0; Bulb Diameter (In.): 4.75; Base Type: Medium
Cost and Availability:
The Philips AmbientLED 16-watt goes for $79.99 on Amazon, which is comparable, but slightly more expensive than other 16-watt flood light LEDs on the market. At Home Depot, it runs for $54.97, which is still several times cost of a halogen bulb, but the Philips will both last longer and save you energy.
Overall Rating and Summary (81 of 100):
The Philips AmbientLED 16-Watt Medium Base PAR38 Indoor Flood LED Light Bulb scores an 81 or “B-” on our review scale. The bulb provides a pleasant, white-colored light at considerable brightness, while only using 16 watts. However, Philips bridged the gap between spotlight and floodlight in this bulb and what they ended up with was a shoddy version of each. Too diffuse for a spotlight and yet too concentrated for a floodlight, this light might be best for shining light on a large painting. . . perhaps a portrait with someone special and particularly “bright” in the center.