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BY Tali Aaron : April 5

Philips AmbientLED 7-Watt R20 Indoor Flood LED Downlight: Small Bulb, Great Light

For the last Philips AmbientLED bulb in our LED downlight review series, we look at the Philips AmbientLED 7-Watt Medium Base R20 Indoor Flood LED Downlight.

The 7-watt Philips R20 AmbientLED Flood LED downlight uses less energy than Philip’s other downlight models, but the question remains: does the light output suffer from this reduction in energy use?

We’ll answer that question and more in our review, where we judge the Philips AmbientLED 7-watt bulb according to 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 (10 out of 10):  The Philips AmbientLED R20 is a very small flood LED light (with a diameter of just 2.5 inches), which enables it to fit into fixtures without a lot of extra bulb space. Its exterior is unobtrusive, and the shape of the bulb actually looks more like a “A” bulb (what we consider traditional incandescent) than a flood light.

Light Quality and Details (20 out of 25):  At 3100 K, the light output of this bulb is a bit whiter than some other LEDs that have gotten down to 3000K or even slightly lower. The light output of a halogen lamp can get as low as 2700K, a temperature that produces a much warmer light. The light given off by the Philips R20 is definitely not the “blue” that some LEDs emit, but the bulb's light output definitely falls on the white side of the white-to-yellow spectrum.

The Philips AmbientLED R20 has a CRI (Color Rendering Index) of 85, which falls in ranks with other Philips AmbientLEDs. Early consumer reports claim the light quality of this flood LED bulb beats out many other low-watt competitors, including GE’s newest R20 LED flood. You can be the judge of that one.

Brightness and Dimming (25 out of 25):  Philips advertises this bulb to replace an R20 40-watt halogen light. A 40-watt halogen produces around 570 lumens, while the AmbientLED R20 produces only 125 lumens.

This might sound like wild exaggeration. While we’re not denying the exaggeration part, it’s likely less extreme than you might initially assume. Flood lights are directional, meaning mirrors and other devices within the bulb aid in concentrating the light output to maximize its effects. Very precise beam control in this bulb allows LED flood lights to direct light in a way that produces a much brighter light on a lower lumen output. Consumer reports indicate that this bulb sufficiently lights a whole room, albeit not with incredible brightness . . . making it great for romantic settings?

The Philips R20 is not dimmable, much like its fellow AmbientLEDs .

Efficiency and Safety (12 out of 15):  Like most LEDs, the Philips AmbientLED R20 contains no mercury. However, Philips advertises its 16-watt PAR38 AmbientLED as lead-free, but fails to bestow a similar designation on its R20. While any conclusion in our case would be based on a lack of information rather than any hard evidence, we believe that Philips should be able to proudly declare their bulbs lead-free if they truly are.

In terms of excess heat, this bulb has close to none. Excess heat just means wasted energy, and we’re glad to see this bulb remain very efficient.

Warranty and Durability (25 out of 25):  Philips sells the 7-watt R20 AmbientLED bulb as lasting 40,000 hours, which is 4.5 years of continuous use, but much longer for the typical on/off use in most homes. Like its other AmbientLEDs, the R20 comes with a six year warranty, which remains better than most manufacturer warranties on LED bulbs.

Dimensions and Weight: Depth: 5.687 in; Height: 6.812 in; Width: 3.125 in; Diameter: 2.5 in; Length: 5.687 in.

Cost and Availability: Again, the smaller the bulb, the cheaper the price.  This AmbientLED sells for $24.97 at Home Depot or $33.75 on Amazon.

Overall Rating and Summary (92 of 100):  Overall, this bulb scores an impressive 92 out of 100, or an A. Although less bright than some of the larger AmbientLEDs, the Philips AmbientLED R20 7-watt bulb saves more energy than its 11- or 16-watt counterparts while also providing high-quality light out of a small amount of lumens. For small fixtures or rooms that only need a medium-brightness light source, save the extra energy that a bright bulb requires and go little. This bulb proves that design trumps wattage in good light sources.

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