Philips AmbientLED 11-Watt Medium Base PAR30L Indoor Flood Light Bulb Review
Our review rates the Philips Ambient LED 11-watt bulb, kid brother to Philips’ 16-watt AmbientLED. Read on to find out how it performed.
When reading this title too quickly, one might ask, “Hey wait, didn’t buildaroo.com already write a review of the Philips AmbientLED?”
That’s where we’ll stop you and ask you to read like a good consumer should. We reviewed the slightly larger Philips AmbientLED 16-watt PAR38, and today will look at its kid brother. Different bulbs work for different circumstances, and we are here to tell you how well the 11-watt AmbientLED works for its intended purpose.
Today’s review looks at the Philips AmbientLED 11-Watt Medium Base PAR30L Indoor Flood Light Bulb. We break down the 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 for the Philips AmbientLED 11-watt bulb.
Design (6 out of 10): The “PAR” in the PAR30L stands for “parabolic aluminized reflector,” which enables the Philips AmbientLED 11-watt bulb to disperse light in a flood or spotlight pattern. “L” comes from the “long neck” on this bulb, while “30” is the diameter in 1/8 inches (3 ¾ inches).
These long-neck bulbs are encased in cast metal housing, which helps to evenly dissipate heat and makes for a clean exterior look. Because the Philips AmbientLED 11-watt bulb is a little smaller than the AmbientLED 16-watt, recessed lighting fixtures can sometimes envelope it. If you are worried that it will be too small to properly disperse light from your fixture, measure your fixture and compare the numbers to the bulb measurements we’ve included later in this article.
Light Quality and Details (15 out of 25): At 3000K, the light released by the Philips AmbientLED 11-watt bulb compares to the light of a halogen; it's not the painful bluish color of some LEDs, but it's also not the warm yellowish light of an incandescent bulb. The Philips AmbientLED 11-watt PAR30L is rated at 83 CRI (Color Rendering Index), which is less than that of an incandescent, but high above the 62 CRI of some fluorescent bulbs (there’s your answer to why we all look so bad under fluorescents).
Like its 16-watt brother, this bulb spreads light over a twenty-five degree area; too narrow for a floodlight and yet too broad for a spotlight. Because of this, we aren’t ready to rate it as well as we would a true spotlight or true floodlight. Philips’ attempts to bridge the light-spread gap will benefit the manufacturer if consumers decide they like this in-between spread, but we aren’t ready to jump on that boat ourselves just yet.
Brightness and Dimming (23 out of 25): The Philips AmbientLED 11-watt bulb is touted to replace a 50-watt halogen PAR30L. This bulb emits somewhere between 418 and 430 lumens, which is a little less bright than the 16-watt Philips AmbientLED (less watts, less light! Pretty straightforward). In candelas, the unit that measures luminous intensity, Philips’ PAR30L actually exceeds its 50-watt halogen counterpart.
Because the bulb is not dimmable, it should not be used on dimmable circuits.
Efficiency and Safety (15 out of 15): The Philips AmbientLED 11-watt emits approximately 11 lumens per watt, or roughly four times the efficiency of an incandescent at the same brightness.
Philips estimates that a consumer paying $0.11 per kWh electricity will save about $97 over the lifespan of the bulb. These estimates are good news for anyone paying over $0.11 kWh for electricity (pretty much New England, the mid-Atlantic states, California, Texas, Hawaii, and Alaska), who can save much more than that.
In terms of safety, this bulb contains no lead or mercury. It does not yet have an Energy Star rating, but only a few A19 LEDs have thus far.
Warranty and Durability (25 out of 25): Philips provides a 6 year warranty on the AmbientLED 11-watt bulb, as it does with its other AmbientLEDs. It claims the bulb will last for 25,000 hours of continuous use, or up to 15 years of intermittent use. This is very good for an LED, and sends the message that Philips is serious about making the AmbientLED bulb last.
Dimensions and Weight: Depth: 5.013 in; Height: 8.812 in; Width: 5.060 in,; Bulb Diameter: 3.75 in.; Bulb Length: 5.013 in.
Cost and Availability: Smaller bulbs will fetch better prices than larger ones. The Philips AmbientLED 11-watt sells for $44.97 at Home Depot or $52.21 on Amazon. Some other online retailers are beginning to carry it, but not yet reliably.
Overall Rating and Summary (86 of 100): Overall, the Philips AmbientLED 11-Watt Medium Base PAR30L Indoor Flood Light Bulb ranks slightly higher than its 16-watt PAR38 big brother, with an 86 or B.
The AmbientLED 11-watt lost some points on design because of its small shape that can render it lost in a large recessed light fixture. It picked up points on its more affordable cost and its better use of watts for brightness than the larger PAR38 bulb.
All-around, we would recommend the Philips AmbientLED 11-watt bulb to anyone with a smaller recessed fixture—especially if you live in a place with high electricity costs, where the payback period could be as low as five years.