Sylvania LED Light Bulb Review - Pretty on Surface, But Weak in Face of Competitors
Our review of the 12 watt Ultra A-line Sylvania LED finds that its performance, durability and efficiency pale in comparison to other LEDs on the market.
The Ultra A-line Sylvania LED light bulb is available both in a 12 watt and 8 watt model, which respectively replaces a 60 watt and 40 watt incandescent bulb, but lasts 25 times longer, approximately 25,000 hours. Available online for just under $40, the 12 watt Ultra A-line Sylvania LED light bulb reduces energy consumption by up to 80% when compared to an incandescent bulb, according to the company. Although this LED light bulb looks great on the surface, analyzing its performance yields a much different picture. Read on to find out how this Sylvania LED light bulb stood up to our thorough review.
Our review will discuss the 12 watt Ultra A-line Sylvania LED light bulb’s design, light quality, brightness, efficiency and durability. Points are assigned to each characteristic, and the summary of our findings will include a final rating and recommendation. For LED bulbs, our rating system uses the following weighting scale: Design (10 points), Light Quality and Details (25 points), Brightness and Dimming (25 points), Efficiency and Safety (15 points), Warranty and Durability (25 points).
Design (8 out of 10): Having recently reviewed some pretty odd looking LED light bulbs, it's refreshing to see that the 12 watt Ultra A-line Sylvania LED light bulb looks very similar to a standard incandescent, with the same bulbous shape and frosted white color. The Sylvania LED light bulb allows for direct A19 incandescent replacement and is the first LED we've reviewed that you can place in a highly visible place in your home without fear of ruining your decor. However, unlike some other LED competitors, Sylvania makes no mention of multi-directional lighting capabilities for its LED light bulb, a design limitation that significantly detracts from various possible applications, such as the LED's use in a desk lamp.
Light Quality and Details (25 out of 25): With a 2700 Kelvin light output, the Ultra A-line Sylvania LED light bulb provides a warm white color close to that of an incandescent (which usually has a 2800 Kelvin light output). The Sylvania LED light bulb has a color rendering index of 90 (close to that of an incandescent at 100 CRI), which means it is excellent at color rendering and can be used for tasks requiring very accurate color discrimination.
Unlike CFLs, the Ultra A-line Sylvania LED light bulb requires no warm up time and provides an instant-on with full light output and stable color.
Brightness and Dimming (20 out of 25): The 12 watt Ultra-A Sylvania LED light bulb has a light output of 810 lumens, slightly dimmer than that of a 60 watt incandescent (855 lumens).
The Sylvania LED light bulb has a great dimming ability - dimmable down to 10% light output, allowing for great flexibility in room ambiance. Since performance may vary based on the dimmer used, make sure you get a dimmer that is compatible with this LED. Sylvania provides a list of compatible dimmers (pdf).
Efficiency and Safety (12 out of 15): Although not Energy Star certified, the Ultra A-line Sylvania LED light bulb uses only 12 watts of power and will reduce energy use by up to 80% over an incandescent 60 watt bulb. This efficiency is also a significant improvement over a CFL, which would use around 22 watts to produce the same light output, and could amount to savings of $132 over the life of the Ultra A-line LED light bulb, when replacing an incandescent. This efficiency is one of the better on the market.
Regarding safety, the Sylvania LED light bulb is lead-free and mercury-free and is ROHS compliant. It is also free of UV and IR radiation minimizing discoloration and fading of materials.
Warranty and Durability (13 out of 25): The Sylvania LED light bulb is officially rated at 25,000 hours of continuous use at 70% lumen. So what is its lifespan at full output? Sylvania doesn't state this, so I'm going to assume that they're not too proud of that number and that it's significantly lower than 25,000 hours. This is disappointing since most comparable LEDs are rated at a minimum of 25,00o hours at full output, with some even rated at 50,000 hours. The 12 watt Sylvania LED light bulb is suitable for indoor and enclosed outdoor use only and may be used in residential, commercial and retail locations.
The 12 watt Sylvania LED carries a 3 year limited warranty, indicating that the company stands behind their bulb's 25,000 hour rating. This is a pretty good warranty, and is comparable to some others in the industry, but it pales in comparison to GE's 10 year warranty on their 9 watt (40 watt incandescent equivalent) Energy Smart LED light bulb.
Dimensions and Weight: The 12 watt Sylvania LED light bulb length - 4.91 inches. Bulb diameter - 2.44 inches. Bulb base type - Medium. Bulb Weight: .05 lbs
Cost and Availability: The 12 watt Sylvania LED light bulb is currently available at Lowes for just under $40.
Overall Rating and Summary: In total, the Sylvania LED received a score of 78 out of 100, scoring a below average C+ on our rating scale. For those of you looking for an LED with a warm light output close to that of an incandescent, Sylvania's 12 watt Ultra A-line LED light bulb is a decent choice. With a 2700 Kelvin light output, and ability to dim to 10% light output, the Sylvania LED allows for a flexible ambiance that closely resembles that created by an incandescent. And with a shape closely resembling that of an incandescent, you can feel comfortable placing this LED light bulb in the most prominent places in your home.
That being said, the 12 watt Ultra A-line Sylvania LED light bulb is less efficient than other LEDs on the market, and it has a shorter life expectancy than other comparable LEDs we've reviewed in the same price range. For less prominent areas in your home, you may want to skip over the Sylvania LED and instead consider one of the other LEDs on the market, such as the Philips Endura LED boasting a wide diffusion angle and a 25,000 hour life expectancy at full light output.