North Carolina-based lighting manufacturer Cree is announcing that its TW Series LEDs, originally designed to meet stringent standards specific to California, will now be sold across the US. Starting today, both the 40-watt and 60-watt replacement varieties of the bulb will be available at Home Depots nationwide.
Aside from the usual uptick in efficiency and longevity that you'll get with LEDs, Cree's TW Series is notable for its especially high CRI score of 93. The CRI, or color rendering index, is an average of several scores, each one indicating how accurately a given light source is able to illuminate a given color. Bulbs with CRI scores above 90 are typically used by photographers, designers, art enthusiasts, and anyone else with a keen interest in vivid, accurate colors.
The TW Series was born out of the California Energy Commission's 2012 push to ensure rapid and successful adoption of LED lighting. Their plan? Hold the new bulbs to a much higher standard than the CFLs which came before them. With CFLs, the only true standard was efficiency -- so efficiency was all that some manufacturers focused on. Soon, the market flooded with cheap, low-quality lights that saved energy, but looked terrible doing it. Not surprisingly, consumers went running back to incandescents.
With LEDs, the CEC recognized that bulbs needed to meet standards for efficiency and for things like color rendering, dimmability, and light quality. So they established a voluntary "California Quality" standard that set aggressive benchmarks for efficiency and for aesthetic-oriented figures like color rendering. The TW Series LED was one of the most notable bulbs to meet this standard.
The 40-watt replacement TW Series LED retails for $13.97, while the 60-watt replacement sells for $15.97. Like Cree's standard 60-watt replacement, the TW Series LEDs are compatible with most dimmers, promise 25,000-hour lifespans, and come backed by a 10-year warranty.