BR30-shaped floodlights cost more than regular light bulbs, and for directional track lighting and recessed lighting setups, the chances are good that you'll be buying more than one. That means you want to be sure and invest in a quality bulb that won't leave you disappointed.
In my opinion, that bulb is the GE Reveal BR30 LED -- and it isn't all that close. Along with a distinct uptick in color quality, the GE Reveal manages heat more effectively than the competition, and also works exceptionally well with dimmer switches, a pesky sore spot with the majority of bulbs we've tested.
Best of all, with a new price point of $18 at Home Depots nationwide (or less, if you live in a region that offers rebates for Energy Star-qualified bulbs), you're getting a terrific value on a bulb that's designed to last decades, and spending even less than you will for competitors like the Cree BR30 LED, which we weren't as impressed with. If I needed to buy a floodlight for my home, there's no question that the GE Reveal BR30 LED is the one I'd go with.
The white-bodied GE Reveal BR30 LED looks simple enough, with the same silhouette as many of the sorts of existing floodlights you might be using it to replace. Aside from the blue band at the base of the bulb, it looks no different than GE's standard BR30 LED.
Like all BR30s, the GE Reveal is designed to spread light in a single direction, unlike the omnidirectional light that you'll get with most common A19 shaped bulbs. The "BR" in BR30 stands for bulging reflector, which simply means that any light shining at a downward angle gets reflected back up and out through the top of the bulb. This makes it the ideal bulb shape for recessed lighting setups, and for things like overhead track lighting, as well.
Like other GE Reveal bulbs, the GE Reveal BR30 LED sets itself apart from the competition with a focus on color quality that comes thanks to a design that filters out excess yellow tones. This gives it a color rendering score that's about ten points higher than the bulbs that sit next to it on the shelf -- and that means it'll make the colors in your home look more vivid and accurate.
Of course, while filtering out some of the light will improve color quality, it comes at an expense of brightness. The GE Reveal BR30 LED compensates for this by upping the wattage to get that brightness back up where it should be. This makes for a light that's slightly less efficient than other LEDs.
This is a different approach than GE has taken previously. The original, A19-shaped GE Reveal LED failed to increase the wattage, making it noticeably dimmer than competitors like the Cree TW Series LED, which also promises superior color rendering capabilities. That kept me from giving it a full-throated recommendation when I tested the two bulbs out earlier this year.
GE Reveal BR30 LED
Cree BR30 LED
Philips SlimStyle BR30 LED
Philips WarmGlow BR30 LED
Efficiency (lumens / watt)
Color temperature (claimed)
2,752 K (2,850 K)
2,690 K (2,700 K)
2,696 K (2,700 K)
2,730 K (2,700 K)
Color rendering score
Energy Star Certified
As said, the GE Reveal BR30 LED doesn't make that same mistake. With 12 watts compared to the 9 or 10 that a BR30 LED will typically draw, it will cost a few extra cents per year to use the thing, but that's quite literally a small price to pay for higher color quality. It's still highly efficient compared to the 65W incandescents it's designed to replace -- make the switch, and you'll still save an average of $6.50 in energy costs each year.
At any rate, those few extra watts in the GE Reveal keep the brightness up where you want it, which seems worth it to me. A 65W-replacement BR30 should put out at least 600 lumens, and the GE Reveal puts out 630. In our tests, we actually found that number to be a bit conservative, with our spectrometer clocking the bulb's light output at closer to 700 lumens.
Dimmability and flicker
Another consideration when it comes to brightness is how well a given bulb will work on a dimmer switch. Many dimmer switches will generate electromagnetic interference that causes bulbs to flicker and buzz -- and some bulbs are more susceptible than others.
The BR30 LEDs that we tested out gave us even more trouble than the 60W replacement LEDs we tested earlier this year, with a great deal of buzz and flicker as we dialed the light levels up and down, even on dimmer switches designed specifically for use with LEDs.