Floodlights are fairly common in today's homes -- and common in the lighting aisle, too, where you'll find a whole host of new, efficient LED options. But which one should you go with when it's time to buy new bulbs?
Aside from spending hours testing each bulb out in our lighting lab to measure things like brightness and color temperature, we also made sure to test out other concerns, including dimmability, heat management, and color rendering, which plays a big role in how accurate and vivid each bulb will make the colors in your home look.
As for that heat management test, it's designed to see how each bulb performs as it heats up during use. All LEDs will see a slight drop-off in brightness in the first 30 minutes or so of usage -- by that point, their heat sinks should kick in and stabilize things. Bulbs that finish higher are losing less of their brightness, and doing a better job of keeping heat at bay. That means they'd likely be the best picks for enclosed fixtures, where heat tends to get trapped.
LEDs aren't hard to find -- even most grocery stores sell them at this point. That's why we made sure to test bulbs from a variety of retail sources, including this store-brand LED we bought at Target.
Here's a closer look at how the Target bulb handles colors. Note the slightly yellowish tinge to the white bowl and the wooden table, along with the desaturated oranges. This is a pretty typical color rendering result for an LED -- which is to say it's just so-so.
The GE bulb claims to put out 700 lumens, which would already make it one of the brightest bulbs in this roundup. When we tested the thing out, it clocked in even higher, at 810 lumens. It's a great pick if you just want a lot of light.
If that yellowy light bothers you, then you might consider the GE Reveal floodlight LED. It uses a special filter to block some of that excess light from the yellow part of the spectrum from exiting the bulb. That makes for better-looking colors and cleaner whites.
Brightness: 711 lumens Power usage: 11 watts Price: $13
You might also consider a smart floodlight, like this app-enabled Philips Hue White Ambiance LED. Aside from the usual upgrade in efficiency that you get from an LED, Hue bulbs also have built-in radios that'll let you automate them, schedule them, or control them remotely from an app, or even using a voice command.
The Lifx White 900 is another smart lighting option. It has a lot of the same features as that Philips Hue bulb, but it speaks Wi-Fi instead of Zigbee, which means you won't need to plug a hub into y our router in order to connect with it.