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Let's look at your LED floodlight options

The lighting aisle is filled with newfangled LEDs -- here's how to pick the right one for your home's overhead lighting.

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Ry Crist
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1 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

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?

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2 of 26 Ry Crist/CNET

Lots of options

To find out, we tested several options from a variety of manufacturers. The good news: most of them are pretty good!

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3 of 26 Chris Monroe/CNET

Lots of tests

Aside from spending hours testing each bulb in our lighting lab to measure things like brightness and color temperature, we also made sure to test 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.

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4 of 26 Ry Crist/CNET

Heat test

As for that heat management test, it's designed to see how each bulb performs as it heats up during use. Just like the way your laptop can slow down when it gets too hot, LEDs will see a slight drop-off in brightness in the first 30 minutes or so of usage as they heat up -- by that point, their heat sinks should kick in and stabilize things. 

Bulbs that finish higher are losing less of their brightness during their initial dip and doing a better job of keeping heat at bay. Good heat management leads to better efficiency, because it lets the bulbs put out more light from the same, low power draw. A bulb that's good at keeping the heat at bay might be a smart pick for an enclosed fixture, where heat tends to get trapped.

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5 of 26 Ry Crist/CNET

LEDs everywhere

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.

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6 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Target Up & Up Floodlight LED

So let's start there, with the Target Up & Up brand LED floodlight.

Brightness: 624 lumens
Power usage: 10 watts
Price: $8

Click here to see the dimming performance.  

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7 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Target Up & Up: Brightness, tone and light spread

Here it is shining in front of a purple wall. The light's a little yellowish in tone, which distorts the color of the wall. This is a pretty typical result.

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8 of 26 Chris Monroe/CNET

Target Up & Up: Color quality

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.

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9 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Philips 65W Replacment BR30 Floodlight LED with Warm Glow Dimming

Next, a floodlight from Philips that you can get for less than $5 per bulb at Home Depot. Bonus: it gets warmer and more candlelike in tone as you dim it.

Brightness: 749 lumens
Power usage: 9 watts
Price: $13.45 for a three-pack ($4.48 per bulb)

Click here to see the dimming performance.

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10 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Philips 65W Replacment BR30: Brightness, tone and light spread

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11 of 26 Chris Monroe/CNET

Philips 65W Replacment BR30: Color quality

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12 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Walmart Great Value Floodlight LED

Speaking of bargain bulbs, here's a Walmart store-brand "Great Value" Floodlight LED.

Brightness: 669 lumens
Power usage: 10 watts
Price: $7

Click here to see the dimming performance.  

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13 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Walmart Great Value: Brightness, tone and light spread

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14 of 26 Chris Monroe/CNET

Walmart Great Value: Color quality

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15 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

GE Basic Floodlight LED

Our next competitor: a "Basic"-branded floodlight LED from GE, one of the most venerable names in lighting. This is one of the cheapest dimmable options money can buy.

Brightness: 659 lumens
Power usage: 8.5 watts
Price: $16.98 for a 6-pack ($2.83 per bulb)

Click here to see the dimming performance.    

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16 of 26 Ry Crist/CNET

GE Basic Floodlight: Brightness, tone and light spread

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17 of 26 Chris Monroe/CNET

GE Basic Floodlight: Color quality

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18 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

GE Reveal Floodlight LED

Want a bulb that can help the colors in your home look better? Then consider upgrading to a GE Reveal LED, which boosts the bulb's light from the red part of the spectrum for better-looking colors and cleaner whites.

Brightness: 799 lumens
Power usage: 9 watts
Price: $16.99 for a 2-pack ($8.50 per bulb)

Click here to see the dimming performance.    

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19 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

GE Reveal Floodlight: Brightness, tone and light spread

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20 of 26 Chris Monroe/CNET

GE Reveal Floodlight: Color quality

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21 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Cree Floodlight LED

Cree is another big name in lighting, and their floodlights come with a best-in-class 10-year warranty.

Brightness: 732 lumens
Power usage: 8.5 watts
Price: $9.97 for a 2-pack ($4.99 per bulb)

Click here to see the dimming performance.    

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22 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Cree Floodlight: Brightness, tone and light spread

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23 of 26 Chris Monroe/CNET

Cree Floodlight: Color quality

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24 of 26 Chris Monroe/CNET

Amazon Basics Floodlight

Even Amazon sells LED light bulbs now, including this floodlight LED. It's actually one of your brightest options.

Brightness: 792 lumens
Power usage: 9.5 watts
Price: $11.99 for a 2-pack ($5.99 per bulb)

Click here to see the dimming performance.    

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25 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon Basics Floodlight: Brightness, tone and light spread

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26 of 26 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon Basics Floodlight: Color quality

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