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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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Photo by: Tyler Lizenby/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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Photo by: Ry Crist/CNET

Lots of tests

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.

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Photo by: Chris Monroe/CNET

Heat test

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.

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Photo by: 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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Photo by: Ry Crist/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

Read full review
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Editors' Rating

MSRP: $7.99

Visit manufacturer site for details.

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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Photo by: Chris Monroe/CNET

Philips Floodlight LED

Next, a floodlight from Philips that you can get for just $5 per bulb at Home Depot.

Brightness: 639 lumens
Power usage: 9 watts
Price: $15 (3-pack)

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Here's the candy shot. Still a pretty average result, but a little bit better than Target. Just compare the orange M&Ms to the last shot.

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Photo by: Chris Monroe/CNET

Osram Sylvania Floodlight LED

Here's a bulb from Osram that's very, very similar to that Philips bulb.

Brightness: 641 lumens
Power usage: 9 watts
Price: $15 (3-pack)

Read full review
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Editors' Rating

MSRP: $9.98

Visit manufacturer site for details.

Still just so-so color rendering, but a touch worse than Philips, which also edges Osram out in terms of dimmability and heat management. They're close, but Philips makes the better bargain bulb.

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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

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It isn't the most efficient bulb we tested, and it isn't great on dimmer switches, but man, look at that surprisingly strong color rendering result.

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Photo by: Chris Monroe/CNET

GE Floodlight LED

Our next competitor: a basic floodlight LED from GE, one of the most venerable names in lighting.

Brightness: 810 lumens
Power usage: 10 watts
Price: $7

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Plenty bright

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.

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Photo by: Ry Crist/CNET

The light is a little bit yellowy, though.

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Photo by: Chris Monroe/CNET

GE Reveal Floodlight LED

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

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See for yourself -- GE Reveal bulbs work like a charm.

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You can best see the difference in color quality a GE Reveal bulb makes by comparing the red and orange M&Ms, the white of the bowl, and the tone of the table's woodgrain.

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Cree Floodlight LED

Cree is another big name in lighting, and their newest floodlight comes with a category-leading 10-year warranty.

Brightness: 655 lumens
Power usage: 8 watts
Price: $25 (three-pack)

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It did a nice job in our color rendering tests -- not as nice as the GE Reveal LED, but still noticeably better than average.

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Photo by: Chris Monroe/CNET

Philips Hue, too

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.

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Here's how it looks at the default setting. Not bad.

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Lifx White 900

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.

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And wow, look at those colors and the white of that bowl. At the default setting, the Lifx LED offers exceptional color rendering.

For more, don't miss our full roundup of your LED floodlight options, including a deeper look at how well all of these bulbs work with dimmer switches.

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