If you're on the hunt for new floodlights, then you'll want to consider LEDs, which offer high efficiency and long-term energy savings. But which ones are best for vivid, eye-popping color quality? Click through for a full comparison of five top contenders.
We'll start out by looking at the kind of baseline bulb you might be looking to replace -- a halogen floodlight from Philips.
Halogen lights are just incandescents with a little bit of non-toxic gas trapped with the filament for a slight boost in efficiency. As such, they offer color quality that's close to the high standard put out by incandescents.
The Philips WarmGlow BR30 LED is a floodlight that glows orange as you dim it down, for an interesting sunset-like effect. At full brightness, though, it's a yellowish 2,700K.
It might be a touch too yellow for some tastes. The colors don't look bad, and the white of the bowl looks about right, but compare the wood grain of the tabletop with slide 3. It's a pretty noticeable difference.
Next up is another option from Philips -- the flat-headed SlimStyle BR30 LED. This low-cost light offers a radically different design that eliminates the need for heat sinks.
As you can see, it does a pretty nice job with color quality, too. For the most part, everything looks "right," and the tabletop isn't quite as yellowed out as it was under the Philips WarmGlow.
As you can see, things look a lot more yellowed out than we saw with the SlimStyle -- the color quality is arguably worse than with the WarmGlow LED, too. It isn't terrible, and we're definitely nitpicking, but the difference is certainly noticeable.
Next up is the standard BR30 LED from GE.
Looks almost identical to what we saw with Cree. Not bad, but a bit too yellow.
The GE Reveal BR30 LED promises a dramatic uptick in color quality, with a CRI score about 10 points higher than the other competitors we're looking at have.
In our studio, that translated to pretty terrific color quality.
Let's take a closer look at that candy. Here's the halogen baseline bulb, with fairly well-rounded color quality.
And here's the Philips WarmGlow. Things look good, but tinted a bit orange.
The SlimStyle shows some orangeness, too, along with a more focused beam of light that makes the bowl look a bit brighter.
The Cree's floodlight washes things out in yellow light.
GE's standard LED again looks pretty close to the Cree, but up close, I'd say it's a touch better. The white of the bowl is the giveaway.
Finally, here's the GE Reveal. Again, among these five LEDs, it looks like the clear winner to me.
Time for our citrus test, which left me craving a margarita. Here's the Philips EcoVantage halogen floodlight. With an even color rendering score, everything looks just about right. Keep an eye on that orange on the left, though.
With the Philips WarmGlow LED, that orange looks a little bit lemony. That's because LEDs have a notoriously difficult time rendering red tones. Result, yellower oranges.
The SlimStyle yellows things out, too, though I'd say it's a touch better than the WarmGlow.
The Cree wasn't too bad in this test, either, which was a little surprising.
The GE LED, on the other hand, took a step backward.
The GE Reveal, however, nailed this test. The oranges look orange, the blue knife looks perfectly blue, the white cutting board looks white, and the skin tone on my hand looks more accurate than in the other shots.
Our last test is another fruit challenge -- a bowl of berries. Here's how the halogen floodlight did.
Here's the Philips WarmGlow LED...
...here's the Philips SlimStyle...
...the Cree BR30...
...the standard GE BR30 LED...
...and finally, the GE Reveal. Again, I'd say that it did the best job, making it a clear winner in our overall color quality tests.
Of course, there's a lot more than color quality to consider when upgrading your lighting. Be sure to check out our reviews and our light bulb buying guide to help inform your buying decision.