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Cree 100W Replacement BR30 Floodlight LED review:

Cree's new LED is a bright idea for homes with high ceilings

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Cree tells me that it worked in conjunction with Lutron and Leviton, two of the leading manufacturers of dimmer switches, to make sure that the bulb aced the in-house certification tests of both brands before bringing it to market. Sure enough, the dimming performance was virtually identical on modern dimmer switches from each brand, dialing down to a satisfying minimum of 7 percent on each. The only real disappointment was that the bulb only dimmed down to 18 percent on an old rotary-style dimmer.

The 100W replacement floodlight (right) is much, much brighter than Cree's own 65W replacement floodlight.

Chris Monroe/CNET

It also aced my thermal management tests in which I measure how far the brightness dips as the bulb heats up during prolonged use. Most LED bulbs will see their initial brightness fall by anywhere from 10 to 20 percent in the first 45 minutes of use before the heat sinks really kick in and level things out. Cree claims that it beefed up the thermal management capabilities for this bulb, and the company wasn't kidding -- the initial brightness only dropped by about 3 percent in my test. That's an outstanding result, and reassuring if you need to use this bulb in an enclosed fixture where the heat gets trapped.

The bulb's final selling point is that it boasts a color rendering score in the low 90s, which is very good; most LEDs score in the mid-80s at best. Bulbs with higher scores on the color rendering index (CRI) will do a better job of making the colors in your home pop -- whiter whites, more vivid reds and so on. Cree made color rendering a focal point for its entire lineup in 2016, and its bulbs do produce noticeably better colors and cleaner whites than the average LED.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The verdict

This is a very good bulb with no real weaknesses, and the price is right at $11. Consider that most dimmable 65W replacement floodlight LEDs sell for about $7. Paying a couple of extra bucks for almost twice as much brightness seems fair to me, especially for a bulb that performs as well as this one does.

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