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Buster and Punch LED Buster Bulb review: Light styles of the rich and famous with this $65 light bulb

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Color temperature varies slightly depending on which tint you go with, too, which makes sense. The gold-tinted bulb gives a predictably warm, yellowy tone of 2,500 K, for instance, while the smoked glass bulb gives a slightly more neutral 2,600 K. All of them fall in the default "soft white" range of most light bulbs, so don't expect anything out of the ordinary (and don't expect hot white, daylight-tinted light either).

I noticed a moderate amount of flickering at medium settings on older dimming hardware.

Ry Crist/CNET

As for dimmability, Buster & Punch recommends using modern Lutron dimmers made to be used with LEDs. I have a switch like that on my dimming rig, and it did, indeed, dim pretty well, showing no visible flicker and dialing all the way down to about 7 lumens at minimum. 

I did notice a small amount of flicker on a similar Leviton dimmer switch, though, and a moderate amount of flicker on an older Lutron rotary dial designed for use with incandescent bulbs. Translation: Don't count on smooth dimming performance from the Buster Bulb if your switches are out-of-date.

One other small quibble -- the Buster Bulb couldn't hit full brightness at the top setting of any of the dimmers I tested it on. Instead, it would only dial up to a max of about 90 percent. You aren't likely to notice the difference (we're talking about 10 or 20 lumens), but it still seems noteworthy given that most dimmable bulbs I've tested are able to hit 100 percent or very close to it.

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Chris Monroe/CNET

The verdict

As people continue to upgrade to LED light bulbs, more and more of them will take the opportunity to reconsider the ways their light bulbs can contribute to their home decor. That's why manufacturers are putting an increasing emphasis on design, and on bulbs that can help class things up a bit.

To that end, it's hard to blame Buster & Punch for seeing an opportunity to sell high-end light bulbs -- and to their credit, the Buster Bulbs are fancy as all get-out. I just wish that they felt a little more high-end while in use. The dimness is forgivable given what kind of bulb this is, but inconsistent dimming performance and mediocre color rendering capabilities are more disappointing. Above all, the $15 markup from the nondimmable version to the dimmable version seems especially stingy.

For those reasons, I'm sticking with the vintage-style bulbs from GE and Feit as my top picks for exposed bulb setups. If it's eye-popping colors that you're after, then the Soraa Radiant LED is another nice upgrade. All of those cost a fraction of what you'll spend on a single Buster Bulb.

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