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Cree 4Flow Daylight LED review: Cree's daylight LED: Not the brightest bulb, but decent on dimmer switches

We love the design, but the daylight version of Cree's 4Flow LED puts out less light than the competition.

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Ry Crist
Ryan_Crist2.jpg

Ry Crist

Senior Editor / Reviews - Appliances

Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, and home networking.

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If you're a fan of daylight-toned light bulbs and the neutral, hot white light they provide, then you might consider the Cree 4Flow Daylight LED. At about $6 a pop, it's one of the more affordable dimmable LED options on the market. On top of that, the unique design does an excellent job at imitating incandescents, especially when the bulb is turned on.

cree-4flow-daylight-led-promo-on-green-1.jpg
7.8

Cree 4Flow Daylight LED

The Good

The daylight version of Cree's 4Flow LED is almost indistinguishable from an incandescent when it's turned on. It also performs well on a variety of dimmer switches.

The Bad

The bulb isn't as bright as advertised, and it isn't as efficient as the competition.

The Bottom Line

This is a good daylight pick if you need to dim the light, but if not, you've got better options.

Dimmable 60W replacement daylight LEDs

Cree 4Flow Daylight LEDPhilips 60W Equivalent Daylight LEDPhilips SlimStyle Daylight LEDSylvania 60W Equivalent Daylight LEDWalmart Great Value 60W Equivalent Daylight LEDGE 60W Equivalent Daylight LED
Lumens (measured/stated) 625 / 815738 / 800670 / 800738 / 800709 / 800711 / 900
Watts 10910.58.51011
Efficiency (lumens per watt) 638264877165
Yearly energy cost (3 hours of use per day) $1.20 $1.08 $1.26 $1.02 $1.20 $1.32
Color temperature (measured/stated) 4,561 K / 5,000 K4,645 K / 5,000 K4,758 K / 5,000 K4,781 K / 5,000 K4,562 K / 5,000 K4,575 K / 5,000 K
Dimmable range 5.0 - 100%9.9 - 93.2 %13.4 - 94.9%2.1 - 96.1%18.4 - 99.5%13.4 - 92.5%
Dimmer switch flicker/buzz Very lightVery lightLightModerateModerateLight
Lifespan 30,000 hours25,000 hours25,000 hours25,000 hours25,000 hours30,000 hours
Weight 1.9 oz.2.3 oz.2.2 oz.3.0 oz.2.9 oz.3.8 oz.
Energy Star Certification YesYesYesYesYesYes
Warranty 5-year5-year3-year5-year3-year10-year
Price $6 $8 $5 $8 $4 $5

Still, there are some notable compromises here. For starters, Cree's daylight LED isn't as bright as advertised, coming in at 625 lumens rather than the stated 815. And, while it's far, far better than an incandescent, it was still less efficient than any of the other LEDs I tested.

Six dimmable daylight LEDs for your consideration

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The 4Flow LED has an ace up its sleeve, though, and that's its dimming performance. Of all the daylight-toned 60W replacement bulbs I tested, Cree's was the best on dimmer switches. I was barely able to detect any flicker on any of the switches on our dimming rig, and the bulb dialed all the way down to an average of 5 percent brightness while still hitting 100 percent at max settings. That's exactly what you want from a dimmable LED.

The price is appealing, too. Consider the fact that a 60W incandescent will add about $7 to your yearly energy bill, while this Cree bulb will add just over a buck. With an upfront cost of $6, that means it really isn't any more expensive than that incandescent, especially not in the long term, where it'll continue saving you money (and energy) for years to come.

That's enough for me to look past the shortcomings and call this my dimmable daylight LED of choice. That said, if you don't need a bulb that dims, you're better off going with something that costs a few dollars less. The $4 Walmart Great Value Daylight LED and the daylight version of the GE Bright Stik LED, which costs about $3 per bulb, both jump out as good alternatives.

cree-4flow-daylight-led-promo-on-green-1.jpg
7.8

Cree 4Flow Daylight LED

Score Breakdown

Design 9Value 8Performance 7
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