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||Philips 60W Equivalent Daylight LED||Philips SlimStyle Daylight LED||Sylvania 60W Equivalent Daylight LED||Walmart Great Value 60W Equivalent Daylight LED||GE 60W Equivalent Daylight LED|
|Lumens (measured/stated)||625 / 815||738 / 800||670 / 800||738 / 800||709 / 800||711 / 900|
|Efficiency (lumens per watt)||63||82||64||87||71||65|
|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 K||4,645 K / 5,000 K||4,758 K / 5,000 K||4,781 K / 5,000 K||4,562 K / 5,000 K||4,575 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 light||Very light||Light||Moderate||Moderate||Light|
|Lifespan||30,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||30,000 hours|
|Weight||1.9 oz.||2.3 oz.||2.2 oz.||3.0 oz.||2.9 oz.||3.8 oz.|
|Energy Star Certification||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
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.
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.
Here's the Cree 4Flow LED on that same rotary dial. A much better result. pic.twitter.com/hjMPCvSxLU— Ry Crist (@rycrist) August 26, 2016
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.