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Cree BR30 LED Floodlight (2017) review: Cree's LED floodlight is a rock-solid pick for in-home lighting

Other LEDs might cost a few bucks less, but Cree's BR30 floodlight was one of the best all-around bulbs we tested.

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Ry Crist
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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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Plenty of homes -- mine included -- rely primarily on floodlights for overhead lighting. If that's the case, Cree's neatly packaged three-pack of high efficiency BR30-shaped LED light bulbs might tempt you as you pass by it in the Home Depot lighting aisle. The cost? $25, or about $8 per bulb.

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8.3

Cree BR30 LED Floodlight (2017)

The Good

Cree's LED floodlight is one of the most efficient and well-designed bulbs in its class, and its 10-year warranty is light years ahead of the competition. It was a near-flawless performer in our dimmability tests, too.

The Bad

Color rendering performance, though fine, wasn't quite as sharp as advertised.

The Bottom Line

If your home needs new floodlights and you don't want to think about it too much, you really can't go wrong with Cree.

That's not the cheapest dimmable LED floodlight that I've seen, but there's still plenty to like here. Aside from the attractive, chrome-rimmed design, the bulbs offer a respectable 655 lumens of brightness, and with a power draw of just 8W each, they're some of the most efficient floodlights money can buy.

How efficient? Let's say you're currently using a bunch of 65W incandescent floodlights to light up your living room. Swap them out for Cree LEDs and you'll enjoy the same brightness and quality of light from an eighth of the energy usage. Spend a year using those Cree bulbs for an average of 3 hours per day, and you'll knock about $7 off your energy bill per bulb. They also promise to last more than two decades, complete with a best-in-class 10-year warranty.

Cree's floodlights work great with dimmer switches, too. In my tests, they dimmed down smoothly to a minimum brightness well below 5 percent on two modern slide dimmers. They were also solid on an older, rotary-style dimmer that wasn't even designed for LEDs, dimming down to about 6 percent with only the faintest trace of a flicker at the bottom setting.

I make sure to test out how well each bulb handles heat, too. All LEDs will see their brightness dip slightly in the first half hour or so of use as they heat up. Bulbs that see less of a dip than others typically have better designed heat sinks, and would likely be the right pick for an enclosed fixture where heat gets trapped. Again, Cree was one of the top performers, losing less than 10 percent of its initial brightness due to heat build-up over 90 minutes. That's an excellent result.

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The Cree LED (purple) was one of the top performers in our thermal management test, which measures how well each bulb performs as it heats up.

Ry Crist/CNET

The one spot where Cree's LED fell just a bit short of expectations was in my color rendering tests, where we look at how accurately each bulb makes colors look. Cree promises better color rendering performance from this newest generation of LEDs, and the North Carolina-based company's floodlight did reasonably well -- but not as well bulbs from GE and Walmart, the latter of which costs less than Cree.

Still, this is a very well-rounded LED, and a near slam dunk if you're looking for an efficiency upgrade without compromises. For more information, be sure to check out my complete rundown of your LED floodlight options.

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8.3

Cree BR30 LED Floodlight (2017)

Score Breakdown

Design 9Value 6Performance 9
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