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EcoSmart 40W Equivalent Candelabra LED review: This imperfect candelabra LED gets enough right to earn our approval

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The Good EcoSmart's candelabra LED is bright and efficient, and it managed heat better than any other bulb we tested. It's also one of the most affordable dimmable bulbs in its class.

The Bad The bulb didn't dim without a little bit of flicker, and it doesn't cast a whole lot of downward light.

The Bottom Line If you're looking to buy candelabra LEDs right now and you need them to dim, then this bulb should be at or towards the top of your list. Consider waiting a bit for prices to come down and performance to improve, though.

7.3 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Value 8
  • Performance 7.5

The EcoSmart 40W Equivalent Candelabra LED.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

You'll find a variety of candelabra LEDs in the lighting aisle. But while they're all more efficient than incandescents and fluorescents, most of them aren't good enough -- or affordable enough -- for us to recommend.

However, this 40W equivalent from EcoSmart comes close. At $7 per bulb, it ties with Cree as the cheapest dimmable candelabra LED we tested. It was also one of the top performers in those tests, offering plenty of brightness, strong efficiency scores, and the steadiest heat management we could find from a candelabra LED.

The best move, though, might be to wait another year before replacing your halogens, fluorescents and even incandescents. Candelabra LED pricing hasn't come down as quickly as standard LED pricing has, and none of the bulbs we tested -- EcoSmart included -- had a perfect dimming performance.

I'm also not a fan of the way this bulb's heat sink blocks it from casting light downward, which is where you'll probably need it the most. The EcoSmart bulb is a worthwhile choice at this point, but your options seem bound to improve if you can wait for a better performer to come along.

EcoSmart's candelabra bulb makes no bones about the fact that it's an LED. Like just about every bulb in the category the bottom third or so is obscured by the white plastic heat sink. Right off the bat, that makes these bulbs look a little clunkier than the incandescents they're trying to replace. That's a problem, since these are decorative bulbs typically used in exposed, uncovered fixtures.

There's a bigger problem with this bulb's heat sink, though. It blocks some of the downward light. EcoSmart could have accounted for this with glass that bulges out beyond the heat sink (the other EcoSmart bulb we tested, a vintage-style filament LED, does exactly that). Instead, this bulb goes with a flush, torpedo-shaped build atop a particularly wide heat sink. Bad call.

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