Feit Electric 6.5W Vintage Style LED review: Feit's new vintage LEDs are some of the best-looking bulbs you can buy

The Good Feit's "Vintage-Style" LEDs feature terrific designs with twisty, fake filaments, and all of them are a little bit brighter than advertised. Each one dimmed smoothly down to zero on every dimmer I tested them on.

The Bad None of them are bright enough to serve as good practical lights, making them more of a decoration than anything else. They also showed a very slight flicker when dimmed down low.

The Bottom Line These bulbs are a nice decorative pick for exposed bulb setups in need of a little nostalgia.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 9.5
  • Value 6
  • Performance 7

Nostalgia is big business these days, and even your light bulbs want in. Enter a growing crop of "vintage" LEDs with fake filaments meant to mimic the old-school look of yesteryear's incandescents. Distinctive yet efficient, these classic-looking bulbs want to bring early 20th century lighting into the early 21st century.

Feit has been especially aggressive here, with a wide assortment of vintage-style LED bulbs eating up a good-size chunk of the lighting aisle at Home Depot. The newest among them offer improved designs with filaments twisted into spirals, helices and other artistic patterns meant to dial up the nostalgia. And, sure enough, they look pretty darned good.

None of them are as bright as a standard, household bulb should be, but that's sort of the point here. The idea isn't to hide them under a lampshade for practical lighting, but to show them off in exposed bulb setups. You want to be able to look at them and appreciate them without squinting.

For setups like that, they're some of the best-looking bulbs you can buy, and with prices ranging from $8 to $12 each, they aren't unreasonably expensive. That, coupled with relatively strong dimming performance and the efficiency you'd expect from LEDs, makes them an easy recommendation.

The double helix of light-emitting diodes in this elongated Feit LED does a surprisingly good job of putting light out evenly in all directions.

Ry Crist/CNET

First things first, let's talk specs, starting with the centerpiece of Feit's vintage-styled lineup, an $11 elongated 6.5W LED that claims a light output of 250 lumens. I clocked it well above that figure in CNET's lighting lab, with a final reading of 326 lumens -- less than you'd expect from the sort of 40W bulb you might use in an accent lamp, but still bright enough to serve as a functional decoration.

The "filaments" inside each of Feit's vintage-style bulbs are actually just thin strips of light-emitting diodes.

Ry Crist/CNET

I tested a few of Feit's other vintage-style bulbs, too, and all of them came in over spec. A classic, A-shaped LED that costs $10 and claims a light output of 125 lumens actually measured in at 147 lumens. Similarly, an $8 candelabra LED with a stated light output of 125 lumens actually came in at 152 lumens.

Still, none of those are as bright as more traditional-looking bulbs, and they're not as bright as competing vintage-style bulbs, either. For instance, GE offers an elongated glass LED with a fake filament -- it doesn't look quite as distinctive as the Feit bulb, but it puts out 447 lumens, enough to call itself a legitimate 40W replacement. An A-shaped vintage-style LED from Philips does even better, putting out 855 lumens. That bulb comes in a $12 two-pack, making it a much better value than the $10 A-shaped Feit LED.