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GE 100W Replacement LED (2018) review: GE's brightest LED bulb is solid, not spectacular

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The Good GE's plain-jane 100-watt replacement LED is bright and efficient, and it did remarkably well in our heat management tests, which is indicative of a quality build. It also comes with a five-year warranty.

The Bad The bulb only dimmed down to an average minimum of 17.1 percent in our dimming tests, and it gave off an annoying buzz on every switch we tested, too. Dimmable competitors from EcoSmart and Utilitech did better and cost less than half as much.

The Bottom Line This is a safe pick if you're looking to replace an old 100-watt incandescent, or if you just want to give your reading lamp some extra lumens, but look elsewhere if you need a bulb that'll dim without buzzing.

6.6 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Value 5.5
  • Performance 7

If you're in the market for a bright, dependable light bulb, you could do a lot worse than GE's standard 100-watt replacement LED. Available from major retailers such as Target and Walmart at an asking price of $12, GE's LED checks the usual boxes -- it offers familiar-looking light, it's dimmable and it's as bright as a 100-watt incandescent while using just a fraction of the energy.

It isn't perfect. On average, I was only able to dim it down to 17.1 percent in my dimming tests, which is a lot higher than you might like. It didn't flicker, but it did give off a noticeable and annoying buzz on each dimmer switch I tested it on. And while it offers plenty of brightness at 1,604 lumens, it wasn't the brightest bulb in its class -- that honor goes to the 100-watt replacement version of GE's own Relax LED, which put out 1,637 lumens.

Still, at a power draw of just 15 watts, it was one of the most efficient dimmable 100-watt replacement LEDs that I tested, beating out the likes of Philips and Cree by putting out an excellent 106.9 lumens per watt. It also tied for the top spot in my heat management tests, dipping down to just 98.2 percent of its initial brightness after 90 minutes of readings. That's a stellar, rock-solid result.

As for the quality of light, the bulb puts out a familiar, yellowy glow of 2,700 K, and it did well in my directionality tests, where I make sure that the spread of light extends evenly in all directions. That means that it'd be a fine brightness upgrade for a bedside reading lamp, where you want be sure that you're getting lots of light down below the bulb. Color quality was closer to average -- for something that does a better job of making the colors in your home look true, consider one of GE's Reveal-branded bulbs, including the 100-watt replacement GE Reveal Bright Stik LED.

GE's LED stood the heat and finished tied at the top of this test, losing less than 2 percent of its initial brightness over 90 minutes in an enclosed sphere. Anything less than 5 percent is an outstanding result.

Ry Crist/CNET

One last note of caution -- GE makes an awful lot of light bulbs, and it doesn't always do a good job of helping shoppers tell which is which in the lighting aisle. For the sake of clarity, the model number of this one is LED15DA21/BX. I wish that it wasn't so noisy on dimmer switches, but it's a decent pick, otherwise.

For more on bulbs like this one, be sure to check out our overview of the best 100-watt replacement LEDs, which we'll update regularly as new reviews come in.

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