GE Reveal light bulbs promise to make the colors in your home look a little more vibrant by filtering out excess yellow light -- and indeed, each and every one we've ever tested does exactly that. That includes the current version of GE's Reveal-branded LED floodlight, which I picked one up at my local Lowe's for $13. That's almost twice as much as other LED floodlights cost, so you're definitely paying a premium for the pretty colors.
And, after weeks spent testing the thing out, I don't think the extra cash is worth it. Unlike previous, Editors' Choice Award-winning versions of the same bulb, the GE Reveal LED wasn't a top performer in our dimmability tests. Plus, with a bounty of new, less expensive competitors to choose from -- including floodlights with surprisingly competitive color rendering capabilities, like the Walmart Great Value LED -- there just isn't much reason to spend this much. Newer versions of the Reveal bulb sold under GE's "HD Light" branding are a little better at 10 bucks a piece, but even at that price, I'd still be holding out for a sale.
GE Reveal bulbs work by filtering out a portion of the excess light from the yellow part of the visible light spectrum. The layman's result is that the bulb's light isn't as yellowy as a lot of the competition. It also does a noticeably nice job boosting red tones -- a common LED weak spot.
Just take a look at the two bowls of M&Ms above. The red and orange M&Ms give a pretty clear glimpse at what the Reveal bulb is doing, and note that the white of the bowl is a lot cleaner-looking than the yellowy bowl in the first picture. The table is another dead giveaway -- the first shot yellows it out, while the Reveal-lit shot boosts its natural reddish-brown hues. When GE says that this bulb makes colors look better, it isn't exaggerating.
But there's an efficiency compromise that comes with that uptick in color quality. Simply put, the GE Reveal bulb needs to use more power to put out the same amount of brightness as the competition because, unlike those competitors, it isn't using 100 percent of the light it produces. Specifically, the bulb uses 11 watts to put out a very bright 711 lumens, which is good for 65 lumens per watt. Compare that with Cree's LED floodlight, a bulb that puts out 655 lumens from an 8W power draw. That's good for more than 80 lumens per watt.
The last concern is dimming performance, which doesn't appear to be quite as good as past versions of the bulb. In fact, depending on what hardware I was using, it was kind of all over the map. It flickered as I dimmed it down using an older rotary switch, and on newer dimming hardware, I wasn't able to get it any higher than 85 percent at the max setting. On a Lutron Caseta smart switch at the CNET Smart Home, the bulb's minimum setting was too bright for my tastes. I liked earlier versions of this bulb thanks to the one-two punch of color quality and dimmability, but now, without that consistently strong dimming performance, it's a lot tougher to recommend.