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GE Reveal HD 65W Replacement BR30 Floodlight LED (2019) review: New tricks help the color-enhancing GE Reveal LED shine even brighter

This color-boosting floodlight bulb doesn't compromise on brightness or efficiency any more. Is it an obvious upgrade pick?

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Ry Crist
Ryan_Crist2.jpg

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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If you're looking for LED lights that can help the colors in your home pop, your safest bet has long been to go with a GE Reveal bulb. Each one is specifically designed to boost the color quality in your home, and after testing several of them over the years, they all work like a charm -- whiter whites, redder reds, more natural-looking skin and wood tones, you name it.

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7.3

GE Reveal HD 65W Replacement BR30 Floodlight LED (2019)

The Good

The newest GE Reveal floodlight LED will boost the color quality in your home without compromising on brightness or efficiency. It's also a little less expensive than previous generations of the bulb.

The Bad

The bulb gives off a faint buzz at medium settings on dimmer switches, and only dimmed down to an average minimum of 11 percent, which is slightly too bright.

The Bottom Line

This BR30-shaped floodlight bulb is an easy upgrade pick for spots in your home that would benefit from better-looking colors, but consider waiting for a better alternative if you use dimmer switches.

The newest floodlight LED in the GE Reveal catalog is no different, but it does use a different method than before to get you those better-looking colors. Previous versions of the bulb, including the one I tested in 2017, would filter out much of the excess light from the yellow part of the spectrum (that "W"-shaped dip in the graph on the left below). The new version doesn't do that -- instead, it boosts the light in the red part of the spectrum (those telltale spikes on the right side of the right-hand graph).

It was a smart change, because the old method meant that a fair amount of light wasn't making it out of the bulb to begin with. That forced GE to either sell Reveal bulbs that weren't as bright as the competition, or jack up the wattage to compensate and sell Reveal bulbs that weren't as efficient as the competition. Neither was an ideal solution.

Now, with the new approach, the new GE Reveal floodlight LED is just as bright and efficient as other floodlight LEDs, and the colors still look great. Available in a two-pack for $17 at stores like Lowe's and Target, it isn't the best bargain in the lighting aisle, but it is a little less expensive than the last generation while also offering better brightness and efficiency than before. Call it an upgrade pick that merits consideration for spots in your home that would benefit from boosted color quality.

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GE's new approach to color quality seems just as good at producing clean whites and vivid colors as before.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

With a soft-white color temperature of 2,838 K, the new GE Reveal floodlight's light output was noticeably brighter than the advertised 700 lumens, measuring a comfortably bright 799 lumens in front of our lab's spectrometer. That fits a pattern -- recent floodlight LEDs from Cree, Philips and even Amazon were all brighter than advertised, too. The tech in these bulbs is getting better, which helps them put out even more light from the same, low-power draws as before. In other words, it's a very good time to buy in if you've been holding out.

With the GE Reveal bulb, that power draw is 9 watts, down from 11 watts in the previous generation. That's good for 88.8 lumens per watt, which is actually slightly more efficient than Philips and Cree. Use this bulb to replace a comparable 65-watt incandescent, and it'll pay for itself in energy savings in about 15 months. That's longer than it takes with the competition because the upfront cost per bulb is higher, but it's still a good payback period, and well within the bulb's 5-year warranty and 13.7-year lifespan.

That said, the bulb was hit-and-miss on dimmer switches. For starters, I was only able to dial it down to an average minimum of 11 percent across all of my test switches, which isn't as low as a lot of people might like. I also noticed a faint buzz at medium settings -- not nearly as noticeable as the disqualifying buzz from the AmazonBasics floodlight LED, but still something that would give me pause if I used dimmer switches in my home (I rely on smart bulbs, instead -- they're the best choice for perfect, flicker- and buzz-free dimming).

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The verdict

GE Reveal bulbs are an easy recommendation for folks who care about color quality, and the newest GE Reveal floodlight LED is one of the better versions that I've tested. It isn't the best pick for dimmer switches, but the new color-boosting approach doesn't compromise brightness or efficiency, which is great. 

Plus, at $8.50 per bulb, the price is a little lower than before. It's not as good a value as Cree, Philips or the surprisingly decent GE Basic LED, which costs less than $3 per bulb, but it's still notably less expensive than competitors like Soraa, which charges $15 for its own color-boosting floodlight LED. That bulb flickered badly and didn't perform well in my heat-management tests, which helps lock in this GE Reveal bulb as my top color-quality pick. Keep it in mind for spots like kitchens and walk-in closets that would benefit from better-looking colors.

Need more help deciding which bulb is best for your home? Check out my full rundown of the best floodlight LEDs.

Let's look at your LED floodlight options

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Want more light bulb buying advice? Our handy buying guide is here to help.

Check out our rundown of the best smart lights that work with Alexa.

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7.3

GE Reveal HD 65W Replacement BR30 Floodlight LED (2019)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Value 6Performance 8
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