Ikea impressed us last year with a low-cost light bulb called the Ledare LED . This year, the Swedish retail giant is expanding the line with new Ledare shapes, sizes and SKUs -- including a bigger, brighter bulb that puts out 1,000 lumens' worth of light and sells for $11 (the value dips a bit in Australia and the UK, where the bulb sells for AU$18 and £10, respectively).
1,000 lumens is a tricky number, sitting somewhat awkwardly in between the 800 to 900 lumens you'd expect from a 60W replacement and the 1,100 lumens or so that you'd get with a 75W replacement. Fortunately, the bulb competes fairly well in both categories, offering a distinct bump in brightness over the former and clear-cut value compared with the latter. It also offers a superior color rendering score close to 90 out of 100 -- noticeably better than the LED average of 80, and good for better-looking colors wherever you use the thing. If 800 lumens isn't bright enough for your tastes, or if 75W replacements aren't affordable enough for your home improvement budget, then the 1000L Ledare might be just what you need.
The 13W, 1000L version of Ikea's Ledare LED looks more or less the same as the 10W, 600L version we reviewed last year, albeit slightly larger. It isn't an overtly innovative build like the tube-shaped GE Bright Stik LED or the flattened down Philips SlimStyle -- it's just a typical-looking LED light bulb that doesn't want to rock the design boat.
With the 600L Ledare LED, you had the option of a frosted globe design or a clear globe that put the inner hardware on full display. That option is gone with the 1000L version, which comes with a frosted globe only. That isn't such a bad thing -- the frosted globe tested slightly better in brightness and color quality than the clear globe last year.
The new Ledare promises to be just as good with colors, and noticeably brighter than its little brother. It's brighter than the 60W replacement pack, where 800 lumens is the norm. However, it also comes in below the 75W replacement level, where you'd expect at least 1,100 lumens.
That makes things a bit tricky. Based on its 13W power draw, it fits in better with the 75W crowd, but at around 950 lumens of measured light output (and a price of $11 per bulb), it merits comparison to 60W replacement LEDs, too.
|Ikea Ledare LED (1000L)||Osram 60W Replacement LED||Cree 4Flow LED||Philips SlimStyle LED||Philips 60W Replacement LED|
|Lumens (measured / stated)||958 / 1000||852 / 800||835 / 815||815 / 800||821 / 800|
|Efficiency (lumens per watt)||74||100||76||78||97|
|Yearly energy cost (3 hr. per day @ .11 kWh)||$1.56||$1.02||$1.32||$1.26||$1.02|
|Color temperature (measured / stated)||2,702 K / 2,700 K||2,580 K / 2,700 K||2,617 K / 2,700 K||2,653 K / 2,700 K||2,701 K / 2,700 K|
|Other color temperatures (price difference)||none||5,000 K (+$1)||5,000 K (+$1)||5,000 K (+$1)||5,000 K (+$0)|
|Color rendering index||90||78||80||80||80|
|Dimmable range||9.1 - 100%||0 - 100%||5.6 - 100%||11.1 - 100%||Non-dimmable|
|Dimmer switch flicker/buzz||None||Light||None||Moderate||N/A|
|Lifespan||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||11,000 hours|
|Weight||4.95 oz.||4.15 oz.||1.90 oz.||2.20 oz.||1.80 oz.|
|Energy Star certification||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Warranty||none||5 years||3 years||3 years||3 years|
|Ikea Ledare LED (1000L)||Cree 75W Replacement LED||Philips SlimStyle 75W Replacement LED||Sylvania 75W Replacement LED||Philips 75W Replacement LED|
|Lumens (measured / stated)||958 / 1000||1069 / 1100||1137 / 1100||1130 / 1100||1047 / 1180|
|Efficiency (lumens per watt)||74||81||85||79||79|
|Yearly energy cost (3 hr. per day @ .11 kWh)||$1.56||$1.63||$1.57||$1.69||$1.81|
|Color temperature (measured / stated)||2,702 K / 2,700 K||2,679 K / 2,700 K||2,670 K / 2,700 K||2,548 K / 2,700 K||2,586 K / 2,700 K|
|Other color temperatures (price difference)||none||5,000 K (+$1)||none||5,000 K (+$1)||none|
|Color rendering index||90||80||80||80||79|
|Dimmable range||9.1 - 100%||8.1 - 100%||12.4 - 100%||14.9 - 100%||1.1 - 100%|
|Dimmer switch flicker/buzz||None||None||Light||None||None|
|Lifespan||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours|
|Weight||4.95 oz.||5.85 oz.||2.85 oz.||8.80 oz.||8.35 oz.|
|Energy Star certification||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
There's an awful lot to look at in those two charts, so let me help walk you through the comparisons. First, at the 60W level, you'll see that it isn't as efficient as the competition, putting out 74 lumens per watt. That adds up to an extra 50 cents per year or so in energy costs when compared to the 60W replacements from Osram and Philips , which lead the pack in efficiency. Sure, 50 cents per year is practically nothing, but if you're looking to switch over 20 or 30 bulbs in your home, it might be worth considering.
At the 75W level, the Ledare's efficiency comes up short again, though it's a lot closer. It also ranks last in brightness, and it's the only bulb in the pack that isn't Energy Star-certified or covered by a warranty.
The ace up Ledare's sleeve is its score on the color rendering index, which indicates how accurately a given light source can illuminate different shades of different numbers. The 1000L Ledare scored a 90, which is fairly exceptional -- almost every LED we test comes in around 80, as both charts make clear. We'll dig into color rendering a little deeper in the next section.
Compared with bulbs at the 60W replacement level, you're getting that high CRI and a bump in brightness. At the 75W level, the 1000L Ledare offers the high CRI and a bargain price point. It doesn't dominate either category though, with across-the-board compromises in efficiency and warranty, along with less brightness than you'd get from strong competitors like the Cree 75W Replacement LED and the Philips SlimStyle 75W Replacement LED .
A light bulb's core function is to convert electricity into light. Incandescents do it by heating a tungsten filament until it glows, but that's an inefficient process that's better at producing heat than producing light.
LEDs like this Ledare bulb promise to perform better -- and save you money in the process. In the US, a 75W incandescent will add about $9 per year to your energy bill, whereas the Ledare LED will add just a buck and a half. At that rate, it'd pay for itself in less than a year and a half.
Still, the 1000L Ledare gets outperformed by LED competitors at both the 75W and 60W levels. In our integrating sphere -- a big, hollow ball with a reflective interior used to grab accurate lumen readings -- the Ledare LED clocked in at 958 lumens. That 42-lumen difference between the stated and measured light outputs falls within our sphere's margin of error of +/- 5 percent, but it's still a lower result than I'd have liked to have seen. Divide those 958 lumens by the bulb's 13 watts, and you'll see that the 1000L Ledare LED puts out 74 lumens per watt -- each and every bulb in those charts from the last section performs better than that.
The color quality scores were more impressive. Like the 600L Ledare, the 1000L Ledare is rated at a warm, yellowy color temperature of 2,700K. With our spectrometer peeking into our sphere, we measured it at 2,702K. That's about as close to spot on as it gets.
Even more impressive: the aforementioned color rendering score of 90. Simplified a bit, the color rendering score is really an average of several scores, each one corresponding to a different shade. If that's not an excuse to draw up a multicolored bar graph in Excel, I don't know what is.
The most important thing about that bar graph is the red column at position number 9. Red tones are always tough for LEDs to illuminate accurately, because LEDs don't put out nearly as much energy at the infrared part of the spectrum as incandescents. As a result, LEDs often struggle to post red scores outside of single digits, while incandescents generally score very well with reds (and on the color rendering index as a whole).
With the Ledare LED, the red score is 53.7. That's not as high a score as you'll get with LEDs designed specifically to boost the CRI score, like the Cree TW Series or GE Reveal LED lines, but it's still a distinct and noticeable step up from the categorical average, and one that merits a closer look.
To do that, let's take a look at a common bowl of colorful, candy-coated chocolate. From left to right, you've got the same bowl of candy lit by three different bulbs. The first is the Cree 75W Replacement LED, a decent option with a ho-hum color rendering score of 80. The yellow tones are a bit overpowering, and the reds and oranges are noticeably dull.
On the other side of the spectrum is bowl number three, lit with a standard 60W incandescent from GE. Here, the color rendering score is just shy of a perfect 100 -- you can see that the white bowl looks almost perfectly white, and that all of the colors look vivid and distinct.
Now look at the bowl in the middle. That's lit by the Ikea 1000L Ledare LED, with its color rendering score of 90. Like the incandescent, the whites look white, the colors look vivid, and the yellow isn't too overpowering. That last bit is especially impressive -- a lot of LEDs that emphasize color quality will try and tame those runaway yellow tones by jacking the color temperature up to something less yellowy and more whitish. The Ledare LED doesn't do that -- it sits right at a warm 2,700K, but still manages to keep the yellow tones in check.
One last performance consideration is dimmer compatibility. Like the 600L version, the 1000L Ledare worked quite well with both modern dimmer switches and outdated models designed for incandescent use only. I didn't notice any bothersome flicker as I dialed the bulb down, and was only able to hear a faint buzz if I pressed my ear right against the bulb.
Still, it wasn't a perfect performance. At best, I was only able to dial the Ledare LED down to about 9 percent of its total light output. That isn't bad -- a minimum below 10 percent earns a passing grade in my book -- but we've seen other bulbs capable of dialing down below 5 percent, or even cleanly down to 0 percent. Make no mistake, the Ledare LED is a solid dimmability pick, but it isn't the best. If dimming performance matters most to you, then you'll want to consider splurging on the Philips 75W Replacement LED .
The LED market is much more competitive than it was last year, and as a result, the 1000L Ledare LED isn't as much of a standout as its 600L predecessor was. It gets beaten in efficiency by almost every major competitor in both the 75 and 60W categories. Since it sits in the awkward middle ground between the two, you're forced to compromise either the full brightness of the 75W level or the ever-increasing value of the 60W level.
All that said, the 1000L Ledare LED offers outstanding color rendering capabilities, enough so to set it apart as a viable option. I like it more as a 75W replacement, where the $11 price can't be beat and the dip in efficiency isn't quite as dramatic, but it's a real temptation next to more affordable 60W replacements, too. If color quality matters to you (or if you just painted your living room red), give this bulb a close look.