X

Osram 60W Replacement Ultra LED review: Hard to go wrong with Osram's 60W Replacement LED

With a brighter, more efficient design than the equally priced Cree LED, is this the new bulb to beat in the lighting aisle?

Ryan_Crist2.jpg
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.

See full bio
5 min read

With LED prices continuing to fall, we're seeing more and more bulbs selling for $10 or less. One of the latest options is the Osram 60W Replacement Ultra LED, which rings in just a few cents shy of that 10-buck benchmark.

sylvania-60w-led-product-photos-1.jpg
8.0

Osram 60W Replacement Ultra LED

The Good

Osram's 60W Replacement LED offers plenty of brightness, strong dimming performance and a very efficient design

The Bad

Osram's color rendering score is a little low, and it doesn't offer as quite as good a warranty as you'll get from some of its competitors.

The Bottom Line

At $10, this impressive LED is a very safe bet in the lighting aisle.

Thankfully, this lower price plateau doesn't represent a dip in quality, at least not with Osram. With well over 800 lumens of light output from a power draw of just 8.5 watts, it's one of the most efficient 60W replacement LEDs we've tested, and it performed well during our dimming tests, too. That makes it an easy bulb to recommend, even among an increasingly crowded field of worthwhile competitors.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Design

Osram's 60W Replacement Ultra LED doesn't sport an inventive build like the Philips SlimStyle or the Cree 4Flow LED , and it doesn't show off its heat sinks the way the original Cree 60W Replacement LED does. At first glance, it's just a fairly typical-looking light bulb, which might be a good thing if you're a fan of inconspicuous design.

Turn the bulb on, and you'll find the same, golden glow that you'll get with the majority of the bulbs on the market these days, along with a light output of 800 lumens, making it a worthy replacement for the brightness of a 60W incandescent. That's all well and good, but there's nothing on the surface helping this bulb stand out from the crowd.

Get to know the Osram 60W Replacement Ultra LED (pictures)

See all photos

That all changes once you peek under the hood. Osram's bulb puts that light out from a power draw of just 8.5 watts -- the lowest power draw of any 60W replacement LED we've tested. That makes it the most efficient 60W replacement we've tested, with a very impressive 94 lumens per watt to its name -- a full 10 lumens-per-watt better than its nearest competitor, the Cree LED.

That efficiency adds up to energy savings over the course of the Osram LED's 25,000-hour lifespan. Run the thing for an average of three hours per day, and it'll add just over a buck to your utility bill each year.

Osram 60W Replacement LEDCree 4Flow LEDCree 60W Rep. LEDPhilips 60W Rep. LEDPhilips SlimStyle LEDIkea Ledare LED (frosted)
Lumens (measured* / stated) 852 / 800835 / 815746 / 800864 / 830815 / 800658 / 600
Watts 8.5119.51110.510
Efficiency (lumens per watt) 94.1274.0984.2175.4576.1960
Estimated yearly energy cost $1.03$1.33$1.15$1.33$1.27$1.21
Color temperature (measured / stated) 2,580K / 2,700K2,617K / 2,700K2,669K / 2,700K2,584K / 2,700K2,653K / 2,700K2,632K / 2,700K
Lifespan 25,000 hours25,000 hours25,000 hours25,000 hours25,000 hours25,000 hours
Color rendering index 788080808088
Dimmable range 0 - 100%5.6 - 100%6.8 - 100%0.7 - 100%11.1 - 100%6.3 - 100%
Weight 4.15 ounces1.90 ounces3.70 ounces4.55 ounces2.20 ounces4.10 ounces
Warranty 5 years3 years10 years5 years3 yearsnone
Price $10$8$10$15$9$5

*Lumen measurements include a margin of error of +/- 5 percent.

Of course, those savings don't mean a whole lot if the bulb isn't built to last. To this end, Osram backs up its LED with a five-year warranty -- better than cheaper alternatives like the Cree 4Flow LED and the Philips SlimStyle, but not as good as the equally-priced original Cree LED, which still sells with a warranty of 10 years.

Something else to consider is what type of setting you'll be using the bulb in. Osram's LED is rated for dampness, so you can use it outdoors if it isn't directly exposed to things like rain and snow. Osram recommends avoiding enclosed fixtures, though, as the heat buildup can shorten the bulb's lifespan.

For those who like a hotter, more whitish color temperature from their light bulbs, Osram offers an equally efficient version of its Ultra LED that sells for $11. If brightness isn't as important to you, 40W versions are also available starting at $8.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Performance

The Osram LED held up to our battery of tests, and yielded a few interesting results. We were able to confirm the power draw, clocking it just under the stated 8.5 watts on our variable transformer. In front of our spectrometer, the color temperature came out to 2,580K, which is noticeably lower than the stated 2,700K. Comparing Osram's LED with the Cree LED, which comes in much closer to that 2,700K target, you can definitely tell that it tacks more toward the reddish end of the spectrum.

The color rendering index score was also low, coming in at 78 out of 100. Color rendering refers to a given light source's ability to accurately illuminate different shades and tones -- a bulb with a higher score should make the colors in your home look a little more vivid. Most LEDs sit right at 80, while some, like the Cree TW Series LED , the GE Reveal line of LEDs , and even the bargain-priced Ikea Ledare LED , manage to push the score considerably higher. Given competitors like that (especially the Ledare LED, which only costs $5), I wish Osram would have aimed a bit higher here.

We also make sure to test out each bulb using an integrating sphere -- really just a big, hollow ball of Styrofoam with a carefully applied coat of reflective paint on the inside. With the bulb in the middle and the spectrometer peeking in, we can measure brightness with a very high degree of accuracy.

cree-vs-osram-led.jpg
The Osram LED (right) offers omnidirectional light that's similar to what you'll get from a Cree LED (left). Ry Crist/CNET

Osram impressed us here, coming in with a reading of 852 lumens -- comfortably higher than the stated 800 lumens. The only 60W replacement LED to rank higher is the Philips 60W Equivalent LED , which our spectrometer read at 864 lumens. Of course, that LED is also less efficient than Osram's, with a higher power draw of 11 watts.

The uptick in light output is a good thing given Osram's low color temperature, as people tend to see more spatial brightness from "hotter" light sources. It also bolsters the efficiency argument. Recalculate the ratio using 852 lumens instead of 800, and you'll find that the bulb is actually putting out just over 100 lumens per watt.

On some dimmers you might notice a very small amount of flicker when the light's dialed down. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Osram can claim strong dimmability with its bulb, too. On our dimming rig, we were able to dial the light down with each switch we tested. On some, we were able to dim smoothly from 100% brightness down to 0% brightness, which is a terrific result.

Unlike a fair number of the LEDs we've tested, Osram's bulb didn't buzz one bit on any of the dimmers we used it on. We did, however, detect a small amount of occasional flicker at low settings. Though barely noticeable to the naked eye, it still undercut the otherwise perfect dimming performance, and stops me from recommending the Osram LED over our current dimmability pick, the Philips 60W Equivalent.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The verdict

You've got an increasing number of LED options at this price point, and Osram has done a nice job of making sure that its bulb can compete in that kind of market. With ample brightness, omnidirectional light output, and impressive efficiency, the Osram 60W Replacement Ultra LED performs its core function admirably well, and offers strong dimming performance to boot. At $10, it's a very solid choice for more efficient household lighting.

sylvania-60w-led-product-photos-1.jpg
8.0

Osram 60W Replacement Ultra LED

Score Breakdown

Design 7Value 8Performance 8.5
laptop
Get the best price on everything
Shop your favorite products and we’ll find the best deal with a single click. Designed to make shopping easier.
Add CNET Shopping