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.
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.
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.
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 LED||Cree 4Flow LED||Cree 60W Rep. LED||Philips 60W Rep. LED||Philips SlimStyle LED||Ikea Ledare LED (frosted)|
|Lumens (measured* / stated)||852 / 800||835 / 815||746 / 800||864 / 830||815 / 800||658 / 600|
|Efficiency (lumens per watt)||94.12||74.09||84.21||75.45||76.19||60|
|Estimated yearly energy cost||$1.03||$1.33||$1.15||$1.33||$1.27||$1.21|
|Color temperature (measured / stated)||2,580K / 2,700K||2,617K / 2,700K||2,669K / 2,700K||2,584K / 2,700K||2,653K / 2,700K||2,632K / 2,700K|
|Lifespan||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours||25,000 hours|
|Color rendering index||78||80||80||80||80||88|
|Dimmable range||0 - 100%||5.6 - 100%||6.8 - 100%||0.7 - 100%||11.1 - 100%||6.3 - 100%|
|Weight||4.15 ounces||1.90 ounces||3.70 ounces||4.55 ounces||2.20 ounces||4.10 ounces|
|Warranty||5 years||3 years||10 years||5 years||3 years||none|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.