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Philips 100W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) A21 Dimmable LED Light Bulb review: The Philips 100W Equivalent LED gets edged out

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MSRP: $24.97
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The Good The Philips 100W Equivalent LED is a very solid, Energy Star-certified bulb that boasts impressive specs and exceptional dimmability.

The Bad Cree and GE's bulbs are both equally impressive, if not more so -- and each one costs less.

The Bottom Line Unless you find it on sale, this likable Philips LED can't quite offer the value of its competitors.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.8 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Value 7
  • Performance 8

Review Sections

If you're looking to replace a 100W light bulb, you'll find several LED options at prices that aren't nearly as unreasonable as they were just a year or two ago. The current crop, including the Philips 100W Equivalent LED, hovers right around the $20 price point.

Initially priced at $25, Philips' LED has since been marked down a few bucks to $22, which is still slightly more expensive than what you'll see from competitors like GE and Cree. Philips justifies that by claiming an extra 80 lumens' worth of brightness over those two, along with superior dimming capabilities. However, our tests didn't reveal any noticeable difference in either brightness or dimmability. That, along with the fact that Philips offers half the warranty that you'll get with GE or Cree, makes this bulb difficult to recommend.

philips-100w-led-product-photos-4.jpg
Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Design

Philips' 100W Equivalent LED shares the same, flat-topped build of its smaller siblings in the 60W and 40W categories, but sets itself apart with a unique design that splits the bulb into three sections separated by deep channels. This helps keep the heat buildup at bay, something that gets especially important when LEDs start putting out this much light.

Even with the emphasis on thermal management, the bulb gets hot to the touch after just a few minutes of use, which isn't unusual for a 100W replacement LED. As such, Philips recommends not using it in an enclosed fixture -- if you do, you'll risk shortening the bulb's lifespan.

That lifespan is rated at 25,000 hours, the same as the other 100W replacement LEDs I tested, with the exception of Utilitech. That lifespan comes out to 22.8 years if the bulb is used for an average of 3 hours per day. Philips warrants the bulb for the first five of those years, while GE and Cree both offer ten-year warranties.

25,000 hours is the longevity benchmark for Energy Star certification -- the Philips 100W Equivalent earned certification over the summer, as did the GE LED I tested. Cree's bulb isn't certified yet, but it meets the criteria -- Cree's team tells me they expect it to be certified in the near future.

Cree 100W Replacement LED GE Energy Smart 100W Replacement LED Philips 100W Equivalent LED Sylvania 100W Replacement Ultra LED Utilitech 100W Equivalent Warm White LED
Lumens 1600 1600 1680 1600 1600
Watts 18 16 19 19 16
Efficiency (lumens per watt) 89 100 88 84 100
Estimated yearly energy cost $2.17 $1.93 $2.29 $2.29 $1.93
Color temperature (stated / measured) 2,700 K / 2,663 K 2,700 K / 2,602 K 2,700 K / 2,628 K 2,700 K / 2,664 K 3,000 K / 2,999 K
Lifespan 25,000 hours 25,000 hours 25,000 hours 25,000 hours 18,000 hours
Color rendering index 80 81 80 83 85
Weight 5.80 oz. 5.65 oz. 8.50 oz. 11.45 oz. 7.80 oz.
Warranty 10-year 10-year 5-year 5-year 2-year
Price $20 $21 $22 $22 $17

Philips claims a light output of 1,680 lumens at a golden hued 2,700 K from a power draw of 19 watts. That makes it good for about 88 lumens per watt -- an impressive number, but not as impressive as GE and Utilitech, which both manage to put out 100 lumens per watt.

Those 1680 lumens are a slight step up from what you'll get with GE, Cree, or any of the other bulbs we tested. With brightness being one of the first things you want from your home lighting, that number would appear to give Philips an edge, albeit a minor one.

However, the engineers at Energy Star test bulbs out for themselves, posting the full specs for every LED they certify online. On Philips' listing, Energy Star rates the bulb at 1,620 lumens -- not 1,680. While an extra 80 lumens is just barely enough to make a noticeable difference, an extra 20 lumens is largely insignificant. We wanted to know which number had it right.

philips-100w-led.jpg
Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Performance

From a simple eye test, the light put out from the Philips 100W Equivalent LED doesn't differ much from its nearest competitors, the Cree and GE 100W replacements. Side by side, the three have nearly identical glows, all of them boasting similarly warm tones. That isn't surprising, given that all three are rated with the same 2,700 K color temperature. When tested, each one erred low, on the yellowy side.

Remember, though, that Philips claims to put out 1,680 lumens to Cree and GE's 1,600. That's a pretty minuscule difference, but it's one that should be noticeable if you're looking closely for it. The problem is that I couldn't notice it.

cree-vs-ge-vs-philips-100w-led.jpg
The Cree, GE, and Philips 100W replacement LEDs. Ry Crist/CNET

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