What's the difference between a non-dimmable LED and a dimmable LED that you'd never want to dim?
Answer: about five or six bucks.
At least, it is if you're talking about candelabra LEDs. After eighteen hours of tests, I couldn't find a single dimmable option that dimmed without flickering. The average price of those dimmable bulbs? A little over nine dollars. Each.
That makes the explicitly non-dimmable candelabra LED from Philips -- which sells in a $10 three-pack at Home Depot -- a pretty appealing option. You won't be able to dial the light down, but it does offer sufficient brightness, efficiency, and light quality. It's nothing special, but at a few bucks per bulb, it really doesn't have to be.
The non-dimmable candelabra LED from Philips didn't win any of our performance tests, but it didn't lose any of them, either. At 322 lumens, it offers brightness that's just below average, but high enough to earn a passing grade as a 40W equivalent. At a power draw of 4.5 watts, it's putting that brightness out at about 71.6 lumens per watt. In terms of efficiency, that's almost the exact average for the entire candelabra LED category.
Philips also found the middle of the pack in our thermal management tests, where we test to see how much heat affects each bulb's performance. After switching it on in our integrating sphere and waiting ninety minutes, the brightness had flat-lined at about 86 percent. Though not the impressive 92.4 percent we saw from , it's still an acceptable result, and good enough for fifth place out of eleven bulbs tested.