Philips 60W Replacement LED review: The dirt-cheap LED is here, and it's a solid bargain

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The Good The Philips 60W Replacement LED offers exceptional efficiency and strong light quality at a truly tempting price of just $5.

The Bad The bulb isn't dimmable, and it isn't rated to last as long as most other LEDs.

The Bottom Line Unless you use dimmer switches in your home, it's hard to go wrong with this light -- and the price is just right.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Value 9
  • Performance 8

If you've been waiting for the right time to upgrade to LEDs, things are starting to get pretty compelling. Case in point: the newest 60W replacement bulb from Philips, which costs just $5 at Home Depot -- no utility rebates necessary.

That's as cheap an LED as we've seen from the big brands, and with an 800-lumen light output from a power draw of just 8.5 watts, it's an especially efficient performer, too. Replace your incandescents with them, and you'll have a tough time telling the difference -- at least until you get your next power bill.

This isn't a bulb without compromises, though. Unlike the majority of LEDs, which are rated to light up for 20 years or more, the Philips bulb only promises 10. It also isn't rated for use with dimmer switches, so if you like to dial the light down low without flicker or buzz, you'll need to look elsewhere. But for basic, everyday home lighting, it's a very safe pick, and a borderline no-brainer in the lighting aisle.

Designed with value in mind

There's nothing terribly high-concept about this bulb's build, because that's exactly what it is: a bulb. That bucks a recent trend of LEDs with reinvented shapes, including Philips' own flattened down SlimStyle LED , which, until the arrival of this new 60W replacement, was the brand's most budget-friendly LED.

The new bulb gives Philips a new price tier beneath the SlimStyle's $5-$10 range, and Philips separates the two with dimmability -- the StyleStyle has it, the new bulb doesn't. If you weren't planning on dimming your lights anyway, then the new bulb should make a lot of sense. On the other hand, if your home has dimmer switches and you like being able to dial the lights up and down without flicker or buzz, then you'll want to look elsewhere (and potentially avoid the SlimStyle, too -- it didn't do too well when we tested out dimmable LEDs).

60W Replacement LEDs

Philips 60W Replacement LED Ikea Ledare LED (frosted) Cree 4Flow LED Philips SlimStyle LED Osram 60W Replacement LED
Lumens (measured / stated) 821 / 800 658 / 600 835 / 815 815 / 800 852 / 800
Watts 8.5 10 11 10.5 8.5
Efficiency (lumens per watt) 97 60 76 76 100
Yearly energy cost (3 hr. per day @ 0.11 kWh) $1.02 $1.20 $1.32 $1.26 $1.02
Color temperature (measured / stated) 2,701 K / 2,700 K 2,632 K / 2,700 K 2,617 K / 2,700 K 2,653 K / 2,700 K 2,580 K / 2,700 K
Color rendering index 80 88 80 80 78
Dimmable (measured range) No Yes (6.3 - 100%) Yes (5.6 - 100%) Yes (11.1 - 100%) Yes (0 - 100%)
Dimmer switch flicker/buzz N/A None None Moderate Light
Lifespan 10,000 hours 25,000 hours 25,000 hours 25,000 hours 25,000 hours
Weight 1.80 oz. 4.10 oz. 1.90 oz. 2.20 oz. 4.15 oz.
Warranty 3 years none 3 years 3 years 5 years
Price $5 $5 $8 $9 $10

Aside from the nondimmable design, the specs are right where you'd want them for a 60W replacement LED. The bulb claims a light output of 800 lumens at a warm, familiar color temperature of 2,700 K. It also draws just 8.5 watts of power. Run it for 3 hours a day, and it'll tack just over $1 onto your yearly energy bill. A typical 60W replacement fluorescent will cost closer to $2 per year to run, while a 60w incandescent will cost over $7.

The math comes down in favor of this LED. At $5 upfront and with a yearly operating cost of $1, you're looking at a total year one cost of $6. That's cheaper than using an incandescent you got for free.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Incandescent comparisons aside, the Philips LED's 8.5 watts are lower (and more efficient) than almost every other 60W replacement LED we've tested. The only one that matches it is Osram's 60W Replacement LED , which sells at Lowe's. I like that bulb quite a bit -- it's plenty bright, it dims like a champ, and it promises twice the lifespan of the Philips LED -- but at $10, it also costs twice as much.

In sum, the value proposition here is quite strong. For $5 per bulb (or less, if you catch the introductory two-for-one pricing at Home Depot), you're getting an LED that holds its own against some impressive competitors, and one that beats them outright when it comes to the upfront cost.

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