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For $15, the Philips 60W equivalent LED offers American consumers massive boosts in efficiency and longevity over the incandescents it was designed to replace. Of course, the same can be said of just about any LED you'll find sitting on the shelf of your local lighting aisle.
If you want to know what makes the Philips LED (or any LED) stand out, you need to know what you'll have to compromise in exchange for that extra efficiency. With some bulbs, it's color quality or brightness; with others, it's things like dimmability or directionality. With the Philips LED, there's very little compromising to be done. You might wish that it cost a few dollars less, but the Philips LED is about as well-rounded a bulb as you'll find, and well worth it if you plan on dimming your lights.
Philips has been making flat-topped household LEDs for a while now, and the current bulb (model number 9290002268) doesn't deviate much from what Philips has already done. Along with the previous generations, the bulb shares its shape with the app-enabled, color-changing Philips Hue LEDs , along with the upcoming Philips Hue Lux LEDs . If you're looking for a bulb that's designed to stand out, you'll want to check out the Philips SlimStyle and Philips Clear LEDs , which both put a strong emphasis on unique, eye-catching looks.
The Philips LED sports a build that's slightly heavier than some of the other LEDs we've looked at. At 4.55 ounces, it's almost a full ounce heavier than the comparable 60W replacement from Cree , and more than twice as weighty as the ping pong paddle-esque Philips SlimStyle. All but the flimsiest of flex lamps should be able to support its weight without issue, but it still might be something worth consideration.
In terms of of intangibles, this is a bulb that checks off all the boxes you'll likely be looking for. It's Energy Star certified. It's omnidirectional. It's fully dimmable. This last point is an especially strong one for Philips, as its LED not only works with common in-wall dimmer switches, but also works well with them. In all of our tests, it produced little to no detectable buzz or flicker -- even with older switches that weren't designed with LEDs in mind.
This lack of buzz speaks well to the bulb's construction. Wall dimmers will generate electromagnetic resistance as they dim the light, which can cause bulb components to vibrate and buzz (a fairly common problem, as our recent testing showed). Philips came out on top in our buzz tests, with near-silent performance that's indicative of tight, thoughtful engineering inside the bulb.
Our LED performance tests involve a mix of everyday use scenarios and lab-based data collection using equipment like a spectrometer and a variac transformer. The latter half obviously gets a bit wonky, but the short of it is that we work to get an objective look at things like brightness, color quality, and efficiency.
Philips calls their bulb a 60W equivalent, and rightly so, considering that it puts out 830 lumens' worth of light. This is a small bump up from the amount of brightness that you'll get with most 60W replacements, where 800 lumens is the popular benchmark. Compared to the standard 60W replacements from brands like Cree and GE, Philips can claim to be the brightest, albeit just slightly so.
We can also take a nice, close look at color temperature, and how accurately each bulb hits the tone that it's rated for. With the Philips LED, that color temperature is 2,700K, a very popular tone that's often referred to as "soft white." Lots of bulbs aim for this warm, incandescent-esque color temperature.
Philips overshoots things just a bit, with a color temperature that's lower and noticeably warmer than 2,700K. To be specific, we clocked the Philips LED at 2,584K, which is still close enough to look "right," but not as close as Cree, which comes in at 2,669K.
|Philips 60W Equivalent LED||Cree 60W Replacement LED|
|Estimated yearly cost||$1.45||$1.14|
|Lifespan||25,000 hours||25,000 hours|
|Color rendering index||81||80|
|Weight||4.55 oz.||3.70 oz.|
The performance distinction between the two bulbs is a pretty fine one, but if you want the light that will mimic the specific warmth of incandescent lighting the best, you might want to consider Cree. Then again, if you enjoy that incandescent warmth and want even more of it, then the lower color temperature of the Philips LED might actually be a plus in your book.
In addition to color temperature we make sure to test for color quality, too. What's the difference? Color temperature describes the color of the light itself, color quality tells us how accurately a light will render the specific colors of the objects its illuminating. Color quality is measured using the color rendering index (CRI), which is an average of scores for each color. A higher CRI number means more vivid, accurate looking colors in your living room.
The Philips LED is rated with a CRI of 81 out of 100, which is pretty average for an LED. We tested the bulb out in front of our own spectrometer to take a closer look at its color rendering capabilities, the results of which you can see pretty plainly in that color-coded graph up above.
As you can see, performance plummets with reds, a problem that's fairly universal with LEDs (Cree's bulb scored even worse, posting a red score of -1). This isn't to say that an apple sitting under a Philips LED won't look red -- it just won't look as red as an apple sitting in direct sunlight, where the CRI is a perfect 100. (For more about LEDs and CRI scores, be sure and check out our recent face-off between the Cree TW Series and GE Reveal LEDs, both of which promise CRI scores up in the 90s.)
All things considered, the Philips 60W Equivalent LED is a very well-rounded light, and one that merits consideration right up alongside the comparable Cree 60W Replacement LED as a potential best buy. The Philips LED is the brighter of the two, and it performs better with built-in dimmer switches, which I imagine for many consumers will rightly tip the scales in its favor.
Still, the Philips' LED isn't quite as efficient as Cree, its warranty is half as long, and it costs $5 more, which is far from insignificant, especially if you're replacing an entire home's worth of bulbs. Bargain shoppers might want to keep their eye on the Philips SlimStyle, which currently retails for $9, but overall, unless I'm looking for a bulb to use with a dimmer switch, I'm sticking with Cree as my standard LED of choice.