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Philips 60W Replacement WarmGlow LED (clear glass) review: Old-school cool from the vintage-style Philips WarmGlow LED

Vintage-style LEDs like this Philips bulb offer old-school nostalgia and new-age efficiency.

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Ry Crist
Ryan_Crist2.jpg
Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Appliances

Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, and home networking.

3 min read

Low-cost, high-efficiency LED light bulbs are now more norm than exception in your local lighting aisle, and that means manufacturers are starting to get creative in order to stand out. One good example: the "WarmGlow" line of dimmable LEDs from Philips. Dim each one's brightness, and the color temperature will fall with it, changing from a bright, yellowy 2,700 K to an orange, candle-like glow.

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Philips 60W Replacement WarmGlow LED (clear glass)

The Good

The WarmGlow LED is bright and efficient, and it performs well on dimmer switches. Dim it down low and the color temperature of the light will fall from yellow to orange, mimicking an old-school incandescent.

The Bad

The faux-filament build casts ugly, shadowy streaks within the bulb's pool of light -- making it a bad pick to put under a lampshade.

The Bottom Line

Fake filament bulbs like this one are a nostalgic novelty, but the WarmGlow LED is a decent choice if that's the aesthetic you're going for.
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The "filaments" inside the WarmGlow LED are actually just little columns of light-emitting diodes. Turn the bulb on, and it looks like something from the early 20th century.

Ry Crist/CNET

It's a subtle effect that's intended to mimic the color of an old-school incandescent filament, so it only made sense for Philips to trot the feature out in a bulb with an old-school design. That bulb, the clear glass version of the Philips 60W Replacement WarmGlow LED, sells in a two-pack at Home Depot stores for a little less than $12.

A price of $6 per bulb is basically the average going rate for a dimmable 60-watt replacement LED these days, so you're not paying a premium for that WarmGlow dimming. Even if WarmGlow leaves you cold, the bulb's specs are solid enough to make the bulb a good value in its own right.

The only real issue with the bulb is that its faux-filament build means that the light it puts out includes some potentially ugly shadows. Each "filament" is actually just a bunch of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) arranged in a column. Some of those little columns of light face inward, which means they cast shadows of the other columns sitting in their way. A similar bulb from GE had the same problem, though not as pronounced as with the WarmGlow LED.

Maybe that's supposed to be part of the old-fashioned effect, but to me, it makes for an unpleasant spread of light -- especially when the bulb shines from under a lampshade. 

In fairness, people probably aren't going to buy this bulb just to hide it under a lampshade (and if they are, they should just get the standard WarmGlow LED without the old-fashioned design). Those fake filaments are really meant for exposed bulb fixtures, where you might want a more nostalgic-looking bulb, even if it comes with a couple of shadows.

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The WarmGlow LED (left) puts out some ugly-looking shadows. A standard LED (right) would be a much better choice if you're just going to use it under a lampshade.

Ry Crist/CNET

The old-school WarmGlow LED compares favorably to the original. Like that bulb, it shines brighter than the stated 800 lumens, coming in at 855 lumens when I tested it out (I clocked the original at 838 lumens). You get that light from a power draw of 8.5 watts -- one watt less than the original. More light from less power? Sounds good to me.

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The bulb does well on dimmer switches, which is part of its appeal.

Ry Crist/CNET

In fact, at 855 lumens, the bulb is putting out over 100 lumens per watt, which is very, very good as far as efficiency is concerned. Use it for 3 hours per day, on average, and it'll add about a buck to your yearly energy bill. By comparison, an actual old-school 60W incandescent will add about $7 to your yearly bill.

That means that if you upgrade to the WarmGlow LED, it'll pay for itself in a year, then continue shining for another decade or so. Philips clocks the expected lifespan at 13.7 years, and backs that up with a three-year warranty.

Still, the specs aren't perfect. Other LEDs from names like Cree and Osram offer warranties as long as 10 years, and many competitors promise lifespans almost twice as long as the WarmGlow LED's. The bulb is also pretty average at color rendering, leaving a predictably yellow haze over things instead of making colors and whites look vivid and true.

It does well on dimmer switches, though, which is important given how central dimming is to this bulb's appeal. I was able to dial it smoothly down to zero on every switch I tested it on, and never noticed any issues with flicker or buzz. The light showed a very slight stutter as I dimmed it up and down on an old rotary dial designed for incandescents, but it still looked steady at all settings.

All in all, the WarmGlow LED is a bit of a novelty, but a perfectly good light bulb in its own right. You've got a lot of great options in the lighting aisle these days, but if you like the vintage-style looks of faux-filament bulbs like this one (and if you can tolerate those shadows), then the WarmGlow LED is a pretty decent pick at $6 each.

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Philips 60W Replacement WarmGlow LED (clear glass)

Score Breakdown

Design 6Value 8Performance 7
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