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I've been covering the light bulb beat for about five years now, and I've seen LEDs come a long way. Just look at Philips' newest BR30-shaped floodlight bulb. It's as efficient as floodlights come, it's near flawless on dimmer switches, it turns warmer and more candle-like in tone as you dim it down -- and, at about $14 for a three-pack at Home Depot, it costs a fraction of what bulbs like this used to cost back when I started.
Along with best-yet brightness and efficiency and an improved lifespan of 22.8 years, the biggest step forward for Philips here might be the bulb's warranty. Last time I tested floodlights in 2017, Philips was warranting its bulbs for three years. Now, in 2019, that figure is up to 10 years, which finally matches North Carolina lighting manufacturer Cree, a key competitor with Philips on those Home Depot shelves.
Cree's latest floodlight LED is an excellent pick, but the Philips 65-watt replacement floodlight is almost equally strong. In fact, it's brighter and more efficient than Cree while still costing a quarter or two less per bulb. That makes it one of the strongest values in the lighting aisle, and a terrific choice if you're in need of new overhead lights.
If you'll indulge me in a quick light bulb pun, the Philips floodlight really shines when you check the specs. Philips lists the brightness at 650 lumens, which is typical of the sort of 65-watt incandescent bulb it seeks to replace. I measured it much higher than that, with a final reading of 749 lumens. Along with being brighter than advertised, that's about 17 percent brighter than the last generation of Philips floodlight LEDs from the same 9-watt power draw.
It's also a smidgen brighter and more efficient than Cree, and efficient enough that it takes just nine months for the bulb to pay for itself in energy savings if you're using it to replace an incandescent. Even if you're replacing a halogen or a fluorescent bulb, Philips' floodlight will pay for itself before the warranty runs out -- with years to spare.
That ample brightness comes, in part, from a drastic improvement in the way this bulb handles heat. Like a lot of electronics, LED light bulbs heat up while in use, which in turn affects performance. Run them in front of a spectrometer, and you'll see that their brightness dips slightly during the first 30 minutes or so of use.
That dip was a worse-than-average 16.3 percent with the Philips floodlight LED I tested two years ago. Now, the new version dips by just 4.6 percent -- a substantial advancement that lets the bulb put out much more light from the same power draw. It's also a better result than any other 65-watt replacement floodlight I've ever tested.
The last point of note worth mentioning is the bulb's dimming performance. Philips promises flicker- and buzz-free dimming right on the box, and the bulb delivered in my tests, dimming smoothly and silently on multiple kinds of switches. That's great, since "Warm Glow" dimming that lowers the color temperature from the standard, yellowy 2,700 K to a lower, cozier, more candle-like glow is the bulb's marquee feature.
My only complaint? The bulb lost significant brightness at maximum settings on every one of my switches, topping out at as much as 100 lumens less bright than it shines on a normal on/off switch. It's not that noticeable since the bulb puts out lots of lumens to begin with, but for folks that use dimmer switches, it dings two of the bulb's best selling points: brightness and efficiency.
Still, this is a bulb that gets just about everything right, and a worthy, neck-and-neck adversary for the well-rounded Cree floodlight LED. Philips adds in Warm Glow dimming; Cree adds in a slightly better emphasis on color quality. Both are excellent choices -- and for a dirt-cheap alternative, you could also go with the GE Basic floodlight LED, a perfectly decent dimmable option that costs less than $3 per bulb.
Need more help deciding which bulb is best for your home? Check out my full rundown of the best floodlight LEDs.
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