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Philips SceneSwitch BR30 LED review: Three lights in one bulb with the Philips SceneSwitch floodlight LED

This well-rounded bulb offers three distinct light settings -- just turn off and back on to make a switch.

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Ry Crist
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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.

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The Philips "SceneSwitch" line of LED light bulbs promises versatility with the flip of a switch. Each one has three different light settings -- to change between them, you just turn the bulb off and back on.

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8.5

Philips SceneSwitch BR30 LED

The Good

The BR30-shaped Philips SceneSwitch LED is one of the most efficient floodlights we've ever tested, and it aced our brightness tests, too. The three distinct light settings are a nice bonus that you won't get with other bulbs at this price.

The Bad

The SceneSwitch floodlight is only available as a mixed-tone bulb, so if you'd rather have a third soft white brightness setting instead of that daylight setting, you're out of luck. It also won't work with traditional dimmer switches.

The Bottom Line

The Philips SceneSwitch floodlight is a great bargain, and a smart way to bring some limited dimming capability into your home without needing to wire in new light switches.

You can cycle through three different light settings by turning the SceneSwitch LED off and back on.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The newest SceneSwitch bulb is a BR30-shaped floodlight that'll sell for $8 at Home Depot this fall. Flip it off and back on within a few seconds to cycle through a yellowy soft white setting, a whitish daylight setting and a dimmed-down night-light setting. Like the other SceneSwitch LEDs, it's a simple and interesting way to add some limited dimmability to a fixture without needing to replace the light switch or install expensive smart bulbs.

It's also a pretty good light bulb in its own right, and one of the most efficient floodlight LEDs we've ever tested. At just 8W, each one will add less than a buck to your yearly energy bill if you run it at the brightest setting for three hours a day. By comparison, a standard 65W incandescent floodlight at three hours of usage per day will add almost $8 to your yearly energy bill. 

Replace a bulb like that with the SceneSwitch floodlight, and it'll pay for itself in a little over a year. After that, it will continue saving you money for the rest of its 22-year life span -- decades longer than that incandescent would have lasted. Oh, and that longevity claim comes backed by a five-year warranty, too.

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Watch this: Need new LED floodlights? We're here to help

I was also impressed by the SceneSwitch bulb's brightness. Philips clocks it at 650 lumens for both the soft white and daylight settings (the same as you'd get from an incandescent), and 65 lumens for the night-light setting. In our lighting lab, we measured the soft white setting at 714 lumens, the daylight setting at 655 lumens and the night-light at 76 lumens. All three were accurate and comfortably above the target, and their color temperatures were right on the money, too.

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The SceneSwitch LED won't work with traditional dimmer switches.

Chris Monroe/CNET

My only real disappointment with the bulb is that, for now, it's only available in this multitoned version with both soft white and daylight settings. The A-shaped, 60W replacement SceneSwitch LEDs that came before it also offered soft white-only and daylight-only skews that each included three different brightness settings at the same color temperature. For me, that third brightness setting is a bigger draw than switching between soft white and daylight.

Another small criticism -- like the other SceneSwitch LEDs, the SceneSwitch floodlight is pretty mediocre at making colors pop. For something with stronger color rendering capabilities, go with the GE Reveal floodlight LED or, for a few bucks less, the Walmart Great Value floodlight LED.

It's also worth pointing out that, because of the SceneSwitch design, this bulb will not work with traditional dimmer switches. If you use switches like that, then I'd recommend the very well-rounded Cree floodlight LED, as well as Philips' standard floodlight LED, which costs about $5 a bulb. Both scored very well in my dimming tests.

All of that aside, the SceneSwitch floodlight is a very good LED that gets just about everything right. With over 700 lumens, it's plenty bright -- and at 8W, it's also efficient enough to pay for itself in energy savings long before any new bulbs come along to render it obsolete. As gimmicks go, the ability to switch the bulb down to 10 percent brightness without need for a dimmer switch is a pretty likable one, and at just $8 per bulb, it won't cost you much extra at all. If that all sounds good to you, then you really don't have much to lose here.

For more LED floodlight recommendations and test data, check out our full roundup of your lighting aisle options.

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8.5

Philips SceneSwitch BR30 LED

Score Breakdown

Design 7.5Value 8.5Performance 9