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Utilitech 100W Replacement LED (2018) review: Best-in-class efficiency from the cheapest bulb I tested

MSRP: $7.69

The Good At less than five bucks per bulb, Utilitech's 100W Replacement LED offers better efficiency than Philips, GE or Cree, and it's a decent pick for dimmer switches, too.

The Bad It isn't quite as bright as the competition, and you might notice a faint hum if you use it on a dimmer switch in a quiet room.

The Bottom Line This is the best value pick in the 100-watt replacement category.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Value 10
  • Performance 8

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The first time I reviewed 100-watt replacement LED light bulbs was back in 2014, and the average asking price was roughly twenty bucks per bulb. Yeouch.

Fortunately, prices have come way down in the years since. Case in point: Utilitech, which offers a dimmable 100-watt replacement LED in a two-pack at Lowe's for less than $10.

utilitech-lamp-shot

Utilitech's bargain-priced 100W Replacement LED shines evenly in all directions, and offers plenty of brightness from a low power draw.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Being a tester of all things LED, I was naturally curious to see if this bargain-priced bulb was actually any good. Sure enough, it held its own against a fleet of brand-name competitors that all cost more. With 1,574 lumens to its name, it didn't quite hit the 1,600-lumen brightness benchmark that we look for in 100-watt replacement LEDs, but it was close enough to fall within the margin of error (and close enough that the naked eye wouldn't be able to tell the difference).

Just as important: it delivers that brightness as efficiently as you'd expect from an LED. Specifically, it draws 14.5 watts, meaning that it's putting out about 108 lumens per watt, better than any other 100-watt replacement LED I tested. Use it for 3 hours a day, and it'll add just $1.74 to your energy bill each year. Compare that to the $12 it'd cost you to run a single 100-watt incandescent over the same time span, and this bulb begins to make even more sense. Use it for a year, and it's literally cheaper than a free incandescent.

It's also a decent pick for dimmer switches, dimming all the way down to an average minimum of 1.1 percent on the three switches I tested it with. I noticed a faint buzz from the bulb at medium settings on two of the switches, but it wasn't loud enough to be a disqualifier. For something quieter, I'd recommend the Cree 100W Replacement LED, which aced the same tests.

All in all, the Utilitech LED was easily the best value pick I could find in the 100-watt category. With ample brightness, best-in-class efficiency and decent dimming performance, it's about as good as you could possibly expect to find for less than five dollars per bulb.

For more on bulbs like this one, be sure to check out our overview of the best 100-watt replacement LEDs, which we'll update regularly as new reviews come in.

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