Cree adds bigger, brighter 100-watt replacements to their LED line-up

/ Updated: 12 March 2014 11:42 am GMT
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Twelve months after getting into the consumer LED game with their highly popular 60-watt replacement and just a few months after the release of a 75-watt replacement, the team at Cree is expanding its line of LEDs yet again, this time with a 100-watt replacement. The new bulb claims a light output of 1600 lumens at an energy cost of just 18 watts, and will sell at Home Depot for $19.97. In addition, Cree is announcing price cuts on almost every bulb that it sells, including the 60-watt TW Series LED, which will now retail for $15.97, down from $19.97.

Those are impressive price points, especially given where LEDs were just a few years ago, with high-lumen bulbs often retailing for $50 or more. The $19.97 Cree is pricing the new 100-watt replacement at is also $5 cheaper than the Philips 100-watt replacement, which retails for $24.97.

Keep in mind, though, that the Philips bulb is Energy Star Certified, and that means that you can get it for a lot less in regions that offer energy rebates (states like Michigan, Massachusetts, and Vermont offer instant rebates as high as $10.) It seems like a very safe bet that the Cree bulb will earn certification as well, but it was only submitted a few weeks ago, and the process takes about three months. For now, at least, Philips has the price advantage in rebate regions.

The new 100-watt replacement (right) is noticeably larger than Cree's previous LEDs. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Compared with Cree's existing LED lineup, the new 100-watt replacement isn't just a brighter light. It's also a bigger one, both in terms of the size of the bulb, and the size of its heat sinks. At 6.0 ounces, it's noticeably heavier than Cree's 3.8-ounce 60-watt replacement, but somewhat surprisingly, it weighs the same as the 75-watt replacement. It's also a lot lighter than the Philips 100-watt replacement, which weighs in at 8.6 ounces.

Aside from the extra bulk, the majority of the bulb's stats line up with Cree's other LEDs. Like the other baseline bulbs in Cree's lineup, the 100-watt replacement glows at a "soft white" color temperature of 2,700 K. For a dollar more, you can get a "daylight" version that glows at 5,000 K -- this is true of the 40-, 60-, and 75-watt replacement LEDs, too. The 100-watt replacement is omnidirectional, dimmable, and rated to last 25,000 hours, same as the rest of Cree's bulbs. Perhaps most important of all is the fact that the 100-watt replacement keeps Cree's generous 10-year warranty.

Cree 100-watt replacement LED

Philips 100-watt replacement LED

Lumens 1,600 1,680
Watts 18 19
Efficiency (lumens/watt) 88.88 88.42
Yearly Energy Cost $2.17 $2.29
Color Temperature 2,700 K 2,700 K
Color Rendering Index (CRI) 80 80
Lifespan 25,000 hours 25,000 hours
Weight 6.0 oz. 8.6 oz.
Dimmable Yes Yes
Omnidirectional Yes Yes
Bulb Shape A21 A19
Energy Star Certified Submitted Yes
Warranty 10-year 5-year
Price $19.97 $24.97

Though not quite as bright as Philips, I found the two bulbs to be almost indistinguishable from one another in terms of light quality. With equal color temperatures, CRI scores, and longevity claims, along with similar efficiency and luminosity scores, there really isn't much separating the two. Shoppers in rebate regions will probably gravitate toward the more affordable Philips bulb, while those paying standard prices will get a better deal from Cree.

Both bulbs are omnidirectional and compatible with most dimmers. Shoppers focused solely on getting the brightest bulb for their buck might want to go with Philips, which offers an extra 80 lumens worth of light output over Cree. Both are excellent options for homeowners looking to lower their power bills, as each one estimates it'll save hundreds of dollars in energy costs over the course of the bulb's life.

With its brightness, soft white color tone, and omnidirectionality, the 100-watt replacement would make an for especially good reading light. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Compared to 40- and 60-watt replacement LEDs, there's not nearly as much competition at the 75- and 100-watt level (Philips and Cree are the only reputable names to put out reasonably affordable 100-watt replacement LEDs thus far). Adding a 100-watt option to their lineup should position Cree nicely for the coming year, and could help them connect with consumers concerned primarily with the brightness of their home lighting.

For those who simply want to see the price of LEDs continue to come down, Cree's new Home Depot pricing is nothing to scoff at, either. Among other cuts, the popular Cree 60-watt replacement LED will retail for $9.97 (down from $12.97), while the 75-watt replacement is dropping in price from $19.97 to $15.97.

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Where to Buy

Cree 100-watt Replacement LED Bulb (Soft White)

Part Number: BA21-16027OMF-12DE26-1U100

Visit manufacturer site for details.