Cree LED Light Bulb Review

Steve961Steve961 Posts: 93Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
I just picked up two of the new Cree LED light bulbs from Home Depot, a 6 watt, 2700K, 450 lumen and a 9.5 watt, 2700K, 800 lumen. After playing with them for a bit at home, but not at my cabin where they will eventually go, I have mixed feelings about them. Here are the pros and cons as I see them - ignoring the already commonly known drawbacks of CFL's:

Pros:

- Efficiency. The bulbs were spot on after warming up at 6W (40W) and 9.5W (60W) respectively. The power factor for both was 0.96. The Phillips 40W equivalent CFL's I currently use consume 9.6 watts with a 0.57 power factor. The Cree gives me a substantial 37% power savings over the equivalent CFL.

- Color. The soft white bulbs look good to me, although I'm not a color snob. If I had to compare them to an incandescent, I'd say they're a bit more yellow to my eyes.

- Bulb temperature. The bulb itself is relatively cool to the touch, much more so than an incandescent and even a CFL. The Cree does have what seems to be a ceramic ring around the base of the bulb that does get hot, although not as much as an incandescent.

- Safety-coated glass. While not absolutely necessary, it is a nice touch.

Cons:

- Size. The Cree bulb was taller than I expected. It was tall enough that it protruded from the top of my dining room light fixture. Here are it's dimensions compared to a standard incandescent and Phillips Mini Twist CFL:

Cree 6W LED: height = 4.75", width = 2.41"
40W incandescent: height = 4.29", width = 2.35"
Phillips 9W CFL: height = 3.24", width = 1.81"

- Light direction. Cree claims the bulbs are omnidirectional, but I don't find that to be the case. When I installed one of the bulbs in my hanging light fixture, there was a conspicuous lack of light directed toward the bottom and top - enough so that I would not want to use them in that location (see pics below). Their "filament tower", as they call it, actually directs most of the light to the sides. I did install the 9.5W bulb in a light fixture with a shade, and the directional effect is minimized.

The Cree bulb is on the left.

Attachment not found. Attachment not found. Attachment not found.

In the end, I probably won't be using many of these in my house. I will, however, install them throughout my cabin where they don't need to meet the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). The majority of my energy use in wintertime at my cabin is lighting, and it's also when I will be producing the least amount of solar power. A 37% savings in power for lighting will definitely help extend my battery capacity.

Steve
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Comments

  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Posts: 3,009Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    Steve961 wrote: »
    - ignoring the already commonly known drawbacks of CFL's:

    Pros:

    - Efficiency. The bulbs were spot on after warming up

    Huh? Your LED "bulbs" had to warm up before they produced full light output?
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Posts: 3,009Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    It appears I've found a far better "bulb". No bright spots or directional output, almost identical to traditional incandescent bulbs. 450 lumens, 3000K, extremely well distributed, and only 7.5 watts. Oh, and it can be used outside in damp locations. Picked up 10 when on sale for $6.97 at Central Supplies building supply/hardware outlet here in NS. Now back to their "normal" price of $12.00, I LOVE these lights other than I would prefer 4000K for outdoor use as I don't care for yellow snow. Inside though, they're fine.
    These are without any doubt the very best I've come across so far, and apparently Home Depot also has them, as this link shows:
    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Philips-VisionLED-7-5-Watt-40W-A19-Bright-White-3000K-LED-Light-Bulb-E-420232/203248901#.UUrH_ldv68A
  • ggunnggunn Posts: 1,972Solar Expert
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    Huh? Your LED "bulbs" had to warm up before they produced full light output?
    I assumed that he meant that their power consumption stabilized when they warmed up. The two that I have installed take maybe a half second to come on (just about long enough to think "damn..."), but when they light up they are at full brightness.
  • ggunnggunn Posts: 1,972Solar Expert
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    ...I don't care for yellow snow.
    Watch out where the huskies go! :D
  • ggunnggunn Posts: 1,972Solar Expert
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    In the fixture over our washer and dryer I had replaced the incandescent indoor flood with a CFL, but it took a couple of minutes to come up to full brightness and the wife was complaining. I replaced the CFL with an LED flood, and it works great, but it cost about $25. If it ever quits working I will probably go back to the incandescent, if they are still available.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Posts: 3,009Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    ggunn wrote: »
    I replaced the CFL with an LED flood, and it works great, but it cost about $25. If it ever quits working I will probably go back to the incandescent, if they are still available.

    When it quits working, don't be surprised to see the LED cheaper than incandescent. Prices are finally starting to drop, and also expect them to be better and brighter than ever. I'm amazed at how the technology is advancing. 20 years ago if someone had told me I'd be lighting my home with LEDs, I would have asked them what drug they were on. Hahaha
    And remember how the price of vacuum tubes for electronics went through the roof when transistors took over? I expect to see the same in time with incandescent bulbs as distributors and retail outlets start adding on the cost of storage while waiting for someone to buy them, and as manufacturers go out of business, leaving only a couple world wide still making them. Where can I buy a picture tube for my TV today, and at what price? Scary how things change and how fast the change can take place.
  • Steve961Steve961 Posts: 93Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    Huh? Your LED "bulbs" had to warm up before they produced full light output?

    The bulbs are full brightness when turned on, it's just that the watts they use are slightly higher on startup - only 2/10's of a watt or so. My comment was meant to show how close they are to their advertised power usage. Conversely, my Phillips CFL's state they are 9 watt while actually consuming 9.6 watts when stabilized. I appreciate Crees accuracy in their advertising.
  • williatywilliaty Posts: 54Solar Expert
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    The big elephant in the room that few people are talking about with these newest crop of LEDs is the CRI. They prices are dropping, the efficiency is getter better, but at the expense of fairly unpleasant light. For instance, these cheap CREEs that have people so excited right now only have a CRI of 80. That's not nearly good enough for a lot of people. My concern is that we'll have a race to the bottom on price and all the manufacturers will end up producing very cheap lamps that look as bad as CFL.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Posts: 3,009Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Agree with you "williaty", but on the other hand, unless they do get the price down, they'll be a very long time gaining a significant share of the lighting market. Already in my area I see two different Wal*Marts have removed most of the LEDs from their shelves last week and replaced them with incandescent. That shocked me, but on the other hand I've been keeping a very close eye on their LEDs, waiting for the price to come down as there was no movement of the stock they had. Couple of years ago they had a similar situation and finally practically gave them away to make room for the newer models, this time however instead of dropping the price, they just withdrew them. The "man on the street" is not going to purchase $40 and $60 light bulbs, they just shake their heads and walk away, leaving only us die-hard off gridders or a very few other fanatics, to buy one now and again.
  • inetdoginetdog Posts: 3,112Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    Already in my area I see two different Wal*Marts have removed most of the LEDs from their shelves last week and replaced them with incandescent.
    Down here in the "lower provinces" we do not have that option for many size light bulbs. Best we can get ongoing will be Halogen. Those are not really that much more efficient or long lived, but much more expensive.
    I wonder if the big W is clearing out the last of stock from manufacturers who are not doing incandescent for NA use any more? Or maybe gray market intended for another country?
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Posts: 3,009Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Good question "inetdog"", but I find it interesting that a couple of building supply outfits are outdoing the big W with price reductions of 50% and more, and that's with newer, higher quality Philips LEDs. How can that be? Is Wal*Mart asleep at the helm?
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Posts: 1,925Solar Expert
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    Good question "inetdog"", but I find it interesting that a couple of building supply outfits are outdoing the big W with price reductions of 50% and more, and with newer, higher quality Philips LEDs. How can that be? Is Wal*Mart asleep at the helm?

    Perhaps, Walmart tries to target customers who want to save money as opposed to customers who want to save planet.
  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 4,175Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Doesn't seem to fit, cheap food, cheap clothes, cheap TVs, expensive light bulbs...
     
    CL 647 asleep  24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL29032 FW 2079/ 2073/ 2054 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,Omnicharge 3024,
    Linksys Wet54g WiFi Bridge, ASUS RTN10 router, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
     Eu3000i & 1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come,
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada



  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Insufficient profit margin ....
  • williatywilliaty Posts: 54Solar Expert
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    Insufficient profit margin ....

    BINGO!




    Or Philips isn't letting Wal*Mao bully them, so they're being "punished" by having their products taken off the shelves or put in hard to find location. Wal*Mao has a well known history for bullying vendors like this. If Philips thinks they can make enough sales via other chains, they may have stood up to Wal*Mao.




    And I'd love to suddenly see a big stash of incandescent lamps in a local store. IMO, none of the replacement technologies really render color well enough to serve as a no-downside replacement, but I have to admit that the Philips L-Prize unit comes very close. I'm very interested in trying the LEDnovation 90 CRI units as well, as they're offered in higher luminances that I need.
  • ggunnggunn Posts: 1,972Solar Expert
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    Perhaps, Walmart tries to target customers who want to save money as opposed to customers who want to save planet.
    No "perhaps" about it; that is their entire business model.
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Posts: 464Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    It appears I've found a far better "bulb". ... These are without any doubt the very best I've come across so far, and apparently Home Depot also has them, as this link shows:
    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Philips-VisionLED-7-5-Watt-40W-A19-Bright-White-3000K-LED-Light-Bulb-E-420232/203248901#.UUrH_ldv68A

    Yep, they're nice! I have several of them, from Home Depot. I use them in my desk lamps and a couple other "spot" locations.

    Only downside to me is that they're no brighter. The larger Phillips bulbs with the three yellow sections where the emitters are work just fine, but the price jumps substantially (more than double) to get to the "60W equivalent" bulb.

    I remember back when I first started using CFLs there was something I didn't like about the color of the light. Things looked "muddy". At first I ran one incandescent and one CFL in each fixture (for room lighting). Over time I guess I got used to it, now I just use CFL or LED. However recently I've been doing a lot of tinkering with electronics - prototyping on breadboards, soldering circuits on perfboard, that sort of thing. Granted my eyes are quite a bit older than they were the last time I did this a lot, and the components are smaller, but I noticed I had a really hard time seeing things "clearly". After some futzing around with light positions and magnifiers I finally put an incandescent bulb in the work light. (I was originally using one of these LED bulbs.)

    Such a difference! I have since found just flooding the work area with A LOT OF LIGHT works okay too, but switching to the incandescent bulb was easily the most effective way to make things easier to see. I just don't like the heat coming off the thing! :cool:
  • BB.BB. Posts: 25,031Super Moderators admin
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    I still really like the halogen desk lamps/bulbs for that sort of work. I figure 25 watts is not going to kill anyone.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • DavidOHDavidOH Posts: 109Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Alphabet Soup.

    Can someone translate for me.
    Here is a start:
    LED = Light Emitting Diode
    WAF = Wife Acceptance Factor
    CFL = Compact Florescent Light
    CREE =
    CRI =

    I keep up with most on this but when you start using multiple abbreviations it all get lost in the translation.
  • williatywilliaty Posts: 54Solar Expert
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    DavidOH wrote: »
    Alphabet Soup.

    Can someone translate for me.
    Here is a start:
    LED = Light Emitting Diode
    WAF = Wife Acceptance Factor
    CFL = Compact Florescent Light
    CREE =
    CRI =

    I keep up with most on this but when you start using multiple abbreviations it all get lost in the translation.

    CREE is a company name. You and I would have named the company "Cree", but some ad agency convinced themselves that it'd be cooler to be "CREE".
    (upper left corner) CreeLED2.jpg

    CRI is Color Rendering Index. It's basically a measure of how a very artifical light source like an LED or a flourescent fakes being a "real" light source like an incandescent or the sun. Higher numbers are better. The majority of people will really dislike anything below about 70 or so. Some people will be ok with things in the 75-80 range. A fair number of people are satisfied by the time you get to the mid-80s. Just about everyone is happy with the light by the time you get into the mid-90s.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 25,031Super Moderators admin
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Cree--Brand of LED mfg. (leading mfg for white/high power LEDs).

    CRI--Color Rendering Index (from an LED point of view)... 100% CRI is sunlight type spectrum for human eye optimum color recognition. Near zero for monochromatic light source.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • DavidOHDavidOH Posts: 109Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Thanks guys. While you are at it, can you post a link to a good color code chart? I have one but not so sure it's good. CRI - Color Rendering Index.
    Yeah, loving the new LEDs coming out. Gonna be a while picking out ones I like with so many choices now. Choice is always a good thing. ;)
  • williatywilliaty Posts: 54Solar Expert
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Color code chart for what?
  • DavidOHDavidOH Posts: 109Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    The Color Code mentioned above. CRI

    "A" color code chart Wayne, JUST ONE that you recommend, please. They are not all the same.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Posts: 3,009Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Hahaha Sorry David, I just couldn't resist. As Flip Wilson used to say: "The Devil made me do it." :D:D:D
  • inetdoginetdog Posts: 3,112Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    DavidOH wrote: »
    The Color Code mentioned above. CRI

    "A" color code chart Wayne, JUST ONE that you recommend, please. They are not all the same.

    There are several CRI forms, one of which I believe tests the accuracy of rendition of 8 standard colors and one which uses 10 standard colors to give more costly test results but better for things like artistic design, cosmetics, and visibility work.

    It is also possible to calculate a CRI value using as many as 14 standard colors.

    (Shamelessly excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_rendering_index, where you can find depictions of the standard colors. However, you can't do much by shining a light on those colors on the screen or even printing the color swatches on a home printer. For proper use you need to purchase calibrated reference samples using the exact combination of dyes specified by the standard.)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 4,175Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Sorry this is not really a CREE bulb as far as I can see but may be of interest to all since it appears ( to my eyes) to be a great low wattage bulb.. 3 for < $20

    seller: Costco
    make: Sunbeam
    model: 30411274
    Type: Chandelier Bulb DECORATIVE
    warm white, 3000K (but to me looks like 3500 to < 4000 Bright White)
    Lumens 240
    Watts: 4 BUT K-0-Watt reads 2
    Reg # C8W7 - GA72MG
    Attachment not found.Attachment not found.

    they also come with a 'once used > permanent ' reg light bulb adapter base
     
    CL 647 asleep  24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL29032 FW 2079/ 2073/ 2054 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,Omnicharge 3024,
    Linksys Wet54g WiFi Bridge, ASUS RTN10 router, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
     Eu3000i & 1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come,
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada



  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Posts: 489Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    westbranch wrote: »
    Watts: 4 BUT K-0-Watt reads 2

    I have noticed Many of my LED's with the K-O-Watt are less than I would think also.
    All but a few full length full spectrum 4 foot florescent @ 40 watt is all we have left.
    I will update the shop lighting when I feel I can work safely .
    Right now any shadows could mean a missing twinky..
    Price is another HUGE problem .

    VT
  • inetdoginetdog Posts: 3,112Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review
    CDN_VT wrote: »
    Right now any shadows could mean a missing twinky..
    As could a severe strobe effect. LEDs have the potential to be better in this respect than standard fluorescents, but can also be far worse if not designed for strobe-free output. (Half-wave xmas tree lights for a horrible example. A lot of people are uneasy just walking past them.)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
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