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Thread: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

  1. #1

    Default Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    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.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    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

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve961 View Post
    - 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?
    1900 watts PV, (1000 watts PV feeding MidNite Classic 150; 900 watts PV + 160 watts micro hydro both feeding into a single shared Morningstar TS-MPPT-60) ; Xantrex Pure Sine 1800/12 for heavy loads; Xantrex Pure Sine 1000/12 on 24/7 for everything else; six Rolls Surrette 2 volt L16 @ 12 volts.
    Domestic hot water totally provided by the sun 8 months out of every year via thermal panel.

  3. #3
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    Default 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-V...1#.UUrH_ldv68A
    1900 watts PV, (1000 watts PV feeding MidNite Classic 150; 900 watts PV + 160 watts micro hydro both feeding into a single shared Morningstar TS-MPPT-60) ; Xantrex Pure Sine 1800/12 for heavy loads; Xantrex Pure Sine 1000/12 on 24/7 for everything else; six Rolls Surrette 2 volt L16 @ 12 volts.
    Domestic hot water totally provided by the sun 8 months out of every year via thermal panel.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Quote Originally Posted by waynefromnscanada View Post
    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.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Quote Originally Posted by waynefromnscanada View Post
    ...I don't care for yellow snow.
    Watch out where the huskies go!

  6. #6
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    Default 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.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Quote Originally Posted by ggunn View Post
    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.
    1900 watts PV, (1000 watts PV feeding MidNite Classic 150; 900 watts PV + 160 watts micro hydro both feeding into a single shared Morningstar TS-MPPT-60) ; Xantrex Pure Sine 1800/12 for heavy loads; Xantrex Pure Sine 1000/12 on 24/7 for everything else; six Rolls Surrette 2 volt L16 @ 12 volts.
    Domestic hot water totally provided by the sun 8 months out of every year via thermal panel.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Cree LED Light Bulb Review

    Quote Originally Posted by waynefromnscanada View Post
    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.

  9. #9

    Default 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.

  10. #10
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    Default 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.
    Last edited by waynefromnscanada; March 23rd, 2013 at 13:15 PDT.
    1900 watts PV, (1000 watts PV feeding MidNite Classic 150; 900 watts PV + 160 watts micro hydro both feeding into a single shared Morningstar TS-MPPT-60) ; Xantrex Pure Sine 1800/12 for heavy loads; Xantrex Pure Sine 1000/12 on 24/7 for everything else; six Rolls Surrette 2 volt L16 @ 12 volts.
    Domestic hot water totally provided by the sun 8 months out of every year via thermal panel.

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