By this level nearly the entire main lighting producers — Philips, Feit, GE, Ikea, you title it — have embraced the rising pattern of “vintage-style” LED mild bulbs. With faux filaments composed of tiny light-emitting diodes as an alternative of the previous, inefficient tungsten of conventional Edison-style lights, the bulbs mix old-school incandescent attraction with new-age vitality financial savings. Head to the sunshine bulb aisle at your native ironmongery shop, and you will be stunned by what number of producers are planting their flag within the pattern.
The large exception is Cree — or not less than it was. After sitting the classic pattern out for the previous two years, the North Carolina-based lighting model lastly dipped its toes into incandescent-ish waters by releasing a brand new line of candelabra LEDs with glass bulbs and faux filaments. That is a distinction to the remainder of the Cree lighting lineup, which distinguishes itself with plasticky, low-cost design and an emphasis on dimming and coloration high quality.
At roughly $9 for both a 40W or 60W alternative two-pack, Cree’s vintage-style candelabra bulbs look good they usually’re simply as shiny and environment friendly as marketed, however I used to be upset with their dimming efficiency. Every one I examined gave off a visual flicker and an audible buzz once I tried to dim them utilizing commonplace dimming hardware — and I examined a number of, together with each the 60W and 40W alternative variations. That clearly is not a difficulty if you happen to do not use dimmer switches in your house, however if you happen to do, I might suggest going with one thing else.
From a design perspective, Cree’s new candelabra bulb represents a pleasant step ahead from the bulb that got here earlier than it. That last-gen, TW Sequence mannequin was a bulkier bulb with an unsightly base on the backside that blocked many of the downcast mild. That is not an issue with the brand new vintage-style mannequin — it appears to be like way more like a conventional mild bulb, and casts its mild out evenly in all instructions.
The faux filaments are organized kind of like a teepee, which is just a little odd and busy-looking, maybe (particularly with the added print on the glass bulb), however I appreciated that they did not get in the best way of one another an excessive amount of and solid obnoxious shadows consequently. Nonetheless, the sunshine unfold is not fairly as clean-looking as you may get with a vintage-style bulb that arranges its filaments into outward-facing spirals, such as you’ll get with GE and Feit. I will take that method over Cree’s teepees any day.
The 60W alternative model of Cree’s candelabra bulb is rated at 515 lumens shiny. That is an correct declare, as I clocked it at 520 lumens utilizing our lighting lab’s spectrometer and integrating sphere setup. That quantity falls to 350 lumens with the 40W alternative model and 220 lumens with the 25W alternative one. All three can be found in each yellowy, comfortable white variations rated at 2,700Ok, in addition to daylight variations rated at 5,000Ok that shine at extra of a pure white. For this overview, I examined the comfortable white variations.
On the left, a GE Reveal incandescent bulb with distinctive coloration rendering capabilities in entrance of a royal purple wall. On the proper, the Cree LED in the identical spot, shot with the identical publicity settings. Cree’s mild distorts the colour of the wall behind it, however solely simply barely.
As for effectivity, Cree’s 60W alternative bulb consumes simply 5.three watts, which implies that it places out a powerful 98 lumens per watt — barely higher than the 40W and 25W variations. Use it a mean of three hours per day, and it will add about $zero.64 to your vitality invoice annually. For comparability, an equally shiny 60W incandescent would solely put out about 9 lumens per watt, and would add about $7 to your vitality invoice annually.
At about $9 for a two-pack, that implies that every Cree 60W alternative candelabra LED would pay for itself in simply 258 days, offered you are utilizing it to exchange a comparable incandescent. From there, it will preserve shining and saving you cash for nicely over a decade, as a result of it is rated to final 13.7 years and comes with a 10-year guarantee. Most incandescents will solely final a yr or so earlier than burning out.
I additionally took a have a look at the bulb’s color-rendering capabilities, which decide how correct it can make the totally different colours in your house seem. Cree has lengthy hung its hat on this metric, however I’ve additionally seen a whole lot of the vintage-style bulbs I’ve examined battle with it, since a lot of them aggressively push the sunshine’s tone into the orange a part of the spectrum with a purpose to obtain that basic, candle-like glow.