Shopping for the best LED bulbs for your needs is hard.
I know this, as do those of you looking at this guide. There’s such a wide variety of them, with varying specs and promises that it’s easy to get lost. But, one shouldn’t get lost. Light bulbs are one of the most important things you buy, as they light up the dark in our homes.
They should be well made to last the hundreds, nay thousands of hours we will be relying on them. So when you’ve decided that it’s time to upgrade, or your trusted light bulb has sparked its last light, you’ll want to get the best LED bulbs as a replacement
Best LED Bulbs
There is a wide range and variety of LED bulbs, and the number keeps on rising throughout the years. LED’s are no longer just used for certain appliances but are capable of replacing every bulb anywhere in your house. Each boast about wattage equivalence, Wattage itself, Lumens, CRI (Color Rendering Index) and dimmability. But what is important? Which of these hundreds of bulbs and brands is trustworthy? Which has proven their reliability through practice not talk? Well, I’m here to help guide you to those who’ve proven themselves in the LED field.
These LED bulbs have been chosen due to not only their excellence but because they’ve proven their worth after use. As not everyone is looking for your generic bulb, I’ve also decided to add different types of LEDs, as there’s a plethora of shapes and sizes. Not all bulbs are the same, nor can they be used for every application. But before we get in depth on each, we need to learn more about Light bulbs in general, so buckle down and get ready!
How light bulbs work, & Wattage
To start off, let’s talk about Wattage. A LED bulb will never be the same wattage as the Incandescent/halogen/fluorescent they will be replacing. This is why you will constantly read or hear the phrase “Wattage Equivalent” when referring to the bulb it will replace. Why is this? Well, in order to cover this let’s talk about how light bulbs make light
Incandescent lights work by using electricity to heat up a filament inside a container with inert gas, which produces light after a certain degree. The major drawback to this is its efficiency. Only 2.2% of all energy used produces light or lumens, with the best being still a measly 5%. The rest is converted into heat, which eventually heats up its surroundings.
Halogens work almost the same, only with the addition of a halogen gas inside. The halogen gas redeposits the tungsten evaporated from heat back into the filament, extending its lifespan. This has two downsides, however. First, the tungsten generates UV light which will slowly damage any color pigments it comes in contact with. Furthermore, they are extremely hot. So hot that they are at times used in ceramic cook top stoves! As such, not only do they not increase efficiency, the added heat and UV light make these horrible home lights.
Fluorescent bulbs work by passing electric current and energizing the mercury vapor inside the tubes. The vapor then produces short-wave UV light that causes the phosphor coating to glow. They are much more efficient than Incandescent and Halogens, having a 15% efficiency at best. However, they still generate high amounts of heat (not as much as the Halogen though) and UV light.
LEDs on the other hand, work by moving electrons through a semiconductor, which generates light. This process has a higher efficiency, from 5 to 20%+ in the best LED bulbs. These light bulbs work by utilizing multiple smaller LEDs, usually arranged in a way to maximize light efficiency. As such, they generate less heat due to low wattage draw, and they don’t generate any UV light. This makes them perfect for any application, especially on lighting art up, as they produce no UV and will not damage color. Lastly, unlike other light bulb types, frequent on/off cycles do not reduce the lifespan of LEDs, so don’t worry and turn them off whenever they’re not needed.
Lumens (lm for short) is the aspect you should take into major consideration while looking for the best LED bulbs for you. What are Lumens? It’s the amount of light the bulb can produce. More is almost always better unless you’re not interested in it. Something to keep in mind though is that lumens are what you will be using in place of Watts. This is because as LED bulbs are extremely energy efficient, lumens per watts is something to keep an eye on.
CRI is the color accuracy of the light bulb. As an easy note, higher is always better. The higher the CRi is, the more vibrant colors look under the light. A light bulb with 70 CRI will make colors look pale compared to a 90 CRI light bulb. Most LED bulbs nowadays are above 70 CRI, but the difference between 70-80-90 is stark. The best LED bulbs have 85+ CRI, with a few even going over 90. As such, I recommend going for the highest CRI with every bulb. Never settle for a low amount of CRI, as it’s an extremely important spec to keep an eye on.
Something else to keep in mind though is that CRI only tests some of the whole color spectrum. there is a total of 14 colors usually tested, with CRI only testing and rating R1-8. It doesn’t test R9-14. Because of this, those brands who boast not only high CRI but R9 and onwards are even better than other contenders out there. The best LED bulbs will have high CRI with high R9+, so those should be your highest picks.
Sockets are something to keep in mind while shopping for the best LED bulbs for your needs. You will have the option between quite an array of sockets, but the most common are the E26 Standard, the GU10, and GU24. These three sockets are the most common for light bulbs, so make sure your base supports these two! If you’re looking to replace those pesky tubular fluorescent lights as well though, we’ll be covering them near the end. Now if your base doesn’t support these sockets, then don’t fret, light bulbs are still made for the other types. And if you don’t want to replace the base, just get an adapter!
Many light bulbs and a huge majority on this list are dimmable. HOWEVER, dimming isn’t a black and white topic of what dims and what doesn’t. While many LEDs are dimmable, don’t just buy any dimmable light bulb. This is because not every LED is compatible with every dimming switch. I’m not sure why, but while your light bulb may work fine on one switch, it may not work well with another. In fact, many old dimmers will not work with LED bulbs, and will either not turn the lights on, make a buzzing sound, or even damage the LEDs, so please check first before blaming the bulb for not working. I will do a guide on this next, so keep an eye out! As such, we recommend to do research on the dimming switch you want and then look for a LED compatible with it.
The ONLY exception is LED tubes, as there are no high quality and reliable tubes out there that fully support dimming yet. This is mostly due to cost, as some companies have stated that the tech is not there yet, and would double the cost of the LED or more. So sadly, we’ll have to wait a little longer for those.
Now with all that out of the way, let’s move straight onto the LED light bulbs themselves! Please note: This isn’t a ranking system. There are just too many LED types that a simple tier system doesn’t do them justice. Instead, I’ve decided to provide you all with the best LED bulbs in their category, and present them with their pros and cons.
These LED light bulbs are known as reflector type, though more commonly referred to as flood lights. They are useful for many applications that conventional bulbs may seem unseemly due to their specific beam angle.
The Hyperikon Par20 boasts an amazing 90 CRI, beating many other LED bulbs out there. On top of their amazing CRI, they also have a R9>50 rating, making them even better than your typical 90 CRI LED. The perfect LED, with the only downside of it having a 40° beam angle and as such, limited use.
Drawing up to 8w total, this LED bulb also comes in a choice of 2700/3000/4000K glow, giving you a choice of product. Something to note though: The 2700K outputs 500lm, the 3000K 540lm, and 4000K 570lm.
Another plus is it being dimmable, as when paired up with a dimming switch certified to work with LEDs, you’ll have a smooth setup. They will fit any E26 socket, but keep their width (2.7″) and height (3.2″) in mind if trying to place in an enclosed space!
They are Energy Star and UL Listed, giving this bulb some credibility and backing. The PAR20 is also rated for outdoor use, so they’re perfect for patio lighting, garages, and anything in between! Just, don’t get them wet.
Moving onto the next bulb, we have an interesting shape coming from Hyperikon, with the BR30. This LED bulb is not as flat as the previous one by Hyperikon, but that comes with advantages.
The shape allows it to have a 120° beam angle, allowing it to cover 3x more space than the past one. These LED bulbs are also rated for outside use as well. So if the last one didn’t tickle your fancy, we hope this one does!
The Hyperikon BR30 is rated at a CRI of 84+, falling lower than the previous one. On top of this, it also doesn’t have the R9>50 value. However, the BR30 does make up for the loss with the increased beam angle. This allows you to consider it for larger areas where light is simply needed.
This bulb comes in 4 varieties, 2700/3000/4000/5000K glows. Do please keep in mind that lumens vary between glows. Starting with the 2700 outputting 650lm, 3000K: 670lm, 4000K: 690lm, and 5000K: 710lm.
Watts however, are static and all 4 types only use 9w. They are dimmable, but will not reach 20%, making them only decent at dimming. with it’s strange shape, please keep the bulbs’ dimension (3.8″ x 5″) in mind.
For those of you who don’t have an E26 socket, there’s the MR16. These LED bulbs com in either GU5.3 or GU10 bases! As such, there are differences between both which we will cover.
Specs wise, the MR16 is the same on both types, boasting a CRI of 90+. Also, just like the PAR20, the MR16 has a 40° beam angle making this ideal for places where you want specific lighting. Both versions use 7 watts, with the difference being in lumens, glow and socket.
The GU10 version is only available in two glows: 2700/3000K. The 2700K outputs 400lm and the 3000K outputs 420lm. These specs make it the weaker of the two.
The GU5.3 version, however, has a higher lumen per watt efficiency. In specific, the GU10 version has lumens as ordered: 2300K: 430lm, 2700K: 450lm, 3000K: 470lm and 4000K: 490 (as per the box).
Also, the GU5.3 boasts a R9>50 value, something not present on the GU10 version. As such, the GU5.3 version of the MR16 is far superior spec wise and should only not be purchased if it doesn’t fit your socket or enclosures. Lastly, both are dimmable and as such be sure to check compatibility with your dimmer before purchase.
*As a side note, Hyperikon has stated that these LED bulbs may interfere with WAC track lights, so please check compatibility if you’re looking to use these for such reasons.
Hyperikon A19 – Best Overall LED Bulb
Next up is the bulb shape we all know and love! the A19! These trusted LED bulbs will fit any conventional A19 socket, and pack a mighty punch as LEDs. As any conventional A19 bulb goes, it uses the E26 socket.
This LED bulb is CRI90+ with a R9>70, making it the best of the best in the LED world. Honestly, this here is enough for me to consider it the best led bulb for any general application. It comes ENERGY STAR qualified and UL-Listed, so you’re not being bamboozled, okay?
The Hyperikon A19 light bulb comes in 4 choices, 2700/3000/4000/5000K. And of course, the lumens are as follows: 2700K: 800lm, 3000K: 820lm, 4000K: 840lm and 5000K: 860lm. As such, they’re a perfect replacement for any 60 watt incandescent and every different glow uses up to 9 watts max.
These LED bulbs are dimmable, but feedback seems spotted. Many reporting buzzing with dimming switches, and so we do not recommend them for dimming. If you must have them on a dimming switch, we advise to first do research on your switch to check compatibility. After all, buzzing is really annoying.
TIWIN A19 – Good Quality LED Bulb
If the Hyperikon didn’t tickle your fancy, then how about the TIWIN A19? While they aren’t as high spec as the Hyperikon A19, these do have a few pluses themselves. Like any E26 bulb, these LED bulbs will fit anywhere as it’s only slightly bigger than a conventional Incandescent.
To start if off, this LED bulb has a CRI of 80+. Sadly, however, there is no mention of R9 rating. It is UL listed as well, so it has some backing.
The TIWIN A19 come in only 2 varieties, but it makes up for it on lumens. Both the 2700K and 5000K output 1100lm, and both use 11 watts at max power. The high lumens make these a perfect 80w Incandescent replacement for those looking.
According to the manufacturer, these LED bulbs are not suited for full enclosures as the voltage regulator heats up a little too much. They will, however, do fine in semi-closed enclosures.
Philips A19 455717 – Best Bright LED Bulb
The Philips A19 is for those looking for a super bright LED, while still having some build quality. After all, just because it’s brighter doesn’t mean it should be of lesser quality.
Spec wise, these LED bulbs are not the best at all. It does not state the CRI, both on the box or on the product page, so expect low CRI ranging from the 70s. It is Energy Star certified, however, giving it some backing on efficiency. And as such, the bulb uses up 14.5 watts at full power.
Coming in a choice of 3/4/6/8 pack, the Philips A19 455717 are the LED bulbs for those looking for a 100w Incandescent bulb replacement.
The 2700K version comes in at 800lm, which is quite low, but the 5000K version glows at a whopping 1500lm. Now, I know that it’s below the usual 1600lm of an Incandescent, but for the quality, you’re getting, it’s worth every buck.
While you won’t see this on the box or listing, these LED bulbs are also not rated for fully enclosed spaces due to heat. As such, please place in semi-enclosed spaces at most. On another note, they are not dimmable so do not use with dimming switches.
SGL 6 Inch Downlight – Best Dimming LED bulb
For those of you who’re looking for specialized LED light bulbs to place in Recessed fixtures, we’ve got a few lined up! First up is the SGL 6″ Downlight. This LED bulb comes with an E26 socket should you need one as well.
Onwards we go, with this bulb having a CRI of 80+. This bulb is ENERGY STAR and UL Listed, using up to 13 watts at max, making this an efficient LED.
These LED bulbs come in 3 versions, 3000/4000/5000K, with lumens being as follows: 3000K: 1050lm, 4000K: 1080lm and 5000K: 1150lm. With their high lumens, this downlight is perfect for an 80w Incandescent replacement.
As a Downlight, these LED bulbs are rated for closed fixtures. And an added plus: they are compatible with BR30 and BR 40 fixtures, so if you’re replacing those bulbs, these are perfect!
On another note, this LED bulb boasts an amazing dimmability of 100% to 1%, making it the best dimming LED bulb on this list.
Hyperikon 5/6″ LED Downlight – Best Patio Bulb
Up next is another Hyperikon, with these LED bulbs being designed to fit both 5″ and 6″ recessed fixtures! Also coming with an E26 socket, These are also made to fit not only 5″, but 6″ fixtures as well!
Boasting a CRI of 90+ and a R9>70 value, these LED bulbs is the only equal to the other bulb by Hyperikon, and the best recessed LED on this list. Along with an 110-120° beam angle, these are an amazing set of LEDs. With it being Energy Star and UL listed, you won’t go wrong.
These LED bulbs come in 3 varieties, 2700/3000/4000K. The 2700K outputs 920lm, the 3000K 950lm and the 4000K 980lm. All three use up 14 watts, so no difference between types. It is behind SGL and their LEDs. This, however, is due to the bulb being smaller to fit in a 5″ socket.
This bulb is rated for enclosed fixtures as well, due to its requirement of a recessed can. While these LED bulbs are dimmable, sadly no percentage is given and as such, should be assumed to be 100-50%. Lastly, this LED light bulb is also rated for outdoor use, making this appealing to those wanting a recessed patio bulb.
Hyperikon 4″ LED Downlight – Best LED Bar
For those of you wanting smaller recessed LED bulbs, we’ve got the 4″ Hyperikon lined up! This little guy comes with the same E26 socket as the others as well.
Despite being smaller than the past ones, this LED bulb isn’t any worse spec wise. It boasts an amazing 93+ CRI and R9>70 rating, making this the BEST LED bar none here. Kinda funny as it’s one of the smaller guys here.
Anyways, it’s also ENERGY STAR qualified and UL-Listed, so don’t worry as Hyperikon doesn’t settle for less!
Coming with a choice of 3 glows, the 2700K outputs: 630lm, 3000K outputs 650 and the 4000K outputs 670. Every glow also consumes the same wattage, 14w.
As such, they are on the dimmer side in terms of lumens, mostly due to the smaller size and increased attention to CRI. Overall, however, these are an amazing replacement for 60 watt Incandescent bulbs, but will fall behind as 80 and 100-watt bulb replacements.
This LED light bulb is dimmable, and while it’s not as impressive as the SGL, it has a 100-20% dimmability range. However, this may vary depending on your dimming switch.
Candelabra LED Bulb
Up next are candelabra LED bulbs! These smaller ones won’t be as amazing compared to those above, but they are the only E12 bulbs here, so for those of you looking, pay attention!
As one of the smallest LED bulb around, the LOHAS Torpedo LEDs fall shorter on the spec side. However, these still manage a CRI>80, making them on par with others here on this list. And due to their size, take the least around of watts, maxing out at 6 watts on 100% brightness. Sadly, however, these are not UL-listed, so keep this in mind.
In terms of lumens, the LOHAS fall under with the 2700/4000/5000K all outputting 550lm. As such, these LED bulbs are best used to replace a 40-watt Incandescent, not a 60 watt as advertised. However, due to its design, this LED is marketed as a 360° bulb. As such, when placed in certain fixtures, they may seem brighter than one might expect.
Something that must be noted, is some of the design issues. People have reported issues with the base not fitting all the way and thus making these LED bulbs worthless to them. This is because the base is on the shorter side, making the bulb not fit in every socket.
If the last one didn’t fit your taste, or you’re worried about potential issues, then how about these LEDMO Sharp Tip LED bulbs? They also come in a flame shape (which has different specs), but we prefer the simple torpedo.
Like the LOHAS, these bulbs fall shorter than others. But they are on level fields, with a CRI>80 just like the others. They do, however, take an extra watt on the way, maxing out at 7 watts. These LED bulbs are not UL-listed nor Energy Star
On the lumens side, these are brighter than the LOHAS, with the 3000K and 6000K both outputting 630lm. Unlike the LOHAS however these only have a 270° beam angle, and as such, cover less area compared to the other.
Their dimensions are 1.4″ by 4.2″, making these a little bigger than the LOHAS LED bulb and as such, one should double check to see if they fit. However, unlike the LOHAS the base doesn’t instantly transition into the bulb, making them fit any standard socket without trouble.
Tube LED Bulbs
A quick note: *most these require ballast bypass as per instructions given by HYPERIKON.
*(exception being 4′ Dual-End)
If you’re looking for some new and shiny tube LEDs, Hyperikon’s got your back! (again). This pair of tube LED bulbs are a little special, as they’ll work with T8/T10/T12 type tombstones and most ballast. Please keep in mind though that it is recommended to remove the Ballast, as it takes up 4.8 watts itself and can cause buzzing. Also, it won’t last as long as the LED anyways.
To start it off, these tube LEDs boast a CRI of 84, making them better than most other tubes. Though they are one of the most power intensive, drawing in 18 watts. This LED bulb is not ENERGY STAR qualified, but it is DLC qualified. As such, it still is an efficient bulb and has some credibility.
Where this LED tube shines however, is in the lumens. As a 4′ Tube LED, it’s one of the brightest ones here, with the all four versions (3000/4000/5000/6000K) being rated at 2200lm, as per description on a product page. As such, they’re the perfect bulb for those of you needing a bright light in the shop.
Something to note though: all of these LED tubes are clear, so they will hurt your eyes should you stare directly into them. So if you don’t like suuuuper bright lights, we recommend a cover if you don’t have one already.
For those of you looking for a single ended 4′ LED Tube, this is the one. It is compatible with T8 tombstones, and even comes with 4 Free tombstones for those of you who need it!
There is some similarity spec wise between this set of LED tubes, and the ones above. And as such, this tube draws 18 watts. The lumens are the same all across the glows, with 3000/4000/5000/6000K all outputting 2200lm, just like the double ended. Lastly, this bulb also comes in at a CRI of 84, so this choice is mostly out of which works on your fixture.
The only main difference lies in certification. Unlike the double ended one, this LED tube is UL-Listed. As such, this LED tube is potentially better, but it’s all up to you.
Hyperikon 2′ Tube LED Dual Ended – Best Two Foot LED Tube
Last on the List, is a 2 foot Tube LED for those of you who need or are looking for a smaller one. While it’s half the size compared to the other two, Hyperikon didn’t slack off while designing this little guy.
Just like the 4′ single-ended tube, this LED boasts a CRI84 ratting. Along with being UL-Listed and DLC qualified, it’s essentially a mini of the tube above, except this one’s dual ended. And as such, is the best 2′ LED Tube you can get.
This LED Tube is available in 4000/5000K glow though, making it less desirable for those looking for a 3000K light. In terms of lumens, both 4000/5000K versions output 1160lm, so they’re still extremely bright. And as such, you still might want a cover should it be too bright. Both versions use 10 watts, so they’re still quite efficient.
All of these LED light bulbs are rated for 20,000 hours+, with some, like the tube LEDs, being rated 45,000+ hours. These won’t go out unless there’s a manufacturer’s defect. Thankfully most, if not all LEDs, have warranty should they go out too soon so don’t be bummed out.
I hope this guide helped you guys find the best LED bulbs for you. And if it didn’t, I hope I at least helped you understand what a light bulb should have, and how to avoid cheap and low-quality LED bulbs. I myself had trouble looking for the best LED bulbs for my room, and with most lists having low-quality bulbs I ended up going my own way. Looking back at the list, there’s a bunch of Hyperikon products, but I think they’re really some of the best LED bulbs out there. And I’m not the only one who thinks so, as there are hundreds of positive reviews on them. Their customer service is phenomenal as well, so you’ll be in good hands with them.
Featured Image by :Pashminu