Science Energy The 6 Most Energy Efficient LED Light Bulbs of 2021 Shine bright and sustainably with these LED bulbs By Heidi Wachter Heidi Wachter Syracuse University San Francisco State University Heidi Wachter was a senior editor at Experience Life magazine for 10 years. She has written for publications like Experience Life, Shondaland, and betterpet. Learn about our editorial process Fact checked by Elizabeth MacLennan Fact checked by Elizabeth MacLennan on March 29, 2021 University of Tennessee Elizabeth MacLennan is a fact checker and expert on climate change. Learn about our fact checking process on March 29, 2021 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Science Renewable Energy Fossil Fuels Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. LED (Light-Emitting Diode) bulbs aren’t just for specialty lamps anymore. They can be used indoors, outdoors, and can even be solar-powered. They come in multiple shapes, color, and temperature options. They may cost slightly more upfront than other light bulbs. However, they use 75 to 80 percent less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb. LEDs are also a little more efficient than Compact Florescent Lights (CFLs), but unlike CFLs, contain no mercury. Switching to LED bulbs will reduce your electric bill and lighten your carbon footprint. Most manufacturers promise their bulbs will last 20,000 to 50,000 hours, and offer warranties to back these claims. That means you’ll also save money compared to other bulbs because you won’t have to buy them as often, and you’ll have fewer bulbs to dispose of which makes Mother Earth happy. Some LEDs (particularly those used in screens) do emit more blue light than other bulb types. That means that they can suppress melatonin—a hormone that facilitates sleep—so if you're concerned you may want to consider avoiding very bright LED light too close to bed time, or looking for LED bulbs on the warmer range of the color spectrum. Here are some options that received glowing remarks in our research. The Rundown Best Overall: Cree 60W Equivalent Daylight (5000K) LED Light Bulb at Walmart Rated at 25,000 hours of use, they’re long-lasting alternatives to similar energy-sucking incandescent bulbs. Best Budget: Philips 60-Watt-Equivalent A19 LED Light Bulb at Amazon These Philips soft white lights are energy efficient and cost-effective. Best Smart LED Bulb: Philips Hue LED Smart Bulb at Amazon The latest Hue bulb can be controlled with Bluetooth or Zigbee and can be voice activated via Alexa or Google Assistant. Best Full Spectrum LED: Mibest Lux Full Spectrum Light at Amazon These glare and flicker-free sunlight mimicking lamps are easy to use and easy on the eyes. Best Bright White Light LED: GE Lighting 32279 LED Bright Stik 6-Watt Light Bulbs at Amazon Durable and affordable, these 40-watt replacement LEDs use only 6 watts of energy and provide 450 lumens of light. Best Soft Light LED: Feit Electric 60-Watt Equivalent A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb at Home Depot These Feit Electric bulbs outshine the competition offering color quality at affordable pricing. Best Overall: Cree 60W Equivalent Daylight (5000K) Dimmable LED Light Bulb View On Walmart View On Amazon View On Home Depot Cree has established itself as a top-tier manufacturer of LEDs creating affordable, effective lighting solutions to energy-sucking incandescent bulbs. Rated at 25,000 hours of use, they’re long-lasting alternatives to similar incandescents and have a very pure, bright white light. They consume just 10 watts of energy while emitting 815 lumens making them incredibly cost-effective. They’re compatible with dimming switches and backed by a 10-year warranty. Best Budget: Philips 60-Watt-Equivalent 2700K A19 LED Light Bulb View On Amazon View On Home Depot Looking for an affordable solution for replacing incandescent bulbs? These Philips soft white lights are energy efficient and cost-effective. Each bulb is expected last 10 years and offer up to 10,950 hours of use. They use a quarter of the energy of incandescent and half the energy of halogens. Look for them in discounted multipacks. Best Smart LED Bulb: Philips Hue White 4-Pack A19 LED Smart Bulb 3.6 View On Amazon View On Best Buy If you want to be able to control your lights using a smartphone or virtual home assistant, then you'll want to find a smart bulb. The latest version of the Hue bulb can be controlled with Bluetooth or Zigbee and can be voice activated via Alexa or Google Assistant, but the Philips Hue Bridge system is sold separately. You'll be able to set timers for up to 50 lights to brighten every part of your home—even when you’re away. These energy-saving bulbs deliver high-quality light and are expected to last 22 years or 25,000 hours, and are backed by a 3-year warranty. They’re dimmable and also available in candelabra and vintage-style options. Best Full Spectrum LED: Mibest Lux Full Spectrum Light View On Amazon View On EBay Are you an artist, growing plants indoors, or just looking to light your home with bulbs that mimic daylight more naturally? There's no single technical definition of "full spectrum" lights, but experts recommend that full spectrum lighting should have a Color Rendering Index (CRI) rating of 95 or better, and a color temperature of 6500 Kelvin. Although it's not a traditional light bulb, glare and flicker-free sunlight mimicking lamps are easy to use and easy on the eyes. The large surface area baths whatever space you'd like to light in bright rays. There are three light intensities that allow you to choose the amount of light most effective for your project, plant, or room. 8 Grow Lights That Let You Garden Anywhere Best Bright White Light LED: GE Lighting 32279 LED Bright Stik 6-Watt Light Bulbs View On Amazon Durable and affordable, these 40-watt replacement LEDs use only 6 watts of energy and provide 450 lumens of light. They’re estimated to last over 13 years, and offer "daylight" brightness. The sleek cylindrical shape fits in most places a traditional 60-watt incandescent bulb would, making it a suitable lighting option for just about anywhere around the house. Smaller sizes are also available. Best Soft Light LED: Feit Electric 60-Watt Equivalent A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb View On Home Depot These Feit Electric bulbs outshine the competition by offering a soft, warm color quality at affordable pricing. They are easy to find, compatible with dimmers, and easily screw into any fixture with a medium screw base. They’re suitable for enclosed fixtures or outdoor use. Energy-Star rated, they have an average lifespan of 25,000 hours or 22.8 years. They use up to 85 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. Final Verdict If you have a house full of incandescent bulbs to replace, the Philips 455576 60 watt (view at Amazon) or GE Lighting 32279 LED Bright Stik (view at Amazon) are compatible with most lamps and fixtures and won’t break the bank. What to Look for in LED Light Bulbs Color Temperature: The lighting color of LEDs is usually measured in Kelvin (K). Warm yellow light is around 2700 K, while bright white lights are about 3000 K. "Daylight" LEDs may have 5000 K, but also tend to be on the bluer side of the spectrum. The Label: LED packaging is required to include information about brightness, light color, energy use, estimated energy costs, and expected life. Color: The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is the measurement of how well a source of light renders color. Reds will appear red and blues will appear blues under lights with high CRI. So, if you’re using an LED in your art room, for example, consider one with a high CRI. Lumens: Lumens indicate how bright a bulb is while watts indicate the amount of energy use to power it. LEDS are more efficient than older bulb types so choose the brightness for your space based on its lumens. Why Trust Treehugger? Heidi Wachter has been writing about health, climate change, and the environment for a decade. The Best Rechargeable Flashlights For Emergencies and Every Day View Article Sources "How Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs Compare with Traditional Incandescents." United States Department of Energy. "LED Lighting." United States Department of Energy.