The 7 Best LED Light Bulbs of 2022

The Cree 60W Equivalent Daylight bulb is Treehugger’s top choice.

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LED (Light-Emitting Diode) bulbs aren’t just for specialty lamps anymore. They come in multiple shapes, color, and temperature options, and can be used in any light fixture.

They may cost slightly more upfront than other light bulbs. However, they use 75% to 80% 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 claim their bulbs can last over 20,000 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 marks in our research.

Best Overall: Cree 60W Equivalent Daylight (5000K) Dimmable LED Light Bulb

5
Cree 60W Bulb

Courtesy of Amazon

Color temp: 5000K | Lumens: 815 | Watts: 10 | Lumens/watt: 82

Cree has established itself as a top-tier manufacturer of LEDs creating affordable, effective lighting solutions to energy-sucking incandescent bulbs. With a manufacturer rating of 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 ten year warranty.

Best Budget: Energetic A19 LED Light Bulb 2700K Soft White

Energetic Brand LED Light Bulbs

Amazon

Color temp: 2700K | Lumens: 760 | Watts: 9 | Lumens/watt: 84

Looking for an affordable solution for replacing incandescent bulbs? These Energetic soft white lights are energy efficient and cost-effective, and come with a two year warranty. At the time of publishing, these multipacks were some of the most affordable on a per-bulb basis, but keep in mind that due to supply chain fluctuations, it may be worth your time to do your own cost-comparing.

Best Smart LED Bulb: Philips Hue White 4-Pack A19 LED Smart Bulb

4.7
Philips Hue White 4-Pack A19 LED Smart Bulb

Courtesy of Amazon

Color temp: Varies | Lumens: 800 | Watts: 10 | Lumens/watt: 80

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. The manufacturer claims they will last 25,000 hours, and are backed by a three year warranty. They’re dimmable and also available in candelabra and vintage-style options.

Best Full Spectrum Specialty LED: Neporal 9W Full Spectrum LED

Neporal 9W Full Spectrum LED

Amazon

Color temp: 6000K | Lumens: 800 | Watts: 9 | Lumens/watt: 89

Are you feeling the winter blues or looking for an energy boost on a gray day? Brighten your mood with these natural-light mimicking full spectrum LEDs. They simulate 6,000K of sunlight—or a bright daylight color—without exposure to damaging UV rays. These “happy” bulbs are equivalent to their 60-watt incandescent counterparts. The manufacturer claims these energy- and money-saving LEDs have a 30,000-hour lifespan. Easy to install in indoor or outdoor enclosed fixtures

Best Bright White Light LED: GE Lighting 32279 LED Bright Stik 6-Watt Light Bulbs

GE Lighting 32279 LED Bright Stik 6-Watt Light Bulb

Amazon

Color temp: 5000K | Lumens: 450 | Watts: 6 | Lumens/watt: 75

Durable and affordable, these 40-watt replacement LEDs use only 6 watts of energy and provide 450 lumens of light. They offer "daylight" brightness, with a high color temperature rating of 5000K. 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. However, the bulb does not appear to be backed by a warranty.

Best Soft Light LED: Feit Electric A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb (60-watt equivalent)

Dimmable LED Light Bulb

Courtesy of Home Depot

Color temp: 2700K | Lumens: 800 | Watts: 8.8 | Lumens/watt: 91

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. EnergyStar rated, the manufacturer claims they can last an average of 25,000 hours. They use up to 85% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.

Best Outdoor LED: Feit Electric PAR38 Dimmable LED Light Bulb (90-Watt Equivalent)

Par38 Dimmable Light Bulb

Feit Electric

Color temp: 3000K | Lumens: 950 | Watts: 15 | Lumens/watt: 63

This weatherproof, dimmable LED light bulb will light up your patio and garden, not your electric bill. Pop it into your outdoor security fixture. At 15-watts of power, these bulbs do use more energy than the other indoor LEDs on our list, but still about 75% less than a standard bulb. It’s mercury-free and long-lasting, with a manufacturer rating of 25,000 hours and a five year warranty.

Final Verdict

If you have a house full of incandescent bulbs to replace, the Cree 60W Equivalent Daylight or GE Lighting 32279 LED Bright Stik are compatible with most lamps and fixtures and won’t break the bank. Try the Neporal 9W Full Spectrum LED if you’re looking for a bulb that brings a little sunlight into your home.


What to Consider When Shopping for LED Light Bulbs

Label

LED packaging is required to include information about brightness, light color, energy use, estimated energy costs, and expected life. It's also good to look for bulbs that have EnergyStar and UL certifications.

Color Temperature

The lighting color of LEDs is usually measured in Kelvin (K). Warm yellow light is around 2700K, while bright white lights are about 3000K. "Daylight" LEDs may have 5000K, but also tend to be on the bluer side of the spectrum.

Watts

Watts indicate the amount of energy use to power a bulb. Most LEDs use less than 10 watts, but outdoor models and smart bulbs may need more.

You may also see some bulbs that list "Watt equivalents," which is intended to help you compare LEDs to incandescent bulbs, but the whole industry is trying to move away from watt equivalents so it's better to look at Lumens to understand a bulb's brightness.

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 the brightness of a bulb, so more lumens indicates a brighter bulb. To determine how efficient a bulb is, take a look at the number of lumens per watt, where a higher number indicates a higher level of efficiency.

Life Span

Keep in mind that manufacturers claims about lifespan may vary dramatically from actual performance in the real world. The real-world performance depends on the fixture, heat buildup, and even which way the light is pointing.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What are the disadvantages of LED bulbs?

    LEDs are more expensive–per lumen–than traditional light bulbs so they have higher start-up costs than some other lighting options. On the technical side, color variation may occur from lamp to lamp with LEDs making consistency an issue. There is also a lack of standardization among LEDs. This includes no agreed-upon definition of lifetime or how many hours an LED will last.

    Finally, there is growing concern that blue and cool-white LEDs may exceed safe blue-light limits, which can be harmful to eyes if viewed long-term (you’ll also find blue light coming from television and computer screens).

  • What color temperature is the most like natural sunlight?

    Since sunlight changes throughout the day and is affected by season, latitude, and weather, what natural light looks like is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. However, when it comes to lighting, 2700K produces warm white light, while color temperature between 4000K produces cool or bright white. Bulbs of 4500K or above have a blue-white temperature that some people feel most resembles daylight, but others don't find the light from bulbs in this range to be pleasing.

  • Do Smart LED bulbs use more or less energy than regular LED bulbs?

    Unlike regular LEDs, Smart LEDs can connect to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and similar networks controlled remotely. They’re typically used in “smart” household systems and appliances. Since they’re LEDs, they’re more efficient than a traditional light bulb. However, they’re also vampire devices, meaning they drain power even when they’re turned off. Smarthome devices need to be in standby mode to talk to your smartphone, so they constantly draw a nominal charge. This low-level energy usage likely wouldn’t be noticeable on an electric bill for one or two appliances. But if you had dozens of devices using LEDs on your smart home system, it could start to add up.


Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger tests various products, combining authoritative sources with comprehensive research to provide you with the best recommendations. To create this list, we looked for energy-efficient light bulbs, reviewed consumer testimonials, and independent testing ratings. We also consulted lighting industry experts.

Author Heidi Wachter
is a freelance writer, who is passionate about dogs, travel, solving the climate crisis, and projects that serve the greater good. She’s been writing about health, climate change, and the environment for a decade. She’s always on the lookout for ways to lower her carbon footprint.

View Article Sources
  1. "How Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs Compare with Traditional Incandescents." United States Department of Energy.

  2. "LED Lighting." United States Department of Energy.