One LED bulb that comes up again and again in reviews is the Cree 60-watt Replacement LED Soft White (Est. $13) . It's the lowest-priced LED we've seen, and is also the closest to an incandescent bulb in shape and light quality. It puts out 800 lumens of light with only 9.5 watts of power, and is backed by a 10-year warranty. Reviewers say it's slightly larger than an incandescent bulb, so it may stick out a bit in some lamps. It also doesn't work very well with a dimmer switch, doesn't always dim smoothly and can produce a loud buzzing sound.
One feature some users dislike about the Cree bulb is its distinct dark spot right at the tip of the bulb. For more even light distribution, consider the Insignia A19 800-Lumen Dimmable LED (Est. $18) . It's similar to the Cree bulb in shape and light output, and has the same 10-year warranty. However, at 13 watts, it's not quite as efficient. Both professional reviewers and consumers are highly impressed with the Insignia's even light distribution and warm white light, but it tends to buzz when used with a dimmer and is not compatible with all dimmers.
The 3M LED Advanced Light RRA19B3 (Est. $20) has a slightly different set of problems. It doesn't hum when used with a dimmer switch, but a couple of users say it tends to flicker. At 850 lumens, the 3M bulb is brighter than the Insignia but uses the same 13 watts of power. Professional testers give it top marks for its even light distribution, brightness and efficiency. This bulb has an estimated lifespan of 27,500 hours, but its warranty is only five years.
For use in an overhead can fixture, experts recommend a floodlight or reflector bulb. LED floodlights don't receive as many reviews as standard LED bulbs, but the Cree BR30 LED Floodlight (Est. $20) wins recommendations from multiple sources. Blogger Dan Rathbun of GoodBadBulbs.com calls this "my new favorite bulb," saying the color is "perfect" and the energy-saving bulbs keep his kitchen much cooler in the summer. Users at HomeDepot.com also like the bulb's warm, bright light and energy efficiency. Most say it works well with a dimmer, but a few complain that the dimming action isn't smooth and they can reduce the bulb to only about 40 percent brightness. Like other Cree bulbs, it won't work with every dimmer switch.