Cree 60-watt Replacement LED Soft White Review

Updated January 31, 2014
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Cree 60-watt Replacement LED Soft White
Bottom Line

Of all the high-efficiency bulbs we've reviewed, the Cree 60-watt Replacement LED Soft White is the closest to an incandescent bulb in shape and light output. It's also the best overall value we've seen: It costs about $13 and uses only 9.5 watts, yet will last as long as 25,000 hours. It may not fit in all fixtures, however, and its performance with a dimmer switch is iffy.

Performance

Just like an incandescent, only more efficient. Reviewers like that the Cree bulb is so similar to the familiar incandescent bulb. It produces a warm light with a color temperature of 2,700K, and most say it's well distributed aside from a dark spot on the bottom that's visible if the bulb is exposed. Users also like the bulb's traditional shape, which allows it to fit almost anywhere an incandescent can, although it may stick out a bit. The bulb's biggest weakness is its performance on a dimmer switch. Some users report that it doesn't dim fully or smoothly, and others complain that it makes a loud humming noise.

ProsBest price for an LED, Energy Star rated, Convenient shape, 10-year warrantyConsMay not work well with dimmers, Incompatible with enclosed fixtures

Value

Great price. At about $13 per bulb, the Cree is the cheapest LED bulb on the market. Moreover, since it's Energy Star rated, it may qualify for rebates in some areas, lowering the price even more. Its operating costs are extremely low, as well. It uses only 9.5 watts of electricity to produce 800 lumens and its estimated lifespan is 25,000 hours, a claim the manufacturer supports with a top-notch 10-year warranty. A few users express concern that the shatter-resistant silicon coating on the bulb tends to peel off easily, but the bulb will still work without it. Cree warns against using the bulb in a fully enclosed fixture.

Our Sources

1. CNET

Cree's 60-watt Replacement LED Is the Bulb to Beat, Ry Crist, Dec. 20, 2013

CNET's Ry Crist names the Cree 60-watt Replacement LED Soft White as his favorite of the new LED light bulbs. He says this highly efficient and "comparatively affordable" bulb produces light similar to an incandescent bulb's, and its 10-year warranty is "the best in the industry."

2. The New York Times

New Reasons to Change Light Bulbs, David Pogue, March 20, 2013

Technology columnist David Pogue tests six brands of LED light bulbs in his home and reports on their light quality, appearance and value. His favorites are Cree bulbs, like the Cree 60-watt Replacement LED Soft White, which "look almost exactly like incandescent bulbs" and cost a mere $13 each.

3. MIT Technology Review

Cree Introduces an LED Bulb Edison Would Love, Martin LaMonica, March 5, 2013

Energy blogger Martin LaMonica likes the newly introduced Cree 60-watt Replacement LED Soft White, saying it "mimics the traditional incandescent bulb design in every way -- except its inefficiency." He particularly cites the Cree bulb's traditional shape, warm light and light distribution.

4. Apartment Therapy.com

Best of the Bulbs: 2013 LED Light Bulb Buyers Guide, Vahan Baladouni, June 14, 2013

Blogger Vahan Baladouni names the Cree 60-watt Replacement LED Soft White as the best LED of 2013, praising its bright, warm light, convenient shape, impressive warranty and low price. However, there's no indication that Baladouni personally tested the bulb or any of its competitors.

5. HomeDepot.com

Cree 60W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of February 2014

We found more than 600 reviews for the Cree 60-watt Replacement LED Soft White at HomeDepot.com, spread across two pages. The bulb gets an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from users, who praise its light quality, brightness and design. More than 90 percent of reviewers would recommend it.

6. GoodBadBulbs.com

Cree 9.5 Watt Replacement for 60 Watt, Don Rathbun, April 26, 2013

Blogger Dan Rathbun reviews energy-efficient light bulbs based on his personal experience, usually with just one bulb. He recommends the Cree 60-watt Replacement LED Soft White for its good color, efficiency and instant startup. The review is quite brief, however, and Rathbun doesn't compare the Cree to any other bulb.