Test Lab: The Cree LED Bulb - In Action

Test Lab: The Cree LED Bulb - In Action

This week we're running a great giveaway with Cree (click here to find out how to win 10 Cree LED Bulbs and a $250 Home Depot gift card), so I got a chance to try out their new bulbs. If you haven't been following along with the development of energy efficient lighting technology, it's safe to say things have changed a lot in the last five years. 
CREE LED bulb test
You now have real, affordable, decent-looking options for energy efficient bulbs, and Cree is one of the best. Read on to find out why.


I've tried all kinds of light bulbs, as I'm sure you have. You know those giant packs of CFLs you always see near the checkout line at IKEA? Yeah, I can't seem to stay away from them. 

Now, I don't want to knock on CFLs too hard – after all, they're a  big energy improvement over incandescents – but let's face it, they're kind of a drag. Walk into a room lit up by CFLs and you'll know if right away; it's fluorescent light, after all, and your eyes know it.

LED bulb technology has been up-and-coming for a few years now, but as with all new technologies, it was expensive, unproven, and not quite ready for primetime. The Cree LED bulb seems to change that. You can read all about them here, but the bottom line is, they're affordable (under $10 for the 40w equivalent), durable, energy efficient, and best of all, produce a normal-looking light! 

Here's our living room lamp, with a 900 lumen CFL, and then the 900 lumen Cree LED bulb:

CFL bulb

LED bulb

(Exposure settings: 10/100, f5.6 )

I definitely prefer the color temperature on the LED bulb, and also liked that it came on instantly, unlike the CFL. You can see the bulb is almost identical in shape to what you're used to:

created at: 03/14/2013

What's your experience trying out energy efficient bulbs? Have you decided to make the switch to CFL or LED, or are you happy with the cheap, but less efficient, incandescents? Let me know in the comments!

And don't forget to enter our giveaway to win 10 Cree LED bulbs and a $250 Home Depot Gift Card!


This post was sponsored by Cree, and I was given samples of their products to try out. All opinions are mine alone.


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Dave on May 23, 2013:

The Cree 40w $9.99, is the first main stream affordable LED warm white light bulb that mimics an inconsistent light bulb exactly. Same color temp. , instant on off, real dimmability, same shape and size, longest warranty on led bulbs. I hope other manufacturers will join and make their LED bulbs affordable like Cree.

Anonymous on Apr 27, 2013:

The Cree bulbs are incredibly good. I tried one out after buying it at Home Depot. Now I have 12 in my house. Each payday I go and buy 3-5 more. Hope to have most of the house changed over in another 2 months. Next up - trying them with dimmers. The warm white ones are the most natural.

Katrin on Mar 24, 2013:

My house is almost entirely recessed cans, with Lutron dimmer switches. I have tried many many LED bulbs and none work to my satisfaction (with the dimmer switches) - they tend to have a delay when coming on, don't dim all the way (reach a point and then go off instead of continuing to dim), etc. Hoping this will improve since I'd like to use them.

Rose on Mar 15, 2013:

We tried, we really did. At one point 75 percent of our bulbs were CFL's.  YUCK.  We were very happy when our "all knowing" goverment reversed its stand on allowing incandescent bulbs to remain.  We haven't tried the LED bulbs, but have such a bad taste in our mouthes from the CFL's that I don't see it happening anytime soon.

Macfeather on Mar 15, 2013:

LED Bulbs ALL. THE. WAY! They turn on after a slight microsecond delay but they turn at full brightness as compared to CFL. And there are warm white options which make me totally ready to give up my old faithful incandescent bulbs.

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