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5 best LED bulbs that are worth the money

5 best LED bulbs that are worth the money
Ian Allenden | Dreamstime.com Dreamstime.com

Your home has never looked so bright and beautiful. That's because modern light bulbs are bright, clear, energy-efficient and smart.

It's easier now than ever to dim your lights, control them from your smartphone or with your voice. These days, light bulbs truly transform your house into an inviting, beautiful home.

That's due in large part to LED bulbs. You've probably changed your old-fashioned incandescent bulbs in favor of LED bulbs over the past few years.

They've largely replaced traditional light bulbs on store shelves. They're more energy efficient and, if you know which ones work the best, they can be a great value, no matter your budget.

Of course, light bulbs have become very confusing. There are so many options and so many LED bulbs have bells and whistles, and sometimes high price tags, that it can be overwhelming to buy one.

One hurdle is the switch from watts to lumens. Watts are the amount of energy used by each bulb, and lamps and the like used to measure the amount of light you'd get based on watts. But LED and other new bulbs use so little energy that watts are not the best measure anymore.

You're more likely now to see a measurement of lumens, which is the actual brightness given off by the bulb. It's a fairly simple conversion. See the chart below.

 

Now that you know how the brightness you're looking for, we've rounded up five LED bulbs that are a good value, based on how you'll use them. Keep reading for tips to buy LED bulbs and don't skip No. 5 -- this bulb will give you that warm, homey feeling that many LED bulbs can't!

1. Great value for no-dim bulb

Who could've guessed years ago that light bulbs would be so versatile, long-lasting and fun? You can use LED bulbs to decorate your home, with varying brightness levels, and other features.

Of course, the more options you want, the costlier LED bulbs get. Fortunately, there are LED bulb workhorses.

The Philips SceneSwitch 60W Equivalent provides multiple settings in one bulb. Better yet, you don't need to change your lamps because it works like a dimmer bulb without a dimmer.

There are three settings: soft white, daylight and cozy warm glow. The Philips SceneSwitch has a memory chip, so it will remember your last setting if you turn it off for more than five seconds.

Here's a tip next time you're shopping. If you find yourself staring at a long aisle of LED bulbs wondering, "How can there be so many choices for a simple light bulb?" Reach for the SceneSwitch 60W Equivalent.

Bonus: You'll use about 80 percent less energy with the SceneSwitch LED bulb than with a traditional incandescent light bulb.


2. Great value for dimming bulb

You can find good values and relatively low prices for some LED bulbs (see the SceneSwitch above). You can also spend more money, $15 or so, and get a good value for a great bulb.

The UL-Listed LED Lamp Bulb has a lot of bells and whistles, but some pretty impressive meat-and-potatoes features, too. That starts with 830 lumens, compared to about 800 lumens for many other 60W equivalent LED.

It's also Energy Star certified. It works with dimmer switches that are designed for traditional bulbs, so you can use it on just about any light switch.

There's some really good news here, if you don't like low-level buzzing sounds that you find in a lot of LED bulbs. This one is quite quiet.

Some LED dimmer bulbs make a buzzing noise because the electromagnetic resistance used to dim them makes noise. The UL-Listed LED Lamp Bulb barely makes a whisper.


3. Great value for true colors

Do you ever wish that LED bulbs hadn't replaced incandescent lights? If so, you may dislike the artificial-looking whiteness that many LED bulbs emit.

A lot of times, LED lights have a harsh, almost blue whiteness to them. If they're outdoor bulbs, they can be overly bright for your neighbors.

Inside, they wash out all your decorating. If you have a warm and cozy home, forget about maintaining that feel with most LED bulbs.

Fortunately, the Soraa Radiant 60W Replacement LED fixes that artificial look by patching gaps that other LEDs don't. Specifically, you see the full spectrum of color with Soraa, where others don't show true whites or deep reds, also known as RW and R9.

Bonus: Soraa prevents headaches that some LED bulbs cause by reducing the undetectable flicker -- the stroboscopic effect in LED bulbs.


4. Great value for a bright bulb

LED bulbs have come a long way in the past year or two. It used to be that almost every LED bulb you bought was never quite bright enough.

100W replacement LED bulbs until very recently were costly, noisy and not great at producing a natural-looking light. Now, that has changed.

Case in point, you can get a two-pack Utilitech 100W Replacement LED for $11 bucks! Better yet, it'll add less than $1.75, on average, to your electric bill each year.

This LED bulb is bright at nearly 1,600 lumens, or about twice that of most 60W LED bulbs. It's also dimmable.

At this bargain price, you might sacrifice a little bit in terms of buzzy noises, however, it does produce a nice, natural light in all directions.


5. Great value for vintage-style bulb

Remember the days of shag carpets and beaded curtains?  OK, maybe some trends needed to go, but if you like the vintage vibe, you'll love these bulbs.

If you're looking for a vintage-style accent light, and nothing else, the Feit Electric 6.5W is a good value. You can pick one up for about $10.

It has the look of an old-fashioned bulb and is quite dim, like those old light bulbs. That includes a twisty filament-looking LED inside.


 

5 reasons your next set of light bulbs should really be smart bulbs

Have you ever driven home late at night and dreaded walking into your house? It can be creepy walking in the dark before you unlock your door and turn on the lights.

Fortunately, smart homes have made it so much easier to control your lightbulbs from your smartphone or with your voice. You can turn your lights on while you're still driving home.

Keep reading for 5 reasons you'll love having smart bulbs in your home!

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