The Best LED Light Bulbs

Looking to save money and conserve energy by switching to LED light bulbs? Check out our top picks and smart shopping tips to make the right purchases.

Best Overall

The Best LED Light Bulb Option: Philips LED Frosted A19 Soft White Light 2700K

Philips LED Frosted A19 Soft White Light 2700K

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Best LED Light Bulbs Option: Sylvania LED A19 Light Bulb

Sylvania LED A19 Light Bulb

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Best Smart

The Best LED Light Bulb Option: Philips Hue A19 E26 Smart Bulb

Philips Hue A19 E26 Smart Bulb

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Nowadays, many renters and homeowners choose light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) over the classic incandescent, fluorescent, or halogen options. That’s because LED light bulbs are more energy efficient and longer lasting, helping save money on utility bills and bulb replacement.

While LEDs still cost a bit more than other types of light bulbs, prices have dropped precipitously since their first market appearance in the 1960s. Modern lighting advancements like color-changing and smart home technology make them even more appealing.

Read this guide for descriptions of our picks for the best LED light bulb options and kits available, and to learn vital info on these energy-saving lights.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Philips LED Frosted A19 Soft White Light 2700K
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Sylvania LED A19 Light Bulb
  3. BEST SMART: Philips Hue A19 E26 Smart Bulb 
  4. BEST COLOR-CHANGING: Lumiman WiFi Smart LED Light Color-Changing Bulbs 
  5. BEST VINTAGE: Ascher E26 Dimmable Vintage LED Edison Bulbs 
  6. BEST FOR KITCHENS: Cree Lighting A19 Pro Series LED Bulbs
  7. BEST FOR BATHROOMS: GE Relax HD Soft White 60W LED Light Bulbs 
  8. BEST FOR VANITIES: Sunco G25 LED Bulbs
  9. BEST OUTDOOR: Cree PAR38 Pro Series LED Bulbs
  10. BEST FOR RV INTERIOR: Antline Xenon White 20-Pack LED Bulbs
The Best LED Light Bulb Options in a lit lamp on a living room coffee table
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best LED Light Bulbs

In our research, we evaluated dozens of the best LED light bulbs on the market but kept coming back to the ones that seemed best for home use. Some of the criteria we assessed include:

  • Longevity. It’s important to us to recommend products that are economical and long lasting. Our selections all include bulbs with excellent lifespans, which adds up to more savings and less maintenance than having to swap out spent bulbs.
  • Purpose. Some bulbs are better used in specific environments. Our list of top picks considers different locations where LED light bulbs are used, including the kitchen and bathroom. We also factored in whether a bulb was for indoor or outdoor use, its brightness, and its color temperature. We chose outdoor light bulbs that are weatherproof and indoor light bulbs that have the most sought-after color temperatures.
  • Brand. We made sure to find the best light bulbs made by reputable companies known for quality products and good customer service.
  • Energy reduction. In general, LED light bulbs are a better choice for the environment and generate less waste. We made sure to recommend products that cut down on energy usage, too, offering a better solution for the planet.

Our Top Picks

The best LED light bulb comes down to where it will be placed in the home and the color and brightness best suited to its intended usage. Here are our top picks for the best LED light bulbs on the market today.

Best Overall

Philips LED Frosted A19 Soft White Light 2700K

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Philips has been creating lighting for over 125 years and is one of the most well-known brands in the industry. This set of 16 efficient and long-lasting bulbs is an excellent purchase, especially for those making the initial switch to LED light bulbs throughout a home. The Philips LED range offers a lot of perks with no visible flicker, a long lifetime, energy savings, and “instant on” (meaning the bulbs reach their intended light distribution level as soon as they’re switched on).

These bulbs can be used for up to 10,950 hours, lasting over 10 years in most homes. The LED bulbs cast a soft white glow and have a high color rendering index (CRI), which is to say you’ll see clearly in rooms with these lights. Made for home comfort, they’re bright enough to be helpful but not so bright they’ll strain the eyes. Use them in a ceiling light or a side table lamp; they’re designed to be versatile.

Created with safety in mind, these energy-efficient Philips LED light bulbs have been tested for flicker, strobe, glare, and dimming effects, and they have met all requirements of eye comfort.

Product Specs 

  • Bulb shape: Arbitrary (A19)
  • Wattage: 9.5 watts
  • Brightness: 800 lumens
  • Color temperature: 2,700 Kelvins (K) (soft white)

Pros

  • Lifetime of up to 10,950 hours for long-term usage
  • Shatter-free plastic makes bulbs lightweight and less likely to break
  • Versatile enough for use in various lighting fixtures and meets the standards of eye comfort
  • Economical choice with 16 bulbs to replace incandescent light bulbs throughout the house

Cons

  • Not compatible with dimmer switches
  • Warm coloring makes the light more yellow than white

Get the Philips frosted LED light bulbs at Amazon

Best Bang for the Buck

Sylvania LED A19 Light Bulb

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These budget-friendly Sylvania LED light bulbs are estimated to last up to 11,000 hours, or the equivalent of 10 years, and they come in an economical four-pack for further savings. They create 800 lumens while using only 8.5 watts. At 2,700K, they emit a soft white light that makes them one of the best bulbs for bedroom use and gathering areas in the home.

As energy-efficient LED light bulbs, they reach their full brightness immediately, a quality known as “instant on.” These Sylvania bulbs are usable in damp environments indoors or out. Designed to reduce shatters, they resist shocks and vibrations.

Product Specs 

  • Bulb shape: Arbitrary (A19)
  • Wattage: 8.5 watts
  • Brightness: 800 lumens
  • Color temperature: 2,700K (soft white)

Pros

  • Durable construction and design for both indoor and outdoor use
  • Shock- and vibration-resistant construction can withstand most weather conditions and heavy-duty use
  • As “instant-on” bulbs, proper light distribution is immediate

Cons

  • Some users have reported that some bulbs only last about a year

Get the Sylvania LED light bulbs at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Smart

Philips Hue A19 E26 Smart Bulb

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Hue LED Smart Bulbs from Philips stand out for their digital-enabled “smart” capabilities. Hue bulbs integrate with a wide assortment of smart-home technologies (sold separately), including Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, and Nest to provide enhanced functionality.

Our favorite feature? Thanks to geofencing, the bulb can detect when someone approaches and automatically turn on. To make the most of our pick for best smart LED light bulbs, users must set up the hub and download the free Philips Hue app to a mobile device. The app will help with the setup and offers video tutorials on how to get the best use out of these smart LED bulbs.

Product Specs 

  • Bulb shape: Arbitrary (A19)
  • Wattage: 9.5 watts
  • Brightness: 800 lumens
  • Color temperature: 2,700K

Pros

  • Voice activation capability is helpful for those who can’t access the light switch
  • The starter kit includes everything needed for lights to work at peak performance
  • Can set the lights to a schedule; compatible with smart-home technology
  • Can add more smart lights to the hub as they are acquired

Cons

  • A hub is required to make the best use of these lights
  • Technology may have connectivity issues and require troubleshooting

Get the Philips Hue LED light bulbs at Amazon.

Best Color-Changing

Lumiman WiFi Smart LED Light Color-Changing Bulbs

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Those looking for color-changing bulbs that can be controlled remotely will want to check out this Lumiman Smart Wi-Fi light bulb two-pack. The bulbs fit standard lamp and light fixture sockets and can be controlled via voice with a smart-home assistant. By downloading the free Lumiman app, users can change the light color from a tablet or smartphone—and there are 16 million colors available!

Besides their impressive color-changing ability, the Lumiman bulbs also provide a soft white and daylight mode. All lighting modes are dimmable and users can program the bulbs to turn on at pre-specified times via a digital device. A home Wi-Fi network is necessary, however, to enjoy the full capabilities of these bulbs.

Product Specs 

  • Bulb shape: Arbitrary (A19)
  • Wattage: 7.5 watts
  • Brightness: 800 lumens
  • Color temperature: 2,700K

Pros

  • Color and light choices allow for customization to meet the individual user’s needs
  • Works with a variety of smart-home setups (Alexa, Google, Siri, etc.)
  • Can set up lights to interact with music; suitable for entertaining
  • Can set up a timer to turn lights on and off

Cons

  • Connectivity issues with the technology have been reported
  • Can only support 2.4 GHz (internet speed)

Get the Lumiman LED light bulbs atAmazon.

Best Vintage

Ascher E26 Dimmable Vintage LED Edison Bulbs

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Those hoping to bring an antique touch to their homes without sacrificing today’s functionality should take a look at these Edison light bulbs from Ascher. The bulbs, which come in a six-pack, offer the safety and modernity of LEDs while adding a vintage vibe. They are an energy-efficient option that look terrific in fixtures where light bulbs are meant to be exposed, rather than hidden by a shade or dome.

With 2,700K, they cast a warm glow while giving a distinct character to the room. Unlike their traditional counterparts, these non-flickering Edison bulbs have the charm of yesteryear but the advantage of modern invention. Expect these vintage-style light bulbs to last up to 20,000 hours.

Product Specs 

  • Bulb shape: Ellipsoidal (E26)
  • Wattage: 6 watts
  • Brightness: 700 lumens
  • Color temperature: 2,700K

Pros

  • Vintage appeal with the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of LED
  • Comes in 3 different colors: amber warm, daylight white, and warm white
  • Bulbs boast an impressive 20,000-hour lifespan as well as brightness, thanks to a high CRI of 80+

Cons

  • Outdoor usage is not recommended as moisture issues can lead to flickering
  • Nondimmable

Get the Ascher LED light bulbs at Amazon.

Best for Kitchens

Cree Lighting A19 Pro Series LED Bulbs

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Kitchens need bright illumination for prepping, cooking, and cleanup—and Cree Lighting’s seven-pack of daylight LED bulbs delivers. Boasting a high CRI of 90+ and a color temperature of 5,000K, these bulbs can make everything in the cook space highly visible. Boasting a lifetime of over 25,000 hours, they will dramatically cut down on how often spent bulbs must be swapped out for new ones in a room that already has a lot of tasks.

Want things a little less bright? These lights are dimmable, transforming the mood of a kitchen from a workspace to a cozy dining spot. The bulbs are also made of shatterproof material, so they’re safer than traditional glass options.

Product Specs 

  • Bulb shape: Arbitrary (A19)
  • Wattage: 100-watt equivalent
  • Brightness: 1600 lumens
  • Color temperature: 5,000K

Pros

  • 1,600 lumens and 5,000K ensure brightness in any space; particularly ideal for the kitchen
  • Shatterproof material is ideal for heavy-duty use and long-term effectiveness
  • Indoor and outdoor usage; suitable for patios, porches, and outdoor lighting fixtures

Cons

  • Lights may flicker a little when using the dimmer function

Get the Cree Lighting A19 LED light bulbs at Amazon or The Home Depot

Best for Bathrooms

GE Relax HD Soft White 60W LED Light Bulbs

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While they resemble traditional incandescent light bulbs and are made by GE, a trusted brand in the industry for over 125 years, these bulbs are an ideal choice for modern bathrooms. Sold in an eight-pack, the economical bulbs cast a comfortable glow to provide the warm light perfect for a spa-style experience.

The bulbs’ 800 lumens make a bathroom bright without being clinical, and thanks to dimming capabilities, they can be lowered to a softer setting. Plus, their frosted finish offers a gentler feeling on the eye than clear bulbs. Rated to last up to 13 years, the GE LED bulbs’ longevity can keep a bathroom well lit and functional for quite some time—but of course they can be used throughout the home, wherever soft yet bright light is desired.

Product Specs 

  • Bulb shape: Arbitrary (A19)
  • Wattage: 8.5 watts
  • Brightness: 800 lumens
  • Color temperature: 2,700K

Pros

  • Dimmable bulbs that work with most switches for ample versatility
  • Frosted glass is less harsh on the eyes than clear bulbs
  • Warm color helps create a calming, cozy, spa-style atmosphere

Cons

  • Some dimmers may cause the light bulbs to softly buzz
  • Glass material is more prone to breakage than plastic

Get the GE LED light bulbs at Amazon or Lowe’s

Best for Vanities

Sunco G25 LED Bulbs

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Decorative globe lights are ideal for bathroom vanities where exposed bulbs are part of the fixture’s aesthetic. This 10-pack of LED lights is a 40-watt equivalent while only requiring 6 watts of power. Each bulb produces 450 lumens, which might seem low, but when two or more are used together on a vanity fixture, they’ll provide plenty of illumination.

These bulbs have a soft white color temperature of 3,000K, which offers adequate lighting for grooming tasks like shaving and applying cosmetics while still being flattering. They have E26 bases and are dimmable from 10 to 100 percent. Each bulb has a diameter of 3.15 inches and a height of 4.46 inches, including the base.

Product Specs 

  • Bulb shape: Globe (G25)
  • Wattage: 6 watts
  • Brightness: 450 lumens
  • Color temperature: 3,000K (comes in multiple options)

Pros

  • Available in 5 color temperatures in addition to 3,000K to meet individual users’ needs
  • Bulbs are dimmable for versatility; suitable for day-to-day activities or entertaining
  • Brightness level suitable for vanities, allowing users to see well for tasks and still be flattering to skin tone.

Cons

  • May create a soft buzzing noise when used with some dimmer switches

Get the Sunco Lighting LED light bulbs at Amazon.

Best Outdoor

Cree PAR38 Pro Series LED Bulbs

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With its long lifespan, ample brightness, and superb durability, this weatherproof LED floodlight bulb from Cree is an excellent choice for an outdoor setting. It produces 1400 lumens and may last up to 22 years, making it one of the brightest and most durable options for outdoor lighting.

The bulb uses just 19 watts, meaning it consumes 86 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and floodlights, so users needn’t worry about running up the electric bill if it’s left on all night. This bulb comes with either a 25-degree focus, ideal for spotlights, or a 40-degree focus, which is better for security floodlights.

Product Specs 

  • Bulb shape: Parabolic aluminized reflector (PAR38)
  • Wattage: 19 watts
  • Brightness: 1,330 to 2,100 lumens
  • Color temperature: 3,000K

Pros

  • Ultrabright for outdoor visibility and usage; suitable for patios, porches, and outdoor lighting fixtures
  • Can be used in motion-activated lights for security purposes
  • Wet-rated and outdoor-proof construction provides ample durability
  • Long lifespan of 25,000 hours for long-term use

Cons

  • Though waterproof, water can sometimes get trapped inside the bulbs

Get the Cree Lighting PAR38 LED light bulbs at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best for RV Interior

Antline Xenon White 20-Pack LED Bulbs

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Folks who enjoy traveling in an RV may appreciate the experience even more with their vehicle’s interior well lit throughout, thanks to this 20-pack from Antline. Each 3-watt bulb has 3,014 LED chips (600 lumens per bulb) and a unique 360-degree design for ample bright light. Plus, these bulbs are over 300 percent brighter than much of what the competition offers and have a longer lifespan by far.

As for their more technologically advanced aspects, these bulbs have a 12-volt DC voltage and 310-milliamp current, which helps provide long-term use and shock protection. They are also 1.7 inches long and 0.7 inches in diameter, making them perfect for the inside of an RV or other motorhome. This option also comes in three different color temperatures to suit individual needs: white, cool white, and warm white.

Product Specs 

  • Bulb shape: Specialty
  • Wattage: 3 watts
  • Brightness: 600 lumens
  • Color temperature: 6,500K

Pros

  • 20 bulbs provided per order, so suitable for large RVs; extra bulbs can be kept as spares
  • 360-degree light distribution produces a bright light of 600 lumens of light per bulb
  • Over 300 percent brighter than the competition’s bulbs
  • Comes in 3 different light color options to suit individual preferences

Cons

  • Because of their unique design, the bulbs do not conform to any specific light bulb model or type, so they may not be ideal for some users
  • Although it provides a high level of safety thanks to its milliamp current, it is not a Class A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)

Get the Antline LED light bulbs at Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing LED Light Bulbs

As with anything you bring into your home, you want to ensure you’re selecting the best LED light bulb for each area. We’ve determined many of the key features to look for, including watts, kelvins, and lumens, and we’ll explain what each one does. These considerations are here to make it easier for consumers to determine which bulbs they need for their homes.

Brightness and Wattage

The brightness of incandescent bulbs is determined by wattage, a measurement of how much energy the bulb uses. Standard 100-watt incandescent bulbs can effectively illuminate a large kitchen, while a 40-watt bulb offers softer, dimmer light. While LED bulbs still list wattage numbers, their actual brightness is measured in lumens.

  • A 7- to 9-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 40-watt incandescent bulb (450 lumens emitted)
  • A 9- to 12-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb (800 lumens emitted)
  • A 12- to 15-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 75-watt incandescent bulb (1100 lumens emitted)
  • A 16- to 20-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent bulb (1600 lumens emitted)

Fortunately, many LED bulb manufacturers now include an equivalent incandescent wattage value on their packages. For example, a “60-watt equivalent” LED bulb will emit as much light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb, yet the actual LED bulb may only use 10 watts. Listing the incandescent equivalent wattage makes it easier for consumers familiar with old-fashioned light bulbs to choose the ideal LED replacements.

Color Temperature

Kelvins (K) measure light temperature, or the color the light appears. There are three kinds of color temperature: soft white (2,700 to 3,000K), bright white/cool white (3,500 to 4,100K), and daylight (5,000 to 6,500K). The higher the Kelvin rating, the whiter the light. Generally, household light bulbs range from 2,700K to 3,500K; however, preference plays a role in selecting which Kelvin rating is best suited for a home.

This is the light temperature to expect for various Kelvin ratings:

  • Less than 2,000K is similar to dim candlelight and is the low temperature used to enhance a setting or create a mood.
  • 2,000 to 3,000K offers a soft white glow that’s somewhat yellow in appearance. This rating is typically used in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and outdoor spaces.
  • 3,100 to 4,500K casts a bright white light that’s comparable to daylight. It’s often found in kitchens, workspaces, and vanities.
  • 4,600 to 6,500K emits a blue-white color that’s best used in areas requiring brighter light. This rating works well for display areas around the home.
  • 6,500 K and up shines in a bright bluish hue, which is too harsh for domestic lighting. It’s often found in commercial locations.

Bulb Shape and Compatibility

There are countless different light bulb shapes, but the ones most commonly used for residential purposes are A-series, E-series, G-series/globe, and Edison bulbs.

  • A-series bulbs are the classic light bulb shape that is most popular for home use.
  • E-series bulbs are often used for outdoor fixtures like floodlights and spotlights, as well as some string lights and outdoor ceiling fans.
  • G-series or globe bulbs are suitable for decorative fixtures where the bulb will be on display, making them a great choice for bathroom vanities and string lights.
  • Edison bulbs have exposed filaments and typically produce a pleasant, warm light temperature. Their old-fashioned appearance provides a vintage aesthetic.

Every light fixture has a maximum wattage rating, and it’s important to ensure that the bulb chosen is compatible with the fixture. Bulbs also have different base sizes to accommodate certain light fixtures. The easiest way to determine the required base size is to look at the old bulb. Some fixtures also have a sticker near the socket that denotes the base size as well as its maximum wattage.

Lifespan and Operation Costs

When shopping for the best LED light bulb, you’ll find an estimated lifespan noted in the product description and on its package; most bulbs last anywhere from 10 to 25 years. You’ll also find an estimate of how much the bulb will cost to operate per year. These estimations are based on an average bulb use of 3 hours per day. If you leave a light on all day long, the lifespan will be significantly shorter, and the bulb will cost more per year to operate.

LED lights have a higher longevity rate than traditional incandescent light bulbs. Consumers can expect incandescent bulbs to last about 1,200 hours, halogens to last 2,500 hours, and compact fluorescent bulbs to last 10,000 hours.

With at least 10,000 hours (in some cases, 50,000 hours) of use, LEDs are built to outlast other types of bulbs. Though LED bulbs can cost between $3 to $12 per basic bulb, they do not have to be replaced as often as other types of bulbs, making them more cost-effective over time.

Smart Technology 

Smart light bulbs can connect to home Wi-Fi, making it possible to turn them on and off remotely from a smartphone or tablet. Many bulbs can be programmed to turn on and off at preset times or to turn on as you approach (using a technology known as “geofencing”).

Some smart LEDs allow the user to switch between color temperatures, while others sync with home voice-activated assistants like Amazon Alexa. If you want to control your home lighting remotely, a smart LED light bulb is just the ticket. There are even lighting kits that include a hub for linking the bulbs to other smart lighting in the home.

Additional Features

LED bulbs may come with additional features to enhance a home’s lighting capabilities. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Dimmable bulbs allow you to adjust the amount of electricity in the bulb and control its brightness. Thanks to their ability to conserve energy, dimmable bulbs are a great option for those looking to save on utility bills—but not all LEDs are dimmable, so be sure to read the package before buying. Also, keep in mind that dimmable bulbs only work when you have installed dimmable light switches.
  • Color-changing bulbs use red, green, and blue LED lights to create more colors. These three colors are housed in individual casings and operate using a microcontroller. A current passes through the three colors, changing the colors that emit from the light bulb.
  • Weather-resistant bulbs are rated to resist basic moisture, such as rainwater or a sprinkler. They can also withstand more wear and tear than other bulbs. Weather-resistant bulbs are the best type of light bulb for outdoor use, as they are more durable and stand up to inclement weather.

FAQs

LED light bulbs are replacing older, outdated incandescent light bulbs. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions to help you learn even more about LEDs.

Q. Do LED lights save you money? 

LED light bulbs may cost more up front, but they will save you money in the long run. As they have a longer lifespan than traditional light bulbs and they are more energy efficient, the savings will offset the initial cost of the bulb.

Q. Can you leave LED lights on 24/7? 

LED lights can be left on 24/7, as they don’t produce much heat (and so have no risk of fire). It is not ideal, however, as their lifespan will be run through a lot quicker, and it’s unnecessary to keep the lights on in an empty room.

Q. Can you replace regular light bulbs with LED bulbs? 

As long as you get the correct-fitting bulbs at the right wattage, regular light bulbs can be switched out for LED light bulbs.

Q. Where should you not use LED light bulbs? 

Some LEDs should not be used in enclosed fixtures; doing so could result in premature dimming and could also shorten the lifespan of the LED light bulb.

Q. How do you properly dispose of light bulbs? 

Glass bulbs of any type should be wrapped in discarded packaging before being disposed of. LED light bulbs can be disposed of with household waste or through your local recycling center (if available). Learn more about how to properly dispose of lightbulbs on the Bob Vila website.

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Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a BobVila.com staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries. 

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