The Best LED Light Bulbs of 2022

Looking to save money and conserve energy by switching to LED light bulbs? Use these tips to make an informed purchase, and don't miss our top picks for modern homes.

By Glenda Taylor and Kat Hodgins | Updated May 27, 2022 12:42 PM

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Best LED Lightbulb – Buyer's Guide

Photo: istockphoto.com

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 technology make them even more appealing.

Continue reading this guide to learn everything you need to know about these energy-saving lights—then see featured picks for the best LED light bulb options and kits available. Each of the top picks below was selected after an in-depth review of the market and thorough product vetting.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Philips LED Frosted A19 Soft White Light 2700K
  2. BEST VALUE: Amazon Basics Soft White A19 LED Light Bulb 6-Pack
  3. BEST SMART: Philips Hue White 4-Pack A19 LED Smart Bulb
  4. BEST COLOR-CHANGING: LUMIMAN Smart WiFi Light Bulb 2 Pack
  5. BEST VINTAGE: Ascher Vintage LED Edison Bulbs Warm White 60W 2700K
  6. BEST FOR KITCHENS: Cree Lighting 100W Equivalent LED Bulb Daylight 5000K
  7. BEST FOR BATHROOMS: GE Relax 60 W Equivalent Dimmable Warm White A19 LED
  8. BEST FOR VANITIES: Sunco Lighting LED Globe Vanity Light Bulbs
  9. BEST OUTDOOR: Cree 120W Equivalent Bright White LED Spot Light Bulb
The Best LED Light Bulb Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best 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 of your house. 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 home.

Brightness and Wattage

The brightness of incandescent bulbs is determined by wattage, a measurement of how much energy the bulb uses. A 100-watt incandescent bulb can effectively illuminate a large kitchen, while a 40-watt bulb is a go-to option for 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. As you might imagine, most consumers are more confident about choosing an LED light bulb when the incandescent equivalent wattage is listed.

Color Temperature

Kelvins (K) measure light temperature, or the color the light appears. There are three kinds of color temperature: soft white (2700 to 3000 K), bright white/cool white (3500 to 4100 K), and daylight (5000 to 6500 K). The higher the Kelvin rating, the whiter the light. Generally, household light bulbs range from 2700 K to 3500 K; 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 2000 K is similar to dim candlelight and is the low temperature used to enhance a setting or create a mood.
  • 2000 to 3000 K offers a soft white glow that’s yellowing in appearance. This rating is typically used in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and outdoor spaces.
  • 3100 to 4500 K casts a bright white light that’s comparable to daylight. It’s often found in kitchens, work spaces, and vanities.
  • 4600 to 6500 K emits a blue-white color that’s best used in areas requiring brighter light. This rating works well for display areas around the home.
  • 6500 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. They have a vintage look and provide an antique 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 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 the user to adjust the amount of electricity to 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.

Our Top Picks

The best LED light bulb comes down to where you want to put it in your home and the color and brightness you need from it. Here are our top picks for the best LED light bulbs on the market today.

Best Overall

Photo: amazon.com

Philips has been creating lighting for over 125 years and is one of the most well- known brands in lighting. This set of 16 efficient and long-lasting bulbs is a helpful purchase, especially when making the initial switch to LED light bulbs throughout a home. The Philips LED range offers a lot of perks with no visible flicker, long lifetime, energy savings, and instant “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 users can see clearly in rooms that use these lights. Made for home comfort, they’re bright enough to be helpful but not so bright they strain the eyes. Use them in a ceiling light or in a side table lamp; they’re built to be versatile.

Created with safety in mind, these 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: 6.5 watts
  • Brightness: 450 lumens
  • Color Temperature: 2700 Kelvins

Pros

  • Lifetime of up to 10,950 hours
  • Shatter-free plastic makes them lightweight and less likely to break
  • Meets the standards of eye comfort
  • Economical choice to replace old light bulbs

Cons

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

Get the Philips LED light bulbs on Amazon.

Best Value

The Best LED Light Bulb Option: Amazon Basics Soft White A19 LED Light Bulb 6-Pack
Photo: amazon.com

For those looking to upgrade to LED light bulbs around the home at an affordable price, Amazon Basics light bulbs are a terrific option. The six-pack of non-dimmable bulbs delivers a low price point of less than $3 per bulb, and they provide 15,000 hours of light over their lifespan. Designed to be energy efficient, these bulbs are meant to save money on energy bills, too.

These bulbs require no time to warm up, offering full brightness at the flick of the light switch, making them handy for darker areas of the home, like a basement. The 2700 K color temperature offers a soft white light that creates a warm and cozy atmosphere, an ideal choice for living rooms, dining rooms, or bedrooms. Since they’re made of durable plastic, these bulbs can even be used for outdoor lighting, too. For consumers who want a different color temperature, these Amazon Basics bulbs come in daylight and clear soft white as well.

Product Specs

  • Bulb Shape: Arbitrary (A19)
  • Wattage: 10.5 watts
  • Brightness: 800 lumens
  • Color Temperature: 2700 Kelvins

Pros

  • Lifetime of up to 15,000 hours
  • Great value with a low price point
  • Plastic exterior adds to the bulb’s durability

Cons

  • Soft white color can give a room a yellow hue
  • Non-dimmable bulbs

Get the Amazon Basics LED light bulbs on Amazon.

Best Smart

The Best LED Light Bulb Option: Philips Hue White 4-Pack A19 LED Smart Bulb
Photo: amazon.com

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 you approach and automatically turn on. To make the most of our pick for best smart light bulbs, you will need to set up the hub and download the free Philips Hue app to your mobile device. The app will help you with the setup and offers video tutorials on how to get the best use from these smart LED bulbs.

Product Specs

  • Bulb Shape: Arbitrary (A19)
  • Wattage: 9.5 watts
  • Brightness: 800 lumens
  • Color Temperature: 2700 Kelvins

Pros

  • Voice activation capability helpful for those who can’t access the light switch
  • Starter kit includes everything needed for lights to work at peak performance
  • Can set the lights to a schedule
  • 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 LED light bulbs on Amazon.

Best Color-Changing

The Best LED Light Bulb Option: LUMIMAN Smart WiFi Light Bulb 2 Pack
Photo: amazon.com

If you’re looking for a color-changing bulb you can control remotely, check out the LUMIMAN Smart WiFi Light Bulb. This bulb, which comes in a pack of two, fits ordinary lamp and light fixture sockets and can be controlled via voice with a smart-home assistant. By downloading the free LUMIMAN app, you can also change the light color from your tablet or smartphone.

Besides allowing the user the ability to choose from 16 million available colors, the LUMIMAN bulb provides a soft white and daylight mode. All lighting modes are dimmable. Also, you can program the bulb to come on at pre-specified times from your digital device. A home Wi-Fi network is necessary.

Product Specs

  • Bulb Shape: Arbitrary (A19)
  • Wattage: 7.5 watts
  • Brightness: 800 lumens
  • Color Temperature: 2700 Kelvins

Pros

  • Color and light choices allow for customization
  • Works with your smart-home setup (Alexa, Google, Siri, etc.)
  • Can set up lights to interact with your music
  • Can set up a timer to turn lights on and off

Cons

  • The potential for connectivity issues with the technology
  • Can only support 2.4 GHz (internet speed)

Get the LUMIMAN LED light bulbs on Amazon.

Best Vintage

The Best LED Light Bulb Option: Ascher Vintage LED Edison Bulbs Warm White 60W 2700K
Photo: amazon.com

There are plenty of styles of LED bulbs out there to suit your personal preference. Here’s a modern take on an Edison light bulb, offering the safety and modernity of LEDs while still exhibiting a vintage vibe. These light bulbs are excellent additions to homes with exposed light bulbs, such as those in some types of lamps.

Wherever these light bulbs are used, they have high visibility. With 2700 K, they cast a warm glow and give character to a 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. They come in a convenient six-pack, so consumers can carry the style through several rooms in a home.

Product Specs

  • Bulb Shape: Ellipsoidal (E26)
  • Wattage: 6 watts
  • Brightness: 700 lumens
  • Color Temperature: 2700 Kelvins

Pros

  • Vintage appeal with the safeness of LED
  • Comes in three different colors: amber warm, daylight white, and warm white
  • 20,000-hour lifespan
  • Bright, thanks to a high CRI of 80+

Cons

  • Outdoor usage not recommended as moisture issues can lead to flickering
  • Non-dimmable

Get the Ascher LED light bulbs on Amazon.

Best for Kitchens

The Best LED Light Bulb Option: Cree Lighting 100W Equivalent LED Bulb Daylight 5000K
Photo: amazon.com

Kitchens need bright lights, and Cree Lighting’s seven-pack of daylight LED lights delivers. Boasting a high CRI of 90+ and a color temperature of 5000 K, everything in the room is highly visible. Brightness is a huge perk in a kitchen where having your eyes on everything is crucial.

These light bulbs have a lifetime of over 25,000 hours, dramatically cutting down the number of times you need to swap out a bulb. Since the bulbs are made of shatterproof material, if one somehow becomes damaged or falls when you’re putting it in the socket, the cleanup is minimal (and much safer than with traditional bulbs).

Want things a little less bright? These lights are dimmable (providing you have a dimmer switch), transforming the mood of a kitchen from a work space to a cozy place to eat.

Product Specs

  • Bulb Shape: Arbitrary (A19)
  • Wattage: 100 watt equivalent
  • Brightness: 1600 lumens
  • Color Temperature: 5000 Kelvins

Pros

  • 1600 lumens and 5000 Kelvins ensure brightness
  • Shatterproof material
  • Indoor and outdoor usage

Cons

  • Lights may flicker a little when using the dimmer function

Get the Cree Lighting LED light bulbs on Amazon.

Best for Bathrooms

The Best LED Light Bulb Option: GE Relax 60 W Equivalent Dimmable Warm White A19 LED
Photo: amazon.com

GE is a well-known and trusted brand with a track record in the industry of over 125 years. Economical and designed to cast a comfortable glow, this eight-pack of GE Relax light bulbs may be the warm light a bathroom is missing. The 800 lumen brightness makes a bathroom bright without feeling clinical, but with the dimming capabilities, the lighting can be lowered to a favorable setting.

Rated to last up to 13 years, these GE LED light bulbs have longevity on their side, keeping the bathroom well lit and functional long-term. The bulbs have a frosted finish, making them gentler on the eye than clear bulbs. They may resemble traditional incandescent bulbs, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Made from glass and designed for multiple areas, these bulbs can be used all over the home, if desired.

Product Specs

  • Bulb Shape: Arbitrary (A19)
  • Wattage: 8.5 watts
  • Brightness: 800 lumens
  • Color Temperature: 2700 Kelvins

Pros

  • Dimmable and works with most switches
  • Frosted glass is less harsh than a clear bulb
  • Warm color helps create a calming, cozy 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 on Amazon.

Best for Vanities

The Best LED Light Bulb Option: Sunco Lighting LED Globe Vanity Light Bulbs
Photo: amazon.com

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 many are paired together on a vanity fixture, they’ll provide plenty of illumination.

These bulbs have a soft white color temperature of 3000 K, which offers proper lighting for 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: 3000 Kelvins

Pros

  • Available in five color temperatures
  • Bulbs are dimmable
  • Brightness level suitable for vanities, allowing users to see better

Cons

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

Get the Sunco Lighting LED light bulbs on Amazon.

Best Outdoor

The Best LED Light Bulb Option: Cree 120W Equivalent Bright White LED Spot Light Bulb
Photo: homedepot.com

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

The bulb uses just 19 watts, which means it uses 86 percent less energy than a standard incandescent floodlight, 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-degrees focus, which is better for security floodlights.

Product Specs

  • Bulb shape: Parabolic aluminized reflector (PAR38)
  • Wattage: 19 watts
  • Brightness: 1400 lumens
  • Color temperature: 3000 Kelvins

Pros

  • Ultra bright for outdoor visibility
  • Can be used in motion-activated lights for security
  • Wet rated and outdoor proof
  • Long lifespan of 25,000 hours

Cons

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

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

Our Verdict

Overall, we recommend selecting a product that can be used in multiple locations throughout the home. The Philips LED Frosted A19 Soft White Light 2700K is a terrific basic light that has safety features such as shatterproof construction and eye comfort testing. We also like the Amazon Basics Soft White A19 LED Light Bulbs because they’re comparable to more expensive bulbs, making it more affordable for consumers to switch over to LED light bulbs.

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 which ones seemed best for a home. Some of the criteria we assessed include:

  • Longevity. It was important to us to recommend products that are economical and easier for users. Our selections all include bulbs with long lifespans, requiring less maintenance of having to swap out 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 best color temperatures.
  • Brand. We made sure to find the best light bulbs made by reputable companies known for making quality products and treating their customers well.
  • Energy reduction. In general, LED light bulbs are a better choice for the environment and generate less waste. We made sure we recommended products that cut down on energy usage, too, offering a better solution for the planet.

FAQs

LED light bulbs are slowly replacing older, outdated incandescent light bulbs. Some people are delaying the switch because they have questions that they want answered before they swap out their old bulbs for LEDs. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you learn a bit 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 a ton of heat (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?

LEDs should not be used in enclosed or airtight spaces. These will shorten the lifespan of LED light bulbs.

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.