What are the Best LEDs? And Who Makes the Best LEDs?

The LED market is evolving rapidly.   In this article we evaluate the current crop of LEDs but caution that this information will be dated soon after it is published.  There are remarkable innovations underway in the LED world:  Be sure to evaluate options and work with a knowledgeable professional when undertaking an LED replacement or upgrade project.

Another word of caution.  LEDs must conform to the fixtures for which they are designed.  We have worked with lighting designers that are confused by the array of options and specifications.  Like the old adage of carpenters – measure twice, cut once – review your specs again and again.  Or else confirm that your vendor has a generous return policy!

Several manufacturers have proved themselves in recent years to be both efficient AND cost-effective.  Our clients look for both.  Here is an overview of the key manufacturers and their products.

In evaluating light bulbs pay attention to several key factors:

  • Lumens:  What is the efficiency or number of lumens (i.e., light intensity) per watt of energy consumed
  • Electricity consumption:  6 -12 watts compared to their 60 watt incandescent counterparts.  Depending on how much you use the bulb the savings can add up.
  • Warranties:  Available from 1-10 years
  • Beam spread:  How wide is the light diffused.  If you can test these before ordering as the actual results often differ from the manufacturer’s intent and description.


We continue to be wowed by this Dutch manufacturer which turns out a reliable product for rock bottom prices year after year.

A 60 watt equivalent that fits into a conventional socket and casts a warm, yellow glow can be purchased for under $10.  A dimmable option is available for about 50% more.

Finally, a unique shape, the SlimStyle, can be used in lamp fixtures for under $8.


Cree makes a product that, like Phillips’, looks like a conventional incandescent bulb and fits into all conventional fixtures.  The cost is slightly more than Phillips, around $12, but carries a 10 year warranty.  Another product is slightly less expensive at $11, looks exactly like an incandescent (in fact, it’s called a 4Flow Filament Design), but uses a little more electricity at 11 watts.


Efficiency is a measurement of lumens per watt.  By far the most efficient LED is the Osram which casts 800 lumens and uses only 8.5 watts for a cost of about $10.50.


Amazingly enough GE still makes stuff and hats go off to its floodlight, the Reveal BR30, which sells for about $14.