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Friday, October 4, 2019

The Best LED Lightbulbs That Aren’t Smart Bulbs

A few LED bulbs hanging from fixtures.
DK same/Shutterstock

Smart bulbs are great and all, but what if you just want a super-efficient LED bulb? It’s not too hard to pick out the perfect LED bulb—once you know what you’re looking for, that is.

What to Look for in an LED Bulb

Have you ever replaced a lightbulb only to find that your replacement is too bright, too dim, or just unreasonably ugly? That’s the thing about bulbs, they’re all slightly different, and you can’t make any guesses.

Luckily, there’s not too much to keep track of. You just need to consider where you’ll put the bulb, and what brightness or color temperature is appropriate for that space. You should also consider the fixture you’re using and whether or not you need a dimming bulb.

  • Brightness: We usually judge the brightness of LED lightbulbs in terms of “watt equivalence.” Most people consider 60-watt bulbs to be “normal,” while 45 watt bulbs are “soft.” If you’re buying a light for a dimming fixture, we suggest getting one that’s pretty bright (so you have a wider dimming or brightening range).
  • Color temperature: “Warm” lights give off a slightly orange glow, while “cool” and “daylight” bulbs look a bit blue. “Soft white” bulbs are usually considered “neutral.”
  • Fixture: All of the bulbs in this article have a standard E26 base (which works with the majority of residential lighting fixtures). You just need to consider what bulb shape is appropriate for your fixture. An Edison bulb may look great in an exposed or hanging fixture, but it won’t be bright or stout enough to fit in an enclosed fixture or a recessed ceiling fixture.
  • Dimming and non-dimming: You can use dimming bulbs with non-dimming fixtures, but you should avoid using non-dimming bulbs with dimming fixtures (it’s not a safety issue, but the bulb might flicker). Why buy non-dimming bulbs at all? Because they’re cheaper, silly!

Now that you have an idea of what to look for, let’s get into it. Here are the best LED bulbs that aren’t smart bulbs.

Best Overall: Great Eagle 60W Equivalent (4 Pack)

Great Eagle's non-dimmable bulbs
Great Eagle

Great Eagle’s non-dimmable LED bulbs are cost-effective, comfortably bright (60W equivalent), and durable. They’re just great for any situation, and they come in a variety of color temperatures from warm to white to daylight. This is a great bulb for anyone who wants something that’ll just work well and look good.

Keep in mind these aren’t dimmable bulbs—we’ll get to those in a second.

Best Overall

Great Eagle A19 LED Light Bulb, 9W (60W Equivalent), UL Listed, 3000K (Soft White), 800 Lumens, Non-dimmable, Standard Replacement (4 Pack)

Great Eagle’s non-dimmable LED bulbs are generally great for any situation. They’re 60W equivalent, they’re affordable, and they come in a variety of color temperatures.

Best Budget Option: Philips 60W Equivalent (16 Pack)

16 of Philips cheap LED bulbs

These non-dimmable Philips bulbs are super duper cheap. They’re 60-watt bulbs with a soft white temperature, so they’ll work perfectly in most environments (Philips also sells 40-watt versions). There’s not much else to say here—these are some of the cheapest LED bulbs you’ll find, and they come from a reputable brand.

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