LED lights

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Introduction

Most LED lights are pretty bad. Better LEDs can be found in video/cinema applications, or for museum exhibits. Photographers do not care much about LEDs as they do not tend to use continuous lights.

Most household lamps use E26/E27 sockets, and the most common bulbs are A19, A21, and A23. Every lamp will take A19, many will take A21, but A23 is larger and requires thorough investigation whether it's supported by indoor lamps.

Power and energy

LEDs are pretty energy efficient, but the power density is pretty low. If you need high power, incandescent or halogen is the only way to go. In general, this means you need more LED bulbs for household applications, and it's very likely new lamps supporting more bulbs are required. LEDs with more accurate color tend to have less power and be less energy efficient than other LEDs.

Light output

How many lumens do you need? My incandescent lights have the following specs:

Manufacturer Type Power Luminous Flux
Philos Incandescent 300 W 4850 lm
Powerlight Halogen 200 W 3980 lm
Osram Halogen 150 W 2870 lm
Philips Halogen 105 W 1980 lm
Philips Incandescent 40 W 405 lm

Color temperature

For general purpose household stuff you want something around 2700K. Very low power dim sidelighting can be lower (even 2000K). High power stuff can go as high as 3200K. Unless you have a special use case in mind, only look at 2700K and 3000K offerings.

Color rendering

The the most common standard is CRI. Unfortunately, CRI is pretty useless, but consumer manufacturers frequently only specify CRI. You want something with CRI over 95. An important color not taken into account by CRI is R9. You want something with R9 over 90.

A much better standard is TLCI. You want something with TLCI over 90.

TCLI results

Notable manufacturers

Quality

High power

Notable products

800 lm class

Manufacturer Product Color Temperature Luminous Flux CRI R9 TLCI Notes
Waveform Lighting Ultra High 95 CRI E26 A19 10W LED Bulb for Home & Residential 2700/3000K 800 lm 95 91/95 FilmGrade series has 95 TLCI
Yuji BC Series A60 High CRI Remote Phosphor LED 3000K 840 lm 97 95+ 97 recommended by gaffers
Soraa Soraa VIVID A60 (E27) 2700K 800 lm 95 95
Ikea Ledare 11W LED1304G11 E27 2700K 600 lm 93 93 600 lm only
Ikea Trådfri LED1623G12 2700K 1000 lm 89 smart bulb
Solux ColorView 3000K 310-1490 lm 100 100 120V only

Osram has some 95+ TLCI products in its professional spot line. It's unclear whether the A bulbs from the same professional line are just as good or not. Osram only claims 80+ CRI even for the good stuff, and the A products are rated the same. They might be much better than specified.

High power class

Manufacturer Product Color Temperature Luminous Flux CRI R9 TLCI Notes
EURI A Series LED EA21-4000cec-2 3000K 1600 lm 90 120V only
Cree Cree 100 Watt Replacement 2700K/3000K 1600 lm 90+
Green Creative A21 18.5W HIGH CRI DIMMABLE 2700K 1600 lm 90 60 120V only
Green Creative A23 LED 25W 277V E26 3000K 3200 lm 82