LED Lightbulb Recommendations

I’m looking for LED lighbulb recommendations for my bathroom and closet (walk-in connected to my bathroom). The bulbs will go into overhead lights.

The fixtures are enclosed and the bulbs must be rated for it. I know there can be some problems with LED bulbs overheating if they aren’t rated for it.

The color must closely match incandescent soft white. I have bulbs over the mirror that, for aesthetic reasons, will always be incandescent. I’d like the overhead light to match that as closely as possible, while being bright.

I am not interested in a smart lightbulb, one that changes colors or anything that connects to the internet. That is complexity I don’t need for a bathroom light.

I have checked the Wirecutters Best LED Lightbulb guide and apparently their top pick is discontinued. It does look like one of these alternative bulbs from Home Depot might be a decent fit though?

I’m currently leaning towards the 75W equivalent. It looks like the 100W equivalent is not rated for enclosed fixtures. Thoughts or other suggestions?

I would say do some research before you buy LED lights. Some people get headaches from LED flicker. This guy on hacker news films every LED bulb he buys—check out the video he links to see what I’m talking about.

mrb 2 days ago

Lifetime isn’t even my #1 concern with LED bulbs. It’s strobing/flickering.

I film all the LED bulbs I buy in slow motion at 240 fps with an Android phone, and play the movie back on a PC with mplayer using the dot(".") key to move frame by frame. Here is a shot I made comparing 2 brands of LED bulbs: https://youtu.be/QbenId_F2RQ (Edit: yeah you don’t have to transfer to a PC, just playing back in slow motion on the phone will still show the effect quite well.)

It’s amazing how I find this way that most (but not all!) of LED bulbs flicker with a strobe effect at 120 Hz (frames alternate between bright and dim) because they have crappy power supply designs that fail to smooth the A/C voltage. As a result they flash one time during the positive phase and one time during the negative phase of the 60 Hz A/C mains frequency.

I find this unacceptable. Although not too noticeable in normal conditions, a 120 Hz strobing light is definitely noticeable when your eyes move or track an object illuminated by the bulb.

In my experience, Philips lightbulbs are one of the few brands that don’t have this flaw because they take care of converting AC to a stable DC voltage internally. In fact they are advertised as such: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CFRCGKC "COMFORTABLE LIGHT: Our products meet strict test criteria including flicker, strobe, glare and color rendition to ensure they meet EyeComfort

He recommends Phillips bulbs, but I’ve found that they flicker as well. I bought a bunch and decided to keep them anyway. I haven’t found any advice on a single bulb that doesn’t flicker. I spent a good amount of time going through this thread about LED strain and came up empty handed.

I think the only way to know for sure is to take your phone to Home Depot or the Hardware store and film the example bulbs at 1/8 speed.

There is a light called Bedtime Bulb, that apparently does not flicker. Although it appears to be only a 40W equivalent bulb. I don’t think it will work if you’re thinking 60W might be too dim. It’s also pretty expensive at about $18/bulb.

Wow, none of the reviews I went through even mentioned flicker.

Unfortunately, I ordered the Cree 75W LED bulbs already. We’ll just have to see how they are. I knew I should have waited another day or two to see if any recommendation showed up.

On another note I can’t believe there is an entire forum of people talking about eye strain from LED lights? There’s more people there than on Product Dork!

So here’s the follow-up about the flickering LED lights:

I’ve got the Cree 75W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) bulbs and am very happy with them. The color accuracy is fantastic. I cannot tell the difference between these new LED bulbs and the old incandescent bulbs.

As suggested, I took a slow motion video of the bulbs. The videos below show the Cree bulb slowed down to 1/8 speed.

There is a very clear flicker. Compare that with the incandescent light I use for my desk.

While both the LED and incandescent bulbs both flicker, it is more obvious with the LED. I believe that is because incandescent bulbs go from 100% light to 70% light whereas LED bulbs go from 100% light to 0% light.

For what it’s worth I’m very happy with the Cree LED bulbs. The flicker isn’t noticeable at 1/4 speed—which I also tested—and certainly isn’t noticeable in real-time. I will probably continue to replace incandescent with LED bulbs as they die. The exception will probably be the task light at my desk and bedside lamps.

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Glad to hear they’re working out for you.