Best cheap LED light bulbs

I haven't bought LED light bulbs in years.

I used to get them from Dollar Tree, but I went there today, and the light bulbs they had didn't have information about tint, which is a deal breaker for me.

I did some research on Amazon because I like Amazon, and I didn't want to order from China.

I was looking for packs of LED light bulbs where each bulb is $1.50 or less.

I also wanted warm white, and the equivalent of 60 to 75 watts of incandescent light.

That narrowed things down quickly.

I found four listings on Amazon with at least 4.7 stars.

The biggest difference between the listings was the customer ratings for longevity for these LED light bulbs.

This one had the best customer rating for longevity of the four:

I skimmed all of the feedback for the warm white option, and ordered it.

(Strangely enough, the Amazon listing stated that this item does not ship to California, but I ordered it anyway.)

I don't know how good it is yet, but I will soon.

Of course I won't know about the longevity of the bulbs first hand for quite a while.

I'll update this thread on my impressions when the light bulbs arrive.

Which cheap LED light bulbs do you think are the best?

I recall when compact fluorescent started to become a thing. They were kind of expensive but promised reduced electrical use, and much longer life-span. A good deal seemed to be [Lights of America]. They looked fine, worked OK, and did the ‘classic’, died right after they warranty was over in about a year. Real crap, pretty much across the whole line of bulbs and fixtures.

I’ve found similar lack of reliability among cheap LED, and that’s ignoring the horrible color of lots of the early ones.
I’m very curious about opinions about this from this more discerning group.

Opple offers the best quality to price ratio. I know you don’t want to order from China but the budget brands on Amazon are just rebrands of lower quality Chinese stuff.

Opple is possibly the most trusted Led brand in China. I have dozens of Opple lights around several houses and none of them have gone bad - some have been installed for over 5 years.

Having seen a lot of different brands and having the majority of them all fail far beyond the lifetime you might expect, whether open air or in enclosed fixtures, I’d say pick a source and/or a manufacturer that will still be there later to honor a replacement warranty. So many of these use a very basic capacitor dropper circuit and have poor heat sinking and cheap-o components all around….some are potted, which doesn’t seem to provide them any benefit, and some have some meatier heat sinks, which still don’t provide that much more lifetime. If there’s nothing better, I’d go with Home Depot’s house brand…they’re ok, not great, but they will honor the warranty if you keep your receipt (and if you bring one bulb back with a receipt they’ll more than likely just give you a new full pack of 3 or whatever they came as). They have quite a variety now, most in either 2700K or 5000K (kinda bluish “daylight”…), and some are available in a little nicer 3000K (I’d call them 3500K for the ones we’ve had). I would not buy at Lowe’s or Walmart….and Amazon will be a roll of the dice regardless of the brand. We’ve used and replaced a lot of LEDs at our office where they’re getting 10-16 hours a day of run time (most constantly on but several with on-off all day long). The TCP and Satco brands have been the better of all of them but they cost a little more and frankly I don’t think their lifespan has been appreciably longer to justify the higher cost over the HD house brand (but they do have a much wider selection of wattages, shapes, and temps). Even had a few boutique brands (can’t recall their names, though)…the only ones of those that were long lived were heavily finned Par-38 track bulbs (the Par bulbs generally seem to last much longer than typical home edison-base types…not sure why really). We did have some 18W A21 edison base that had big heat sinks, too, but I only saw those burn for about two years before they went home with the employee that purchased them…seemed good, though (EcoGreen possibly? They were $$$ for a bulb.).

So far I think Satco was the only one I’ve seen that had a better circuit topology inside and it looked like better caps and components…still didn’t last what it should have though. So…keep your receipt and hope they’ll be around. Most retailers will leave you hanging to deal with the company yourself, and in the great example that Lowe’s made not long ago, they’ll just leave you high and dry even if they have the product in stock still.

Another good source is the corny-sounding . They’re a legit supplier and have a pretty wide selection for most bulb types. They’ve recently starting offering a lot more under their house brand (PLT I think) and they’re actually really decent, well priced, too. They will stand behind anything with great service and replacements, either with something comparable or with the same product if it still exists…and they’ll do that even if its determined that you exceeded temperature ratings in an enclosed fixture or something, too (nice gratuity that they extend). They’re kind of an exception in this regard, certainly worth considering if they have something you like. They have some of the typical Sylvania and Phillips, plus several boutique brands and the contractor TCP, Satco, etc. They’ve been affected by tariffs and supply constraints like everyone else, so selection may be a little trimmed down right now.

I tested Home Depot LED bulbs and Waveform LED bulbs on my Opple Light Master… It really helped me to have a tool that can take measurements of the CCT, Tint DUV, and Flicker Index

after I saw the test results, I stopped using the Home Depot version, because they flicker more, and they also got hotter than the Waveforms.

I can actually get Osram branded LED bulbs, I like them quite a bit. Jury’s still out on lifespan though.

Just looked at their aliexpress store…all bulbs that I’ve seen are CRI80 :frowning:

Yep most of the Opple bulbs are 80 CRI. However, the OP was asking for budget bulbs and I don’t expect any to be 90+ CRI at around 1 USD per bulb. Customers outside of photographers and flashaholics don’t really care to spend the extra for more.

Thanks, I just checked them out.

Unfortunately, their high shipping charge kills the deal.

I checked out their AliExpress store.

Shipping kills the deal yet again.

I can't find any interesting Osram LED bulbs on AliExpress.

Did you order them online, maybe from China, or did you buy them locally at "The Light"?

I don’t order form Chinese websites or no name from Amazon because the CSA/UL/CE certifications are typically fake and the bulbs may not be safe to use. If they have insufficient electrical isolations for example the bulb may work fine until there is an unintended line surge which causes it to spontaneously combust where legal appliances would not have.
Then your insurance refuses to pay out because you used illegal electrical products.

Out flashlights are a grey area, they are not connected to line voltage and they are low voltage (hence may evade need for certification) but if an insurance company wanted to screw you and knew one of our lithium batteries started a fire they could deny you coverage because its not an item sold from a first world business and the batteries are sold in bulk to be used in packs which should be certified but are diverted to resellers who sell them individually for flashlights (against the wishes of most manufacturers agreements of sale).

Bought locally. They don’t have a CRI rating, but they do have a nice warm tint that I find pleasing.

If you live in some chosen european countries and you have a non food discounter called “Action” at hand - they have E27 17W 2500Lm Bulbs for just 2,99€:

That makes a theroetical 147Lm/W - very rare to find as you all know.

I have bought multiple ones and they are indeed very bright and the light doesn’t seem to be of low CRI as well.
With 17W and that price, I think they won’t last forever, but which one of those lights does.

Action also has some 4000K and 6500K bulbs - both not as efficient and powerful, but especially 4000K bulbs are quite rare

I get mine at Dollar Tree, they are fine for me.

Had to take a look since I don’t pay the invoices at the office. Looks like up to around 24 household bulbs is around $13 UPS Ground, bumps to $14 for more. That’s really pretty fair all things considered, especially these days with all the carriers increasing (boo). Same $13 if you only want two bulbs, though. The free shipping threshold sure changed, though, wow. lol. That must have been very recent. They used to be at like $99 and I believe every order we’ve placed with them as a business account had free shipping (decent quantities each time, though)…but $1000 for free shipping. What a bargain. :slight_smile:

Good luck in your search! If you have any local suppliers (industrial/trade types) you might see if they will sell to individuals and what they have…most will and sometimes they are surprisingly competitive on price.

I don’t know Canada but I thought you and the US were fairly well aligned in how these things are approached. For products and devices, if it’s sold it’s supposed to be legal, and therefore the onus of damages is on the manufacturer (and/or retailer sometimes). Where you would get in trouble is if you alter devices that then cause the damage, or of course doing unlicensed work in the home where you’re not supposed to.

For these normal household edison-base bulbs, I can’t see any surge ever causing a meltdown or combustion. They all have one of those fat grey resistor-fuse things, but if that were to fail to stop the current then you’re going to blow out caps or rectifiers or something almost instantly, and last ditch I suppose the emitter(s) would fail and open the circuit at that point. Those that have metal bases of course wouldn’t burn…not sure if the plastics typically used for the bases/base shells or the diffuser would actually burn or just melt for a moment. There are a lot of shoddy topologies these days across whole families of appliances and devices…it’s a shame really…but most things are not just going to catch on fire with a surge or even a lightning strike. I’m more concerned with heat-creating devices like toasters/toaster ovens, rice cookers, space heaters, mug warmers, etc…so many of those are disasters waiting to happen and I think a lot of them should probably be made illegal for sale until they incorporate safe engineering and legit certification/testing. But bulbs….eh.

Cree last a long time. Can’t say if they are cheap or not because I bought mine when the power company ran a deal with HD.

I see talk of surges. Whole house surge protection should stop that. It is NEC mandated now going forward. It would be a good investment for everyone.

Edit- Just looked them up. Not cheap but they do last. I replaced mine about 3-4 years ago and haven’t lost one yet. KOW

guessing that people are getting color temperature [warmness] confused with CRI again…

what i think is, color temp is easy, a warmish tint pleases most people, CRI is hard to measure, no one knows what it is, and don;t care why it might be different from ‘color temperature’

any bulb not listing color temp, is probably going to be either cold blue, or have a wide variation box to box

(ie they bought whatever was cheap that week and stuck their label on it)