Ultimate LED Bulbs - Ultra High CRI - The Honorable Quest

This is it.

I'm overly tired of the "CRI averagish" LED bulbs I have home (looking at you LIFX, Osram, Philips and your 80ish values) and what is commonly offered in retail / online stores (...for the ones that do know what is CRI, geez). I'm no steampunk, I do not want to get back to incandescent bulbs nor do I want to consider halogen right now.

At a time we can have über great Optisolis (Ra 99 & Rf 98 R9 99, R12 95) in our hands, why can't we have über great bulbs hanging from our ceilings?

And so for the nth time I've browsed the web for great bulbs. Seems we're still shy of long results, even if it's better now : there are real results.

And here they are, so far, in a regularily updated table (now containing more than 100 entries) thanks to our wonderful participating community:

>> Click here to access the complete and UP TO DATE table <<


  • Not all light sources are made equals
  • Not all light sources holds their manufacturers claims
  • The "BLF Bulb Quality factor" that helps ordering this table follows this formula: Qf = [(Ra *1)+(R9*3)+(R12*3)+(Rf*2)] / 9
    • It serves one aim: litteraly assess the quality of the light emitted by each bulb
    • It is built upon two industrial standards: the CRI from the CIE 13.5 norm, and the newer IES TM-30 regarded as the future standard
      • It is purposedly putting an emphasis on current struggle points of LED technology
  • The "CRI_grade" is another initiative to rank lights, this time on a discrete scale (à la energy efficiency norm), with an alternative formula
  • This is a community topic, everybody is welcomed to provide new bulb constestant, values and suggestions

We expect to create here a small bible of respectable references that will be useful to the community and everyone online.

Do you share this urge to find quality lights? What have you found so far?

Let the hunt begin !

Reference :

  • Remarkable manufacturer of High CRI LEDs dies:
    • Nichia : Optisolis
    • Yuji : VCT
    • Osram : Oslon square
    • Citizen : CitiLED
    • Luminous : Salud (only the 3000K flavour)
    • Seoul Semi Conductor / Toshiba : SunLike

Thanks for this thread! I’m definitely interested in pursuing the same quest although i’m just getting started.

I recently bought some Philips LEDspot ExpertColor GU10 - they are supposed to be 90+CRI, to use in a bathroom… but have yet to set them up and see.
Maybe this is not enough for what you want? Been there, done that?

One thing i’m wondering about is how appropriate it will be… or where/when and in what places of the house…
Low CRI and color temp can be desirable at times? More relaxing?
These are questions i never wondered about before.

Do you find low pressure sodium lamps desirable and relaxing? I can’t think of any good reason to intentionally choose a low CRI lighting source when there is a good alternative.

I was thinking of candle light for instance.

Candle light has a more limited spectrum than high-CRI light of a higher color temp, but it’s still 100 CRI because its a blackbody light source. The CRI rating uses a blackbody source as the baseline for a 1000 score.

Also check the Soraa Radiant and Vivid product lines. I’m not sure if there is any difference in the A19 form factor bulbs from each line other than one is sold through retail outlets and the other is marketed to lighting installers. Both are CRI over 95 and R9 over 95. Currently, they are only available in 2700K.

I’d say the go-to budget brand for high CRI A19 bulbs is Hyperikon, available mainly from Amazon. They’re not class-leading, but they’re quite good. The Energy Star certification data for them shows CRI=93 and R9=59 for the 2700K sample tested.

My favorite thing about Hyperikon is they offer multiple color temperature choices: 2700K, 3000K, 4000K, and 5000K. Do note, however, they also have an 80 CRI product line, so double check the specs before buying.

By the way, bulbs that have an Energy Star certification should be able to be found on the Energy Star site to get information like CRI, efficacy, and dimming range.

Some manufacturers do not submit bulbs for Energy Star testing. Waveform does not seem to, for example.

Aren't you mixing those two concepts :"CRI contribution to atmosphere" vs "CCT contribution to atmosphere"?

I saw the Soraa brand a few days ago, but did'nt deepen it as I thought they produced 100-120v bulbs only. Thanks to you I've been a bit more torough on that now. As I understand it, I also think Vivid products seems to be similar to Radiant. Perhaps the newer rebranding of the Radiant marketing name for the same tech.

The Hyperikon is unfortunately too law on the R9s for my taste and aim. I've however included it in the table for the moment, despite better possibilities. It can help some of us.

The Energy Star search engine is great, just too bad you can't exploit their tag on R9 data, it would have been close to perfection.

I've updated the first table with your proposals.

I tested the E27 socket Waveform A19 Centric Home bulbs in three color temperatures and found them to be excellent.

Thanks for your feedback, hadn't realized you also tested bulbs maukka.

2700K is not so great with R9, the 4000K version is good on R12 at ~82, the 5000K is a bit shy at ~76.

Moreover your tests demonstrate at 17,95$ they are of great value.

The 4000K is very tenting, but unfortunately I can't decently source it in Europe for now. And the shipping fee on their own shop is a bit discouraging at 47$...

Still they offer international shipping when the cart reach the 500$. Might have to buy a bigger house to sort that out

I feel you. It’s very difficult to find certifiably good E27 LED bulbs in Europe for a reasonable price especially in small quantities. It would be nice to order every single promising one from Amazon, but no thanks.

I see one possibility here : European GB FTW!

Their references are somewhat confusing. I see at list 3 product ranges, but exploded in multiple variants (that is normally great but it's a bit difficult to get a hang off and navigate in, as some specs seem "on point" close (or undisclosed?)) :

For instance you tested 4007.27, 4007.40 & 4007.50 but 4007.xx bulbs are not supposed to exist on their current website.

Or the 4003.65 is listed two times on their website, one marketed for jewelry rendition, the other "full spectrum". The 4005.65 for Birds or not, etc. One 4005.50 is D50 calibrated, the other does not?

Otherwise, would you be interested to test those if I were to send one to you? They are claiming CRI 98 / R9 93 / R12 90 (see graph) and that is all great but I don't find independant test. And this seller shop, (which history all check-out and trace back some 17 years ago (via H2i Technology)) could be linked to a strange marketplace platform. It could all be legit, but as always : caveat emptors prevails.

I have the Philips GU10 ExpertColor all over my house now, in 2700K and 3000K, they have a perfect smooth beam and are over 95CRI and slightly below the BBL. I can not foresee needing anything better apart from hoping that a similar light quality can be had for the same price (I payed about 7 euro per bulb) in unidirectional bulbs.

Any idea if the 4000K ExpertColor is as good?

Sure, I’ll gladly test one.

I have no idea. I dared to try a Yuji 4000K remote phosfor bulb once in the house, and my girlfriend felt like she was in hospital instead of at home. So apparantly 4000K is not for us.

Did you also had the opportunity to test some Yuji's?

I never checked that bulb actually because I have had it long before I got my spectrometer. I could if you are interested.

In one, simple but effective, word : YES

In two, honest and heartwarming, words : YES, PLEASE

Which of Yuji's reference have you got on hand?

It must be YJ-BC-RP-6-40, it is a couple of years old already but it looks like that one.

Surfing Hyperikon's website I have found a better promising bulb, in the name of the "Hyperikon 212000401" an A21 17W 120v (sic) solution, still ranging from 2700 to 5000K and advertised at CRI 92.

However, searching detailled data/tests on it, the 4000K version seems to be tested at "17" for R9 (source, indiecinemaacademy)... Meeh ? And EnergyStar tests on the supposedly same (if HyperA2190-40, A21-40, and 212000401 are the same) 4000K version R9 at 63...While the 5000K should be at R9 90 and CRI 95.

Oh, well.

EDIT : browsing indiecinemaacademy pages, have found the Quasar Science S-LED bulbs (95+CRI). Unfortunately, I can't find detailled info or other tests yet. And well, 120v again.