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Just another Cree LED BR30 @10 US Dollars

Cree's closing the gap with a new-and-improved second-gen model that sells for a much more reasonable $10 per bulb -- less than any of those other competitors. It still lags somewhat in terms of color quality, dimming performance, and heat management, but offers satisfying performance for general household lighting needs. If you've been waiting to upgrade a whole home's worth of floodlights, it's your most affordable big-name option, and a good choice, overall.

Both the original and the new version shine at a yellowy 2,700 K, with hotter, whiter "Daylight" versions that shine at 5,000 K available for an extra buck. Both promise to last 25,000 hours. Both are dimmable, both are Energy Star compliant, and both offer entry level color rendering scores right around the LED average of 80.
The only significant difference with this year's bulb -- aside from the price cut -- is that its warrant is not as strong as the original one. Like most of Cree's initial LED offerings, the original BR30 LED offered ten years of protection, but version two follows the company's recent trend away from that benchmark by offering five years of coverage.
Half the warranty at half the upfront cost seems like a fair trade to me, but customers who'd rather pay a little more for additional protection might be disappointed. Cree tells me that it won't be manufacturing last year's model any longer, and that once existing stock is sold off, it'll be gone for good.
The Good At $10, Cree's new LED floodlight is one of the most affordable big-name options available. It scores well in both brightness and efficiency, and offers better dimming performance than its predecessor.
The Bad Cree's new bulb still can't match the color quality or dimming performance of the GE Reveal BR30 LED, and offers a shorter warranty, too. It also finished last in our heat-management test.
The Bottom Line Cree's BR30 LED offers strong performance at a clear value. For most lighting setups, it's an excellent choice.


Cree's new floodlight is a tempting upgrade at just $10 per bulb, and I think it gets enough right to merit strong consideration. It offers more than enough brightness, strong efficiency numbers, and a satisfyingly warm quality of light. If you prefer something hotter and less yellowy, the Daylight version is probably worth the extra buck.
Still, the competition is strong enough to justify spending more in certain circumstances, and that keeps me from calling Cree's bulb a clear best buy. If you're just looking for a floodlighting upgrade that won't break the bank, Cree's new bulb offers the best value.

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