The CREE CR6 is the latest in a line of energy efficient LED lights made by CREE. This light addresses some of the issues of the earlier lights, allowing dimming down to 5% and having a compact, light-weight package at about half the cost of earlier models.
It draws only 10.5 Watts yet produces as much light as a 65W incandescent bulb, so it’s definitely an energy saver. That’s a 55 lumen/Watt rating, putting it in the same ballpark as a normal CFL spiral bulb. But the fair comparison is with dimmable fluorescent downlights. Those range from 40 to 50 lm/W, so on average, you get 10%-25% more light from the CREE than you would the equivalent fluorescent.
The CREE CR6 costs me $50 at the Home Depot website, though I’ve heard that certain states have this light in stores for under $30 due to rebates (Available in NJ for $24.97 as of 11/27/2011). At that price, it’s an excellent deal. For comparison, a good dimmable fluorescent costs from $12-$18.
Lifetime is rated at
35,000 50,000 hours vs. 6,000-8,000 for high quality fluorescent equivalents, so to be conservative, the LED light will last about 6x 7x as long. That makes the lifetime fluorescent equivalent cost about $105 vs. $50 for the LED.
What about dimmability and light quality? I’m very impressed. As with the Pharox (reivewed elsewhere) the CR6 can dim down to 5%. This is magical for those of us used to older fluorescents and LEDs that could only dim down to about 20% brightness. This means they’re finally useful as replacements for conventional bulbs. Finally!
And the light quality? Excellent! I was really impressed. When on full brightness, you’d never know that this wasn’t a conventional incandescent bulb. As you dim it, it stays the same color-temperature, so it’s not like the orange glow of a dimmed incandescent. But if you want candlelight, light a candle!
Overall, with the Pharox light bulb and the CR6 downlight, I think we have finally hit the sweet point for energy efficient bulbs. These set the standard, putting us at a point where I wouldn’t hesitate to replace any light in the house with LEDs. My only regret is that there’s no good candelabra replacement that I know of.
If you find good sources for these bulbs, please post them in the comments to share with others.
Here’s the official CREE installation video:
Consumer Reports – First look at the CREE CR6 LED Downlight
CREE CR6 – Official CREE page on the light
CREE Video – Official CREE video on installing the light (same as embedded above)
Energy Federation – Page on dimmable compact fluorescent lights
Home Depot – EcoSmart Edison bulb replacement downlight
Pharox dimmable bulb – A standard dimmable LED bulb replacement