My assessment of LED lights
I'm going thru a remodel involving lights, and I'm thrilled to see everything is LED so there is a better solution to save electricity than CFL. I couldn't decide which to buy so I bought them all and made our own little showroom in our basement.
The stores local to me are HD and Menards, so that's what I went with. We have new construction 5" br30 / par30 cans.
The first bulb I tried was the CE 5" retrofit with recessed gimball. It had the most wow factor. It was also the most expensive, $45 at HD. This bulb definitely looked cool installed, but it had a very focused light. It looked almost like a flashlight when you'd move it around the room you could see a definite circle pattern. Even tho it's called a flood, it had a PAR-looking pattern. Great for task lighting, not great for a bedroom.
We compared this to a CFL, Incandescent, and a flood incandescent all at once. People liked the CFL least. Worst and least amount of light. Ppl liked the look of the CE, but not the focused light and shadows it cast. Overall ppl liked the incandescent flood best. So my initial delve into lighting was producing nothing better than the old power-eating standby.
So I went back and researched lots of different ones, and got one of each. This time, we tried the other CE retrofit from Home Depot with 5" white trim and BR-style lens. And from Menards, their version of the retrofit, and their cheap LED Dimmable Bulb (Feit Professional series) for $16.
Now we haev 4 LEDs to compare.
A $45: CE retrofit with PAR lens from HD 3000K
B $38: CE retrofit with BR lens from HD 3000K
C $35: Feit retrofit with flat lens from Menards 3000K
D $25: Feit bulb and baffle from Menards ($16+$9) 2700K
They were all really good. Aside from A being focused, B, C, D all had nice non-shadow casting light that filled the room, was really bright, and a nice color. I like the 3000K and didnt feel it was too cool.
Delay - on.
This was really annoying. A, C, and D all popped right on when you flipped the switch but B took over a second. I know that's probly trivial, but I would notice it every time I turned them on. So right there I consider B out, even tho it had a lot of nice features like the BR lens, narrow trim, and interchangeable trim kits. I don't feel bad about this also cuz it had the lowest light output around 630 lumens.
I found it really strange that 2 kits both by CE performed so differently. Don't they use the same basic drive technology among models? A popped on fast but B was delayed. Go figure.
None of them hummed. I read about hum problems out here, but I just didn't see it (er, um... hear it). All equal, all were nice and quiet.
Everyone pretty much liked the Menards retrofit best. It had a flat translucent panel instead of a BR- or PAR-looking lens. This diffused the light really well and made it so if you caught a glimpse of the fixture directly, it was the least painful on your eyes. Also I liked that this lens was flat and sealed to the trim, so once the light is installed, there would be no cracks for spiders, dust, or anything to slip thru.
The Menards bulb looked like a traditional baffle and flood bulb. You had to make a point to center them in the baffles or they skew and don't look as good. Otherwise it was fine. I was actually surprised - why would ppl pay $30-$40 for a bulb, when this one looks really great? If you're replacing bulb only, the light quality was excellent and the price is right at $16. Even if one out of 10 burns out in 10 yrs instead of 20, you've spent 40% of the cost of more expensive ones so you can replace it once and still be ahead.
For $10 more tho, I can get the kit, which has no issue w centering the bulb, the sealed lens / trim, the best diffused lens, and a clean and refined look w no gaps or cracks. Over 10 fixtures, that's $250 vs $350, so we'll go the extra $100.
It's also $3 cheaper than the CE model at HD, comes on quicker, and outputs 840 lumens vs 630.
The next step will be to wait till my dimmers (CL-series for the LED lights) come in, and if they dim as well as the others, then it's a done deal. I'll post back when I find out how they all dim.
This experiment seems to indicate that the Feit is the best, but everywhere I read ppl seem to like to bash them. Are they worse? Or are ppl just brand loyal to their Nora or Cree which probly just have more markup? When comparing the 4 kits avail at common stores, this one seemed to stand out as the best performer and at a good price. Not the cheapest , but not the most expensive either.