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Best Overall: Cree 65W Light Bulb at Home Depot
"This 65-watt bulb produces 680 lumens of white light—strong enough for outdoor use and gentle enough for indoor."
Best Dusk to Dawn: Philips LED Dusk to Dawn Bulb at Amazon
"Dusk to dawn light bulbs like this one come equipped with sensors that turn the light on at night when triggered by movement."
Best 360 Degree: SkyGenius 25W LED Corn Light Bulb at Amazon
"This outdoor LED bulb provides 360 degrees of stable lighting (no more dead corners) thanks to rows of tiny lights."
Best Smart Bulb: TP-Link Smart LED Bulb w/Wi-Fi at Amazon
"Individual bulbs are also available with your choice of features including energy monitoring, multicolor settings, and tunable white."
Best Bug Repelling: TCP LED Yellow Bug Light at Amazon
"Unlike sources of white light, the bulb emits a pretty yellow glow that won’t attract pesky insects."
Best Flood Light Bulb: Sunco 11W Flood Light Bulb at Amazon
"It emits 850 Lumens (equal to a 60-watt incandescent bulb), and it’s available in three different color temperatures."
Best Design: Asgens Vintage Edison Light Bulbs at Amazon
"Reminiscent of a bygone era, the antique filament inside provides a warm, romantic glow, perfect for parties, wedding, and more."
Best Overall: Cree 65W Equivalent Soft White BR30 Dimmable LED Light Bulb
Powerful, long-lasting, and energy-efficient, the Cree BR30 LED outshines all other competition. This 65-watt bulb produces 680 lumens of gorgeous, soft-white light—strong enough for outdoor use and gentle enough for indoor. The BR30 also helps save on the electric bill, as it uses 87 percent less energy than standard bulbs. Cree designed the item to last almost 23 years (when measured on a 3-hour per day basis), and they even offer a 10-year satisfaction guarantee with your purchase. The light bulb is dimmable, shatter-proof, and affordably priced. And its wide-beamed flood lights make it ideal for both recessed cans and track lighting fixtures.
Best Dusk to Dawn: Philips LED Dusk to Dawn Bulb, 3-Pack
Dusk to dawn light bulbs like this one come equipped with sensors that turn the light on at night when triggered by movement. While this Energy Star certified bulb isn’t dimmable, it does emit a pleasing soft white light (equal to a 60 Watt incandescent). When it comes to energy use, it uses only 8 watts of power, so you can expect to save up to $143 over its 25,000-hour lifetime. Folks who own Phillips Hue System may be disappointed to learn that this bulb is not compatible.
Best 360 Degree: SkyGenius 25W LED Corn Light Bulb
This outdoor LED bulb, which resembles an ear of corn, provides 360 degrees of stable lighting (no more dead corners!) thanks to rows of tiny lights. It's available in a range of lumens, but our favorite is the 2,500-lumen bulb. Its brightness is equal to a 200W incandescent bulb, and the good news is it consumes only 1/10 of the energy.
Don't let its newfangledness confuse you because it's designed to fit any standard (E26) light socket. We think it's an excellent choice for outdoor post fixtures where 360 degrees of bright light will illuminate both walkways and yards at night. So that you know, it doesn't dim.
The estimated yearly cost to operate this bulb is around $3. You can expect it to last up to 10 years based on three hours of operation per day.
Best Smart Bulb: TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb with Wi-Fi
Give your porch light a high tech upgrade with this smart bulb by TP-Link that you can control through a personal device.
The dimmable three-pack offers the best bang for your buck. Each bulb is 50W equivalent. Individual bulbs are also available with your choice of features including energy monitoring, multicolor settings, and tunable white. Whichever one you choose all can be controlled using a free app on your smartphone or using your voice via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. For your convenience, you can even set lighting schedules for this bulb, including timers and countdowns.
Before buying, here are two essential things to know: First, don't use smart bulbs like this one with your existing dimmer switches. Also, the bulb works best outdoors in areas with an overhead cover in temperatures ranging between 5-degrees to 102-degrees.
Best Bug Repelling: TCP 5W Equivalent LED Yellow Bug Light Bulbs
You can replace your old 40W incandescent bulbs with this LED one by TCP that only uses five watts. Unlike sources of white light, the bulb emits a pretty yellow glow that won’t attract pesky insects.
These bug light bulbs will stand the test of time, as their life span is nearly 23 years (based on three hours of daily use). You won't have to worry about fit either—this bulb will fit any of your existing sockets because it uses a standard E26 screw base. Another important note: this bulb works best outdoors in an area that protects it from the weather.
Best Flood Light Bulb: Sunco 11W Flood Light Bulbs, 6-Pack
Brighten up your outdoor space with this Energy Star listed LED flood light bulb by Sunco. It emits 850 Lumens (equal to a 60-watt incandescent bulb), and it’s available in three different color temperatures: Soft white (2700k), cool white (4000k) and daylight (5000).
The bulb, which you can dim, is a top performer that can reduce energy use compared to a halogen bulb by 90 percent. Its average life is 25,000 hours.
Best Design: Asgens Vintage Incandescent Edison Light Bulbs
Typically, we want light bulbs to be discreet. To blend in and go unnoticed. Not Transtec’s Edison Bulbs, however. Reminiscent of a bygone era, these light bulbs are so stunning, so elegant, that they can be the showpiece of a room or event. The antique filament inside provides a warm, romantic glow, perfect for parties, wedding receptions, or simply stringing up in the backyard. Edison Bulbs are available in a variety of shapes and buying options, guaranteed to match your aesthetic and your budget, though they admittedly have a few drawbacks such as lower wattage and non-LED.
Brightness Deciding how bright you'd like an outdoor light to be will make a big difference in the bulb you choose. The brightness of an LED bulb is measured in lumens, with 750 lumens being equivalent to a 60-watt bulb. If you want mood lighting, opt for a softer light bulb with less lumens. But if you’re looking to light up the night after the sun goes down, a higher-powered bulb will be a better fit.
Motion and security Some outdoor bulbs are great for security purposes, thanks to built-in motion sensors that will turn the light on if an object passes by. Others will illuminate the night with 360-degree light distribution, which makes it easier to see shadowy corners or the edge of your yard. There are also models that can be programmed to turn on automatically at dusk, or you can use an app to turn them on and off from your smartphone. These options for automation can give you more peace of mind and increase the comfort and security of your yard.
Weather-resistance If you’re looking for an outdoor light bulb, you may need to give some thought as to what type of weather the bulb will be exposed to. While some bulbs are considered to be weatherproof and can stand up to rain and snow, others need to be protected from the elements. Many floodlight-style bulbs are more tolerant of weather conditions, while a lot of residential-style bulbs will need to be under a porch or canopy for the best results.