Can be used indoor or outdoor
Pleasant soft white color
Used indoors, it requires can housing
Not bright enough for some outdoor applications
We purchased the Cree Soft White LED Flood Bulb so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Cree is a global semiconductor and LED lighting company that provides lighting for home consumers and stadium and architectural commercial applications. We tested their consumer LED floodlights inside and outside the garage at our Colorado home, checking to see if the bulbs’ claims of bright, natural-looking light prove true based on our testing.
Performance: Dimming option and even distribution of natural light
This shape's bulbs are a reflective design built to distribute a large amount of light evenly over an area. I used the bulb in an overhead socket in my detached garage while working on a new desk for my home office. When evaluating if there were variations in my final coats of finish on the desk, I was pleased to have bright, even light to check my work.
This type of bulb is often used indoors in “can” or recessed lights overhead. The manufacturer suggests these bulbs for standard-height 8-foot ceilings and the 100-watt version for higher ceilings. We didn’t have any recessed light housings indoors to test these bulbs but tested them outdoors and in a socket in my garage.
These bulbs also feature the ability to dim, but I didn't have them connected to an outlet with a dimmer switch. I can't report on their dimming performance. Some online reviewers reported an occasional flickering related to the dimming functionality, but I never experienced any flickering in my testing.
Design: Natural color temperature and attractive build
While their look and feel could pass for glass, these bulbs are hard plastic in the BR30 bulb shape common in ceiling can lights (the larger BR40 size is often used for larger 6” cans). The product description doesn’t soft-pedal the import of this material choice, describing the bulbs as “shatterproof." I accidentally tested this, dropping the bulb a few inches above a workbench and gasping, though the bulb appeared no worse for the wear.
One of the gripes with early CFL bulbs was the overly cold color of the light they produced. And anyone who has been inside a corporate office building knows how unnatural fluorescent light can be. Now, LEDs can produce light on par with incandescents in a wide range of color temperatures. These bulbs are 2,700K, which is at the warmer end of the spectrum. Unlike some old incandescent bulbs, the color isn’t overly yellow or orange.
The packaging also claims a color rendering index of “90+." This score indicates a more natural appearance of a range of colors under the bulb’s light. I wasn’t able to find an explanation of why they say “90+” instead of a specific score, but it turns out that 90 indicates excellent color reproduction, and by trying this light, I could back that up.
Durability and Warranty: Incredible 22-year estimated lifespan
In addition to being shatterproof, the bulbs are designed to resist wear for an unbelievable 25,000 hours of use. Assuming 3 hours of use daily, Cree calculates more than 22 years for the bulbs’ realistic lifespan. It’s easy to assume that this is mere marketing hyperbole since these bulbs haven’t existed for 22 years. Many of us remember the shortcomings of the first compact fluorescent bulbs that energy companies gave away ten years ago. However, Cree’s 10-year warranty puts their money where their mouth is.
Lightbulb technology has indeed improved since Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth" in 2006 espousing the planet- and money-saving virtues of modern lightbulbs as being more efficient, cheaper, and more durable. LED bulbs such as these Cree lightbulbs are now on average 90 percent more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs.
...the light seemed much brighter, and the color appeared more natural.
While many people may not even live in a house long enough to fully appreciate a 22-year-old LED bulb's lifetime energy savings, the cost per bulb is low enough that it pays for itself in several months. These bulbs are slightly higher in price versus incandescents, but if I calculate using my local price per kilowatt-hour and use this bulb three hours per day, each bulb breaks even versus a 65-watt incandescent in about three months.
Price: Great per-bulb price if you need dimming
With an average per-bulb price of about $3 to $5, these LEDs are moderately priced for a higher quality bulb. You can find cheaper LED bulbs in this style if you’re willing to pass on the dimming capability, light quality, and Cree name.
Cree BR30 Soft White LED Bulb vs. Cree 150W Equivalent Flood Light LED Bulb
While I found these bulbs perfect in my garage as an overhead light, the light could’ve been brighter as an outdoor floodlight above my driveway. I'd suggest if brightness is what you're looking for in an outdoor floodlight, you might want to consider the 150-watt equivalent version from Cree. The color temperature is similar, but you get more than double the lumen output. The biggest difference is the price. You’ll pay almost triple the price, so be sure you need the extra output.
- Product Name Soft White LED Flood Bulb
- Product Brand Cree
- MPN TBR30-06527FLFH25-12DE26-1-12
- Price $6.80
- Power 8.5 watts
- Incandescent Equivalent 65 watts
- Base Type E26
- Base Shape BR30
- Brightness 680 lumens
- Color Temperature 2,700K
- Warranty 10-year limited