25,000 hours later, these Cree LEDs are still shining


When LEDs started showing up on store shelves, the idea that ligthbulbs could last 25,000 hours seemed incredible. That’s nearly 23 years when used 3 hours a day. The lightbulb experts at Consumer Reports put two Cree CR6 LEDs in their lab almost three years ago and kept them on day and night. Here’s what they found.

Okay, leaving lightbulbs on 24/7 isn’t our typical testing but we wanted to closely watch these LED downlights on their way to their claimed life of 25,000 hours and it cut about a year off our regular testing time. When the LEDs hit 25,000 hours we dimmed them and put them through several tests. This video takes you inside our lab for the results.

LED technology keeps advancing and these Cree bulbs are no longer sold. But the next generation of this LED, Home Depot’s EcoSmart 6-inch 9.5-watt 65W LED Downlight Eco 575L, $25, was excellent overall in our standard tests and is recommended. It has a claimed life of 35,000 hours.

Take a look at our lightbulb Ratings to see how the EcoSmart compares in price and performance to other lightbulbs we tested, and always check for rebates from your utility and retailers. You’ll also see LED replacements for the popular 60-watt incandescent, such as the Insignia A19 60-Watt Dimmable LED, $18. In January the 60-watt incandescent will begin to fade away; you’ll find it on store shelves and online until supplies run out. Then it’s so long to incandescents. It’s been a heck of a run.

—Kimberly Janeway

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