The Best Light Bulbs for All Your Lighting Needs (2024)

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While changing light bulbs may be an easy job, finding the right one to screw into a lamp or light fixture can be confusing. From color temperature to brightness to smart capabilities, there’s a lot to consider. Light bulbs that produce warm light can help set the ambience in a bedroom or living room, while light bulbs that emit cooler lighting are ideal for kitchens, home offices, and other spaces that demand task lighting. There are also smart bulbs you can control remotely and change to virtually any temperature or color via a smartphone app. 

To make sense of it all, I researched more than two dozen light bulbs, comparing specs and user reviews to identify eight of the most highly acclaimed bulbs on the market. I then put those eight bulbs through a series of tests in my home to find out which are the best light bulbs—here’s what I found.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Feit Electric 8.8W Dimmable LED Light Bulb
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: EcoSmart 9W Non-Dimmable LED Light Bulb
  3. BEST SMART: Wyze 800 Lumen 90+ CRI Smart LED Light Bulb
  4. BEST AMBIENCE: Philips Hue 9.5W E26 Smart LED Light Bulb
  5. BEST DAYLIGHT: Sylvania 8.5W Daylight Non-Dimmable LED Light Bulb
  6. BEST DIMMABLE: Philips 9.5W Dimmable LED Light Bulb
  7. BEST CANDELABRA: EcoSmart 4.6W E12 Dimmable LED Filament Light Bulb
  8. BEST COLOR-CHANGING: Wyze Bulb Color 1100 Lumen Color-Changing Smart Bulb
The Best Light Bulbs Option
Photo: Tony Carrick for Bob Vila

How We Tested the Best Light Bulbs

I used several criteria to evaluate the eight light bulbs I included on my list. First, I considered light quality by assessing how closely each bulb’s color temperature matched its description as well as how accurately it rendered the natural colors of the objects around it. For color bulbs, I evaluated how accurately the bulb produced vibrant colors at varying light levels. I also assessed the performance consistency of each bulb by looking for flickering or buzzing at full brightness. For dimmer bulbs, I tested each one’s ability to reach lower light levels, taking note of any flickering or plateauing, which is the point at which a bulb ceases to dim to lower brightness levels. For smart bulbs, I evaluated ease of installation and use along with any programming and scheduling features available on its accompanying smartphone app.

Testing Stats

  • Products tested: 8
  • Hours spent testing: 32
  • Tests performed: 5
  • Price range: $10 to $40

Our Top Picks

My selection of the top light bulbs ranges from basic budget-friendly options to high-end smart light bulbs. Note that Ease of Use and Reliability ratings only applied to smart bulbs.

Best Overall

Feit Electric 8.8W Dimmable LED Light Bulb

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Our Ratings: Quality 5/5;Color 5/5; Ease of Use N/A; Reliability N/A; Value 4/5 

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 800
  • Color temperature: Soft white (2700K)
  • Wattage: 8.8 watts
  • Dimmable: Yes


  • Beautiful color that casts a natural light on everything around it
  • Excellent dimming ability with no flickering, even at lower levels
  • Silent operation with no detectable buzzing or humming at any light level


  •  Warmer color temperature versions of this bulb aren’t quite as bright 

Excellent color accuracy and a steady performance make this pick my favorite of the bunch. At 2700K, this bulb produces a very warm light that’s easy on the eyes and ideal for living rooms or bedrooms. It’s also one of the best light bulbs I tested in terms of color accuracy. With its 90+ Color Rendering Index (CRI) rating, it maintains the natural colors of the objects it illuminates.

I did find this light bulb to be noticeably dimmer than bulbs that are on the high end of the temperature spectrum, making it unsuitable for task lighting. If a work light is what you’re after, Feit Electric offers this light bulb in daylight and bright white. 

Along with its accurate lighting, this bulb also performs quite well. It dims without any noticeable flickering and operates silently with no detectable buzzing or humming at any light level, even when left on for hours. At about $3 a bulb, this bulb is more affordable than other standard LED bulbs, making it an excellent value. And something that sets it apart from the competition is that it’s also rated for damp locations.

Get the Feit Electric light bulbs at The Home Depot.

Best Bang for the Buck

EcoSmart 9W Non-Dimmable LED Light Bulb

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Our Ratings: Quality 5/5;Color 3/5; Ease of Use N/A; Reliability N/A; Value 4.5/5 

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 840
  • Color temperature: Daylight (5000K)
  • Wattage: 9 watts
  • Dimmable: No


  • A very affordable price for good-quality LED light bulbs
  • Bright light output with daylightlike quality is suitable for task lighting
  • Bulbs operate without any flickering or audible noise on a standard light switch


  • Casts a slightly bluish glow on objects and furnishings around it

Those after a budget-priced bulb for standard light fixtures that aren’t connected to a dimming switch will want to consider EcoSmart’s 9-watt LED light bulbs. 

At 5000K on the color scale, the EcoSmart bulbs offer a bright white daylight color ideal for task lighting. They use 9 watts and produce the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent light bulb, or 840 lumens of brightness. 

I was impressed with how bright these light bulbs were. That, coupled with their cool color temperature, makes them a great choice for a kitchen, garage, laundry room, or any other place that requires task lighting. With an 80 CRI rating, these are not the most color-accurate light bulbs I tested. They do give objects around them a slightly bluish tint. While that wasn’t a deal-breaker for me, it may be for others. 

The EcoSmart LED light bulbs operate quietly with no detectable noise when used in a normal lamp. They offer an excellent value; at a little over a dollar a bulb when purchased as a 16-bulb value pack, this is one of the most affordable LED options out there. 

Get the EcoSmart nondimmable light bulbs at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Smart

Wyze 800 Lumen 90+ CRI Smart LED Light Bulb

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Our Ratings: Quality 5/5;Color 5/5; Ease of Use 5/5; Reliability 5/5; Value 4.5/5 

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 800
  • Color temperature: Variable (2700K to 6500K)
  • Wattage: 9.5 watts
  • Dimmable: Yes


  • Beautiful and accurate color temperatures and light levels
  • Very stable operating with no flickering or noise 
  • Connects to Wi-Fi reliably and with no interruptions 
  • Easy-to-use app allows you to create and program schedules and preset “scenes”


  • One of the more expensive smart light bulbs out there

If you appreciate setting the lighting to suit various moods and needs, then the Wyze smart light bulb is a perfect match. I was amazed at how evenly and accurately it produces varying temperatures of light, from bright white task lighting to warm and subtle mood lighting. These qualities give the Wyze light bulb tremendous versatility. I could imagine using it for everything from kitchen task lighting to a night-light on a bedroom nightstand. And the Wyze app allows you to create scenes and set schedules to suit various times of day. 

One of the biggest frustrations with smart bulbs is their tendency to disconnect from the user’s home Wi-Fi network. That wasn’t the case with the Wyze bulb. Over several days of use, I didn’t experience any drop-offs from my home network, which is something I can’t say about other smart bulbs I’ve tested. 

While these Wyze light bulbs offer incredible quality and performance, it’s important to note that they don’t come cheap. At about $10 a bulb, they are among the pricier LED smart bulbs out there. That said, the quality of light they produce, coupled with their stable performance, makes them worth the extra expense. 

Get the Wyze smart white light bulbs at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Wyze.

Best Ambience

Philips Hue 9.5W E26 Smart LED Light Bulb

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Our Ratings: Quality 5/5;Color 5/5; Ease of Use 5/5; Reliability 5/5; Value 3.5/5 

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 800
  • Color temperature: Variable (2000K to 6500k + 16 million colors)
  • Wattage: 9.5 watts
  • Dimmable: Yes


  • Has a high-lumen output that produces vibrant colors 
  • Bluetooth controls offer users the ability to change the color and temperature in real time
  • Produces no flickering or noise, even after extended periods of use


  • To control it from remote locations, you’ll need a dedicated hub to connect it to your Wi-Fi network
  • Very expensive compared to other color-capable smart LED light bulbs

The Philips Hue bulb offers users the near-limitless ability to customize its color temperature, giving it tremendous versatility. 

It also uses a Bluetooth connection, so there’s no delay between selecting a color on the app and seeing it change on the bulb, something that I didn’t get with Wi-Fi–ready smart bulbs that take a beat or two to change colors after selecting them on the app. With this “real-time” connection, I was able to move my finger around the color wheel or temperature bar on the app to get the perfect hue or temperature. 

The Hue bulb is pricey, but it produces richer colors than budget-priced color-changing LED LED light bulbs I’ve tested, and the colors remain vivid even at lower light levels. 

The downside of the Hue is that if you want to control it from afar or set schedules, you’ll need to buy a Hue Hub from Philips to enable those features. Some may also not like the nontraditional shape of this Bluetooth light bulb. That said, if you don’t mind paying a little more for it, the Hue offers incredible color-changing performance. 

Get the Philips Hue light bulb at Amazon. 

Best Daylight

Sylvania 8.5W Daylight Non-Dimmable LED Light Bulb

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Our Ratings: Quality 5/5;Color 5/5; Ease of Use N/A; Reliability N/A; Value 4/5 

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 800
  • Color temperature: Daylight (5000K)
  • Wattage: 8.5 watts
  • Dimmable: No


  • These daylight bulbs create light that actually feels like real daylight
  • Bright and easy enough on the eyes for reading or task lighting
  • The bulbs function with no audible humming or buzzing when on a standard light switch


  • Not dimmer compatible; will buzz audibly when placed on a dimmer switch
  • A little pricey for a standard nondimmable light bulb

Sylvania bulbs cast a bright daylight glow that’s surprisingly soft and pleasant compared to some of the harsher bulbs I tested. With a color temperature rating of 5000K, they radiate a cool color that makes them ideal as a bedroom reading light or in a kitchen or laundry room setting for task lighting. Unlike some other daylight bulbs I tested, the light didn’t feel harsh on the eyes, even after spending several hours working under it. They also accurately render the true color of surrounding objects, and the light they cast blends seamlessly with ambient daylight from nearby windows.

The bulbs emit no sound, though it’s important to point out that they have a nondimmable rating. They emitted a noticeable hum when put on a dimmer switch, even when the switch was at low power. 

At a bit under $2.50 apiece, Sylvania’s light bulbs are a little pricey for a light bulb that is nondimmable. However, the quality of light they put out makes them worth the extra cost. 

Get the Sylvania light bulbs at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Dimmable

Philips 9.5W Dimmable LED Light Bulb

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Our Ratings: Quality 5/5;Color 4/5; Ease of Use N/A; Reliability N/A; Value 3.5/5 

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 800
  • Color temperature: Daylight (5000K)
  • Wattage: 8.8 watts
  • Dimmable: No


  • No plateauing with its ability to dim to extremely low light levels 
  • Produces a warm color temperature that’s ideal for mood lighting 
  • Silent operation with no buzzing at either low or high light levels 


  • At about $5 per bulb, it’s one of the pricier dimmer bulbs on the market

LED light bulbs are notoriously testy when functioning on a dimmer switch, often flickering, blinking, or failing to dim evenly. That’s not the case with the Philips dimmable LED light bulb. During testing, I experienced no plateauing or flickering whatsoever. I was able to dim it down to extremely low light levels, which is typically only possible with an old incandescent light bulb. There were also no sudden shifts in light output while moving through the dimming arc. The bulb dims smoothly and gradually, allowing for very minute changes in brightness. 

The Philips dimmable light bulb also operates silently, whether functioning at max brightness or very low light output. Light quality is also excellent with the Philips bulb. Thanks to its high CRI rating, it renders colors around it accurately. 

With a color temperature that falls well onto the warm side of the Kelvin scale, the Philips dimmable LED light bulbs are a great option for creating mood lighting in a bedroom or living room. They’re on the pricey side at about $5 per bulb, but they’re worth it for their control, stability, and high degree of color accuracy.

Get the Philips dimmable light bulbs at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Calendabra

EcoSmart 4.6W E12 Dimmable LED Filament Light Bulb

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Our Ratings: Quality 5/5;Color 4/5; Ease of Use N/A; Reliability N/A; Value 3.5/5

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 300
  • Color temperature: Warm (2200K)
  • Wattage: 4.6 watts
  • Dimmable: Yes


  • Bendy filament has a more attractive look than straight LED filament candle bulbs
  • Dims smoothly on a dimmer switch with no buzzing or blinking 
  • Produces a warm color that generates the ideal ambience lighting for dining rooms


  • Doesn’t have quite the dimming range of an incandescent candle bulb

EcoSmart candelabra bulbs offer the efficiency and long life of an LED bulb while boasting the elegant aesthetics of bulbs that are meant to be seen. They feature a fine, bendy LED filament strip in place of the more utilitarian-looking straight LED strips found in most LED candelabra bulbs. This change gives the EcoSmart light bulbs a more stylish appearance, whether the light is on or off. The bulbs produce a soft amber color that’s easy on the eyes and ideal for creating an intimate dinner ambience.

When it comes to dimming, the EcoSmart candelabra bulbs can’t be dimmed as low as the standard incandescent bulbs that I already had in my chandelier, but they come pretty darn close, and they’re better than other LED candelabra bulbs I’ve tested. The EcoSmart bulbs also dim smoothly with no buzzing or blinking. 

These bulbs are pricey even by LED standards. Whereas most LED candelabra bulbs cost between $3 and $4 a bulb, the EcoSmart filament light bulbs are nearly $5 a bulb. But if you want the attractive look of its bendy filament and excellent dimming performance, they’re worth the splurge. 

Get the EcoSmart dimmable light bulbs at The Home Depot.

Best Color-Changing

Wyze Bulb Color 1100 Lumen Color-Changing Smart Bulb

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Our Ratings: Quality 5/5;Color 5/5; Ease of Use 5/5; Reliability 5/5; Value 4.5/5 

Product Specs 

  • Lumens: 1100
  • Color temperature: Variable (1800K to 6500K)
  • Wattage: 12 watts
  • Dimmable: Yes


  • Bulb creates incredibly rich colors at any light level
  • Dimmable to even very low light levels with no plateauing 
  • Maintains a dependable connection to a home Wi-Fi network; easy to set up
  • Easy-to-use app with numerous functions for setting colors, scenes, and schedules


  • One of the more expensive smart light bulbs out there

The Wyze color-changing LED bulb is an impressive light source in almost every way. It produces rich, beautiful colors in virtually any hue you can imagine. During testing, I witnessed no fading or loss in the vibrancy of the colors, even when dimming to very low brightness levels, which the bulb had no problem doing. There was no plateauing or flickering with the Wyze bulb while dimming, and it operated in complete silence with no audible buzzing. 

The Wyze app is robust and easy to use. There’s a color wheel that makes dialing in various hues easy, and there are additional controls for setting precise color temperatures. The app allows for the creation of color and temperature scenes for everything from reading and meal prep to gaming and movie night.

The Wyze bulb is also one of the more reliable smart bulbs I’ve tested. After using it for several days, I didn’t experience the annoying disconnections that are common with other smart bulbs I’ve tried. While the Wyze bulb is pricey, its ability to fulfill just about anything you want out of a light bulb makes it worth springing for. 

Get the Wyze color-changing light bulbs at Amazon, Walmart, or Wyze.

What to Consider When Choosing Light Bulbs

Size, shape, color temperature, lumens, and wattage are the primary factors to keep in mind when shopping for light bulbs. 

Size and Shape

Light bulbs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The most common is the pear-shaped Type A light bulb. Candle-shaped bulbs, Type C, fit inside chandeliers. Other common bulb shapes include round, globe-style Type G light bulbs and tubular Type T light bulbs. 

When shopping for a light bulb, make sure it matches the socket size of the fixture or lamp. The standard screw-in style bulb bases are E26, while small light bulbs, such as candelabra bulbs, have bases that come in an E12 size. Less common bulb base sizes include E17, which is an intermediate size between E26 and E12; G4, which has a base with two pins; and GU10 bulbs, which have a twist-and-lock base.

Watts and Lumens

Watts measure the total amount of energy a light bulb consumes, while lumens measure the amount of light it emits. More efficient bulbs produce more lumens with less wattage than inefficient bulbs. For example, many LED light bulbs often consume just 7 to 10 watts to produce 800 lumens, while an incandescent bulb will typically consume 60 watts of electricity to produce the same brightness. 

Color Temperature

Bulb temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale, which ranges from 1000 to 10000. Light bulbs that are low on the Kelvin scale, around 3000K, produce warm light, which is ideal for more nuanced mood lighting in bedrooms and living rooms. Bulbs that are higher on the Kelvin scale, around 8000K, produce cooler light that mimics daylight, which is suitable for kitchens, garages, and other areas designed for work or cooking. 

Types of Light Bulbs

There used to be a wide variety of light bulbs competing for space on the market, but advancements in technology and governmental changes to energy policies have resulted in the dominance of the LED bulb. Still, while LEDs are considered to be the best light bulbs, they’re not the only show in town.

LED (Light-Emitting Diode)

These days, the vast majority of light bulbs out there are LEDs, and for good reason. These energy-saving light bulbs, which use light-emitting diodes, save significantly more energy than standard incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs. In fact, the average U.S. household can save about $225 per year in energy costs by using LED lighting over incandescent lighting. While LED light bulbs cost more than incandescent bulbs, they make up for that difference and then some since they last far longer. 


As of August 1, 2023, incandescent and halogen bulbs are effectively banned. Federal law passed in 2022 requires all light bulbs to be manufactured with at least 45 lumens per watt, but incandescent and halogen light bulbs don’t come close to that threshold. So, while it isn’t illegal to buy incandescent or halogen bulbs, you won’t be able to find them in stores anymore because manufacturers have stopped producing them. Exceptions to this include some specialty incandescent bulbs, such as appliance lights, colored bulbs, and full-spectrum light bulbs.

CFL (Compact Fluorescent)

CFL bulbs, which typically feature a characteristic curly shape, emerged in the aughts and into the 2010s as an energy-efficient alternative to incandescent bulbs. While CFL light bulbs are up to 35 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs, that’s a far cry from the efficiency LED bulbs offer. Along with being more energy efficient than CFL light bulbs, LED light bulbs last more than three times longer. Also, the standard curly shape of CFL bulbs often limits their use to fixtures and lamps that hide the bulb from view. In addition to that, CFL bulbs include small amounts of mercury inside them, so there’s really no reason to choose CFL bulbs over LED bulbs. 


Read on to find out which light bulbs offer the most energy efficiency and which types last the longest. 

Q. What is the most energy-efficient light bulb?

LED bulbs are by far the most energy-efficient light bulbs. They often require only 7 watts to create 800 lumens (the most common light bulb brightness). In comparison, incandescent bulbs require 60 watts and CFL bulbs consume 14 watts to produce the same level of brightness. 

Q. Which light bulbs last the longest?

When it comes to long-lasting light bulbs, nothing compares to LED bulbs. They have a lifespan of about 25,000 hours, which is greater than CFL bulbs, which last for around 8,000 hours, and incandescent bulbs, which only have a lifespan of about 1,200 hours.

Q. What are the disadvantages of LED bulbs?

The only real disadvantage of an LED bulb is its upfront cost. Before they were banned, traditional incandescent bulbs cost around $1 to $2 per bulb. LED bulbs, in comparison, cost $3 to $6 per bulb (though you can find some for as low as $1 per bulb when purchased in bulk). Of course, LED bulbs more than make up for that cost difference with a far greater lifespan than incandescent bulbs.

Meet the Tester

Tony Carrick is a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, landscaping, technology, home security, and design. His articles have been featured on such sites as Angi, Popular Science, Futurism, 360 Reviews by U.S. News & World Report, Domino, and more. Carrick has conducted rigorous product testing on everything from power tools to home security systems to backyard grills. With each review, his goal is to help readers determine whether a product meets their needs and if it is or isn’t worth its price tag.