Philips SceneSwitch 60W Equivalent LED
Why we chose it
Customizable light settings
The Philips SceneSwitch LED gives you all the benefits of a dimmer switch or three-way bulb but without a specialty fixture. The SceneSwitch line offers several different bulb options. The color changing bulb can alternate between soft white, daylight, and warm glow tones. The dimmer bulb (offered in either daylight or a soft white tone), on the other hand, allows you to adjust to three levels of brightness.
The best part of the SceneSwitch? It works like a regular lightbulb, no dimmer switch or special hardware required. Once you’ve screwed in the bulb, you simply toggle the switch to alternate between each option. The SceneSwitch bulb enables you to opt for different moods and atmospheres anywhere in your home. It’s a great option if a smart bulb appeals to you but you want a cheaper (and simpler) solution to customization.
Auto-memory for everyday use
If you prefer one setting for the majority of your light use, the SceneSwitch bulb will memorize your last setting — if the switch is off for longer than six seconds. So if you only use a lamp in your living room during evening wind-down, the bulb will remember your warm glow setting from the night before and automatically toggle to that setting. You can even sync up multiple bulbs in one room if they answer to the same switch.
A long warranty
Philips offers a five-year warranty on the product when you buy it. What’s more — you can opt in for a 10-year extension when you register the product online (within 60 days of purchase). This is much longer than most other LED bulbs, whose warranties average two to three years. This kind of backing not only ensures that you can replace your bulb if there are any issues, but it also indicates that the company is confident its product will last a long time.
Points to consider
Incompatible with dimmer switches and three-way lamps
Although SceneSwitch bulbs turn regular fixtures into dimmers or a three-way color changers, they are not compatible with specialty dimmer switches and three-way lamps. Technically, you can place the bulb in one of these specialty fixtures, but adjusting the dimmer on a specialty dimmer switch won’t have any effect. If you’re looking for a three-way bulb for your three-way lamp (or a dimmer bulb for your dimmer switch), this is not the product for you — but because it’s called a dimmer and color-changing bulb in retail sites, this can be a confusing point for consumers.
Sometimes out of sync
If you buy the bulb for multiple lights under one switch, reviewers have reported many instances of bulbs falling out of sync — for instance, two bulbs in one bedroom light fixture booting up with two different light settings. You can fix this by flipping the lights on and off a few times, so we wouldn’t call it a deal breaker, but it is an annoying quirk to be aware of.
Philips 464487 Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 60W
Why we chose it
Endless smart features
The Philips Hue smart bulbs offer no limits to your lighting. With the Philips app, you can dim, brighten, change colors (16 million options), and sync with music. Name your bulbs, save your favorite lighting compositions, or choose from presets like “Read” for a warm glow or “Honolulu” for a peachy sunset. Philips can even bring memories to life by analyzing a photo and matching the lighting in it using a picture-to-light algorithm.
Philips Hue also eliminates the need for separate light timers. It offers schedule-based settings, turning lights on when you’re home and off when away (and continuing the cycle when you’re on vacation). You can also set the Hue like an alarm to mimic the sunrise or sunset.
Movies, music, and gaming can be synced with the Hue, too. The lights will change to match the beat, scene, or environment of your entertainment.
Philips Hue is the only smart lighting brand that works with all of the major voice assistants on the market — Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Microsoft Cortana. With any of these systems, you can use your voice to command different light settings. Philips Hue also works with IFTTT, Nest, Vivint Smart Home, Samsung SmartThings, and more. No matter the level of smart home you’ve built, Hue will fit in seamlessly.
Many shapes and sizes
If you’d like to outfit more complicated fixtures, Philips Hue offers smart lighting in every shape and size. You can integrate smart light strips, light bars, outdoor spotlights, pathway lights, floor lights, and ceiling lights.
Points to consider
An expensive investment
The smart Philips Hue light is by far our most expensive pick at nearly $50 per bulb. That’s five times more expensive than the Philips SceneSwitch. If you’re fine with the more basic capabilities of the SceneSwitch but want a smart bulb, the Hue White bulb is a fine alternative at $30; but be aware that it lacks the Hue’s color changing and fancy syncing.
Not a solo purchase
The upfront costs of the Hue don’t end with the bulb itself; you also have to buy the Philips Hue Bridge. Without the $50 Bridge, you won’t have access to the Philips app and all of the bulb’s smart customizations — which means you’ll have to drop at least $100 to take full advantage of this smart bulb. There are cheaper smart bulbs that don’t need an additional hub, but they offer a more limited scope of smart features and fewer integration options. Our recommendation? Check out the Hue starter kits, which provide you with four bulbs and the bridge for $200 (for total savings of $50).
SYLVANIA 60W Equivalent Soft White Bulb
Why we chose it
If you’re just looking for a general use LED bulb, start with the SYLVANIA. SYLVANIA has the most common bulb shape on the market (A19 shape and E26 base), so it can fit in the vast majority of standard fixtures. Its soft daylight shade complements most any room, and its 800-watt brightness is pretty universal, too — the same brightness as both of our Philips brand favorites. This no-nonsense bulb is one you can store in the closet until another goes out, without worrying about compatibility.
Less than a dollar per bulb
Cheap packs of LED bulbs are notorious for expiring after just a few months or offering wonky color quality. The SYLVANIA 60W bulb, by contrast, offers a great price without sacrificing quality. The SYLVANIA garners a 4.5 out of 5 rating from 352 customer reviews on Amazon — impressive, given that it’s $0.95 per bulb for a pack of 24.
Points to consider
Have to buy in bulk for bargain prices
To take advantage of this bulb’s budget-friendly price, you’ll want to buy its 24-pack. That’s a lot of bulbs, especially with the LED’s long lifespan (10 years based on three hours of use per day). If you aren’t outfitting many fixtures with a basic LED, it may be an excessive amount to store. And while SYLVANIA does offer smaller packages, prices per bulb jump up to $3.20 — approaching the price of more customizable LEDs.
One of the perks of an LED light is all of the advanced capabilities — color changing, dimming, app integration, etc. But this SYLVANIA is just a bulb, plan and simple. You’re stuck with one color, one brightness level, and a standard shape. While it’s not a bad thing to have a lightbulb that’s just a lightbulb, it’s lackluster in the face of the unique features of our other picks. And while it’s more energy efficient and long-lasting than traditional lightbulbs, its lifespan is less than half of that of our other picks (about 10 years of use at three hours per day).
Sunco Lighting Dimmable Flood Light LED
Why we chose it
Optimal for outdoor use
The Sunco Lighting Dimmable Flood Light is our favorite LED for outdoor use. If you’re looking to equip your home with bright LEDs that are safe for the outdoors, we recommend starting here. Sunco markets these bulbs as “durable,” making them ideal for outdoor and landscape lighting. Consumers also report that while they are too bright for indoor use, the brightness and tone is great for illumination outdoors.
Replacing outdoor lighting is rarely an easy feat; luckily, these LEDs boast an advertised lifespan of 23 years (this will vary depending on how often you have them on). An LED’s lifespan is naturally long (usually 10 to 15 years), but this Sunco bulb goes the extra mile.
Unlike our two Philips picks, the Sunco is fully compatible with dimmer switches. This allows you to tone down your porch atmosphere or create a softer vibe for an entryway.
Points to consider
Reports of buzzing/popping
Some consumer reviews on Amazon report that the bulb will occasionally buzz or pop. This doesn’t affect the quality of the light, but the noise may become annoying if the light is place close to a quiet room. Buzzing and popping are common flukes when using a dimmer switch, and it’s yet another reason to consider keeping the Sunco outdoors.
Feit Electric 6.5W Vintage Style LED
Why we chose it
This Feit Electric bulb is purposefully styled to be reminiscent of vintage lighting. Its spiraled filaments and clear glass create a soft amber glow and set a romantic atmosphere. And because exposed is trendy for this Edison-style bulb, you don’t even need a lamp shade or fixture to accompany it. This makes it a great option for dining room lighting, where it can complement any vintage-modern vibe and set the mood for an evening dinner.
The Feit Electric vintage bulb is also dimmable, allowing you to further customize your nostalgic atmosphere by toning down the lighting. Unlike the Philips SceneSwitch, you will need a dimmer switch to dim the bulb, though you don’t need a dimmer switch to use the bulb.
Points to consider
Not very bright
The only downside of such a stylized bulb is that its brightness isn’t up to the task of most lighting needs. At 250 lumens, it’s by far the dimmest of our picks. One bulb won’t be enough to read by, especially if you hide it under a lamp shade. A few bulbs could center your kitchen island or dining room, where there’s usually more ceiling lighting to supplement if need be, but know that it probably can’t serve as stand-alone lighting for most rooms.
1. Aputure AL-M9
In recent years, Aputure have become well known for their range of small lights. The AL-M9 is one of the most popular. It is compact, lightweight and is powered by 9 SMD bulbs. The light certainly packs some power in it’s mini size and at such an affordable price.
The light is very thin and weighs only 140 grams (less than your average smartphone). It has an inbuilt lithium battery, charged via USB. The battery should last about 1.5 hours before starting to dim. However, a full charge can take over 3 hours. So that is one possible downside of this light.
The light should come with a simple detachable diffuser, plus an orange and a blue gel. The light can be adjusted to 9 levels of brightness.CHECK PRICE OF APUTURE AL-M9 ON AMAZON
Aputure say the AL-MX is an upgrade of the AL-M9. Compared to the plastic M9 predecessor, the metal MX is substantially heavier. This is mostly due to a thick and heavy red heat sink on the back.
The light’s 128 SMD LED bulbs output 3200 lux at 0.3 meters. But an extra “boost” option powers 30% over maximum brightness for 60 seconds. There’s 5 steps of adjustable color temperatures, ranging from 2800-6500K.
A 1/4 inch screw and universal cold shoe mount mean you can easily mount the AL-MX on cameras or light stands. The light weighs 278 grams, which is almost twice the weight of the AL-M9.
With USB Type-C charging port, the battery lasts between 1 to 4 hours, depending on usage. Again, the item comes with a magnetically attached hard frosted plastic diffusion panel.
CHECK THE PRICE OF APUTURE AL-MX ON AMAZON
Also from Aputure, you might like to take a look at the AL-F7. The light is similar in construction, less cost and can give you up to 14000 lux at a range of 0.3 meters. With a weight of 260 grams, it’s actually lighter than the AL-MX. However, the light is not as compact and needs to be powered: you can use D-Tap, USB Type-C or a Sony NP-F series battery.CHECK PRICE OF APUTURE AL-F7 ON AMAZON
3. SOKANI X21
The Sokani X21 is small and is the lightest light so far, at 100 grams. Powered by 21 LEDs the light also comes with a softlight and a tungsten coloured diffuser. While the light is in the same price range as the Aputure AL-M9, the build is all metal instead of plastic.
So you get a 5600K colour temperature, or 3200K when using the 3200K diffuser. At the 0.3 meter range the light will produce up to 2400 LUX (so that’s about 2/3rds the power of the Aputure AL-MX). The brightness can be adjusted by 1% increments, while the previous Aputure lights have less fine adjustments.
The build is really nice and that 100 gram weight really makes this one of the most portable lights around. The batter will last from 45 minutes upwards, depending on usage (ie: how bright you have it). The total package also includes:
- Universal cold shoe mount
- USB charging cable
- Carrying case
- 12 Colour Gels
4. Boling P1
While Aputure have been one of the most popular makes of small LED photography lights, there hasn’t been too much competition. Until now. The Boling P1 has got a lot of Vloggers and photographers excited due to its build quality and features.
The colour temperature of the light ranges from 2500-8500k. The 2930mAh lithium battery takes 90 minutes to fully charge, but lasts 140 minutes even at 100% brightness. Like the Sokani X21, brightness can be adjusted from 1-100%.
The light is 15mm thick and weighs 260 grams, which makes it slightly lighter than the Aputure AL-MX. The body is all metal and the light comes with a useful clamp to adjust mounting position. In terms of brightness, the light will produce 3300 lux at a distance of 0.3 meters. This makes it a touch brighter than the Aputure AL-MX.
Added to these basic features, the light comes with some unusual effects. For example, if you are shooting a scene with ambulance lights, the Boling P1 can mimic them. Say you were shooting a scene and you wanted to give the impression of nearby ambulances without having to hire them. Another setting mimics lightning.
There’s 9 different effects in all. So that makes this a pretty special little light for low budget filmmakers.CHECK PRICE OF BOLING P1 ON AMAZON
5. Aputure AL-MW
Need to light something under water? This could be the model for you. So, back to Aputure again and this time the light can be used up to 10 meters below.
In normal mode, the light produces 4000 lux at 0.3 meters. The booster mode (60 seconds) takes it up to 6000 lux. The light itself weighs 285 grams, making it the heaviest of the lights we have looked at so far.
So, being IP68 Dust and Waterproof Certified up to 10 meters, the light is capable of going to places other lights can’t. Like the Boling P1, the light comes with some effects. There’s 5 in all: Paparazzi, Lightning, TV, Fireworks and Faulty bulb.
Battery life comes to about 1.5 hours at maximum brightness, but you can get more life out of it at lower brightness levels. The light comes with a silicone rubber diffuser and 6 coloured gels.
Considering it costs more than the previous listed models, you might only consider this light water or dust is going to be an issue. However, it can also serve as a regular, small and portable light. Squeeze it into the dash for car interior scenes, for example.CHECK PRICE OF APUTURE AL-MW ON AMAZON
6. Neewer 12 SMD
Going smaller and cheaper, we find this Neewer light. Neewer are a company that make a lot of affordable filmmaking kit, that is not necessarily the most well built. However, working on a budget we can’t have everything.
On the plus side, the light only weighs 67 grams. This means you can pop a couple in your bag and still hardly notice. They also provide versatility as they can be easy stuck to walls or other objects at a location. The 1/4 inch screw allows mounting on a camera, tripod, light stand or other supports.
These little lights are good for close up product photography too. The battery runs for 1.5 hours at a maximum illuminance. These lights are obviously less powerful than the previous models in this list, but they can be used in different ways and squeeze into tighter spaces.CHECK PRICE OF NEEWER 12 SMD ON AMAZON
Also look at the Neewer’s 176 LED Panel light. This light is very cheap, no frills and will do a good job for you in your budget lighting set up. The light weighs 249 grams, so not too heavy. However, it does require a rechargeable battery (not included).
This light isn’t as compact as some of the others I have listed, but it is certainly the most affordable.CHECK PRICE OF NEEWER 176 LED PANEL LIGHT ON AMAZON
7. GVM RGB LED Camera Light
This small, affordable light from GVM connects to an app on your smartphone (iOS and Android) for remote control. The colour temperature is adjustable from 3200K to 5600K. The light is powered by 128 individual LED lights.
The colour as well as brightness can be fine tuned (as opposed to moving in steps).The light comes with a removable, rechargeable battery (NP-F550). The 1/4 screw mount fits all standard DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, stands and tripods.CHECK PRICE OF GSM RGB LED ON AMAZON