The 10 Best Light Bulbs of 2023

We like the Philips LED Ultra Definition Dimmable Warm Glow Effect A19 Light Bulb for its soft white light, dimmable brightness, energy efficiency, and more.

In This Article

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Best Light Bulbs of 2022

Real Simple / Brian Kopinski

Lighting can make or break a home. Whether from ambient lights, bedside lamps, or overhead ceiling fixtures, the right light bulb illuminates your space and creates ambiance. While shopping for light bulbs might seem straightforward, there are myriad factors to consider when creating lighting tailored to your space. 

To pick the best light bulbs, we researched a variety of options while considering factors like bulb type, color, lumens, watts, and lifespan. We also spoke to Mallory Micetich, home expert at Angi, and Dan Mock, VP of operations at Mister Sparky, a network of licensed electricians.

“The right bulb can make your space feel comfortable and open, while the wrong type of bulb can make the space feel cramped or overly bright or dim,” says Micetich. The type of bulb you use can vary from room to room, too. “It’s usually a good idea to opt for cooler lighting in kitchens and offices and warmer lighting in bedrooms and living rooms,” she says.

Our top pick is the Philips LED Ultra Definition Dimmable Warm Glow Effect A19 Light Bulb, a dimmable LED light bulb with a soft white tone. It’s energy-efficient, reflects true colors in the home, and gives a warm glow as you dim it.

Keep reading to find the best light bulbs, what to consider when shopping for one, and how to find one with the most light or energy efficiency.

Best Overall Light Bulb

Philips LED Ultra Definition Dimmable Warm Glow Effect A19 Light Bulb

Philips LED Ultra Definition Dimmable Warm Glow Effect A19 Light Bulb

Amazon

Who it’s for: People looking for a versatile light bulb that’s dimmable, long-lasting, and energy-efficient. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a light bulb with high wattage. 

The Philips LED Ultra Definition Dimmable Warm Glow Effect A19 Light Bulbs are energy-efficient and can last up to 15,000 hours, so you won't need to worry about replacing them quickly. Plus, Philips’ EyeComfort technology reduces glare and flickering, making these bulbs easier on the eyes for all-day use. When dimmed, the bulbs emit warm tones, allowing you to enjoy different types of lighting depending on the time of day or occasion.

Price at time of publish: $14 for 4-pack

Product Details:

  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Lumens: 800
  • Watts: 60
  • Color: Soft white (2200K)

Best Energy-Efficient Light Bulb

Luxrite A19 LED Light Bulb 60W Equivalent

Luxrite A19 LED Light Bulb 60W Equivalent

Amazon

Who it’s for: People looking to save on their energy bills.

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a CFL bulb. 

Replace your old light bulbs with energy-efficient ones and save money on your utility bills. The Luxrite ‎LR21420 LED Dimmable A19 Light Bulb has an output of 60 watts, a 25,000-hour lifespan, and a comfortable, soft white tone suitable for most spaces. This bulb is Energy Star-certified and has a high efficacy of 88.9 lumens/watt.

This bulb can be purchased in a variety of colors, including soft, natural, and cool light. You can choose between a 4-, 6-, 12-, 16-, or 24-pack to ensure you always have a spare bulb.

Price at time of publish: $13 for 4-pack

Product Details:

  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Lumens: 800
  • Watts: 60
  • Color: Soft white (2700K)

Best LED Light Bulb

Amazon Basics 60W Equivalent

Amazon Basics 60W Equivalent

Amazon

Who it’s for: People looking for an affordable, everyday LED bulb. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for high-end light bulbs. 

Dimmable and long-lasting, the Amazon Basics FG-03441 LED Soft White A19 Light Bulb consumes less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and has a life of 10,000 hours. You can choose between a variety of wattages (40, 60, 75, or 100) and color tones (daylight, soft white, and white), tailoring the lighting to different rooms and needs. This bulb is also dimmable, making it even more customizable. 

Price at time of publish: $15 for 6-pack

Product Details:

  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Lumens: 800
  • Watts: 60
  • Color: Soft white (2700K)

Best CFL Light Bulb

Philips 417097 LED Energy Saver Fluorescent T2 Twister Light Bulb

Philips 417097 LED Energy Saver Fluorescent T2 Twister Light Bulb

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want fluorescent light bulbs that are energy-efficient. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a mercury-free light bulb. 

CFL light bulbs are much more energy-efficient than traditional light bulbs. The Philips 417097 LED Energy Saver Fluorescent T2 Twister Light Bulb has a soft white light (you can also choose a daylight tone) that can replace traditional incandescent lights in your home. They are suitable for various rooms and have a life of seven years, ensuring that you don't need to repurchase or replace them often. 

Take note, though, that all CFL light bulbs contain trace amounts of mercury (not released when in use), so you must be extra cautious when disposing of these CFL light bulbs. 

Price at time of publish: $14 for 4-pack

Product Details:

  • Bulb Type: CFL
  • Lumens: Not listed
  • Watts: 60
  • Color: Soft white (2700K)

Best Smart Light Bulb

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 E26 LED Smart Bulb

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 E26 LED Smart Bulb

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a hands-free way to control their lights. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a cost-effective light bulb. 

Not only is this Philips Hue bulb compatible with your phone via Bluetooth and voice assistants (Alexa and Google Assistant), but it’s also versatile, emitting white light or a whopping range of 16 million colors. You can use the different colors to create the perfect ambiance, whether you’re falling asleep, throwing a party, or working late.

Using the Hue app, you can control up to 10 smart bulbs, which means no matter where you are in your house, you can turn on and off the lights, set timers, or create mood lighting. 

Price at time of publish: $135 for 3-pack

Product Details:

  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Lumens: 800
  • Watts: 75
  • Color: White and color ambiance

Best Incandescent Light Bulb

Hudson Bulb Co. Vintage Incandescent Edison Light Bulbs (Pack of 4)

hudson-bulb-co-vintage-incandescent-edison-light-bulbs-pack-of-4

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a vintage-style light bulb.

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a durable light bulb. 

Some light bulbs don't need to hide behind lampshades, like these aesthetic incandescent bulbs from Hudson Bulb Co. They have a teardrop shape and vintage-inspired look, with exposed, handwoven filaments that provide a warm white color. You can also dim these bulbs depending on your mood and setting, plus you can even use them inside or outside, as they come in a pack of four.

Price at time of publish: $25 for 4-pack

Product Details:

  • Bulb Type: Incandescent 
  • Lumens: 230
  • Watts: 60
  • Color: Warm white (2100K)

Best Dimmable Light Bulb

Cree Lighting LED Exceptional Series A19 Bulb

Cree Lighting TA19-08027MDFH25-12DE26-1-E1 6-1-E1 A19 60W Equivalent LED Bulb

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want adjustable light bulbs that won’t break the bank. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a smart dimmable light bulb. 

You may not always want your lights on full blast, so selecting dimmable light bulbs allows you to adjust brightness and tailor the lighting to your preferences. This Cree light bulb is dimmable, has a soft white light, and can be used in fully enclosed fixtures like lamps and sconces without hazard. They also have a 22+ year lifespan, so you don't need to worry about changing a hard-to-reach light bulb for a long time.

Price at time of publish: $7

Product Details:

  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Lumens: 815
  • Watts: 60
  • Color: Soft white (2700K)

Best Halogen Light Bulb

Sylvania 60-Watt Equivalent Dimmable Halogen Light Bulb

Sylvania 60-Watt Equivalent Dimmable Halogen Light Bulb

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a light bulb that gives off a warm light. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a long-lasting light bulb. 

If you want to create a cozy atmosphere, opt for halogen light bulbs, which have a warm glow and a high color rendering index (100 CRI) so colors appear vividly in your home. They are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs but tend to run hot, so be sure to keep them away from fabric and flammable materials. These bulbs are also dimmable, and while their lifespan isn’t as long as LED bulbs, they’re affordable enough that you can snag a set of two or four to have some spares on hand.

Price at time of publish: $9 for 4-pack

Product Details:

  • Bulb Type: Halogen
  • Lumens: 610
  • Watts: 60
  • Color: Soft white (2750K)

Best Light Bulb for Kitchen

Feit LED Multi-Use A19 Light Bulb

Feit LED Multi-Use A19 Light Bulb

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a bright, functional light bulb. 

Who it isn’t for: People looking for a dimmable light bulb. 

While soft, dim lighting might be apt for some spaces, the kitchen is not one of them. Reliable kitchen lighting is key whether you're following a new recipe, opening a wine bottle, or writing your grocery list. The Feit light bulbs have a 5,000K or bright white temperature that resembles daylight. Plus, they can be used indoors or out and are suitable for damp locations, making them durable as well as versatile. They’re also cost-efficient as they come in a 10-bulb pack, each with a 30,000-hour lifespan.

Price at time of publish: $25 for 10-pack

Product Details:

  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Lumens: 800
  • Watts: 60
  • Color: Daylight white (5000K)

Best Light Bulb for Bathroom

GE Reveal LED A19 Light Bulb

4.6
GE LED Reveal Light Bulb (60-watt Equivalent)

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want crisp light with color contrast. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a gentle light. 

These HD LED light bulbs filter out yellow light for better color contrast and whiter whites, making them ideal for illuminating your bathroom. The pure, white light offers enough brightness for delicate tasks like plucking eyebrows, painting nails, or applying makeup. The bulbs are also dimmable for a bit of customizable control and come in a pack of two.

Price at time of publish: $12 for 2-pack

Product Details:

  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Lumens: 650
  • Watts: 60
  • Color: Pure, clean light (2850K)

Final Verdict

Our top light bulb overall is the Philips LED Ultra Definition Dimmable Warm Glow Effect A19 Light Bulb for its customizable, dimmable brightness, versatile soft white tone, energy efficiency, and long-lasting life span.

How to Shop for Light Bulbs Like a Pro 

Bulb Type

There are various light bulb types, including Light-Emitting Diodes (LED), halogens, compact fluorescent lights (CFL), and fluorescent lights. CFLs are curled, fluorescent light tubes that fit the shape of a standard light bulb, says Mock. “The best CFLs last 10 times as long and use a quarter of the energy of old incandescent bulbs. The drawbacks of CFLs are that they can be damaged if they are turned on and off too frequently, and they don't work well in the cold so their outdoor utility is limited,” he says.

With LED light bulbs, an electrical current passes through a microchip, creating visible light. They are one of the most energy-efficient options and have a long life span, so you rarely need to reach for a spare bulb. “They use only about 25 percent of the energy of standard light bulbs and can last up to 25 times as long,” says Mock.

Finally, “halogen bulbs are a twist on the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. They function in essentially the same manner, except the glass globe is filled with halogen gas, which amplifies the light and therefore decreases the amount of electricity needed, hiking its efficiency rating. They aren't as stingy with energy as CFL or LED lights but work well for outdoor spotlighting,” says Mock.

Lumens

Lumens are the amount of light a light bulb emits or how bright it is. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. Lumens can range from 400 to 2,600, with an average of about 1,500 lumens. If you want a bright bulb to illuminate your kitchen or bathroom, look for a high lumen count, while other areas, like the living room or bedroom, can benefit from softer, ambient light and lower lumens. 

Watts

Wattage measures how much energy a light bulb uses; bulbs with lower wattage use less electricity. Even with the same wattage, some bulbs can be brighter than others—for example, “an LED will shine brighter than an incandescent bulb of the same wattage, but high-wattage LEDs are not available. However, high-wattage incandescent bulbs do shine brighter than LEDs. Therefore, it can take fewer incandescent bulbs to light a room than LED,” says Mock.

Not every fixture can support all wattages. “You should also make sure the light bulb has equal or lower wattage than the fixture can support,” says Micetich. Too high of wattage can be dangerous or create fires.

Color

Light color is measured in Kelvins, with lower numbers corresponding to warmer (more yellow) light and higher numbers corresponding to whiter or bluer light. For example, 2200–3000K is the range for soft or warm white, 3500–4100K for neutral or cool white, and 5000–6500K is the equivalent of daylight.

The color of your light bulb can create a specific ambiance, whether it's a warm, golden glow or a bright, blue-white hue. While most light bulbs come in white tones, you can also find colored bulbs that can add even more atmosphere to your home.

Lifespan

Different types of light bulbs have different lifespans, usually measured in hours. A hefty lifespan allows you to avoid switching out your light bulbs, and fortunately, most modern light bulbs have a lifespan of several years. LEDs have the longest lifespans and can last up to 20 years, says Micetech. Meanwhile, “CFLs typically last anywhere from around 15,000–20,000 hours,” says Mock, "and halogen can last around 1,000–2,000 hours.”

Questions You Might Ask 

What type of light bulb is the most energy efficient?

"LED bulbs are the most efficient type of light bulb,” says Micetech. Relative to other bulbs, they can decrease your energy cost per year. “CFLs can last for nine years and are the second most energy-efficient bulb. Incandescent bulbs are decreasing in popularity due to their energy-wasting nature, but some people like the warm glow they give off. Halogen and high-intensity discharge bulbs are also decreasing in popularity and are usually only used to brighten outdoor areas or spotlights,” she adds. 

To maximize efficiency, check to see if your light bulb is Energy Star-certified, a government-backed symbol for energy efficiency. 

What type of light bulb gives off the most light?

“Lumens measure the amount of light a bulb emits. Bright lights have a higher number of lumens, while dimmer lights have fewer lumens. If you’re looking for a bulb that emits a lot of light, find the bulb with the highest number of lumens,” says Micetich.

What type of light bulb is closest to natural light?

Natural light has a high Kelvin, and if you want to replicate natural light in your home, you should find a bulb with a daylight color temperature (around 5000K). “However, you should keep in mind that daylight bulbs have a lot of blue light, which usually doesn’t work well in the home,” says Micetech.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Lesley Chen, a contributing writer for Real Simple with six years of experience writing commerce, home, and lifestyle stories. To compile this list she thoroughly researched light bulbs and rounded up the best options based on bulb type, lumens, watts, color, and lifespan. For expert advice, Lesley spoke to Mallory Micetich, a home expert at Angi, and Dan Mock, VP of operations at Mister Sparky, an electrical services company.

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