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Cree Bulbs – The reigning King of LED

It wasn’t that long ago (2007) that I built a house and begged a manufacturer of LED Bulbs (located in Texas) to supply me 10 LED bulbs to use for show inside a house I had on an Austin Green Building Homes Tour.  At that time those LED bulbs were selling for $120 per bulb!  They shipped them to me and I talked them into letting me keep two of the 10 and only ship back 8.  Funny story, both those bulbs died within 2 years!  Youch.

LED wasn’t ready for prime-time in those years so from about 2005 till 2012 I’ve used a lot of Compact Florescent bulbs.  They are really energy efficiency, they last a few years, but they contain mercury, and many suffer from slow start up times.

Well, a lot has happened behind the scenes in the LED world since I got those super pricy bulbs in 2007.  Enter the CREE 60W replacement bulb ($10!)  I’ve been testing these since they first got released last year and they have been terrific!


These bulbs have nearly instant on, great color, 9.5 Watts of power consumption, a very standard “classic” look, put out 800 Lumens (nearly identical to an Incandescent 60W bulb) and they contain no mercury.  Huge win for me since I’ve now got 4 kids and I worry about the mercury in the CFL bulbs.  I put these CREE LED’s in a bunch of fixtures in the houses I build.  Typically any outdoor fixture in the houses I build has these CREE bulbs.  You can get a 6 pack of these on Amazon with free Prime shipping for about $55 and I usually buy in bulk for new builds or whole house remodel projects.

But, what really makes CREE unique is that they make some higher lumen output LED bulbs too!  In the photo above the 60W cree is on the left, but their 75W LED bulb is on the right.   These CREE 75W bump up the Lumen output to 11oo.  That difference costs you only 4 more watts at a total of 13.5 Watts.  This is much better in areas that need more output.  I used these in my kids rooms lamps, family room lamps, etc.


And here’s my current favorite in their entire lineup.  The CREE 100W replacement bulb is totally unique in the world today.  It pumps out 1600 Lumens using only 18 Watts of electricity.  It’s their most efficient bulb they make.   I don’t know of any other manufacturer who makes this high output LED bulb.  I have these in my Master bedside reading lamps, and above my kitchen table in the pendant fixture.  I love this bulb!  Granted it’s pricey, but it has a 10 year warranty and with CREE as the maker I truly believe this bulb will go the distance.


I’d love to hear of your experiences with LED or other high efficiency bulbs.  How have the CREE’s performed for you?  Do you like another brand?


Matt Risinger
– Risinger Homes in Austin, TX

Visit my Blog at www.MattRisinger.com

Risinger Homes is a custom builder and whole house remodeling contractor that specializes in Architect driven and fine craftsmanship work. We utilize an in-house carpentry staff and the latest building science research to build dramatically more efficient, healthy and durable homes.
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