Cree spotlights new additions to consumer lineup with high-output LED flood lamps

Cree spotlights new additions to consumer lineup with high-output LED flood lamps

Cree, maker of both LED components, as well as commercial and consumer lighting products, has introduced three new high-output LED flood lamps. These new bulbs are designed for homes with high ceilings, and for those who simply desire more light.

Cree introduced two new 100-watt equivalent BR30 lamps, in soft white and daylight versions with 1500 and 1600 lumens of light output, respectively. These are now the brightest BR30 LED lamps on the market, and designed for 5-6 inch recessed cans and track lighting.

But Cree didn’t stop there. They also added a high-output LED lamp in another common format, the R20, to their lineup that is can replace a 75 watt incandescent lamp. The R20 is currently available only in soft white, and has a light output of 980 lumens. This is an incredibly bright LED light source in such a small package. The R20 is closer to the smaller range of reflector lamps and works well in 4-inch recessed cans and tracking lighting. (There isn’t a BR20 classification.)

Both the BR30 and R20 lamps have expected lifetimes of 25,000 hours and can save consumers greater than an estimated $175 on their utility bills by switching from older, inefficient lighting. The CRI—a measurement of light quality—for all three of the new lamps is greater than 90 (on a scale of 100).

But you’re probably asking yourself, “why would I buy these new lamps?” In an interview with Cree’s VP of Marketing for Lamps, Al Safarikas, he said that “these products are intended to offer a no-compromise product for people who want more light, either for high ceilings…or those who just desire more light in general.” He also went on to mention that for those people who may be using traditional high-output A-shape bulbs in recessed cans, that they should “take them out” and replace them with one of these new products.

Left to right: Cree 100W-equivalent BR30, Cree 75W-equivalent R20, Cree 65W-equivalent BR30. Un-retouched photos, dimmer set to full brightness, identical exposure settings.

The reason for replacing traditional light bulbs with reflector lamps in these fixtures is that BR and R-type reflector lamps direct the light downward and out of the recessed fixture, whereas A-type lamps emit light in every direction. Thus, light is actually lost by not using proper reflector-type bulbs in recessed installations. (On a personal note, I cringe every time I see this in a home or business, and depending on the situation I will make an appropriate comment.)

Cree has previously sold (and continues to sell) a BR30 LED lamp with equivalent light output of a 65 watt incandescent lamp (~665 lumens). So beyond the obvious concept of “more light”, why would you upgrade to a brighter reflector lamp? One reason to upgrade would be if your home has high ceilings with recessed cans. An average home has eight to nine-foot ceiling heights, but some homes can have standard ceiling heights of 10 feet or have great rooms with high or vaulted ceilings. The greater the distance a light source is from the surface that the light should illuminate, the less bright that surface will appear and the more diffused the light will become. By upgrading to higher-output lighting, more light will reach furniture and other parts of a room with high ceilings.

So, with all that in mind, you might be reading this article and thinking, “Yes, that sounds like a great idea. I’ll run out and get some of these bulbs right away.” And you might not even have adopted LED lamps into your home yet. Cree’s Marketing VP of Lamps also told me that based on the studies that they’ve done (and also from outside data) on adoption of LED lighting, consumers generally have not placed LED lighting throughout their homes. “People upgrade when they want something new, or when there’s a new feature that they desire,” said Safarikas. Certainly, these new high-output lamps are a “feature” worth looking into for those who may require more light.

Physically, the new Cree reflector lamps match the design of the new lamps from late 2016. But that's where the similarities end. The sheer amount of light that is produced from these new lamps is stunning, and is easily seen in the comparison photos above. The soft white light matches or exceeds the quality of light from Cree's earlier products, with no noticeable shadows or artifacts. Cree holds to its promise of no buzzing, humming or flickering, while at full brightness or when dimmed. Speaking of dimming, changing brightness is smooth with the lowest brightness observed at roughly 5-8%.

The new high-output Cree R20 and BR30 LED lamps are available now at Home Depot stores and

A special thanks to Cree for supplying Smarter Home Life with the new R20 and BR30 products for this review, and for making Mr. Safarikas available for our ‘illuminating’ conversation.

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