The Brightest LED Bulb Overall: The Feit BR40 LED Bulb is currently the brightest led light bulb available — it is rated at 2500 lumens (approximately equivalent to a 250 watt incandescent bulb). It uses 30 watts and costs $27.
Update May 2018: A newly released LED bulb by Sansi may now be the brightest at 3500 lumens. This compact bulb consumes 27 watts and costs $60 for two bulbs.
The Brightest Standard Size Bulb: The Philips 1620 Lumen LED Bulb is the brightest LED bulb that fits in common household fixtures and lamps.
The Brightest LED Bulb Overall: Feit BR40
Update May 2018: A newly released bulb by SANSI may now be the brightest at 3500 lumens. This compact bulb consumes 27 watts and costs $60 for two bulbs.
The Feit BR40 produces 2500 lumens of light. This makes it the brightest LED bulb available. It uses only 38 watts of power, and it is rated to last 22.8 years or 25,000 hours.
The Feit BR40 glows with warm white light (3000k) — so it is suitable for indoor use. I installed this bulb in my garage, and it lights up the whole space easily. The bulb is dimmable, but it requires a LED-specific dimmer (here’s an approved list). Feit says the bulb’s CRI index is 80 (which indicates very good light quality — see my note on CRI at the end of the article).
The Feit BR40 is available from Amazon for about $50.
Update: There may be a brighter bulb available — the Kobi K5L1 BR40 LED (rated at 2550 lumens). This is a very similar bulb to the Feit, with a slightly higher wattage (30 watts). It’s a warm color temperature bulb. However, the manufacturer says this light is only equivalent to a 150 watt bulb, so I need to check on this before I give “brightest led bulb” status.
The Brightest Standard Size LED Bulb: Philips “100 Watt Equivalent” Bulb
The Philips 100w Equivalent LED Bulb is the brightest standard-size household bulb available. It uses 18 watts of power to produce 1620 lumens of warm white light. I have many of these in my home, and they produce an excellent quality light (the CRI is 80). These bulbs are also dimmable, and rated to last 22.8 years.
The Philips 100w Equivalent LED Bulb is available from Amazon for around $21.
A Few Notes On Color Quality
The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a numerical system that rates the “color rendering” ability of light bulbs in comparison to natural daylight. If a light has a low color rendering index of 50, it does not render colors very well. If the lamp has a color rendering index of 80 – 95, its ability to render colors is thought to be very good to excellent. A CRI of 100 is considered natural daylight and is assigned to the sun itself.
The Color Temperature is expressed in degrees Kelvin (K). Low color temperature implies warmer (more yellow/red) light while high color temperature implies a colder (more blue) light. Moreover, the “color temperature” of a lamp refers to how reddish, greenish or bluish the lamp appears. If the lamp appears reddish, it has a lower color temperature (e.g., 2500K-3000K) and is considered to be “warm” in appearance. If the lamp appears to be bluish, it has a higher color temperature (e.g., 4000K-4500K) and is considered to be “cool” in appearance.
Warm White: 2500° K to 3000° K
Cool White: 4000° K to 4500° K
Day Light: 6200° K to 6800° K