Dimmability is often a top concern when you’re shopping for new light bulbs unless, of course, your home doesn’t have dimmer switches. In that case, you’ll either need to upgrade those light switches or invest in pricey smart bulbs with their own, built-in dimming mechanisms. Or, you know, continue living in the full brightness hellscape you call a home.
Fortunately, there’s one more option, and that’s to go with a bulb that lets you pick from multiple brightness settings just by flipping your existing switch off and back on, like a three-way bulb you can use anywhere.
Thealready impressed me with its spin on the feature. Now, Feit’s in the game, too, with a 60W replacement “IntelliBulb” that switches between 100, 60 and 10 percent brightness settings. Like the Philips bulb, it passed my brightness tests with flying colors. It also manages heat build-up well, too, which means it’d be a fine pick for use in an enclosed fixture, where heat gets trapped. At a suggested retail price of $10 per bulb, it’s a dollar more than the SceneSwitch LED, but prices will vary depending on what hardware store you’re shopping at. Extra dollar aside, I like it just as much as that Philips bulb.
Let’s start with the brightness across all three settings. Feit promises 800 lumens at the top setting, which would put the bulb right on par with a common 60W incandescent. In my tests, I measured it at 868 lumens, putting it well above spec. The 60 percent setting came in at 489 lumens, which is about 61 percent of the stated 800 lumens and 56 percent of the 868 you’re actually getting. The bottom, nightlight setting came in at just 95 lumens, which is 10.9 percent as bright as the bulb’s top setting.
Those are all great, accurate results that put the bulb right in line with what you’d expect from the sort of three-way bulb that it emulates. At its top setting, you’re getting a 60W replacement bulb that’s plenty bright. At the second setting, you’re getting brightness that’s more in line with a 40W accent light. At the bottom setting you’re getting a nice, dim glow that won’t bother you while you sleep or watch a movie.
Switching between those settings is as easy as flipping the light off and back on. Leave the bulb off for more than a few seconds, and it’ll return to whatever setting you left it at next time you turn it back on.
Like most LED light bulbs, it’s efficient as well. At the top, 60W replacement setting, it uses a power draw of just 9.5 watts, making it good for 91 lumens per watt. That’s an excellent number, and one that’ll only add a little more than a dollar to your yearly energy bill if you run the bulb at full brightness for three hours a day.