Best performing halogen lamp replacement yet in a PAR-20 form
I've tested virtually all PAR-20 and PAR-30 LED lamp offerings over the last few years, and the challenges are to find lamps with pleasing color temperature, true dimmability and low start current, for use in tracks and recessed fixtures. Many have not truly conformed to the dimensions of the PAR-20 envelope. Some have to be at 50% brightness to start. And virtually all at 3000K or above are harsh and cold.
I'm illuminating artwork and also using these for cooking, theatre lights and general
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residential use; I've been using 75W PAR-30 and 50W PAR-20 & 35W PAR-16 halogen lamps for years, getting 2-3 years service life and climbing ladders to replace the track lamps. A confessed dimmer junkie, I love the ability to go from bright utility light levels to the coziness of good dimmable light arrays. A sustainability wonk, I wanted to be an early adopter of incandescent alternatives, but found no CFL lamps whose start brightness, dimmability and color quality could replace the halogens.
These new Philips 425155 2700K 8W LED lamps fit nicely in 4" Halo eyeball and Elco gimbal trims and PAR-20 step cylinders. They dim down to near candle-light levels and start at those levels using the Lutron Maestro CL and DIVA CL dimmers, do work (with a slightly reduced dimming range) using conventional dimmers, and put out a nicely diffused 36 degree light spread. Although they are only rated 450 lumens, compared to the 550 lumens of a 50 watt halogen wide flood, the light output is visually comparable and the CRI very pleasing.
Are they worth the cost compared to halogen? The return on investment is very long for residential use, but at 1/6 the energy costs and with no need to ever replace them, perhaps they are. For galleries and businesses using them 12 hours a day, especially with the tax incentives, they will have a very short ROI. Definitely the best PAR lamp for halogen replacement I've tested, and I now have 28 of them in this nicely upgraded home. All are working perfectly with no initial failures.
For some reason, HD is only stocking the 3000K version in the stores, so these are internet only as of February 2014, but the extra warmth of the 2700K version is worth the few days order time from HD online. Shipping was free and quick.
Philips / HD also sell the 2700K Par 20 lamp in a 25 degree narrow flood; I've not tested it but would expect the same performance.