In the lighting world, there are few bulb configurations as popular and widely used as halogen PAR38 bulbs. These sturdy and versatile lamps have found their way into just about every location in our modern lives. We use them in businesses and homes, inside and out. We love our PAR38 light bulbs—but we hate to pay for all the electricity they use. Another problem with them is that after July, standard halogen PAR38 bulbs will no longer be available in the United States thanks to the next round of light bulb bans. Although they have been a long time coming, there are now several LED options available, some of which you would actually consider buying.
Unfortunately, when you look closely, the list of acceptable PAR38 replacements narrows significantly. The prices may be low, but so is the amount of information or specifications on the bulbs they make. Good luck if you hope to find the CRI—the color rendering index, a measure of the lamp’s ability to reproduce colors—or even expected life of many LED PAR38 replacement bulbs. Finding the lumen output or even an email address to send questions to can be more trouble than it’s worth.
Finally, you are at the point where you can choose the bulb that meets your requirements; after all, just about anywhere a PAR38 lives is a special place, where only the perfect light will do. As you narrow your list of possible options, you will quickly see that there are some configurations that have several brand choices available, while with other configurations there are often only one or two choices.
This can be a problem if the one you need isn’t obtainable. Let’s say you need a stark white, dimmable, wide flood beam lamp. This lamp is located in a hard-to-reach spot and needs to be super bright and also as close to daylight as possible. In the world of LED PAR38 replacement lamps, there are only a couple of options to choose from.
The LumaPro 46E399 comes a lot closer to our specifications but still doesn’t seem to be the very best choice. It also has a 5000K color temperature, but does much better with color rendering with its CRI of 83. Unfortunately, there is still no mention of candlepower and this model only boasts 1150 initial lumens. Another drawback with these bulbs is that they are only rated for a 25,000-hour life and use 20-23 watts.
One that is definitely in the running is the PAR38 5000K 90-Watt equivalent from Leapfrog Lighting. This LED PAR38 replacement bulb uses only 16.7 watts and has a rated lifespan of 40,000 hours. The 5000K color temperature is just as white as the LumaPro bulbs and it has a CRI of 82. The 1225 initial lumens and 3,579 candlepower are perfect for plenty of bright, white light too.
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