In our article LED Spotlights we introduced the advantages and disadvantages of LED spotlights compared with halogen bulbs. The main advantages of LED spotlights are that they use as little as 1/50th of the power of halogen bulbs, and they last for years rather than months. The disadvantage is that the light they produce is not as warm as that from halogens, they are quite poor at providing general room lighting, and they cannot be used with dimmable light switches.
Megaman spotlights provide equivalent light to halogens, but they use 7-11 Watts of power – compared to 1-1.5 for standard LED spotlights. In this article we will look at a compromise alternative: a 3W powered LED spotlights from Cree.
Cree LED Spotlights
Cree Inc is a leading semiconductor manufacturer which specialises in solid state (LED technology) lighting amongst other things. Rather than making spotlights with 20 to 80 small LEDs, their MR16 (12VDC) and GU10 (230VAC) spotlights are made up of three 1W powered super LEDs.
While the light given out by these Cree spotlights is still a lot whiter / cooler than that of halogens, it is not as blue as many cheaper LED spotlights, and it has a much wider beam (matching more closely that of halogens) and is therefore much more suitable for general whole room lighting. A 3x1W Cree spotlight in low voltage or mains voltage configuration is equivalent to a 35W halogen bulb, so these can be used as direct replacements for halogens in all applications.
The average life time of a Cree spotlight is from 30,000 to 50,000 hours – i.e. up to 6 years of continuous use.
Cree spotlight bulbs are also available in 1x5W (i.e one 5W LED bulb), 1x10W, and 7x1W (i.e. seven 1W LED bulbs) configurations offering LED spotlights suitable for all applications. Cool White and Warm White versions are available, but note that even the warm white is very white when compared to the almost yellow light of a halogen bulb.
Buy Cree LED Spotlight Bulbs
Cree spotlights are not cheap and they are not always easy to find in the UK. Therefore, the starting point for your search should be eBay. Click here to search all listings for Cree MR16 (12V), or look below for a list of the latest Cree GU10 (mains voltage) listings.