Saturday, August 13, 2016

LED Bulbs Review: Ikea RYET & LEDARE 400 lm, RYET 600 lm

A compact fluorescent light bulb decided to crack itself open upon burning out. The glass turned black on one end and a small chip of glass popped off. Good thing I didn't bother to change that bulb until a week after it went out. It had a nice opportunity to air itself out the whole time. That must have been healthy. Not like they're filled with mercury or anything toxic.

This wasn't the first time a CFL broke in the house before, but every previous incident involved preventable idiocy of some kind. Having one blow its own top off was new and not a risk I was willing to take any longer considering that the price of LED bulbs had dropped substantially.

The LED bulbs I bought just before I wrote this review ranged from around CA$ 2.00 to CA$ 7.00 each. I switched the bulbs from CFLs to LEDs in 2013 for one room when they were still CA$ 10.00 to CA$ 25.00 each -- they're all still kicking.
Ikea RYET 400 and 600 lumen LED bulbs
Configuration
x6 - Ikea RYET LED bulb E26 400 lumen, 2 pack: CA$ 3.99 (US$ 1.99)
x3 - Ikea RYET LED bulb E26 600 lumen, 2 pack: CA$ 6.49 (US$ 3.99)
x1 - Ikea LEDARE LED bulb E26 400 lumen, 1 pack: CA$ 6.99 (US$ 3.99)

Note that the product photo for the LEDARE 400 lumen bulb looked very different on the American Ikea site compared to the one on the Canadian site. However, their names and features appeared to be comparable.

Video
LED Bulbs: Ikea LEDARE 400 lm vs RYET 400 lm & 600 lm
Ikea RYET LED Bulbs vs Philips SlimStyle LEDs
Review: Ikea RYET LED 400 & 600 lumen Light Bulbs

Assembly
None of the RYET or LEDARE bulbs, 400 lumen or 600 lumen, appeared to be grossly oversized. In fact, the 400 lumen looked pretty small to me. Try telling my fixtures that though. My light fixtures did not seem to like anything other than the narrowly sized CFL bulbs we had -- fixtures were most likely purchased after the year 2000. While the LED bulbs had no trouble going into a table lamp I initially tested them on, they did not go smoothly into my wall or ceiling fixtures.
Ikea RYET 400 lm LED bulb beside an Ikea LEDARE 400 lm bulb
Two ceiling fixtures just barely allowed RYET 400 lumen bulbs to fit while pressing against a metal reflector above the mount. The plan was to fit 600 lumen bulbs in these lamps -- I tried screwing one in for a minute and found that the threads weren't lining up straight because the bulb's dome was too big. It may have gone in if I pushed harder but I didn't want to force anything.

For a few identical wall fixtures, the 600 lumen RYET was too wide and wouldn't allow me to fit the shade back on properly. That led to swapping the bulb for the 400 lumen RYET and realizing that while the shade did fit, the bulb was still pushing against it a bit.

The Ikea LEDARE 400 lumen went into a table lamp with plenty of space to screw in, hence the lack of complaining above. However, it looked larger than the RYET 400 lumen so probably would have been trouble in the other fixtures.

I haven't used incandescent bulbs in probably over a decade. Were they significantly smaller than CFL bulbs in width in the dome area? The fixtures should have been able to fit incandescent bulbs, so it puzzled me as to why they had so much trouble fitting these LED bulbs shaped like old incandescent bulbs. In contrast, all the CFLs I removed were pretty narrow, some very short, some longer than others. Those seemed to go in without as much trouble.

I kind of expected all of this since the LED bulbs I got years ago had more "interesting" shapes and also gave me trouble during installation. Blame is on me for not buying more appropriate fixtures. I thought they would all be designed with more space to accommodate bigger bulbs -- not necessarily brighter, just bigger.

Design / Construction
All of the Ikea LEDARE and RYET bulbs I bought in this review appeared similar in shape but different in size. Each had a dome up top, an opaque mid-section, and a threaded base. The contacts on their bottoms also appeared to be fairly uniform in shape and clean -- as opposed to what may have been drops of solder on some of my older bulbs. Under the "Product description" for these three bulbs on the Ikea Canada website, only "Polycarbonate plastic" was listed. There should be "teardown" videos on YouTube for these bulbs if you're curious about what's inside.
Ikea RYET, Ikea LEDARE, and Philips LED bulbs
How was it?
Important detail: of the bulbs I bought, eight RYET 400 lumen bulbs, five RYET 600 lumen bulbs, and one LEDARE 400 lumen bulb were installed. That left five spares from Ikea and a couple Philips bulbs I also bought.

Aside from fit, which I don't blame the bulbs for, the RYET 400 lumen and LEDARE 400 lumen bulbs performed fine. I wrote this review less than a week after installing the bulbs so only time will tell if they last as long as their rated run-times. My 400 lumen LEDARE from about three years ago is still running strong after averaging five or more hours of use per day.

Notice the RYET 600 lumen was missing? The bulb performed fine in the light production department. However, I noticed a buzzing noise coming from the first 600 lumen RYET I installed. A second bulb was tested from a different box, same thing. The five 600 lumen RYETs I ended up installing were not individually tested for buzzing. But four out of four lamps with these five bulbs installed made the noise -- one lamp had a pair so I couldn't tell for certain if one or both buzzed. Regardless, it was not that loud but in a quiet house, it was definitely audible from a few feet away even when installed on a ceiling fixture. Once I stopped paying attention, I found myself forgetting about it though. So, annoying and audible, but not too bad. These bulbs were all installed in the basement and in rarely used lamps. I planned to return a pack of these and didn't because I forgot the receipt... No noises were noticeable in the 400 lumen RYET bulbs or the 400 lumen LEDARE. There was also no noise from my three year old LEDARE or a few Philips LEDs I also had.

One surprise was how adequate 400 lumen bulbs ended up being. They replaced 10 W or 13 W CFL bulbs and I didn't notice that much of a difference. The 600 lumen bulbs would have been perfect aside from getting them to fit and the buzzing thing.

I did not test if any of these LEDs were dimmable or not. According to the Ikea Canada website, the 400 lumen LEDARE was dimmable while the 400 lumen RYET and 600 lumen RYET bulbs were not dimmable. One other thing I noticed from the website was that the 400 lumen RYET was rated at 5 W while the 400 lumen LEDARE was at 6.3 W. And the LEDARE had a rated life of 25,000 hours while the RYET was rated for 15,000 hours. It looked to me like not having a dimming feature allowed for a cheaper bulb that used less electricity -- a shorter life probably helped with cost too. Not being an electrical engineer, this is just a guess.

Conclusion
A CFL bulb decided to open itself up so I decided to kick most of them out of my home -- still have to haul them to a recycling center, ughhhhhh... Because my eyes hadn't developed night-vision yet, these CFLs had to be replaced with new bulbs. I decided to go with Ikea RYET LED bulbs and one Ikea LEDARE bulb. The 400 lumen RYETs and LEDARE I purchased were excellent. However, at least two of the 600 lumen RYETs I picked up emitted an audible buzzing noise. It may have been a bad batch but I don't know. Otherwise, I had some issues with getting the bulbs to fit into certain light fixtures.

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