Efficient Cree LED downlight that works very well with Lutron dimmer

Posted by Paul Braren on Dec 28 2011 (updated on Nov 19 2013) in
  • Efficiency
  • Reviews
  • You may recall my article 5 months ago, Save on an impressive LED Light Bulb for your ceiling fixture, TinkerTry.com/creecr6, and the story I told about finding a suitable dimmer for my LED floodlights/downlights. The Lutron SPDC-203P I already had was really meant for CFLs, and only lasted a few months before the LEDs began to flicker. The dimmer was dying. So I quickly replaced the dimmer, seeking a model that'd work very well in my family room.

    Here's the winning combination:

    I now have the 3 LED downlights on this new dimmer that can bring the LED brightness way down very low, for full movie enjoyment. Other benefits include:

    • attractive fixture (no dark edges around the bulb where you can see into the recessed lighting can)
    • no heat (on full brightness, surface temp is very slightly warm, you can easily hold fingers against it)
    • no buzzing
    • no flicker
    • no strange color tones
    • no warm-up period
    • no sudden drop off as you dim the bulbs low, unlike dimmable CFL, that'd sometimes unintentionally shut off
    • no lights-not-turning-on issue, when the dimmer is set to lowest position, and the lights are switched on


    • maintains at least 70% of initial lumen output for 50,000 hours
      which equates to 5.7 years, if left turned on 24/7
    • 10.5 Watts
    • 575 Lumens
    • Replaces 65 watt incandescent
    • Dimmable down to 5%
    • Color temp of 2700 K
    • CRI: 90

    Total cost for bulbs and dimmer comes out to just under $100. The LEDs emit the equivalent light of roughly 200 watts of regular flood lights, but use just 31.5 watts total, so there's a lot less guilt when leaving them cranked to 100% when needed.

    At last, my primary living space requires less AC to cool down, and is no longer 2-3F warmer than nearby rooms. And these can go much dimmer than CFCs ever did. Hopefully I won't need to change a bulb or dimmer for at least a decade, time will tell.

    One nit my family has with the dimmer is that we'd prefer a plain toggle design, where you flick the toggle up for full 100% brightness, flick it down for dim, and push harder all the way down until it clicks totally off. But nobody seems to make such a design anymore, not with adjustable low points for CFL/LEDs anyway.

    The price of the CR6s fluctuates wildly week-to-week, and the in store price doesn't necessarily match the homedepot.com price. Amazon and other etailers seem to cost considerably more. So check in on the bulb aisle on your next visit, and maybe you'll get lucky and pick up some Cree CR6's for $19.99 each as well, it may also depend upon which state you're shopping in. And read more about the Lutron here.

    Note, the CR6 equivalent model seems to be the Cree ECO-575L, as explained in this glowing review, and there are also 2 and 4 packs sold online.

    Finally, here's a recent display in Connecticut below:


    Here's a very good Amazon video demonstration of drop-off, pop-on, and flicker problems associated with normal dimmers:

    Here's a YouTuber's video showing how easy the actual installation of the LED lighting really is:

    Jan 07 2012 Update:
    The reason for the $19.97 price for the Cree6 lights is now clear, see this end-cap display just sited, and this nice energy utilization display (HDR capability was the only way to capture it):