The Best Red Light Bulbs for sleep and avoiding blue light at night!
We review some of the industry's top options for red light bulbs! We measured Flicker, Dirty Electricity, and EMFs to recommend the best possible options at the best possible prices.
We know we need to avoid blue and green at nighttime to ensure proper melatonin production and good sleep. Over the years this has spiraled into a massive industry of blue-blocker glasses and other blue-light mitigation techniques!
GembaRed has been offering convenient red light nightlights, reading lights, and automatic lights to help people have proper lighting at night! We offer creative and convenient solutions that no one else in the industry offers!
We haven't ventured into making generic light-bulbs though, because we know there must be some affordable viable options. However, as we know most light-bulbs can be problematic with having high flicker or EMFs.
There are many light-bulbs being marketed as sleep bulbs or low in blue light. But often they come with a big price tag from $20 to $50 - per bulb! We wanted to look through the commonly available commercial options and see if there is an affordable alternative.
Remember these red light bulbs are ONLY for ambient lighting to promote good sleep. They do not offer the power, focus, or wavelengths required for actual photobiomodulation.
So the most efficient way to determine the best red light bulbs for nighttime and sleep is to buy a bunch of them and just measure them! We ordered 5 Red LED bulbs and 1 red incandescent from LightBulbs.com! (because seriously, lets stop shopping on Amazon)
1. EiKO 5 watt Red LED
2. Sunlite 3 watt Red LED (far left)
3. TCP 5 watt Red LED (discontinued from lightbulbs.com, might still be available on Amazon)
4. Sunlite 40 watt Red Incandescent
5. Philips 8 watt Red LED
6. Sylvania 8.5 watt Red LED (far right)
(spoiler alert, they are already listed in order of best (#1) to worst (#6))
We tested each bulb with our Radex Lupin flicker meter, our Dirty Electricity meter plugged into an adjacent outlet, and with a Coronet EMF meter to check for RF emf.
With generic red light bulbs we aren't too worried about the ELF EMFs like electric field or magnetic field, since we know we won't be too close to the light bulb and they are low power and wont produce much. But we do want to double-check the Radio Frequency in case there is any stray EMF emitted from the power driver. Luckily none of the light bulbs tested showed any impact on the RF measurements.
|Number||Bulb||Price||Flicker Percentage||Dirty Electricity|
|1||EiKO LED||$2.89||<1%||No Change|
|2||Sunlite LED||$9.99||<1%||No Change|
|2||TCP LED||$7.29||<1%||No Change|
|3||Sunlite Incandescent||$2.19||7.65%||No Change|
|4||Philips LED||$4.19||<1%||+5 mVp-p|
|5||Sylvania LED||$2.99||6.5%||No Change|
Top Red LED Picks:
The clear winners are the Sunlite, EiKO, TCP red LED bulbs. They both showed to be very low flicker (less than 1% according to the Radex Lupin), and had no impact on dirty electricity or EMF measurements. As we know low flicker lighting is an important key to good health!
This is really impressive to find several cheap generic Red LEDs with super low flicker and EMF! It is a great step for this industry to make safe and healthy LED lighting.
Many people will be surprised that the incandescent bulb has one of the highest flicker percentages! That is often a misconception that incandescent bulbs don't flicker, but indeed they do! That is why it only ranks #3 in this lineup.
We also need to appreciate that the incandescent bulb is not energy efficient - consuming 40 Watts while most of these other bulbs reviewed are only 3 to 9 Watts!
Finally, this incandescent bulb is only rated for 1.1 years of life! Meanwhile most of these LED bulbs are rated for 22.1 years. So not only will you be paying every year to replace the incandescent, do you really want the hassle of replacing it every year!?!
With advancements and regulations on LED bulbs being able to reduce flicker and EMFs, it might be finally time that we can fully retire incandescent lighting except for rare occasions.
What is Dirty Electricity?!?
While we live in a world that we are already afraid of 5G, 4G LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, ELF, Electric Field, and Magnetic Field - lets talk about the lesser-discussed type of EMF - Dirty Electricity!
Dirty electricity is a kind of EMF generated by your electronics, appliances, and lights plugged into the wall. Essentially there is a myriad of electrical signals and electrical "noise" of frequencies and fluctuations that travel in the electrical wires all around your house! Imagine sleeping with your head facing towards a wall where dirty electricity is traveling!
You may have heard of Greenwave or Stetzer filters that are marketed to help reduce the dirty electricity around the house. But like all things, avoidance and mitigation is the best way to thwart dirty electricity. You can listen to this great podcast with Mr. Stetzer himself to learn more about dirty electricity.
So we know that LEDs can create dirty electricity when the driver converts AC to DC for the LED (which eliminates the flicker). So it is an important point to check your LED lights that you use (especially at night) if they emit dirty electricity.
We were surprised to find a significant jump in the dirty electricity measurement whenever we turned on the Philips Red LED. All of the other lights had no effect on the measurement.
The measurement on our TriField Meter EM100 Line EMI Monitor was normally around 45 mVp-p for all of the other measurements, but with the Philips LED on the measurement jumped up to 49/50 mVp-p. So that is a significant and measurable change, which we can easily avoid by using a different light bulb.
What is the Color of Red?
As sophisticated red light therapy experts and sleep hackers, we need to know the true color or spectrum of these bulbs!
The top two picks (on the left), the Sunlite and TCP LED bulbs have a orange/red color to them. While the Sunlite Incandescent (in the middle) seemed to have the deepest red (which should be expected from incandescent). The Philips and Sylvania (on the right) had more of a bright yellow/orange appearance. Note, there is one white LED in this picture for contrast.
The EiKO is a new addition as LightBulbs.com replaced the TCP with it. It actually performs very similarly in flicker, EMF, and Spectrum as the TCP - and is much cheaper!
From our new Thunder Optics spectrometer, we can now analyze the spectrum of our top bulbs!
We don't see any light below 570nm, which means there is no blue or green light from these bulbs! We see the EiKO and Sunlite Red LEDs have their red peaks around 630nm. The EiKO Red LED seems to have a wider spectrum that extends into the deeper reds, which might be nice for a little extra contrast compared to the Sunlite. The incandescent spectrum is a much broader range that extends into the near-infrared, which is why incandescent bulbs aren't energy-efficient.
Overall, we felt all of the red light bulbs were very pleasant and emitted a nice orange/red glow. If you think we should send out the top two picks (Sunlite and TCP) for professional spectrum analysis and flicker analysis - let us know by email and we will do a follow-up blog with the results! Thanks for reading!