While many of the products we review here are readily available to purchase and operate without a license, we always recommend hiring a qualified electrician to install and demonstrate their use.
In some cases, improper use and installation may result in a breach of insurance. Even worse, you could be putting yourself or your family at risk as an incorrectly installed electrical device could start a fire. So, don’t risk it - seek the services of a fully licensed electrician instead.
Spotlights are a fantastic way to zhuzh up your kitchen, give a commercial space a professional and enticing glow, or illuminate a museum environment without creating a clunky and cluttered aesthetic that detracts from the splendor of the exhibits.
In fact, this type of lighting is so versatile and effective that the market has become rather saturated as of late.
Even so, one of the stand-out designs is the Torchstar CRI90+, a dimmable LED spotlight that can supposedly save us quite a bit of money on the old energy bill.
That was all I needed to hear to pick some of these spotlights up and give them a whirl, and having spent some time with them now, I feel ready to relay my findings to you.
Let’s dive right into the review.
TORCHSTAR CRI90+ 3000K Dimmable PAR20 LED Spotlight Bulbs Review
- Reasonable price
- Arrive as a pack of 6
- Work in damp conditions
- Excellent color rendering for LEDs
- Truly smooth dimming
- Versatile 3000K glow that mimics that of halogen bulbs
- 13 year+ lifespan
- 550 lm
- Dimmer jumps from 0 to 10%
Where Can I Purchase Torchstar CRI90+ Spotlights?
TORCHSTAR CRI90+ 3000K Dimmable PAR20 LED Spotlight Bulbs Buyers Guide
Thankfully, I already had dimmable halogen spotlights installed in my kitchen, so for me, installation was as easy as unscrewing the existing bulbs and screwing in my new Torchstar bulbs.
As PAR20 lights, they fit perfectly into 3” recessed light fittings.
If you’ve got a standard overhead or non-dimmable spotlights, the situation is a lot more complex, and unless you know your way around wiring and are handy with a spot of DIY, I’d suggest having a professional electrician take care of things for you.
Another thing to bear in mind before we move is that these are twist spotlights.
I got lucky in that I already had twist fixtures, but the most common type of connection for spotlights is the dual prong base.
If you’re trying to illuminate a large space (which my kitchen is), a traditional hanging bulb needs to be at least 2000 lumens.
These Torchstar spotlights come in at 550 lumens a pop, which on its own isn’t enough, but as they come in packs of 6, you’re actually getting 3300 lumens that you can spread out around a room.
Each light has a 40° beam angle, creating a focused feel perfect for operational spaces in the home where you need lots of light to focus on a task. In my kitchen, that task was obviously preparing and cooking meals.
The 40° beam also makes these spotlights a great choice for rooms with high ceilings, as the tone of the light doesn’t soften too much over longer distances.
As such, I’d recommend them for art galleries, museum exhibits, and even commercial retail spaces.
Whipping up some tasty lunch was the very first thing I did under my new lights, testing how they’d affect my eyes over a longer period as well as how they illuminated my work area.
After an hour of slicing and dicing, my eyes were feeling fine - no strains or headaches - and I managed to prepare my food without slicing a finger off, so it was a win on that front too!
All was going well, but I was just getting started. My dining room is attached to my kitchen, and I didn’t need such functional luminosity, so it was time to put the dimmer function to the test!
One of the things I absolutely love about the dimmability of these spotlights is that it’s smooth, rather than stepped, by which I mean you can reduce or increase luminosity gently.
I find that incremental dimming is quite jarring, and often the precise brightness you’re after is lost between two of the increments, never to be enjoyed.
Worried that there might be some lag in my Torchstar lighting, I ran them from minimum to maxim as my food simmered in the background.
Thankfully, there were no sudden jumps in brightness, it was smooth the whole way up and the whole way down.
The only thing I was a little disappointed by was that the dimmer function runs from 10% rather than 0% brightness, so there is that one little jump.
That said, 10% isn’t all that bright. Say you needed to fetch a glass of water from the kitchen in the night, 10% isn’t going to shock you awake and leave you seeing green spots when you’re trying to fall back to sleep.
Side Note — Be sure to check if your dimming facilities are compatible with these bulbs before buying.
I chose the 3000K bulbs, which, for the uninitiated, is both a warm and functional hue.
Even though it’s great for things like cooking or working in an office, I’d just as well have these lights in my living room, as they’re cozy enough to relax under, especially if you dim them slightly.
If you’re looking to replace your halogen bulbs, but you were worried about matching their color temperature, you’ll be happy to know that 3000K LEDs should replicate that familiar warmth almost exactly.
The only room of my house I’d say they were a bit too warm for is my bathroom. I prefer a crisper white so I can see clearly while shaving and working through my skincare routine.
Accurate 3000K color temperature lends itself to pristine color rendering.
In other words, under these spotlights, colors look vivid and accurate, meaning those red apples in your fruit bowl are really gonna pop!
This was a big factor in my choosing these bulbs, and here’s why.
LED bulbs are better than their halogen and incandescent counterparts in every way bar one… CRI score (color rendering index).
Halogen and incandescent bulbs almost always have a CRI score of 100%, while LEDs typically hover around the 80% mark, which doesn’t sound too bad, but is a pretty stark contrast when compared side by side.
Torchlight CRI90+ spotlights, on the other hand - as the name suggests - have a baseline CRI score of 90, which is classed as excellent, and I can attest to that.
Of course, the big win of the LED migration is always going to be improved energy efficiency, and these Energy Star rated spotlights are no exception.
To put it into a bit of context, one of these 8-watt spotlights is the equivalent of a 50-watt incandescent bulb.
Now, considering how long these things last (more on that in a sec), you stand to save just shy of $70 on energy per bulb, and as they come as a pack of 6, that’s a sweet $420 saving — not including money you save on replacement bulbs.
Okay, so cards on the table, I was hesitant to buy these lights at first as I’d heard that they often died well before they were supposed to, but then I discovered that this issue only pertained to an older Torchstar design. The newer version is much more reliable.
I’ve had mine for a couple of months now, and I haven’t had a single issue. They’re all going strong — no duds.
I can’t say whether or not they really do last for the advertised 13.7 years, but all signs point to yes at the moment. If something does go wrong, I’ll be sure to revisit and amend this review.
For now, though, A+ on longevity.
Performance In Adverse Locations
Another awesome thing that drew me to these lights is that I’d heard they were capable of working in damp conditions.
Obviously, moisture and electricity don’t normally play nice, so I was skeptical.
To put this feature to the test, I saved one bulb from my 6-pack and installed it in my already-damp porch overhang just after seeing a weather warning for rain in my area.
It hammered down for what felt like two straight days, and the spotlight worked just fine throughout and after the rains subsided.
The Final Verdict
I’m very happy that I finally decided to buy these spotlights.
They’re physically robust, and the thought that’s gone into making the actual luminance as pleasant and practical as possible is much appreciated.
The color rendering is great for LEDs, and the 3000K color temperature is highly versatile, especially when paired with the dimming function.
It suits an office space as much as it suits a living room, and it matches the color temperature of halogen bulbs impeccably.
You can pick these bulbs up for an absolute steal, too, which is why I’m willing to set my disappointment about that 10% dimming baseline aside and recommend these lights to those looking for a sophisticated solution to the halogen/incandescent problem.
I Give The Torchstar CRI90+ 3000K Dimmable PAR20 LED Spotlight Bulbs 4.5/5