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  • What is a CREE LED

    May 18, 2022 5 min read

    What is a CREE LED

    Whether you are camping in the great outdoors or working on a project in your garage, having good lighting is essential. Investing in quality lighting can save you both time and money but there are so many lighting options to choose from. One internationally recognized, and frequently duped, high-quality light technology is the CREE LED.

    CREE LED lighting is a mercury-free light technology that combines CREE LED’s proprietary optical design and wafer-level sub-mount packaging to maximize light extraction efficiency in reliable low profile lighting options such as outdoor, task lighting, and automobile dashboard illumination.

    Known for their quality, CREE LED’s offer practical lighting solutions to everyday tasks. These can be found in our hands-free lighting units such as the FLEXIT Pocket Light and the FLEXIT Headlamp Pro for an easy and convenient way to complete your project with accuracy. Now that you know what a CREE LED is, you may be wondering how it differs from other LED light technologies on the market.


    CREE LED company banner logo
    Image courtesy of CREE LED

    Creation of CREE LED

    The CREE LED came out of necessity for an LED white light. At the time, conventional incandescent lightbulbs contained diodes that could only emit red and green hues casting the conventional warm lighting we know of. In an effort to achieve a bright white light, the goal was to create a blue-emitting light to combine with the red and green hues which would then appear, to the human eye, to be bright white. 

    Initially, CREE just made fine-crafted chips and sold them to other light manufacturers but upon acquiring their own light manufacturing facilities they were able to create the CREE LED which could soon be found in Volkswagen’s dashboards, backlighting digital device, and in various other lighting systems. 

    CREE LED lights quickly became synonymous with quality in the lighting industry and as a result, many other lighting companies attempted to mimic the brand. Nowadays, while other LED brands also offer efficient chip cathodes and long-lasting light sources, they have yet to match the quality of the original CREE LED.

    Not only did CREE LED lights champion reliability and longevity in the light itself, they also paved the way for lighting that can increase safety, reduce eye strain, and offer customizability to meet your project needs.

    white studio pic of a FLEXIT Headlamp Pro 6.5 aimed straight at camera

    Why CREE LED Lighting is so Popular

    In a conventional light bulb, electricity flows across a wire in an oxygen-free glass bulb creating its glow. The CREE LED system uses light-emitting diodes to emanate light with maximum efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and without the flickering of a conventional fluorescent light tube. CREE LED lighting is also known for reliability and an exceptional lifespan. 

    In terms of cost-effectiveness, while a conventional light bulb may be cheaper upon initial purchase, it is likely to burn out in two years whereas, the CREE LED light costs a little more but lasts up to twenty years. If that alone does not sway your favored lighting choice, we will continue to compare the CREE LED to other lights.

    CREE LED Compared to Other LED Lights

    While LED lights tend to outperform conventional incandescent lightbulbs in all ways, LED lights themselves are not all created equal in terms of quality. The following table shows a few elements of qualitative value that CREE LED lights possess over standard and fake CREE LED lights. 

    The average rated life of a light bulb is the lifespan of a light bulb, determined by how long it takes half of the lightbulbs in a test batch to fail. The decay rate of a lightbulb is indicative of the luminosity lost every 1000 hours of use showing how brightly the light emitted from a bulb remains over the time of its use compared to its original brightness. The luminosity is the measure of how bright the light emitted from a bulb is. 

    LED Brands

    General Domestic LED

    Fake CREE LED


    Average Rated Life

    15,000 hours

    22,000 hours

    50, 000 hours

    Decay Rate

    9% per 1000 hours

    7% per 1000 hours

    3% per 1000 hours


    60 Lumens

    60-66 Lumens

    110+ Lumens

    When you invest in CREE LED lighting systems, you are empowered to focus on tasks at hand as you will not have to worry about changing light bulbs frequently, the quality of the lighting, nor the energy expended on lighting. CREE LED lights are the more environmentally friendly option as well since the bulbs need replacement far less frequently, if at all, during the lifespan of a product along with minimal use of energy when turned on.


    young woman wearing hard hat with a flexit headlamp 2.5 by STKR Concepts. Industrial construction scene

    Is the CREE LED Effective for Work Lighting?

    Having good lighting when working on projects is crucial to being able to complete them safely and accurately. Investing in a general work light may work for a while however, the cost to frequently replace bulbs can add up. Conventional lighting can also be softer and more diffused whereas, the CREE LED offers focused, bright lighting and bulbs with an impressive lifespan, meaning more time to focus on the task at hand.

    Lumens, defined as the measurable amount of light given off by a light source, should be considered when deciding optimal lighting for your activities and projects. It has been found that 500-1000 lumens are the ideal range for work lighting. 

    The FLEXIT Headlamp Pro lighting system contains CREE LED technology offering up to 650 lumens providing optimal work light conditions while keeping both hands free. In combination with C.O.B. flood LEDs, the CREE LED on this device is can project its 350 lumens of light well into the darkness, creating phenomenal lighting for late night work and camping adventures. 


    Close up of a STKR Concepts FLEXIT Pocket Light featuring CREE LED technology clipped to a backpack strap of a hiker

    CREE LED Effectiveness for Outdoor Activities

    If you are partial to spending time in nature, camping, or hiking, safety is of utmost importance. One item that is essential to pack is a proper flashlight. The FLEXIT pocket light is a convenient, multi-use flashlight that enables the user to target the light where needed.

    Containing CREE LED lighting as a spotlight, this long-lasting flashlight has a luminosity of up to 650 lumens with adjustable brightness and dimming abilities. Because of the enduring nature of CREE LED lighting, you do not have to worry about the reliability of light when you are outside in the dark or working in a cramped dark space. 

    two FLEXIT Solar flexible flashlights posing in a white studio environment

    How Do I Know if a CREE LED is Authentic?

    Because of the quality of CREE LED lights, there are plenty of knockoffs that exist in the lighting market claiming to be CREE LED but as we saw in the comparison above, the quality is not comparable. One way to find out if you have a genuine CREE LED is through the chip used within the lighting system. CREE uses a distinct cathode design identifiable by the neat soldered design that separates the cathode into distinct rectangles. 

    Fake LED lights claiming to be CREE LED can similarly mimic the chip style of an authentic CREE LED but upon closer inspection, the lack of detail and fine craftsmanship on the cathode is apparent. Checking the chip for authenticity can be done with a microscope or magnifying glass, as it is quite compact. 

    Though many other lighting brands have attempted to create their own version of the CREE LED, none have been successful thus far.

    FLi-PRO homepage banner featuring an off-road camping scene and a white studio shot of the flashlight and the telescoping tripod. Camper sitting in a chair with a tent and side-by-side behind him. Campsite illuminated by the FLi-PRO that is 8 feet up.

    Final Thoughts

    CREE LED lights have revolutionized the possibilities of what can be achieved with light. With their long lifespan and minimal energy usage, CREE paves the way for lighting innovation. When you purchase a lighting system containing a CREE LED, you can be certain the quality will speak for itself while reliably lighting the way for your projects far into the future. 

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