The Best Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: PM Lab Test

Submitted by Charles Frost on Wed, 04/11/2007 - 11:01.

The Best Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: PM Lab Test

The Compact Fluorescent Bulbs That Were Tested

Click Here To See The Test Results...... (1 Page PDF File - 1.84 Mb)

By Emily Masamitsu
Intro Photograph by Matt Sullivan; Test Photographs by Philip Friedman/Studio D
Published in the May 2007 issue.

The compact fluorescent light bulb revolution nearly occurred back in the early 1990s. When CFLs first hit the market in force, consumers bought them in large numbers — but they hated them. The bulbs were too big for many fixtures, expensive (up to $25 each) and they threw a dim, antiseptic light that paled next to the warmth of good old-fashioned incandescent bulbs.

Now, a new CFL revolution is at hand. Retail giants are pushing hard for the bulbs — Wal-Mart hopes to sell 100 million CFLs by the end of the year. In California, a legislator recently proposed banning the sale of incandescent light bulbs in the state by 2012. All the old benefits of CFLs are still significant — more so, in fact. They can use less than one-third the electricity of incandescent bulbs of equivalent brightness and last up to nine years. The new bulbs are smaller and far cheaper (about $5 each) than their predecessors, and more powerful than ever. Top-end 24-watt bulbs promise brightness equivalent to that of a 150-watt incandescent.

Still, when it comes to illuminating your home, brightness isn’t everything. Can CFLs match the light quality of the energy-wasting incandescents we know and love?

Popular Mechanics designed a test pitting seven common CFLs against a 75-watt incandescent bulb. To gather objective data, we used a Konica Minolta CL-200 chroma meter to measure color temperature and brightness, and a Watts up? Pro ammeter to track power consumption. Our subjective data came from a double-blind test with three PM staffers and Jesse Smith, a lighting expert from Parsons The New School for Design, in Manhattan. We put our participants in a color-neutral room and asked them to examine colorful objects, faces and reading material, then rate the bulbs’ performance.

The results surprised us. Even though the incandescent bulb measured slightly brighter than the equivalent CFLs, our subjects didn’t see any dramatic difference in brightness. And here was the real shocker: When it came to the overall quality of the light, all the CFLs scored higher than our incandescent control bulb. In other words, the new fluorescent bulbs aren’t just better for both your wallet and the environment, they produce better light.


Color temperature: The lower the color temperature, the warmer the light. Warmness (red) or coolness (blue) can be measured in degrees Kelvin by a chroma meter. We observed a temperature of about 2700 K for soft white bulbs, whereas "daylight" bulbs measured around 3400 K — real noontime sunlight ranges from 5000 K to 6500 K.

Lumens vs. lux: Manufacturers use a complex process to measure lumens, the total quantity of light emitted by a bulb. We used a light and chroma meter to measure lux, the light intensity a bulb shines on a surface. Our observed results in lux generally tracked with manufacturers’ lumen ratings.

Watts and efficiency: Our ammeter’s CFL wattage results were all within 3 watts of manufacturer ratings — but all CFLs use about 70 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs. The average U.S. household has 45 light bulbs — replacing that number of 75-watt incandescent bulbs with CFLs would save $180 per year.

Phosphor: This chemical compound lines the inside of CFL tubing. When excited, it converts ultraviolet radiation into visible light. The chemical composition of the phosphor determines the color temperature of the light emitted by the bulb.

Mercury: According to the EPA, CFLs contain an average of 5 milligrams of mercury, which increases the bulb’s efficiency. But that also means you can’t just trash them—CFLs must be properly recycled. Visit Energy Star or Earth 911 for disposal instructions.

Beyond Fluorescent with LEDs: Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are tiny yet powerful sources of light that are even more energy efficient than CFLs. Manufacturing LEDs that produce light equivalent to a 60-watt bulb is expensive, however. One bulb can cost as much as $75

From, along with 8 more pages of photos and details:



why no TCP?

I wonder why there is no representation from NEO's own Technical Consumer Products ? I know that their bulbs are distributed nationally.

I never heard of TCPI

Thanks for sharing this, John. NEO's own Technical Consumer Products is a new one for me - do they or GE do R&D or manufacturing here on advanced lighting... always prefer to buy close to home as another way to reduce the environmental impact of products. What are the closest source and most NEO-friendly eco-friendly products... now that is a database worth developing for NEO!

Disrupt IT

We've been buying N:Vision, which PM lists as #1

We've replaced all our old bulbs with CF over the past few months - we've been getting N:Vision at Home Depot for around $2.50 a 60-watt-equivalent bulb - the report you reference lists them as the best of the bulbs they tested, and we are happy with the light quality, although out of the few dozen bulbs we bought three were defective.

Disrupt IT

TCP and n:vision bulbs

It's been a long time since you guys commented so maybe you already know this, but Technical Consumer Products of Aurora manufactures those N:Vision bulbs for Home Depot.  In Shanghai.

TCP is the largest maker of CFLs sold in the U.S.


His Bright Idea: Dominate Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

By KATHRYN KRANHOLD December 27, 2007; Page B1   
Aurora, Ohio
How many light-bulb makers does it take to change four billion U.S. sockets to compact-fluorescent lights? Ellis Yan says it takes just one: TCP Inc., the largest manufacturer of the energy-efficient bulbs sold in the U.S. -- and, not coincidentally, the company Mr. Yan owns.

The China-born Mr. Yan, who moved to the U.S. in 1979, has four factories in and around Shanghai that produce more than one million compact-fluorescent bulbs a day. Most are shipped to the U.S. and sold under private labels by Home Depot Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers. General Electric Co. and Siemens AG's Osram Sylvania also resell TCP fluorescent bulbs under their names, along with manufacturing their own.

 TCP is well-positioned as consumers seek alternatives to traditional incandescent bulbs. Helping to fuel the demand are governments world-wide; in the U.S., the energy bill President Bush signed into law last week will require lighting to use as much as 30% less energy, which will phase out the traditional energy-eating incandescent light bulb. Compact fluorescents use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and are considered the likely initial replacement for most home uses.
That has sales of compact fluorescents, known as CFLs, soaring. About 200 million CFLs were sold in the U.S. in 2006, up about 50% from the prior year. Incandescent-bulb sales fell 10% last year to about 1.5 billion bulbs, according to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Mike Deneen, a senior analyst with market researcher Freedonia Group Inc., Cleveland, predicts wholesale sales of CFLs will jump to $1.55 billion in 2011 from $415 million in 2006. By 2016, Mr. Deneen says, incandescent bulbs "will be like the eight-track" tape.
Mr. Yan says TCP makes 70% of the CFLs sold in the U.S. Market-share figures aren't available, but rivals concede that TCP is the largest maker of CFLs sold in the U.S., accounting for half or more of the market. GE is the biggest brand-name supplier in the U.S.
The 53-year-old Mr. Yan grew up in Shanghai. As a teenager, he was sent to work on a farm during the Cultural Revolution. He moved to Cleveland in 1979 to live with an aunt and worked as a computer consultant after graduating from college.
In 1986, Mr. Yan started a lighting business here, selling halogen bulbs. He later opened a factory in Shanghai, in a partnership with a local government agency. He enlisted his older brother, Solomon, to run the factory; Solomon Yan now oversees all of TCP's China factories and owns a minority stake in them. Mr. Yan has since bought out his other partners.
When halogen prices dropped amid fierce competition in the early 1990s, Mr. Yan switched to making compact-fluorescent bulbs, a market largely ignored by bigger manufacturers. His first CFLs were circular or U-shaped and required a special fixture. His biggest customers were hotels, assisted-living centers and other commercial outlets.
In 1994, Mr. Yan heard about a factory in Shanghai making spiral-shaped bulbs. He recruited some of the workers to start making spiral bulbs for TCP. Not long after, he brought his new bulb to a big U.S. trade show and displayed it on a folding table. "We tried really hard to push the spiral lamp," he says.
Ed Hammer, who invented the spiral shape at GE in the 1970s, says Mr. Yan quickly understood that the spiral bulbs would emit more light than linear bulbs. "He was the first one to do that," says Mr. Hammer, who now consults with TCP.
Mr. Yan's big break came in 2000 when he was among dozens of prospective suppliers invited to demonstrate products to Home Depot at a baseball stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. A year later, Home Depot was TCP's largest customer.
CFLs got another boost in 2001, when electricity shortages in California and neighboring states prompted utilities to subsidize the bulbs to reduce electricity demand. CFLs at the time cost roughly $11 each, 20 times the cost of incandescent bulbs.
Today, individual CFLs sell for about half that much. They also last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and use less energy, making them cheaper in the long run. The bulbs also work better than earlier fluorescents, reaching full brightness quickly without a flicker. CFLs now come in many shapes, sizes and colors that can be used in fixtures such as ceiling fans and chandeliers.
One big drawback: CFLs contain mercury, a toxin and environmental hazard. Inside a fluorescent bulb, a tiny amount of mercury is heated until it turns into a gas that reacts with other gases to produce light. CFLs typically have about five milligrams of mercury; Mr. Yan says some of his smaller bulbs have fewer than two milligrams. He and other makers are working to reduce the amount of mercury. Because of the mercury, fluorescent bulbs are supposed to be recycled, rather than dumped in the trash.
As CFL prices fell and concern about climate change rose, TCP's sales grew, to an estimated $300 million this year from $22 million in 2000. Next year, Mr. Yan projects revenue of $400 million.
One possible drag on TCP's continued growth: The surge in sales is drawing more competition. GE, which introduced fluorescent bulbs in 1938; Sylvania; and others are building up their capacity. GE owns a minority stake in Topstar, a Chinese-government-owned fluorescent manufacturer. Other new manufacturers are popping up in Asia. Bulbs incorporating another energy-saving technology, light-emitting diodes, are projected to reach the home market in as soon as five years.
Mr. Yan, a marathon runner, is involved in every aspect of his business. When managers at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas weren't satisfied with the color of TCP's lights for hotel hallways, Mr. Yan shuttled between the hotel and his China factories to develop a soft-white light, now called the "LV color," for Las Vegas. "He's very passionate about the business, he's passionate about making a difference," says Joe Colant, TCP president.
Marriott International Inc. tested TCP's bulbs against rivals before choosing them in 2000 to use exclusively in guest rooms at more than 700 hotels. Lenny Jachimowicz, vice president of engineering for Marriott's North America lodging, says Mr. Yan and TCP work closely with hotel designers to develop new sizes and colors of bulbs as rooms are renovated. When a bulb burns out before its projected 10,000-hour life, TCP replaces it.
"Ellis's approach is 'Tell us what you need, and I'll go back and make it for you,' " says Mr. Jachimowicz. "He has managed to find a niche in a market that was controlled by" bigger competitors.
Mr. Yan has enlisted several former GE engineers, including Joe Marella, who runs TCP's testing lab. Mr. Hammer, a 45-year GE veteran who retired in 2001, now works with Mr. Yan to try to reduce the amount of mercury used in the bulbs.
Mr. Yan is constantly adding factories and employees in China. Today, he employs about 3,000 "benders," who spend three months learning how to hand-shape the glass into spirals. They sit in rows, taking hot glass into their gloved hands and spinning it around a cylinder. Mr. Yan is starting to automate the process and expects benders will eventually be phased out. To guarantee supply, he bought a glass factory.
Some bulb makers worry about keeping up with demand for fluorescents if incandescents are phased out quickly. Mr. Yan isn't concerned. At his distribution center in Aurora, one wall is temporary to allow for expansion. "Capacity is not an issue," he says. "I don't need anybody else. I can do the whole thing by myself."

Write to Kathryn Kranhold at kathryn [dot] kranhold [at] wsj [dot] com


Is mercury going to be a huge CF issue in future?

There was just an article in the PD about CF and mercury, and I know there is mercury in these bulbs. Does anyone know how serious an issue this is, for workers and communities (most in China) making the bulbs, and to households where they break (that's happened at our home) and from improper disposal.

Disrupt IT

Red Herrings

There have been a rash of "red herrings" lately regarding the various "green" technologies. One of them is the concern for the mercury in compact fluorescent bulbs. 

Small quantities if Mercury is used in all types of fluorescent bulbs, and has been for decades.  This includes all the aquarium bulbs, "gro-light" bulbs for plant fixtures, regular fluorescent bulbs, and, of course, all the mercury vapor streetlight bulbs, that have also become so popular for back yard security lighting. (the mercury vapor ones are the ones with the bluish tint to the light.  The ones with the ugly orangey-red tint are the sodium vapor.

So, I am sure that you have heard for decades that the dust from the inside of the broken fluorescent bulb was hazardous/dangerous, and that you should be careful when handling the broken bulb.  Nothing has changed, except not that they are "energy saving CFL's", "somebody" has seen it as their "public duty" to point out that those bulbs contain mercury.

I believe that these are the same sort of dedicated people who insist on pointing out that hybrid cars aren't "worth it".... so why not just go buy a gas-guzzler.... 

Some people are also insisting that solar power isn't "worth it" too... so keep those coal plants coming.... 

Some of these people have been pointing out the birds being killed by wind turbines as the reason why we shouldn't be developing wind power.... so keep those nuclear power plants coming!!!

I don't know who these people are.  Perhaps they are the unemployed spin-doctors that the Tobacco lobby used for so many years to convince us that tobacco doesn't cause cancer.  Probably some of them are currently employed in the dis-information campaign currently popular about global warming.

I guess my Mother's advice is still valid.... "don't believe everything you read in the paper", and believe even less of what you see on TV.

Thanks for clearing up CF mercury question

That is good to know - I was concerned. So what this will drive is better awareness of mercury in many lighting devices and the need to recycle all of them. Are there better lighting alternatives available or coming along? What about Fiberstar, in today's PD?

Disrupt IT

Update on Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

Wal-Mart, Manufacturers to Lower Mercury Content in CFLs
by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg, St. Louis, MO on 05.14.07
Business & Politics
When it comes to affordable energy-efficient lighting solutions, compact fluorescent bulbs clearly shine. The recent uptick in debate about their mercury content, even when overblown, may have dimmed the enthusiasm of some consumers, however. On Thursday, Wal-Mart announced that it has been working with manufacturers to lower the mercury content in all CFLS that it sells. According to the Houston Chronicle and the company's press release, Wal-Mart partnered with GE, Royal Philips, Osram Sylvania and Lights of America to create CFLs that contain mercury in amounts lower then the 5 mg standard set by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) earlier this year. Specifically,

  • GE committed to reduce mercury in its CFLs by "up to 50 percent from NEMA levels in new products, while maintaining the excellent light quality and long life that GE customers expect."
  • Osram Sylvania committed to 4 mg or less mercury in all of its CFLS by the end of 2007, and 2.5 mg or less by the end of 2008.
  • Lights of America has also committed to a reduction of up to 50%, and claims that it has developed a new technology (in light of Wal-Mart's standards) that uses "a different metal alloy technology that improves bulb performance while requiring less mercury per bulb." The company expects that by year's end, none of its CFLs will contain more than 2 mg of mercury.
  • Philips' use of pellet dosing instead of liquid mercury already puts their bulbs (25 watts or less) at 40 to 60 percent below the NEMA standard, but the company committed to continue to look for ways to lower the amount of the substance.

With its stated goal of selling 100 million CFLs in a year's time, Wal-Mart clearly had to get on top of the mercury issue. In addition to announcing its own plans, it also included EPA statistics in its release that show an incandescent bulb powered on coal-generated electricity creates 13.6 mg of mercury emissions, while a CFL will create only 3.3 mg. Even when the mercury in the bulb itself is added in, CFLs win on the amounts of this heavy metal potentially released into the environment.

We've got to give the company credit again: it could've simply released the EPA statistics to put the mercury issue into perspective. For those still wondering how to safely dispose of burned out CFLs, provides a list of US and Canadian companies that accept bulbs with mercury for recycling. Maybe Wal-Mart can also help get the word out on this... ::Houston Chronicle via linton at Hugg and PR Newswire



Demand drives competition and innovation with CFs

Now that there is global awareness of the seriousness of pollution and the need to change lifestyles, and global demand for CF bulbs is exploding, companies are investing in R&D and new product development in focused ways not seen before, around energy efficiency and environmental impact - competitive advantages from the next big technology could bring significant market shares and profits - the article you post above shows that in motion in CF marketplace... we're seeing the birth of many innovations these days.

Disrupt IT

Have You Seen the Light? Nearly 1 Million Take Pledge to Make En

October 23, 2007

Have You Seen the Light? Nearly 1 Million Take Pledge to Make Energy Efficient Change


New York City, N.Y. The 20-day national Energy Star Change a Light Bus Tour concluded today with nearly 1 million Americans across the country pledging to change more than 2.6 million lights to help fight climate change. This represents a potential savings of nearly $70 million in energy costs and prevention of 1 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson ended the 10-city tour at
Union Square



"Some have said one person can't change the world. Well, how about a million people? By teaching nearly a million Americans that protecting the environment and saving money is as easy as changing a light, we are brightening our country's future, one light – and one person – at a time," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.


"By switching to CFLs at home and at work, Americans are increasing energy efficiency and furthering President Bush's energy initiatives aimed at using advanced technologies to meet our energy challenges," Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said. "The cleanest, most abundant and affordable energy available is the energy we waste everyday. Switching to CFLs, which use less energy, last longer, and reduce energy costs for consumers, is a quick and easy way that Americans can save energy everyday."


If every
U.S. household changed just one light bulb or fixture to an Energy Star bulb, each year our country would save $600 million in energy costs, enough energy to light 3 million homes, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from more than 800,000 cars. Lighting accounts for about 20 percent of a home's electricity use. Energy Star qualified light bulbs and fixtures use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent lighting, with bulbs that last six to ten times longer. One Energy Star qualified bulb can save about $30 or more in energy costs over its lifetime.


The bus stopped for 16 events in 10 cities. The Energy Star Change a Light campaign promotes lighting that has earned the government's Energy Star label for efficiency as a first step toward saving energy. The campaign encourages individuals to take the online Energy Star Change a Light pledge. The pledge is a public commitment to change at least one inefficient light at home with an energy-efficient one.


Since this year's tour began approximately 100,000 Americans have taken the pledge and 885 organizations (such as governments, schools, businesses and non-profit organizations) have joined to encourage their communities to take the pledge.


Consumer event stops were held at California's Disneyland® Resorts; a Broncos Football Game in Denver; Navy Pier in Chicago; a Falcons Game in Atlanta; Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston; and today's stop in Manhattan's Union Square. Media event stops showcased what a few leading schools and their students are doing to participate in the national Energy Star Change a Light Campaign. EPA presented Environmental Leadership Awards to faculty and students at schools in Denver, Chicago and


Another tour highlight took place in
Boston, where the Freedom Trail Foundation helped declare the coming of a new revolution – a revolution in how Americans use energy. "Paul Revere" re-enacted seeing the lighted signal from the
Old North Church, 200 years after his famous ride. This time, his signal was Sylvania's Energy Star qualified lights, glowing from the church's steeple across the
Charles River.


At each tour stop, the Energy Star Change a Light Education Center was set up with interactive displays to convey the importance of looking for the Energy Star label on lighting, how to use and dispose of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) responsibly, and the connection between our personal energy use and our climate. The education center was co-sponsored by JCPenney, 2007 Energy Star Partner of the Year for Energy Management.


The top five organizations leading the pledge initiative as of today, in order of most pledges to least, are: Alabama Power Co.; National Association of Counties; Georgia Power Co.; New Jersey's Clean Energy Program; and
Arizona's Salt River Project. The top five organizations in five different categories can be viewed from the pledge site.


Motor Coach Industries (MCI), a large North American manufacturer of inter-city motor coaches, provided the bus for the tour. MCI's bus is a state-of-the-art J4500 LX motor coach, powered by a 2007 EPA-model clean diesel engine fitted with a particulate scrubber, and fueled by ultra low sulfur diesel. The bus itself served as a reminder that leaving our car at home and taking public transportation when we can is another way we can reduce our personal impact on the climate.


Learn more about the Energy Star Bus Tour and view photos and updates from the road.


Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy designed to save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.


Media contact(s):
Megan Barnett, DOE, (202) 586-4940
Enesta Jones, EPA, (202) 564-4355




The Upside and Downside of Low-Energy Lighting

Heidrun Strohmeyer installing compact fluorescent bulbs at her home in Sydney, Australia. (Credit: Torsten Blackwood/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

In a world where two billion people still squint by the light of a kerosene lamp (at best) at night, any kind of electrical illumination is a gift beyond measure. But as long as coal is a big source of electricity, finding efficient, cheap, usable alternatives to the age-old incandescent bulb will be a vital enterprise, experts say.

A reporter for The Times, Julie Scelfo, is trying to close out a piece exploring people’s experiences with next-generation lighting — compact fluorescents, LEDs, light pipes, etc. — ranging from homeowners and business owners to interior designers, builders, and architects. She wants your help.

In part, she says, the story will examine “whether various proposals to ban incandescent bulbs have lead designers to embrace CFLs and other forms of more efficient lighting.” But she’s also “curious whether any civilians have made the switch in their own homes, not just in laundry rooms and garages (where mood is less of an issue) but in living spaces like kitchens and libraries and TV rooms and bedrooms.”

She asks that you send contacts, comments, anecdotes to jscelfo [at] nytimes [dot] com. I ask, of course, that you also post them here!

I’ll start with my own experience. We’ve replaced virtually all of our bulbs with CFLs, although that is not the case with dimmable fixtures. We bought some theoretically dimmable CFL’s several years ago, but they burned out quickly. That seems still to be a hurdle. Has it been overcome?

[UPDATE: We’ve also had huge variability in the reliability of bulbs, with some CFL’s burning out ridiculously quickly. I’ve taken to marking them with date using a Sharpie when I install, as a way of checking how long they’ve been around if/when they die. Have others had this problem?]

The Times has covered several facets of the lighting challenge in an energy-limited world, including an overview here and a piece on WalMart’s CFL push here.


In part, she says, the story will examine “whether various proposals to ban incandescent bulbs have lead designers to embrace CFLs and other forms of more efficient lighting.” But she’s also “curious whether any civilians have made the switch in their own homes, not just in laundry rooms and garages (where mood is less of an issue) but in living spaces like kitchens and libraries and TV rooms and bedrooms.”

Unscrew America: Fun with Compact Fluorescents

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 02.19.08



The case for compact fluorescents is so convincing and the tired old reasons not to use them so, well, tired and old, that it seems pointless to bother trying anymore, we are down to the "pry incandescents from my cold dead hands" gang.


But some do keep trying; the latest venture is Unscrew America, a tongue-in-cheek site prepareed by the producer of An Inconvenient Truth Lesley Chilcott and Austin's SG&M Idea City.



It is less offensive than the FLICK OFF campaign, and contains a lot of good information, taking on all of the shiboleths and myths from mercury to flickering. It also has really annoying music as the default (turn off the sound) and anyone over 30 is going to go nuts over the navigation, so I really don't know who it is directed to. A lot of hard work though, at ::Unscrew America







recycle CFLs

bulb recycling option and FAQ

Question about your windows

There are a few factors to consider about replacing windows and storms, depending on what you are starting with. If your house is at all historic in sharacter, it is important to consider keeping original windows - and good old wood windows with weatherstripping and e-glass and redwood storms can be the most energy efficient package. But they probably have lead...

A good source to consult is the Preservation Resource Center... and they can even help you get low interest loans

Disrupt IT


One of the issues with old cast iron counterweighted windows is the vertical void in which the counterweight goes up and down with the window.  

That void is a thermal loser - big time. 

Put a thermal monitoring gun on the side of the house - are the right and left sides of the windows losing heat? Bet they are.

So, the old wood mullion windows may look appropriate, but the window weight cavitiy is an environmental disaster. 

Show me the R value of the installed window system - then I'll tell you what I like.

Southwall Windows

The Best Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (By Real Simple)

The Best Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

The harsh (not to mention flickering) glare of some energy-saving lightbulbs can be a real turnoff. These winners will cast a warm, inviting glow for years to come

The Best Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Bob Hiemstra
Shown from left to right:
Best for Pendant Lamps: n:vision Soft White G25 (14 watt), $10 for two

How Long It Lasts: 8,000 hours (or about six years).
Why It Outshone the Rest: This globe-shaped bulb looks great in a hanging fixture and casts a soft, flattering light that, one tester said, is “ideal above a dinner table.”
To Buy:

Best for Track Lighting: TCP Springlight BR30 (14 watt), $14 for two

How Long It Lasts: 8,000 hours.
Why It Outshone the Rest: Testers liked the “easy on the eyes” pinkish tone that stayed consistent from the get-go. (A few other bulbs got lighter or darker as they warmed up.)
To Buy:

Best for Floor and Table Lamps: GE Energy Smart 60 Dimmable (15 watt), $11

How Long It Lasts: 10,000 hours (or about 7 1/2 years).
Why It Outshone the Rest: Most bulbs were too dim to use under a shade — but not this one. Although it’s bigger than a standard bulb, it will fit most shades.
To Buy:

Best for Task Lamps: Sylvania Daylight Extra (13 watt), $5 each

How Long It Lasts: 8,000 hours.
Why It Outshone the Rest: The clean, white light will “illuminate your desktop without giving you a headache.” It took just 15 seconds to reach full brightness (some took 80).
To Buy: for store locations.

September 2008


Panama switches on to energy-saving light bulbs

 Mon Sep 1, 2008

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Panama plans to hand out 6 million energy-saving light bulbs, nearly two per citizen, to ease soaring demand for electricity and prevent future blackouts, President Martin Torrijos said on Monday.

"Operation Light Bulb" will require the government to buy $13 million worth of fluorescent energy-saving bulbs replacing the less-efficient incandescent ones.

Following similar programs in Cuba, Venezuela, Europe and Australia, Torrijos said savings from the new bulbs would equate to constructing a 60-megawatt power plant for a tenth of the price.

In recent years Panama's energy providers have struggled to keep pace with demand caused by the country's rapid economic growth, as Panamanians buy more electrical goods.

In May, Panama City was hit by a series of electricity blackouts as demand peaked.

Panama says it is building 15 energy generation facilities to provide an additional 745 megawatts to the national grid from around 2012.

The first batch of 3 million light bulbs will arrive in Panama later this month and will be distributed for free in poor suburbs of Panama City.

(Reporting by Andrew Beatty, editing by Matthew Lewis)