Light Bulbs: Ratings of Sources
Total of 21 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Compact Fluorescents
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentConsumerReports.org first tested compact fluorescent light bulbs in October 2007. This October 2009 update reflects a new eight-month round of testing, in which bulbs were cycled on and off for 3,000 hours. The review covers compact fluorescent light bulbs with light output roughly equivalent to that of a 60-watt incandescent light bulb. Each light bulb is rated for life (up to 3,000 hours), rapid cycling (the number of five-minute-on, five-minute-off cycles the bulb survived), and warm-up time (the number of seconds it takes a bulb to reach full brightness after being turned on). Editors also measure the actual brightness and color temperature of each light bulb after 3,000 hours of use by taking an average from 10 bulbs.
Any Other Bright Ideas?
by Julie Scelfo
Our AssessmentA panel of New York Times staffers reviews 21 light bulbs, 14 of which are CFLs. The reviewers compare the whiteness, brightness and buzzing sounds emitted by some brands, as well as warm-up time and flickering upon lighting. The panel favors halogen bulbs, which created a more pleasing light overall. Panelists are mixed on CFL bulbs, but a few, such as the N:Vision (now EcoSmart) Soft White, are preferred. The article also notes that the use of the bulb, including the lampshades used, can alter the way the light looks, and therefore should be considered an important part of the bulb selection process.
The Best Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: PM Lab Test
by Emily Masamitsu
Our AssessmentThis review compares seven compact fluorescent light bulbs with a 75-watt incandescent light bulb, based on both objective and subjective tests. Color temperature and brightness are measured with a Minolta chroma meter; power consumption with an ammeter. Subjective judgments are based on a double-blind test (with testers not knowing which bulb was which) by four testers, including a lighting expert. All seven compact fluorescent lights rank higher than the incandescent light bulb, even though they aren't as bright by objective standards. None of the top-rated light bulbs excel on every factor, so the best light bulb depends on your priorities: color, perceived brightness, reading or the way faces look.
Lumen Essence: A Review of Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
by Katharine Wroth
Our AssessmentIn this review, compact fluorescent light bulbs are evaluated for how their light looks on a book page, through a lampshade and when cast on a wall. Although this review compares only four brands of compact fluorescent light bulbs, the author also compares soft white and daylight versions -- concluding that soft white light bulbs are much preferable. Quite a few of the readers' comments disagree, saying that daylight compact fluorescent light bulbs just require getting used to, but put out better light for reading and tasks. Readers also recommend some other brands -- especially Litetronics for its all-cardboard recyclable packaging.
CFL Bulb Review: Best CFL Bulbs to Replace Incandescent
by Tom Harrison
Our AssessmentTom Harrison, a software developer and green blogger, identifies the GE Energy Smart CFL Bulbs as a favorite and provides a list of recommended CFL bulbs, all of which are made by GE. Harrison has tested these bulbs personally and informally, but the comments are insightful and practical. The article offers information on what to expect from CFLs in comparison with incandescent bulbs, as well as advice on how to choose quality bulbs that meet expectations. It also addresses the mercury issue.
What Compact Fluorescents to Use Where
by Donald L. Klipstein
Our AssessmentThis review is by a lighting expert who has been reviewing compact fluorescent bulbs for several years, continually updating the list. He notes that the reviews are based on his own personal tests, so he hasn't evaluated many samples of each model. The review is nicely organized into the various purposes you might be using the light bulb for, so you can quickly zero in on the type of light bulb best suited for your needs. This is part of a larger site on lighting that includes additional information not only on compact fluorescent light bulbs, but also on halogen, incandescent and LED light bulbs. This review is particularly useful because many complaints about CFLs are related to bulbs not functioning well in certain uses.
Lighten Up in '09: Shopper's Guide to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Green Lighting Guide
by Sean Gray, Sonya Lunder and Elaine Shannon
Our AssessmentThe Environmental Working Group recommends seven CFL brands based on life span, mercury content and efficiency. Also included in this review is a detailed analysis of CFLs, including how to dispose of broken bulbs and how to transition the lighting in your home to CFLs. It doesn't appear that the editors have conducted formal testing, however, instead basing their selections on the mercury content and life expectations claimed by the manufacturers.
Fluorescent Lighting & LED Lighting
by Don Rathbun
Our AssessmentThis blog focuses on reviewing energy-efficient light bulbs. Reviews are informal and based solely on the editor's personal experience, usually with one bulb. There aren't many reviews here, and you must read through each review to get a feel for the author's opinion on each light bulb. The GE Energy Smart Soft White 15-watt light bulb, which features a spiral CFL inside a traditional-looking bulb, the OttLite 100-watt replacement bulb and the N:Vision (now EcoSmart) 23-watt bulb are all favorably reviewed.
More on CFLs
by Omar Shahine
Our AssessmentThis hands-on review of energy-saving light bulbs, written by a Microsoft program manager, compares several compact fluorescent light bulbs but also covers Philips Halogena Energy Saver bulbs. Though the author's emphasis is on light bulbs for recessed ceiling fixtures, the same bulbs can be used in regular lamps. Like most reviewers, he prefers soft white light bulbs for general lighting. He does recommend bright white N:Vision compact fluorescent light bulbs for work spaces, however. Philips Halogena Energy Saver light bulbs get nothing but praise here because they contain no mercury, can be used with dimmer switches and produce a pleasant light.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)
Our AssessmentThis Canadian reviewer reports on personal tests of eight compact fluorescent lamps of various brands, sizes and wattages. Though the comments seem unsophisticated, plenty of detail about each CFL is provided, as is a useful summary. The author finds all three major brands disappointing. He recommends against GE, Philips and Sylvania compact fluorescent lamps and favors TCPI and Commercial Electric (now EcoSmart) brands. This is partly due to reliability and light quality and partly due to the TCPI and CE bulbs turning on instantly. Even the best CFLs seem to have uneven quality, so the author recommends checking each one and exchanging any that buzz or show other problems.
Green Light: Are LED Light Bulbs Better than CFLs for Eco-Friendly Lighting?
by Larry West
Our AssessmentThis article discusses the possibility that LEDs may replace CFLs as the eco-friendly lighting of choice. The author addresses the fact that LED lighting has been around for a long time, and that technology has improved its use for more practical purposes. Like CFLs, the cost of LEDs is higher than that of traditional lighting, and dimness is an issue. LEDs are more efficient in terms of energy savings than both CFLs and incandescent bulbs. The article points to EvoLux and ZetaLux as leaders in the LED market, offering very low operating costs in exchange for extremely high initial costs, sometimes $80 for one bulb. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Save the Bulb, or a Ban Too Soon
by Kevan Shaw
Our AssessmentThis article/PowerPoint presentation summarizes the evidence against compact fluorescent bulbs, providing detailed information on the actual electricity used, life span of the bulbs, energy required to produce them and various hazards of use and disposal. The larger site is devoted to arguments against the ban on incandescent bulbs, with quite a bit of authoritative information. One link goes to an article by a Greenpeace expert documenting arguments against expanding CFL usage.
On Light Bulb Mania, Facts and Consequences
by Craig Westover
Our AssessmentThis editorial challenges the wisdom of buying compact fluorescent light bulbs because of the potential health and environmental hazards from the mercury in them. Comments from readers are mixed, with one noting that Minnesota (where this article is published) already offers a collection program for handling used CFL bulbs.
N:Vision Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb CFL Review
by "Mr. Green Gear"
Our AssessmentThis blog author reviews the N:Vision (now EcoSmart) 9W standard CFL bulb, noting that they're very affordable, especially compared with the price when CFLs first hit the market. He is very satisfied with the bulbs from the company, has never had problems, and notes that they don't flicker or get hot to the touch.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com sells a sporadic assortment of light bulbs, and not all of them get ratings from owners. Of those that do, most don't have more than 20 comments. It's worth checking once you narrow down your choice. All light bulbs get some complaints, mostly because they didn't last as long as hoped. The ALZO 45-watt Photo CFL 5500K, Sylvania 29490 Soft White Mini Twist, FEIT Electric ESL40TN/D 42-watt, and GE 13-watt Energy Smart each have an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5, based on at least 15 or more reviews.
Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)
by Contributors to GreenOptions.com
Our AssessmentConsumers weigh in with ratings and feedback on energy-efficient light bulbs on this environmentally focused social community. Both CFLs and LEDs are rated by consumers, with the EarthLED CL-3 earning 4.5 stars out of 5, based on more than 10 reviews. Other favorably rated light bulbs include N:Vision (now EcoSmart), GE Soft White Energy Smart Spiral T2 and GE Daylight Energy Smart Spiral T3, which all earn an average rating of 4 stars out of 5 (or better), based on eight or more reviews.
Make the Switch to Energy-Saving Bulbs
by Editors of Environmental Defense Fund
Our AssessmentThe Bulb Search tool at this site can be useful, especially if you're looking for a special kind of compact fluorescent light bulb -- one that can be used with a dimmer switch or three-way lamp, for example. You can also search only for Energy Star-rated light bulbs. This site used to include owner-written reviews, but has removed this feature since our last update. Still, the search feature is useful for comparing different bulbs in terms of wattage, light output, color temperature and expected life. The site also publishes useful tips for choosing a compact fluorescent light bulb that matches your needs -- recommending 3,000K bulbs for reading lights, for example.
by Contributors to HomeDepot.com
Our AssessmentThe Home Depot website allows readers to submit reviews for products, including light bulbs. However, the reviews are a pain to find. You have to choose a product first to view ratings, and reviews don't appear in the comparison feature, which allows you to compare up to four products at a time. Furthermore, most light bulbs receive only a handful of comments from owners.
CFL Light Bulbs
by Contributors to AceHardware.com
Our AssessmentWe found a handful of reviews of CFLs at AceHardware.com. The GE Daylight CFL Bulb 89095 is the highest rated, with an average rating of 4 stars out of 5. Although there are only five reviews for this product, most feedback is very positive, with reviewers noting that the light quality produced by the GE Daylight is great for studying or working in a design studio. Only one reviewer leaves negative remarks, stating that the light quality isn't natural.
I Love These Ecosmart CFL Bulbs!
Our AssessmentThe editor of this blog reviews products in various categories and provides a rating between 1 and 10. The EcoSmart CFL bulbs earn a score of 9 out of 10 for their low price, light quality and brightness. However, several readers comment that they've had EcoSmart CFLs that have failed after one or two weeks.
GE Develops LED Light Bulb That Lasts 17 Years
by David Saetang
Our AssessmentDavid Saetang discusses the pros and cons of the newly released GE Energy Smart LED bulb, although he hasn't conducted any hands-on testing. GE claims the bulb lasts up to 17 years, and its design is meant to better project light to the intended location, not to the top of a lampshade like most LED bulbs do. This 450-lumen bulb replaces a 40-watt incandescent bulb and has an expected life of 25,000 hours, but it's expensive at $40 to $50 per bulb.