Light bulbs

Sexy topic, I know.

I see the eLightBulbs ads all over the place. It’s actually a relatively rare instance where a banner ad got me to click through and actually buy something. They had LED (or was it LCD?) light bulbs with standard bases and apparently the equivalent lumen output of a 25 watt conventional incandescent bulb at a pretty cheap price (around $5 or $6 I think). I bought one, and because it seemed silly to pay shipping for one bulb, bought some halogen spotlights, too.

The LED/LCD bulb worked about as I expected. Aside from techno-geekery, I did sort of have a reason for it. One fixture in a basement storage area is really close to where I’m storing some paints of various sort, and I thought there was a small chance that the heat from even a CFL would reduce the longevity of the paint.


On my wish list:

  • CFL bulbs (spot-light style) where the dimmability really works smoothly from 100% down to 5% or so, without buzzing or other problems.

  • Bright CFL bulbs (equivalent in lumen output to 100 watt or so incandescent) where the spiral is not exposed, but rather, surrounded by glass, to reduce the glare and reduce the danger of breakage with parts going all over the place.

  • LED/LCD bulbs that can do the light output equivalent of a 60 watt incandescent at a reasonable price (no more than $5-10/bulb). (I don’t think these are available yet, but maybe in the next 2-3 years?)

How is the light from the bulb? All my LED flashlights are all kinda bluish.

I have yet to switch to compact fluorescents, forgetting the color spectrum issues I have - all my active use lights are dimmable, and are turned on and off frequently (and many times for short periods) - the perfect situation to burn out an expensive CFL quickly.

I think these new LED bulbs might be the real deal though - long life, no warm up time, and no drop off in light output as they age (hello CFLs again).

That’s the main thing that drives me crazy about all the new bulbs. I bought a lamp from Verilux that was supposed to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder type things, and the light is a glaring blue–it doesn’t at all resemble sunlight to me. And all the new spiral bulbs are the same damned color output, its like sitting in my office cube under the tube lights all day, which I hate. I turn the lights out over me, and use a desk lamp with an old incandescent instead, or else I have a headache by the end of the day.

It’s definitely much more blue-ish than a typical incandescent.

One potential usage for CFLs that I don’t see talked about much is to give up some of the energy savings in exchange for more brightness.

i.e. Rather than replace a 60 watt incandescent with a CFL that puts out the same number of lumens (I think a 13 watt CFL is typically marketed as equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent), replace it with a brighter CFL (say, a 75 watt or 100 watt equivalent).

Because of the huge difference in energy efficiency, you’d still save a lot of energy, and get a lot more brightness in places where it counts.

Unfortunately, the bright CFLs that I saw on my last look (100 watt equivalents) were unprotected spiral only. They’re too glare-y for my tastes to be in a situation where you directly see the bulb.

Also given the apparently somewhat more hazardous cleanup issues associated with broken CFLs, I’d like them to be enclosed in something. Where there is no lighting fixture to enclose them, I’d like for them to be in that small glass enclosure that mimics the shape of an incandescent, but I didn’t see 100 watt equivalent CFLs like that last time I looked.

Finally, many of the CFLs are physically large (with a fat base) and don’t sit well in fixtures designed with the traditional shape and size of an incandescent in mind.

I have the same issue as dtolman, almost everything in my house is either on a dimmer or already a fluorescent of some kind. The few non-dimming lights I have are too small to fit those giant-ass spiral things inside, and I refuse to buy new light fixtures to suit a bulb.

I’m hoping that LED bulbs improve rapidly so I can bypass the crappy CFLs altogether.

I personally think this whole move away from cheap incandescents to CFLs is a scam to make higher profits at light bulb makers. For most domestic uses, the electric $$$ savings are canceled out by its higher price over its lifespan (which itself is often no where as long as advertised).

LEDs bulbs and flexible OLED panels are our future!

Really? I must have imagined the $~47 I saved over 4 years before it burnt out by having a single CFL 15W in place of a 60W bulb. And it cost me a whole $2.50 too! WHAT A SCAM.

(to be fair, that’s calculated using our recently hiked electricity rates. But halve them and it’s still over $20. Around ten times the cost of the bulb.)

I replaced almost every bulb in our house with CFLs three years ago, and none of them have burned out yet. Not one. Some are “daylight” bulbs, which are very bright, slightly blueish (I like them, my wife is not fond of them) and the rest more yellowish (but not as yellow as a soft white incandescent). They were all bought from Walmart and made in China. I could not find CFLs that have a small base that one of our lamps requires, so there are still four small incandescents there; I’ve replaced one or two of those over the last three years.

I know several people who went all CFLs, had them burn out, and were back to incandescent - all over the course of a year.

They probably broke even over the course of the year in savings - electricity is pretty cheap here - but when you see the bigger hit up front, and no longer life span, it doesn’t seem that way.

In the Northeast, electricity is expensive. Well, not prohibitively, but the kWh charge is higher than in other parts of the country.

I switched my apartment to CFLs a year and a half ago, and we’ve had no problems since then. We’ve got all different makes and models (basically what was on sale at the time), and some are a little disappointing in that they need a few minutes to warm up, but some of the “instant on” bulbs work really great.

Costwise, we’re coming out ahead. When I bought the CFLs last year, MA had an energy efficient rebate for the bulbs, so I managed to pick them up pretty cheap. Combined with our lower electricity usage, it’s been a net win for us.

That being said, I’m looking forward to the day I can replace all of them with some LED bulbs.

I’m having good luck with the CFL’s I switched to last year in a room that was burning out bulbs every few months. They are still kicking and the prices on CFL’s have dropped a lot. Walmart sells a “store brand” version where you get 3 CFL’s for not much more than the equivalent 4 pack of older bulbs costs. My only complaint is that they aren’t instantly bright, but you get used to that quickly.

A lot of off-brand CFLs are unreliable junk. But then, a lot of off-brand anythings are unreliable junk, so that’s no big surprise. But I think people are used to lightbulbs being a pure commodity and don’t think about brands being actually different.

Actually, does anyone know what there is to replace those old low-wattage ‘candle’ globes? That would probably be a good place for LEDs.

CFLs aren’t created equal. When it comes to lasting there’s been extensive testing showing that it matters if you buy Philips or some other name brand or whatever cheap chinese bulbs Bestbuy or IKEA has on offer.

There are CFL replacements for those, but they tend to be large and clunky looking and expensive:

You can get LED versions of these too, which are really expensive:

Eventually I suppose LEDs will become more price competitive and the light spectrum and heat sensitivity problems will be solved, but they aren’t there yet.

I’ve been buying CFl bulbs here in the UK for years, at least 5 years. Never ahd any of them die, ever. And thats two houses full of them.
My office has an LED bulb and it’s awesome, albeit a 40watt one.
As for blueishness or other issues, I can’t tell the difference between incandescent and cfl or LED lighting, apart from the cost. It amazes me the way people insist on sticking with a light bulb that is so grossly inefficient and wasting their own money but YMMV.

I had 4 GE CFL’s, all died in < 2 yrs. Yeah, I’m done with CFLs.

I’ve never had CFLs die. I even have some special dimmer-compatible CFLs on a dimmer switch.

CFLs are usually balanced to emit light to approximate the sunlight spectrum (5500K). Tungsten bulbs emit most of their light in the orange and red spectrum below 3000K or so. So that’s why the light quality is very different.

There are now quite a selection of 2700K - 3000K CFLs on the market, which are roughly the same as standard “soft” incandescent bulbs. This was a requirement for my wife, who wanted the “warmer” light. (I tried explaining the 5000K was actually the “warmer” light, but she’d have none of it.)

So far, all of our lights – the loopy bulb type we have in lamps and the floodlight types we have in our ceiling lights – have held up very well. You can find them in wattage up to 50W (which put out a vast amount of light, but are physically too large for most lamps.) The 27W units easily match 100W incandescents in light output. The only thing we’ve had to get used to is the warmup time.