Replacement options for incandescent bulbs

December 27, 2011

The phase out is scheduled to begin later next year.

Consumer Reports tested your replacement options, CFLs and halogens, as well as a combination halogen-CFL bulb, the GE Energy Smart Hybrid Halogen-CFL.

There was a problem with the combination bulb. With all six tested, the CFL part burned out after only about around 3,000 cycles. That's much faster than any other bulb.

Consumer Reports also evaluated seven regular CFLs. They promise to last 10,000 to 12,000 hours. And they say they produce 1,600 lumens, the equivalent of a 100-watt incandescent.

Testers measured the brightness after the bulbs had burned for 3,000 hours. With all the CFLs, the brightness dropped down to between 1,280 lumens and about 1,400 lumens. However, when panelists tried reading under the bulbs, they didn't necessarily prefer the brighter light.

Among 100-watt equivalent CFLs, Consumer Reports says your best choices are the Feit ECObulb for around $2. And for even less, the Utilitech Soft White from Lowe's and EcoSmart 100W Soft White ES5M8234 from Home Depot.

Halogen bulbs don't last anywhere near as long and they won't save you very much money, but they did keep their full brightness in Consumer Reports' tests. Consumer Reports recommends the 100-watt equivalent Philips Halogena Energy Saver, for $5.50. A plus: Halogens can be dimmed, unlike many CFLs, and they reach full brightness immediately.

Consumer Reports calculates that CFLs can save you $100 or more over the lifetime of the bulb. Halogens will only save you about $3. For more bulb buying information, click here.

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