Fluorescent Bulbs

I have to echo this post from Glen Reynolds about fluorescent replacement bulbs for the home.  If you have not bought any in the last two years, they have come a long, long way.  They are much cheaper - home depot was running a screaming deal on multi-packs here this weekend.  The buzzing fluorescent sound is gone.  And the ones at Home Depot came in a range of three color temperatures - from warm white, which comes close to matching the light color and temperature of incandescent bulbs, to bright white and daylight.  The latter have a brighter, cooler (blue-er) light that you might more closely associate with fluorescent.  I use the warm ones indoors and the cooler white ones outdoors.  I can barely tell the difference even for bare bulbs in my ceiling cans between the newer warm fluorescent and the older incandescents.  And if the bulb is in a lamp under a shade, I really can't tell the difference.

These are a total no-brainer.  They pay for themselves in longer life alone, and the 70-80% energy savings comes on top of that.  Highly recommended.


  1. Bill:

    One problem not yet resolved with the Home Depot compact fluorescents is the lack of uniformity in the color temperature, and significant differences in light output as the lamp ages.

    Most annoying when you get identical lamps (say on either side of a sofa) in a room with light walls and you get radically different color temperatures. I've found this often with fluorescents from the same batch.

    This is not an inherent problem with the technology, but poor quality control. As you would expect, most of the lamps available at retail are imported.

    I actually don't think these are the final answer...LEDs can be even more efficient, and manufacturing costs are coming down rapidly.

  2. Ryan Cupples:

    Fluorescent lights still bother my eyes, but I'm sensitive to CRT monitors running at 100hz. They have improved significantly, however.

  3. Larry Knerr:

    My personal experience is that they aren't as bright as they say, cost over five times as much, and maybe last a little bit longer on average (you may do better if you live in an area with less fluctuation in your electricity). If I want energy savings through less electricity -> less light, I'll just put in a lower-wattage incandescent.

  4. Morgan:

    Ryan, sorry you've been having troubles, but your experience appears to be exemplary. I replaced 100 Watt incandescent bulbs with 11 Watt compact fluorescents from Ikea and they produce a highly comparable level of illumination. I would estimate that the CF bulbs are 5% dimmer, but for me it's a no-brainer, considering they use 89% less energy. I replaced the kitchen lights in a friend's apartment with the 11 Watt CFs, and nobody who lived there noticed until I told them I had done so.

  5. U R DUMB:

    Light bulbs are shiny and attract moths. YAY