Contrary to what you might have heard, you can still buy most incandescent light bulbs, including the most popular 60-watt size. But according to Consumer Reports, it makes sense to replace them with CFLs, which are more energy efficient and last longer. And tests of 26 of the newest CFLs found they've gotten better.
Some now use about 60 to 75 percent less mercury than early CFLs. And testers found that today's CFLs do a good job of mimicking the light of incandescent bulbs.
But to get CFLs you like, Consumer Reports said it's important to shop carefully. Be sure to check for the Energy Star logo. That means that the bulb not only meets strict standards for energy efficiency and durability, but also standards for color and brightness.
To get light that is like an incandescent bulb, check the label to make sure it has a color temperature of about 2,700 K, or Kelvin. Be aware that more Kelvin doesn't necessarily mean a brighter bulb. A bulb with 4,000 Kelvin or more is going to have a bluer light, not necessarily a brighter light, and that may not be what you're looking for.
For table lamps, Consumer Reports says a good choice is the 60-watt equivalent Eco-Smart bulbs from Home Depot. They cost $6 for a 4-pack, and their light is like a traditional incandescent bulb.
CFLs should always be recycled because even the new ones contain some mercury. Several stores now accept them, including Home Depot, Ikea, Lowe's, and some Ace Hardware stores.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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