Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Incandescent vs. Compact Fluorescents

60w incandescent bulb.

Philips 14w Universal Marathon compact fluorescent bulb (40-50w equivalent).

Philips 16w A-shape compact fluorescent bulb (50-60w equivalent).

Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) have gotten a boost from different quarters recently. I've noticed, however, that many people still have reservations about the quality of the light given off by CFLs. My first CFL was from IKEA, and I found out, along with many other consumers, that its light was truly soul-sucking.

After reading a discussion on purchasing "non-killer" fluorescent lightbulbs, I felt prepared to give them another try. For one, I learned that the quality of a CFL differs from brand to brand. A CFL's color rendering index (CRI) is also important. The higher a bulb's CRI, the better its ability to render visible colors. (The sun has a CRI of 100.)

One brand people seemed to recommend consistently was Philips. So I got the Philips Universal Marathon ($9.50) and the Philips A-shape bulb ($10.50) (from online retailer EFI). Both bulbs boast "Alto" technology, meaning less mercury content and thus less hazardous waste when they are disposed of.

L-R: 60w incandescent, Philips 14w CFL, Philips 16w A-shape CFL.

I'm pleased so far with both bulbs, which I use in my bedroom. I took some pictures and have posted them here. Although it's hard to tell by the pictures, I haven't noticed a difference in the light given off by the CFLs. I highly recommend them. And the cost shouldn't be a deterrent. They are pricey, but they should save one money in the long run.

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