What's the latest in light bulb news? Are CFLs safe? Do LEDs live up to the hype? Read the 2011 Consumer Reports guide to light bulbs and find out...
Here's a brief summary:
CFLs use about 75% less energy and last seven to ten times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. Consumer Reports tested 60-watt CFLs and LEDs for this report.
CFLs save money faster (one year) than LEDs (four to ten years). They also contain less mercury (<1mg), although CR notes that they should be recycled at stores like Home Depot, Ikea, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, or other participating programs... but you were already recycling your light bulbs, right?
LEDs meet most of their claims (brightness, low energy use, no mercury, dimming capability, long lifespan) but can be suboptimal in light distribution, not all are as bright as promised, and they are still more expensive than CFLs.
What you should look for when shopping for light bulbs:
Lumens measure brightness better than wattage does. This article suggests a lumens equivalent for several common bulb types.
Brightness and color are not created equal.
Read the Lighting Facts label to check brightness, energy use, estimated energy cost, expected lifespan.
Check for rebates and coupons at www.dsireusa.org/incentives or http://www.energystar.gov/ or your local utility company.
Read the full article and check bulb ratings here:
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