Browse releases

By date

September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006

Media Resources

Print

Release Date: 08/30/2011

Consumer Reports Shines a Light on the Best CFL and LED Bulbs

CR’s First Full Report on LED Energy Savings Lightbulbs Finds More Choices and Savings

October 2011 CoverYONKERS, NY – The days of inefficient lightbulbs are slowly coming to an end and recent tests from Consumer Reports showcase more than 30 different compact fluorescents and light-emitting diodes that can brighten indoor and outdoor spaces. Consumer Reports’ comprehensive report on CFL and LED bulbs reveal that many problems of the earlier versions have been overcome and that these new efficient bulbs last longer and use far less electricity than the traditional incandescent bulbs. Shoppers now have a variety of different bulbs to match their needs. The full report will be available exclusively for Fans on Consumer Reports’ Facebook Page (www.Facebook.com/ConsumerReports).  Also online at www.ConsumerReports.org additional information can be found on lightbulbs and further energy saving products.

The Ratings put a spotlight on 60-watt equivalent CFLs and LEDs, as those are the most popular types sold in the U.S. Out of the two types of bulbs tested, CFLs save money faster due to their low cost. It usually takes less than a year to recoup the cost of most CFLs, according to Consumer Reports tests, while LEDs can take four to 10 years to pay for themselves due to the high cost of the bulb. Also, CFLs now have less mercury. The amount in the bulbs Consumer Reports tested has dropped 60 to 75 percent, compared with already low levels they found in 2008, without affecting performance. Nevertheless, spent CFLs should be recycled. Home Depot, Ikea, Lowe’s, and some ACE Hardware stores will accept used bulbs. Follow clean-up tips at www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.html.

LEDs are the newest choice, with the highest price. The best LEDs were still as bright as the incandescent they replaced, yet only half were as bright as promised. Consumer Reports found that all LEDs reached full brightness instantly, even at frigid temperatures, providing warm white light that was unaffected by frequently turning them on and off. Energy use matched or exceeded claims. LEDs are supposed to last 20,000 to 50,000 hours, or about 18 to 46 years when used 3 hours a day. Nearly all the LEDs are still burning brightly after 3,000 hours, and only four of the 100 LEDs stopped working. CR Recommended picks include three that were also evaluated by 19 Consumer Reports staffers in their homes, the Philips AmbientLED 12.5W 12E26A60 60W, $40 for table or floor lamps, the EcoSmart LED Downlight 10.5W 65W E26 ECO-575L Dimmable (Home Depot), $50 for recessed or track lights, and the EcoSmart PAR38 ECS 38 Bright White 75W 866194 Dimmable LED (Home Depot), $45 outdoor flood light.

“You can find a CFL or LED that will give you the brightness and light quality you like, and it will save you around $50 over the life of each CFL and anywhere from $65 to $400 over the lifetime of each LED,” said Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, deputy home and yard editor at Consumer Reports. “Plus these new efficient bulbs last much longer than incandescent bulbs, so you won’t have to change them as often.”

How to Choose

It isn’t socket science, but there are a few terms you need to know before buying any energy-saving bulb. Energy Star-qualified bulbs meet high standards for brightness, color, and energy use, and the mercury content is capped in CFLs. Additionally, a variety of federal regulations will be implemented in the coming years including a law that requires most screw-in bulbs to be more efficient by 2014.

Look at lumens. Watts tell only energy use, lumens measure brightness. In spirals look for at least 450 lumens if replacing a 40-watt bulb, 800 lumens or more for a 60-watt bulb, 1,100 lumens for a 75-watt bulb, and 1,600 lumens or higher when replacing a 100-watt bulb. In floodlights look for a lumen count that is at least 10 times the wattage of the bulb replacing.

Don’t confuse brightness with color. The whiteness, yellowness, or blueness of light is measured by its temperature in kelvins. Incandescents produce a warm yellowish light with a color temperature of about 2,700K. At 3,00K to 4,100K range give off a cool, bright white light that’s similar to a halogen bulb, and 5,000K to 6,500K bulbs mimic natural or daylight, but can have a bluer tones that may be unflattering indoors. Use kelvins to get the right color light because terms like soft white and warm white mean different things to different manufacturers.

Note CRI. In addition to temperature, the Color Rendering Index indicates how accurately colors appear under the light and ranges from 0 to 100, with daytime sunlight at 100. Most of the tested bulbs are in the low 80’s; a few reached the upper 80’s and low 90’s. A CRI of at least 80 is generally recommended for interior lights, and differences of fewer than five points are insignificant.

Read the package. As of Jan. 1, 2012, a Lighting Facts label must appear on the packages of most bulbs to show brightness, energy use, estimated energy costs, expected life, light color in kelvins, and, for CFLs, mercury content. Note: Only the information on Energy Star bulbs has been independently verified.

Check for rebates and coupons. Visit www.dsireusa.org/incentives or www.energystar.gov to find utility rebates and search online for manufacturer rebates and coupons.

Keep your receipts. The bulbs are supposed to last for years, so save the receipts and UPC codes, which you will need to return a bulb to the manufacturer or retailer.

See press release archive

RSS News Feed

Get all the latest information from the CR Press Room delivered right to your desktop.