What are the 3 Best ecofriendly light bulbs to help you conserve energy and save money on your utility bills?

by Bill Duffy - Read report

EcoSmart Soft White 14 Watt
Philips EnduraLED A19
Philips Halogena Energy Saver
CONCLUSION:
The 3 Best ecofriendly light bulbs to help you conserve energy and save money on your utility bills are the Philips EnduraLED A19, the Philips Halogena Energy Saver, and the EcoSmart Soft White CFL.

 

  • Background
  • Process
  • Comparison
  • Rate this Report
FACTS/BACKGROUND:
Since the turn of the 20th century incandescent bulbs have been commonly used to light homes across the world. And though they are still very common, there are some alarming statistics that might make you reconsider using them; electric lighting burns up to 25% of the average home's energy budget, and the electricity used over the lifetime of a single incandescent bulb costs 5 to 10 times the purchase price of the bulb itself! With energy-efficient light bulbs becoming increasingly affordable, you can say goodbye to old-fashioned, energy-wasting incandescent bulbs, and save on both energy use and money.

The benefits of using energy-efficient bulbs are extraordinary.Although initially more expensive, ecofriendly light bulbs will save you money in the long run, because they use a fraction of the energy of incandescent bulbs, and last significantly longer. The environmental benefits are worthy to note as well – if everyone in the US used energy-efficient lighting, we could retire 90 average-sized power plants, and saving electricity reduces CO2 emissions, sulfur oxide, and high-level nuclear waste.

There are currently three types of energy-efficient bulbs on the market, each with their own set of pros and cons. These are Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs), Halogens, and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). In this report I have selected the highest rated products for each type, and go into further detail about their benefits, drawbacks, and unique features. In addition, I took the amount of lumens produced (the brightness of light emitted) and lifespan of the bulb as primary factors in my research. CFLs are the most common of the three, and also the least expensive. CFLs use of the wattage of a standard bulb and last 10 times longer.Replacing a single incandescent bulb with a CFL will keep a half-ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb! Plus, CFLs emit very little heat, meaning they can be used in almost any
PROCESS:
I started by researching energy-efficient bulbs and discovered the three different types (CFL, Halogen, LED). Then, I researched each type individually, examining different brands and reviews to determine the most effective product for each type. I then checked these reviews against customer feedback and read further on the various benefits, drawbacks and unique qualities of each type of bulb.
COMPARISON:
 Philips EnduraLED A19EcoSmart Soft White 14 WattPhilips Halogena Energy Saver
CredibilityLEDCFLHalogen
UsabilityIncredibly low wattage – 10 watts. Lasts 27,000 hours (27x longer than 60 watt incandescent). Generates 800 lumens of brightness, the same as a 60 watt incandescent. Can be used with any fixture.Very low wattage – 14 watts. Lasts 10,000 hours (10x longer than 60 watt incandescent). Generates 900 lumens of brightness, slightly brighter than a 60 watt incandescent. Can be used with any fixture. Known Problems with CFLs: contain trace mercury (need proper disposal and careful handling), take longer to reach peak brightness, dim by gradated stages, lifespan effected by frequent on/off activityHigher wattage – 40 watts. Lasts 3,000 hours (3x longer than 60 watt incandescent). Generates 800 lumens of brightness, the same as a 60 watt incandescent. Can be used with any fixture.
Pricing$40.00/bulb$7/4 pack$10/2 pack
Does Product Get Results?LEDs predicted to takeover as primary energy-efficient bulb, last significantly longer than CFLs and halogens but use less energy.Currently the most common type of energy-efficient bulb on the market, though known issues with CFLs may compromise their future popularity.Widely praised energy-efficient bulb type, though hardly compares to the energy-saving power of LEDs or CFLs.
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community rating: 5 (1 ratings)
REASONING:
In deciding the 3 Best ecofriendly light bulbs, I used these key considerations to focus my research:
  1. Trustworthiness – Is the product a CFL, Halogen or LED-based bulb?
  2. Usability – How long does the bulb last? How much energy does it save? How does the brightness of the bulb compare to a standard incandescent bulb? Any particular drawbacks or unique features of this specific type of energy-efficient bulb?
  3. Pricing – Does the overall product deliver at an affordable price?
  4. Performance - Does the Product Get the Desired Results?
While there were some other tangible factors in the selection process, and included in the discussion below, these four attributes illustrate the most important factors in the decision making process.

Philips EnduraLED A19 10 Watt LED bulb


My top choice for an ecofriendly bulb is the Philips EnduraLED A19. LEDs are heralded by many as the future of home lighting, as they are by far the most energy-efficient of the three types. They use only 2-10 watts of electricity, last for years (up to 10 times as long as CFLs), and produce minimal heat (only 3.4 BTUs per hour, as compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs). Though LED bulbs were prohibitively expensive only a year or two ago, they are now becoming increasingly affordable and competitive with CFL and Halogen bulbs. The Department of Energy predicts that replacing regular bulbs with LEDs could potentially save 190 terawatt-hours annually – the equivalent of lighting over 95 million homes! The Philips EnduraLED A19 is a consistently praised LED bulb. It generates 800 lumens, the equivalent brightness of a standard 60 watt incandescent bulb, but uses only 10 watts of energy and lasts a staggering 27,000 hours. Though these bulbs aren't cheap (approximately $40 each), they last significantly longer than CFL or Halogen equivalents and use a fraction of the energy. Plus, they have none of the drawbacks found in CFLs (LEDs contain no mercury, instantly reach peak brightness, are dimmable, and aren't effected by frequent on/off activity). It should be noted that the price of LED bulbs is predicted to drop lower and lower over the next couple years – so if you want to save energy but don't have the initial cash to spend on more expensive LED bulbs, hold off until the prices are dropped, and perhaps choose one of the other 3 Best ecofriendly bulbs. 

EcoSmart Soft White 14 Watt CFL Bulb


For the second best ecofriendly bulb I chose a CFL, the EcoSmart Soft White 14 Watt Bulb. CFLs are the most common and inexpensive form of ecofriendly light bulbs, using 50-80% less energy than incandescents and lasting up to 10 times longer. However, there are some very specific problems with CFLs that consumers should be aware of. First, CFLs contain a trace amount of mercury, meaning that they must be handled carefully (a broken CFL can cause trace mercury contamination) and disposed of properly (recycled). Second, CFLs don't typically reach peak brightness until about a minute after they are turned on and are not easily dimmable (CFLs will dim, but in gradated stages of brightness as compared to a smooth dimming). Third, many CFLs cast a harsh, fluorescent light (though many, like the EcoSmart, now cast warm glows equivalent to incandescents). Finally, it has been noted that frequent on/off activity of CFLs can sharply diminish their lifespans. Don't let these factors dissuade you though – CFLs are the most common on the market for a reason! The mercury contained in CFLs is indeed a tiny amount, the full brightness of the bulb adequately competes against its LED and Halogen counterparts, and CFLs are by far the most energy-efficient by price. I chose the EcoSmart Soft White bulb as the best CFL because it was consistently well-rated and very affordable – only $7 for a 4-pack on Amazon. The EcoSmart has a light output of 900 lumens, just slightly brighter than the average 60 watt incandescent, but only uses 14 watts of energy and lasts up to 10,000 hours (10 times longer than 60 watt incandescents). The EcoSmart, unlike other CFLs, casts a warm glow similar to incandescents and is suitable for any lighting fixture.

Philips Halogena Energy Saver 40 Watt Halogen Bulb


For the third best ecofriendly bulb I chose a halogen bulb, the Philips Halogena Energy Saver. Halogen lightbulbs offer a midpoint in energy efficiency between CFLs and regular incandescents – though they aren't as energy friendly as CFLs, they exhibit none of their drawbacks (Halogens contain no mercury, instantly reach peak brightness, are dimmable and aren't effected by frequent on/off activity). The Philips Halogena Energy Saver 40 Watt Halogen bulb emits as much light as a 60 watt incandescent bulb (800 lumens) and lasts up to 3000 hours. The Halogena bulbs are significantly less expensive than the EnduraLEDs – Halogenas can be found for approximately $10/pair – but slightly more expensive than the EcoSmart CFLs. 

Depending on your budget and preference, any of these three bulbs will prove perfectly suitable to help you save on energy and utility bills. The Philips EnduraLED took first place for an astonishingly low use of energy and incredible lifespan, though its pricetag might make you want to wait until LED bulbs become more affordable. The EcoSmart Soft White took second place for its comparably impressive low energy use and lifespan, and for its affordable price, though the extra care required in using this type of bulb might prove a drawback to some. Finally, the Philips Halogena Energy Saver takes third place for its affordable price and simplicity of use, though it lacks the energy-saving oomph of the EnduraLED and the EcoSmart.
 
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