Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Why buy ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs?

ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs provide the same amount of light (lumens) as traditional bulbs, but use less energy (watts). To find the right CFL for your needs, look for the lumens listed on the packaging and choose the lumen level that relates to the incandescent wattage you’re replacing. For example, if you’re looking for a light bulb that gives off the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb, look for an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL that puts out 800 lumens or more (see table below).

Light output (lumens)     450    800  1,100  1,600  
CFL bulb (watts) 10 13 16 20
Halogen incandescent bulb (watts) 29 43 53 52
Choose the right bulb

You’ll also want to be sure to look at the color temperature when choosing your bulbs. Color temperature is what determines the difference between a cool white bulb and a warmer bulb, which is often more desirable depending on the use. CFLs come in a wide range of color temperatures. For a light that emits a color close to a warm incandescent bulbs, look for a color temperature range between 2,650 and 2,800 degrees Kelvin, K. This range is referred to as warm white. Common CFL bulb colors are 2,700K, 3,000K, 3,500K and 4,100K.

Color temperature, CCT, measurements  
2,650-3,200K Warm white (yellowish-white)
3,200-4,000K Neutral
Above 4,000K Cool (bluish-white), also called daylight

Installing your CFLs. To install properly, grip the bulb by the base. Depending on the base of your bulb, it may need to be pushed straight in for pin-based lamps, inserted and then twisted for GU-24 base lamps or simply screwed-in for traditional bases. Perform the reverse when removing bulbs. To take full advantage of the energy savings and long life of ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs, it’s best to use them in frequently-used light fixtures that are on for at least 15 minutes at a time. It is still a good habit, however, to turn lights off when you leave the room for an extended period of time. It is not recommended to use CFLs in closets, in recessed (“can”) lights or with dimmer switches or timers unless you buy specialty CFLs manufactured for those uses.

Learn more, save more

Safe handling. Learn more about the very small amount of mercury in CFLs, what to do if you break a CFL and where to recycle CFLs in your area.

Get great deals now. Find out which retailers have joined with Energy Trust to offer special incentive pricing on various types of CFLs.