There are so many brands of CFL (Compact Florescent Lamps) and other energy efficient LEDs that it is hard to know where to start.
h3. “Consumer Reports”:http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/home-improvement/hardware-building-supplies/lightbulbs/compact-fluorescent-lighting-10-07/overview/bulbs-ov.htm?resultPageIndex=1&resultIndex=2&searchTerm=light bulb
They have done the most intense study including running the bulbs to see how long they last. It cost $26 per year for a subscription to their site and another $26 for their magazine. I’d recommend it as they do great work and don’t accept ads. I use them religiously for buying cars to check reliability. And they’ve done CFLs too! The did note that they really did a full stress test of these bulbs and all were OK except that 7 of nine Feit Ecobulb ESL13Ts failed after 3300-3900 hours so you want the Fiet Ecobulb Plus ESL13T/Eco which is working through 5000 hours. Others were GE 8000 Long Life 41525 and N;Vision 423-599 which still worked after 7600 hours (despite reports from many that ehse were no good). Ecobulb Plus and N:Vision claim they have half the mercury (2.5mg vs 5mg).
They have some good advice for types of fixtures, use spirals for lamps, flood CFLs for cans. Buy Energy Star certified (not all bulbs are!). Soft white or warm white look like traditional incandescents running at 2700K
For table lights, they tried the Bright Effects (Lowe’s) 70% efficient, GET Soft White 60, Philips Marathon 60 (Costco) 66%. These are 65-70% efficient compared with 14% for a typical incandescent. OTOH turn on time was 25-36 seconds for CFLs.
For recessed flood lights, they tried the GE Floodlight Soft White 65, 43% efficient and 131 second to turn on, Philips Marathon Energy Saver Reflect Flood 16 BR30, and the Sylvanid 16 watt flood 65 BR30
h3. “Popular Mechanics”:http://www.popularmechanics.com/home_journal/home_improvement/4215199.html
They didn’t test reliability, but mainly color and liked the Westinghouse Natural Light $6, Phillips Marathon $3, MaxLite MicroMax $4.50, Sylvania Daylight Extra $6, Westinghouse Soft White $6, GE Soft White $5 in that order.
h3. “LA Times”:http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/emeraldcity/2008/01/the-quest-for-a.html
They have a good compendium of quick reviews like the NY Times piece below.
h3. “NY Times”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/garden/10lighting.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1&ref=garden&oref=slogin
In summary, they liked the TCP SpringLight/Soft White, MaxLite SpiraMax and the GE Energy Smart for their colors, but didn’t test reliability.
They hated the TCP n:vision (also poor reliability noted in Popular Mechanics user comments). They also didn’t like the color of the Sylvania Bright White Designer Choice, GE Energy Smart Daylight 15, Sylvania Micro-Mini, MaxLite MiniBulb or the Greenlite Mini 13. There was also slight buzzing from GE Energey Smart, Sylvania Designed Choice and TCP Spring Light/Soft White.
They did like the light of halogens which last twice as long and require less energy by a little like the Daylight Plus, Sylvania BT15 and GE Edison 60.
The ones they liked in CFLs were nvision TCP Home Soft White, MaxLite SpiraMax had good color
A environmental ezine did their own mini review as well. Short review, but she liked the Philips Soft White $3.88 14 watt
Does have user ratings. There aren’t too many reviews, but for instance for “LED Light Bulbs”:http://greenhome.huddler.com/products/category/led-lightbulbs, they show:
* “EarthLED”:http://www.earthled.com/cl3.html CL-3 and CL-5 are the most 8sued. The big deal is that they are much brighter. The CL-3 is 45w equivalent at 240 lumens, 50,000 hours (that’s 11 years in normal use!). It is $30 each though although you get a 10% discount off right now from “Store.earthled.com”:http://store.earthled.com/
* “EarthLED EvoLux S”:http://greenhome.huddler.com/forum/thread/227/new-earthled-bulb-produces-serious-light?replies=15 is going to be 75 watts. The main limitation is you can’t use it with a dimmer. It also costs $90! They have a good comparison video on “You Tube”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5ppqz6zGCE&eurl=http://greenhome.huddler.com/forum/thread/227/new-earthled-bulb-produces-serious-light?replies=15. It actually has a fan built into it as the LEDs get hot!
For CFLs, here are some of the top reviewed:
* “TCP n:vision 14W CFL” which actually in other reviews is called unreliable, so caveat emptor. It is sold exclusively at Home Depot.
* “Greenlite”:http://greenliteusa.com comes up second rated.