Compact Fluorescent Reviews

Inspired by Don Klipstein’s CF Top Page, I figured I’d briefly share my own experiences with CF bulbs thus far. When I moved into my current apartment back in 2005, I decided right away that I’d go with CF wherever possible for my lighting needs. It just makes sense to me; 14 watts is less than 60, and if I can do my tiny little part to save power, so be it. In September of 2005 I purchased two 6-packs of Commercial Electric 60 watt equivalent 14 watt CFLs at Home Depot for around $12-14 or so (don’t recall exactly how much) and so far I’ve only had one failure. I’m assuming this particular bulb was defective because even though I had it in an enclosed fixture in the kitchen, it’s been about a year or so since it failed and the other bulbs in the same fixture are running fine. While all the bulbs didn’t go into service immediately — I put them in my lamps right away, then slowly replaced the overhead lighting in the kitchen and bathroom with CFLs as I discovered how well they worked — I’ve been running completely CFL since at least mid-2006. Running the 14w Commercial Electric bulbs I have: 4 table lamps, 3 in an enclosed kitchen fixture (normally a death sentence for CFLs), 2 over the vanity in the bathroom (they’re so bright that if I used all four sockets, it was blinding), and 2 of the 3 sockets in the overhead bathroom fixture.

When I ran out of the C.E. bulbs, I picked up an 8-pack of Philips 13w CFLs from Costco. These work just as well as the C.E. bulbs, and, to my eye, are just as bright or even a tiny bit brighter. So far I haven’t deployed these as much. I have one in the bathroom and one in an enclosed overhead hallway fixture which I almost never use.

I have two 3-bulb ceiling fan fixtures in my apartment. At first I tried the 14w C.E. bulbs in them, but they were entirely too bright. I finally ended up purchasing 9w GE CFLs at Lowes (no recall on how much I paid, but they were a bit expensive compared to the relatively cheap 14s). These are more than bright enough when I want to flood the rooms with light, but honestly, I prefer using my lamps instead; I still find overhead lighting to be entirely too bright. I don’t think I’m photo-sensitive, I just like dark rooms :)

Finally, I have one other bulb to mention. I picked up a small package of 23w Commercial Electric bulbs around the same time as the 14s because I got myself a torch lamp for the living room — mainly for use when I have guests. It works well, but it seems more noticably dimmer when initially turned on. I don’t notice it quite as much with the 14s. It does seem to get to full brightness in well under a minute, and I wouldn’t consider it too dim to be usable initially.

In all, I’d say I’ve been pleased with the bulbs I’ve purchased so far. With the exception of the one early failure, all that I’ve deployed are still in service after 2-2.5 years. This is with the abuse the electrical grid can throw at them (we have some odd power issues here several times a year), as well as abuse I and the cat can dish out (she’s knocked over a few lamps with the lights *on*). If anything noteworthy happens, I’ll post another entry to the blog.

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