Testing the best value CFL bulbs

February 19, 2008 12:05:41 PM PST
Want to save some money on your electric bill and help the environment? Here is a guide to the best of the best when it comes to money saving light bulbs.

Lighting accounts for 15 percent of your PG&E bill. So replacing your old incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs can lead to significant savings.

"They've actually come out with a new covered light bulb, where they've taken that common twisty CFL and covered it with a piece of plastic or glass to give you that regular look of an incandescent light bulb," said Todd Kent, Good Housekeeping Institute.

Researchers from Good Housekeeping had volunteers compare 23 CFLs against a standard bulb. The top choice among the testers was the Satco energy saving mini spiral bulb.

"Consumers preferred this Satco light bulb over any other bulbs we tested, including the incandescent light bulb," said Todd Kent, Good Housekeeping Institute.

At less than $8 dollars a four pack, the testers chose the spiral great value soft white compact fluorescent bulbs as the best buy.

"It doesn't cast any shadows, but it's not too harsh," said Meghan Townley, tester.

And for even greater savings, get a dimmer switch.

"Lutron has come out with their ecodim dimmer, which caps the light output automatically at 85 percent, so now you don't even have to think about it, you're always going to be saving electricity," said Todd Kent, Good Housekeeping Institute.

"It isn't that great of a difference that I would mind having in my house," said Charmaine Gillespie, tester.

Good Housekeeping estimates swapping one regular light bulb for a compact fluorescent can save you $14 dollars a year. Now think about how much you would save if you replace every bulb in your home.