100-Watt Replacement Bulbs

Regular incandescent 100-watt lightbulbs are the first to be phased out under new government regulations.

No more will be imported or produced after January first. Consumer Reports just finished testing energy-efficient alternatives.

People are buying up the last regular incandescent 100-watt lightbulbs.

Consumer Reports tested your replacement options-CFLs and halogens, as well as a combination halogen-CFL bulb from GE.

That bulb had trouble in the rapid-cycle test, where the light is turned on and off every two minutes.

Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman of Consumer Reports says, "With the six we tested, the CFL part burned out after only about around 3,000 cycles-that's much faster than any other bulb."

Consumer Reports also evaluated seven regular CFLs. They promise to last 10 to 12-thousand hours. And they say the product 1600 lumens, the equivalent of a 100-watt incandescent.

Testers use equipment to measure a bulb's brightness after it's been burning 3,000 hours.

Lehrman says, "With all the CFLs we tested, the brightness dropped-down to between 1,280 lumens and about 1400 lumens."

The brand new bulb is a little brighter than the one that's been burning 3,000 hours.

But when reading, panelists didn't necessarily prefer the brighter light.

Among 100-watt equivalent CFLs, Consumer Reports says your best choices are the ECObulb Plus from Feit Electric for around two dollars.

And for even less, the Utilitech Soft White from Lowe's and the EcoSmart Soft White from Home Depot.

Lehrman says, "Halogen bulbs don't last anywhere near as long and they won't save you very much money, but they did keep their full brightness in our tests."

Consumer Reports recommends the 100-watt equivalent Philips Halogen Energy Saver for five dollars and fifty cents.

A plus-halogens can be dimmed, unlike many CFLs, and they reach full brightness immediately.

Consumer Reports calculated that CFLs can save you 100 dollars or more over the lifetime of the bulb.

Halogens will only save you about three dollars.

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