Energy Saving Light Bulbs

Find the right bulbs to save energy and money.

If you still have the old-school incandescent light bulbs it's probably time to change to energy saving light bulbs. The key is to get bulbs that provide the same quality of light but don't use as much energy.

Energy Saving Light Bulbs - LEDs

Energy saving bulbs actually cost more than the older incandescents but pay off quickly. They also last much longer. So between the energy savings and longer life they're a pretty good deal.

Energy Saving Bulbs - Halogens

But it's not as easy as it might seem. You need to consider how and where you'll be using the bulbs. The table below will help you choose the most efficient and effective bulbs for a variety of uses.

Choosing the Right Energy Saving Light Bulb

Type of Bulb Energy Usage Cost Life (avg)
Incandescent High Low
(under 1$ each)
1000 hours
Halogen Incandescent Medium High
(about $7 each)
4000 hours
Compact Fluorescent (CFLs) Low – about ¼ of an incandescent Medium
($2-7 each)
6000 to 8000 hours
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) Very Low (less than CFLs) Very High
($15 and up)
25,000-50,000 hours

Bulbs best used for ...

Type of Bulb Best for...
Incandescent Good for places you don't use often but want a bright light quickly or only use for a few minutes at a time (e.g., laundry room). Note that incandescent bulbs will become increasingly difficult to find.
Halogen Incandescent Flood lights, areas you want to light quickly or where you want very bright lights. These are often used in cars.
Compact Fluorescent (CFLs) Since CFLs take from 30 seconds to 2 minutes to warm up, they aren't good for places where you need bright light quickly (e.g., stairways). Excellent for lamps, general lighting, and outdoor lighting. They now come in round shapes for lamps.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) These are tougher than other bulbs, don't use much electricity, and provide good light quality. Since they are expensive, they are best for lights that are used frequently. Not available in higher wattages, but they are easily as bright as 60W incandesents.

Some notes:

  • If you want a dimmable bulb, make sure it says so on the package.
  • Buy bulbs on sale. You can save lots of money, especially on LEDs.
  • You don't have to replace all your bulbs to save money. Choose the bulbs you use most and replace those first.
  • Your power company may offer rebates. Check their website to see if you can get discounts or money back.

Additional Resources:

Easy Earth has lots of data about power usage, costs, and general info.
Energy Star light bulbs page.
An article about when incandescent bulbs will start disappearing.

Try our Home Energy Checklist for more ideas on home energy savings.