We’re all too familiar with incandescent light bulbs—the ones that have been around for the past 135 years or so! But they’re on the verge of extinction, thanks to the significantly more efficient and superior service life of CFLs, or compact fluorescent lamps. Given its increasing popularity, this new species of energy-saving fluorescent is available in a wide spectrum of sizes, designs and illumination quality, making getting the best fit for your space somewhat of a tricky affair. But we’ve travelled through the maze of options, and have got the lowdown on five of the best compact fluorescent bulb brands available, with a mix of features and price.
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Our Top Choice
Philips Energy Saver Twister Lightbulb
Philips was founded in 1891, and is now a market leader in electronics, healthcare and lighting.
Features a spiral design. Sensor that turns it on automatically at dusk and off at dawn. Long service life of at least seven years.
Dawn to Dusk sensor may not work properly in fixtures that aren’t in direct sunlight or frosted or tinted glass.
2700K, soft white
14 watts, 900 lumens
Sensor to turn bulb on and off
Satco 13 Watt Mini Spiral CFL
Satco is an esteemed name in lighting products, and its portfolio includes HID, Halogen and LED lamps.
13 watts. GU24 base with mini spiral design. 880 lumens of brightness for a neutral white color output. Choice of soft, neutral and bright white color temperatures.
Not Energy Star rated, but long-lasting.
3500K, neutral white
13 watts, 900 lumens
UL and ETL certified
GE 13-Watt Energy Smart Light Bulbs
As a Fortune 500 company, GE truly needs no introduction. It's a premium player in oil and gas, aviation, and lighting.
13 watt CFL bulb designed to last as long as eight conventional incandescent bulbs. Fitted with a medium screw base. 870 lumen of brightness and 2700K color temperature.
Can only be ordered in 8 and 16-pack variants, not individually.
2700K, soft white
13 watts, 870 lumens
Electronic flicker-free starting
Feit Electric 3-Watt CFL Mini Twist Bulb
Feit Electric is a family-operated business that has been providing a wide range of superior quality bulbs and fixtures since 1978.
Equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Good for 8000 hours. Energy Star approved. Available in a choice of three colors. Warm color temperature of 2700K and 25 lumens of brightness.
Colors may be inconsistent across bulbs.
2700K, warm color
13 watts, 25 lumens
Available in 3 colors
Sylvania 13-Watt T4 CFL Bulb
SYLVANIA is part of the LEDVANCE brand, and makes a wide spectrum of innovative lighting products.
Eco-friendly design with two-pin base. Easy to plug into most sockets.
Not backed by a warranty, but a ton of excellent user reviews.
Buying the best CFL truly depends on what your needs are, and the type of lighting you’re looking to achieve. But if you’ve read our CFL bulb buying guide, you should be in a much better position to choose from our top five picks, without further ado—let’s get right to them!
Our Top Choice
The Philips Energy Saver Twister has a long service life of at least seven years, and helps reduce your electricity bill. If you’d like to boost the color temperature to 6500K for a deluxe white light with a service life of 9.1 years, the Philips 100-Watt T2 Twister is a great option. It is Energy Star rated, and fits just right in table and floor lamps.
Philips Compact Fluorescent Dusk-to-Dawn Twister Light Bulb – Available in 2 Pack Sizes
Active in over 60 countries, Philips has made a name for itself as a huge player in the world of electronics. The company is divided into three main divisions: healthcare, consumer lifestyle and lighting. In 2012, Philips was declared to be the largest manufacturer of lighting in the world in terms of revenue. It has a large portfolio of superior quality lighting products, including spot lights, reflectors and mini reflector lights.
The Philips Energy Saver Twister is a compact, 14-watt CFL bulb with a spiral design and a sensor that turns the light on automatically at dusk and off at dawn. This Energy Star rated CFL offers a 2700K color temperature for a soft white light, making it an ideal choice for enclosed fixtures. This bulb takes home the gold with a service life of a minimum seven years, so you can basically set it and forget it.
If you have a 60-Watt incandescent A19, it’s time to replace it with this Philips bulb for several reasons, most notably because it will last you 13 times longer and use 76.6% less energy. This bulb can be ordered in 1 and 4-packs, and in frustration-free or standard packaging. If you’re looking for a CFL bulb that will last you for years to come and save you some cash when put to work, the Philips Energy Saver Twister comes highly recommended.
The Satco 13 Watt Mini Spiral CFL features 880 lumens of brightness for a neutral white color output. If you’d like the same spiral design, only with a little soft bright light for your space, the Satco S8207 CFL is a great choice. It also comes in several different variants, and three different colors. Regardless of which one you choose, you get 10,000 average hours of service life.
Satco 880 Lumens GU24 Base CFL Light Bulb with 880 Lumens – Available in 3 Colors & 12 Brightness Levels
Conceived in 1966, Satco is one of the highly reputed names in the lighting arena. Along with its sister company, Nuvo Lighting, it boasts an expansive range of products that includes halogen, incandescent, fluorescent, LED, HID and CFL lighting. With over 1.2 million square feet of warehouse distribution space, combined with a retail channel of over 8000 showrooms and distributors located across the globe, Satco is the name to go with for consumer lighting products, as well as other electrical components such as surge protectors.
The Satco 13 Watt Mini Spiral CFL showcases a surge of power under the hood, and in terms of numbers that’s 880 lumens for a neutral white light. It has a GU24 Base, and offers 3500K of color temperature for a warm-toned light. This bulb is good for an astounding 10,000 work hours.
It uses an impressive 75 percent less energy than incandescent lamps in its segment, and is approved for totally enclosed fixtures. This CFL is UL and ETL certified and generates virtually no heat. It comes in several different variants and three color temperatures.
The GE 13-Watt Energy Smart Fluorescent Light Bulbs are designed to last as long as eight conventional incandescent bulbs. If you’d like a longer-lasting CFL that is a 100 watt incandescent replacement, the GE 23 Watt Energy Smart CFL is worth a second look. It uses 23 watts of electricity, offers reliable starting to 5° F (-15° C), and emits a warm, soft 2700K light.
GE 13-Watt Energy Smart Fluorescent Light Bulb with Electronic Flicker Free Starting – Available in 2 Pack Sizes
GE is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. It's an industry leader in several areas, including global research, aviation, renewable energy, oil and gas, transportation, healthcare and lighting. The company slotted in at the 13th position in the Fortune 500 list of largest firms in the United States by gross revenue in 2017, and earned the 4th largest position in the world among the Forbes Global 2000.
The GE 13-Watt Energy Smart Fluorescent Light Bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy than traditional bulbs, and each one is designed to last as long as eight incandescent bulbs. They are Energy Star rated and offer electronic flicker-free starting, making them a great choice for common household fixtures such as floor lamps, table lamps and bare lamp sockets. If you need medium screw based CFL bulbs that offer 12,000 hours of service life, 870 lumens of brightness and soft white light, these light bulbs are worth exploring. You can fit out your entire home with these energy saving bulbs as they come in either an 8 or 16-pack.
The Feit Electric 3-Watt Compact Fluorescent Mini Twist Bulb is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, and it has an 8000-hour lifespan. If you’d like to buy a soft white, 13-watt light that’s good for 10,000 hours, the Feit BPESL13T CFL is perhaps the right one for you. This Energy Star approved bulb comes in a package of two and offers 800 lumens of brightness, making it a great choice for most spaces.
Feit Electric 3-Watt Compact Fluorescent Mini Twist Bulb - Available in 3 Colors
Feit Electric is a family-owned business based in Los Angeles, California, that deals with a diverse range of bulbs and fixtures. At any given time, the company maintains an inventory of an impressive 100,000,000 products, which allows it to ship orders quickly and efficiently.
The Feit Electric 3-Watt Compact Fluorescent Mini Twist Bulb can be ordered in a choice of three colors - blue, green and red - and is a great alternative to a 60-watt incandescent bulb. It boasts a lifespan of a minimum of 8000 hours, and is fitted with a medium screw base, making it a perfect fit for most sockets and fixtures. For illumination, this 13-watt compact fluorescent mini twist bulb provides 2700K for a warm color temperature and 25 lumens of brightness.
The Sylvania 13-Watt T4 Compact Fluorescent Bulb is seven inches long and has a color temperature of 4100K. If you’d like to tone it down with a softer color temperature, the Sylvania CFL 2700K is perhaps the best option for you. This spiral designed bulb is a great replacement for 100-watt incandescent lighting, and comes in a pack of six bulbs.
Sylvania 13-Watt T4 Compact Fluorescent Bulb with 4100K Color Temperature – Available in 2 Pack Sizes
LEDVANCE, the parent company of SYLVANIA is a household name in innovative lighting. It combines general illumination with modern lighting technology. SYLVANIA offers a wide range of products, including ballasts, and fluorescent and glass components.
The Sylvania 13-Watt T4 Compact Fluorescent Bulb is seven inches long, and can be ordered in 1 and 20-pack variants. It has a neutral white color temperature of 4100K, and provides an average service life of 10,000 hours. It is fitted with a two-pin base, and can be used with magnetic ballast.
How Do I Choose the Best Compact Fluorescent Bulb?
Home lighting is one of the most essential decorating elements of any home. It can include outdoor Christmas lights, table lamps or LED shower heads. It can also add to the total on your monthly electricity bill pretty quickly if you have a bunch of inefficient lighting, such as the old-style incandescent and halogen lights.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs aren’t really a new type of lighting. In fact, they hit the market in the early 1990s. At that time, they were too big to fit into many fixtures, and needless to say, they were expensive! CFL bulbs aren’t just inexpensive and far smaller than they used to be a couple of decades ago; they are now prominent in the lighting jungle.
CFL bulbs can save you a whopping 70 percent in energy costs compared to traditional bulbs, and still look good in most fixtures you put them in, including table lamps, recessed cans or sconces. If you’re still on the fence over which CFL bulb is right for your space, our handy guide is chock-full of information that will set you on the right track!
The prices of CFL bulbs are not astronomical as what they used to be a few years ago. Now, you can pick up a cheap compact fluorescent bulb for just under five bucks. But considering you'll want the best of both worlds - efficiency and durability - this range of bulbs is going to disappoint for the most part.
High-quality CFL bulbs can cost anywhere between $10 and $30, and some even come in bundles, making them an even sweeter deal. It goes without saying that the more power and features, such as automatic on/off, the higher the cost. However, high-quality CFLs will save you a handsome amount of cash across their service lives.
When they were first introduced, CFL bulbs were not so aesthetically pleasing compared to the yellow and warm tone of some incandescents. CFLs have improved considerably since the EISA law (Energy Independence and Security Act) was signed in 2007. Today, you’ve got a wide range of color options to choose from, and features such as instant On CFL bulbs.
Here are a few features to look for in the best CFL bulbs:
Brightness: This is measured in lumens, where the greater the number, the brighter the bulb
Color Temperature: Measured in Kelvin, and tells you the color output you can expect from a particular CFL, such as softer white light at 2700K
Watts and Efficiency: Regardless of the CFL you buy, all of them use 75 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs. They also deliver the same amount of light, only using fewer watts
Energy Star Rating: Bulbs with this rating were tested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Bulbs without this rating aren’t bad, but should be purchased from reputable suppliers
Service Life: Most CFL bulbs claim to last for upwards of 6000 hours, and they often do, especially if they are Energy Star rated
CFL Sizes and Shapes: Common shapes are spiral and tube
Construction and Design
Even though CFLs offer better efficiency and service life compared to incandescent lighting, some can be the same size if not larger than incandescent bulbs. This makes them an unsuitable fit for some fixtures. Before you head out shopping for the best compact fluorescent light, it is best to determine the size of the fixture or shade where you will be installing it.
Spiral CFL bulbs won’t be a good fit for shades that rest directly on the bulb with a metal clip. The best solution for these lamps is a CFL bulb that offers an old-style design. Speaking of fit, most compact fluorescent bulbs will screw into a standard light socket, but there are a few models with a wider ballast (piece above the screw part) that may not fit into every lamp socket.
Performance and Ease of Use
The color of light you need is a personal preference, but you can indeed achieve the same type of color emitted by incandescent lighting. The color of light emitted by a particular CFL bulb is generally listed on the package. If you see 2700 degrees Kelvin, you’re going to get a warm white, whereas CFLs with 5000K and above will emit a brighter, white light.
CFL bulbs boast superior durability and will last you for years to come when used appropriately. Avoid putting them in enclosed fixtures and ones with no air, such as recessed light fixtures. Although the bulbs will operate when placed in these types of fixtures, their lifespan will be cut short due to the heat generated within the enclosed space.
We hope that our CFL bulb buying advice and our top five picks have helped you make your buying decision and get the best, most cost-efficient lighting for your space. If you haven’t decided on a specific bulb yet, why not check out the other options available from these brands. They’re all trusted and have a lot of great options.
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