The New York Times has been on a tear this week. This time, it's tested 21 energy efficient light bulbs, including a slew of CFLs.
There is also a table showing the test results, and most read something like this: "bluish tint... pinkish, a little dim... pretty good... wimpy, pathetic... clean light."
That's not exactly a strong endorsement. It seems the best thing to do is to buy a bunch of different brands of CFLs and test them out in different fixtures and locations in your home.
We were disappointed that a halogen bulb still topped the test results... but pleased that the NYT testers found three CFLs they were happy with.
The vision TCP Home Soft White, for example, was deemed "a warm pleasant light." The TCP Spring Light/Soft White was "almost warmer than incandescent," one person said. And the MaxLite SpiraMax was generally liked, considered "pretty good" and "clean."
One point of distinction we agree with is that fluorescent lights, no matter how good, always emit a diffuse light, one that will not cast a sharp shadow. Halogen lights are point sources of light, and therefore, according to at least one expert quoted in the article, are more sun-like.
CFLs use about a third of the energy of regular incandescent bulbs, so replacing just a few frequently used lights in your home can make a big difference on your power bill... and your carbon emissions.
image via Tony Cenicola, New York Times