How to Buy the Best CFLs

Your Guide to buying the best CFLs


This buying guide provides detailed information on Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs). We'll discuss the different types of CFLs available, their various features, and how to select the right bulb for your needs. Additionally, we will provide helpful tips on installation and usage of CFLs to make sure you get the most out of your purchase. We'll also discuss the environmental benefits of CFLs, as well as the potential energy savings that come with using them in your home or business. Finally, we will offer our recommendations for the best CFLs on the market today. With this comprehensive guide, you will be armed with the knowledge to make an educated decision when purchasing a CFL.

Key features

  1. Light Output - The light output of a CFL is measured in lumens, which is the amount of visible light a bulb produces. Look for bulbs with a high lumen count to ensure the most brightness.
  2. Energy Efficiency - CFL bulbs are much more energy efficient than traditional fluorescent bulbs. Look for bulbs that are rated for high energy efficiency to help reduce energy costs.
  3. Color Temperature - Color temperature is a measure of the “warmth” of a light. Look for bulbs with a color temperature of 3000K for a warm light, or 5000K for a brighter, cooler light.
  4. Lifespan - CFL bulbs have a longer lifespan than traditional fluorescent bulbs, but they still need to be replaced periodically. Look for bulbs with a long lifespan to reduce your replacement costs.
  5. Compatibility - CFL bulbs come in different sizes and shapes, so make sure the bulb you buy is compatible with your existing fixtures. Look for bulbs with the correct size and shape to ensure a perfect fit.

See the most popular CFLs on Amazon

Important considerations


  • Energy Efficiency - CFLs use up to 80% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, and they last up to 10 times longer
  • Compact Size - CFLs are much smaller than other bulbs, making them ideal for tight spaces or lamps with smaller shades
  • Cost Savings - Though they may cost more upfront, the cost savings on your electricity bills over time make CFLs a great investment
  • Instant Illumination - CFLs light up immediately when turned on, unlike traditional lights that require a few seconds to reach full brightness
  • Temperature Control - CFLs produce much less heat than traditional lights, reducing the need for air conditioning in hot climates


  • Cost: CFLs generally cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs, although they save money over time due to their energy efficiency.
  • Contain Mercury: CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, which requires special disposal at the end of its life.
  • Light Quality: CFLs tend to provide a different light quality than incandescent bulbs, and may not be suitable for certain applications.
  • Compatibility: CFLs may not be compatible with certain dimmers, timers, and photocells.
  • Warm Up Time: CFLs tend to take a moment to reach full brightness, making them unsuitable for applications where instant illumination is needed.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: CFLs are sensitive to extreme temperatures, and may not work well in cold climates.

Best alternatives

  1. LEDs - LEDs are very energy efficient and last much longer than CFLs.
  2. Halogen Lights - Halogen lights are a type of incandescent light that use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  3. Fluorescent Tubes - Fluorescent tubes are a type of light that use very little energy and can last a long time.
  4. Solar Lights - Solar lights are powered by the sun and are a great way to reduce energy costs.

Related tools, supplies, and accessories

CFL Bulbs - Compact fluorescent lamps, more commonly known as CFLs, are the most popular type of energy efficient lighting. Dimmer Switches - A dimmer switch allows you to adjust the intensity of the light produced by a CFL. Motion Sensors - Motion sensors detect when someone enters a room and turn the lights on automatically. Light Fixtures - A light fixture is a necessary component of any CFL installation, as it holds the bulb in place and allows for easy replacement. Timers - Timers allow you to set a specific time for the lights to turn on and off. Ballasts - Ballasts are used to control the power supply to the CFL bulb, enabling you to control the brightness.

Common questions

  1. What is a CFL? A CFL is a Compact Fluorescent Lamp, an energy-saving lightbulb that uses up to 75% less energy than a standard incandescent light bulb.
  2. What are the different types of CFLs? Common types of CFLs include spiral, pin-base, and reflector.
  3. What should I consider when buying a CFL? When buying a CFL, consider the wattage, brightness, color temperature, and size of the bulb.
  4. How long do CFLs last? CFLs typically last between 8,000 and 15,000 hours, depending on the quality of the bulb.
  5. Are CFLs safe to use? CFLs are safe to use, as long as they are handled properly. Avoid touching the glass of the bulb with your bare hands as this can reduce the lifespan of the bulb.
  6. Are CFLs more expensive than incandescent bulbs? CFLs are typically more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but they can save you money in the long run due to their energy efficiency.


A funny fact about CFLs is that they have been featured in some iconic movies. For example, in the 2004 hit film, Mean Girls, a CFL plays a key role when Cady Heron, played by Lindsay Lohan, accidentally breaks one in the math classroom. In the 2017 blockbuster Wonder Woman, a CFL is used as a weapon to escape the german soldiers. Finally, in the 1990 classic Home Alone, a CFL is used as a tool to scare away the burglars. It’s amazing to see how CFLs have become such an iconic part of pop culture. Source

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.