Which light bulb should you pick to replace incandescent bulbs?

With new light-bulb rules taking effect Jan. 1, should you choose halogens, CFL-halogen hybrids or LEDs to replace your old household bulbs?

We talked to GE about the pluses and minuses of each.


Price: $3
Consumes: 43 watts
Why we like it: Like traditional incandescents, halogens instantly produce warm light and are dimmable. That’s because, technically, they are incandescents. The difference is halogens contain a gas that allows them to burn brighter, so they can be made smaller to use less energy. GE expects eight of 10 customers to switch initially to halogens.
Downside: Halogens get hot, so stay clear of fixtures. That also means it’ll take extra energy to cool your home.
CFL-halogen hybrid
Price: $5
Consumes: 15 watts
Why we like it: GE’s Bright From the Start bulbs contain both a compact-fluorescent-​lamp (CFL) coil and a miniature halogen lamp. The halogen provides warm, even light until the CFL coil reaches full brightness, at which point the halogen switches off. CFL bulbs last up to 15 times longer than incandescents, so cost savings over time can be significant.
Downside: GE’s hybrid CFLs are not dimmable. All CFLs contain mercury, a pollutant. For disposal info, visit epa.gov/cfl.
Price: $14
Consumes: 11 watts
Why we like it: Contrary to popular belief, LEDs are neither ugly nor expensive. Well, they’re not ugly. GE’s Energy Smart LEDs look and feel more like your old incandescents, right down to the shape. Plus, the vast palette of LED colors available allows GE to imitate its traditional Reveal and Soft White hues. LED bulbs can last up to 14 years with typical use.
Downside: Upfront cost is high. However, prices will plummet as demand increases and manufacturing is streamlined.

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