3 Alternatives for the Almost Extinct Incandescent Light Bulb

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. As of January 1, 2014, it will no longer be legal to manufacture or import traditional 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent bulbs.

The phase-out was stipulated by The Energy Independence and National Security Act, a law passed way back in 2007 when George W. Bush was in office. In fact, Politicus USA reports that “when President Bush signed the bill into law on December 19, 2007, he praised the energy efficiency standards. The bill also includes revisions to improve energy efficiency in lighting and appliances. It adopts elements of the executive order I signed requiring federal agencies to lead by example in efficiency and renewable energy use.’”

So no angry comments about how treehugging liberals are destroying the light bulb industry, please.

Instead, let’s focus on how great this transition will be for our wallets, and by extension, the planet! Incandescent light bulbs are shockingly inefficient, turning about 90 percent of the energy they consume into heat, not light.

According to Noah Horowitz, Senior Scientist and Director of the Center for Energy Efficiency for the Natural Resource Defense Council, doing away with inefficient incandescent bulbs will save Americans $13 billion on their annual energy bills.

But, as I’m sure you’re aware, incandescent light bulbs tend to burn out at the most inconvenient times. If you’re one of nearly half of all Americans who’ve got these ancient luminaries in every lamp and fixture, now is the time to think about replacements. And no, I don’t mean hoarding incandescent bulbs, as some have suggested. Do you really love wasting money that much?

Below are a handful of smart alternatives to the incandescent bulbs now illuminating your home. Switch today and save BIG for years to come.

Philips SlimStyle

Philips SlimStyle LED – Currently under consideration for ENERGY STAR certification, the SlimStyle LED bulb (pictured above) reduces energy consumption by 85 percent and lasts 25 times longer than a traditional 60-watt incandescent. It’s even dimmable! Philips sent me one of these bulbs to test out in advance, and I have to say, I was impressed. It was brighter and delivered a softer white light than my CFLs while sporting a safer, lighterweight design (no glass to break!). The SlimStyle will be available exclusively at HomeDepot.com starting January 2, 2014, just in time for the final phase out.

CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) – When the eco-world first started to notice that light bulbs were wasting a bunch of energy, CFLs were the go-to alternative. Now, we know that LEDs are better and will last longer, but the high initial investment still puts them out of reach for most people. If you need something cheap and convenient, CFLs are now available in every grocery and convenience store, for just a buck or two more than incandescents. And if you don’t like the signature spiral shape, many now come in more familiar A-line varieties. Just remember, they can be hazardous to your health if broken, and are often hard to dispose of.

GE’s Energy-Efficient Soft White bulbs – If you’re completely devastated by the idea of switching to those newfangled CFLs or LEDs, GE’s Energy-Efficient Soft White bulbs will ease your transition. They look and light exactly like the bulbs you grew up with, only they use 28 percent less energy.

Image via Thinkstock


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Jane R.
Jane R4 years ago

I'm going to try the Phillips Slim Style. I have some GE energy smart CFL mini spiral bulbs and I hate them. They say instant on, but they're not, there is a one second delay from the time you flip the switch till the time the light comes on. They do n put out as much light either. Plus they are dangerous if you break one.

Roopak Vaidya
Roopak Vaidya4 years ago

CFL bulbs can cause a mild skin rash and itching in some people.
I wish there was more research into LED to bring down their price.

Peter D.
Peter D4 years ago

14 points,
why these kind of ban justifying arguments don't hold up
Taking just 3.

1. Those soft-white halogen type bulb will be banned too on EISA tier 2 2014-2017 regulation,
45 lumen/W final rule equates to fluorescent bulbs
No, NRDC Horowitz etc won't ever tell you that.

2. Incandescent use is mainly off-peak surplus electricity - which is why those rates are cheaper on time based pricing - and in particular coal plants, the main worry, effectively burn the same coal on minimum night cycle operation.
So, little if any society energy/emission savings - especially if one goes into the life cycle (mining to recycling, and all transport) of complex CFL-LED replacements

3. Lighting choice is not just about saving money or electricity.
There is such a thing as "light quality" and usability in different situations, also given US homes c. 45 lighting points on average, cold conditions and reaction times favoring incandescents, apart from appearance, optional transparency, size versatility , omnidirectional brightness, etc, as also referenced
Also, no money savings on expensive bulbs rarely used, and "heat waste" often not waste when dark, again referenced.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Beth, for Sharing this!

Steve A.
Steve A4 years ago

After many years of using CFLs I have to say I've never been really impressed.

Like all flouros they flicker, and the light is usually colder than an incandescent globe.

They do last longer, in six years I have replaced my kitchen light once. I used to go through 3 incandescent globes a year in that socket.

The worst thing, as people have mentioned, is they take time to fully light. Fine in most cases, but in motion detector use you have usually left the area when they begin to work. I have two '60' watt' reflector downlights over my kitchen sink. One is a cfl and the other is an old incandescent. The CFL starts to throw as much light as the incandescent just as I finish washing up. And I switch it off just as it begins to work efficiently.

I love the LED globes. A good colour and low energy.

Unfortunately I still haven't found a replacement for a 15w incandescent pilot light globe in my wife's bedside lamp. Even a 5w CFL or a 3w LED throw off twice as much light.

And while after 30 years I've learned to sleep with the 15 w light on, anything brighter isn't good.

John A.
John A4 years ago

CFLs are NOT difficult to dispose of. They are a UW or Universal Waste. Any store that sells them should have a place to take them back free of charge and if they don't ask them why not and report them to your state environmental agency.

Soon, LEDs will be much cheaper than they are now.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

When there are safer alternatives why are CFLs being the bulbs of choice?

Estelle S.
Estelle S4 years ago


Sue H.
.4 years ago

I suffer from SAD and have used incandescent daylight bulbs to fight the depression. We here in Canada also have the incredibly stupid rule banning the 100W bulbs as of January 1st so I have been stocking up on as many packages of them as I can afford. It would be a frigidly cold day in Hell before I used a mercury CFL light bulb. Will wait for the LED's to catch up and come down in price. Difficult to say the least when you are on a fixed income as both the new types are beyond my ability to pay for them. Wonder how long it will be before we hear of many people getting really sick from the CFL's. There have been so many stories of them suddenly catching fire and causing sickness and damage already.