Screw This: Shopping for the New Light Bulbs

If you’ve replaced a light bulb recently, you might’ve noticed something missing from your hardware store’s shelves: incandescent bulbs. Yep, that iconic “I’ve got a bright idea”-shaped bulb was phased out as of January 1, thanks to the Energy Independence and Security Act taking effect. Why the change, you ask? Turns out incandescents sizzle up to 90% of their energy as heat — meaning they weren’t such a bright idea, after all.

So now, it’s time to light things up in go-greener way. The change will be as enlightening for your wallet as it is for the environment: the new bulbs are at least 25% more energy efficient, according to experts at Batteries Plus. If you’re picturing those spiral-shaped CFL bulbs (not always my favorites to display, plus they contain a small amount of mercury, which is unnerving when they break), I’ve got news: you now have gorgeous LED choices that would make Mr. Edison jealous. This new Switch100 can put your old incandescents to shame by beaming out the equivalent of 100 watts of light while consuming a meager 21 watts. And though you’ll pay more for it up front, it’ll last 25 times longer than an incandescent—meaning it could be 15 to 20 years before you shop for a replacement. It’s such a stunner that I’d consider showing it off in a shadeless pendant. 

We’ve grown accustomed to incandescent bulbs, but we’ll be happy when our energy bills drop thanks to their more efficient replacements.

Not ready to fork up big bucks for an LED bulb? The new halogen bulbs are also 25% more efficient than incandescents, and can last triple the amount of time.

Whichever bulb you choose, replacing an incandescent will save you about six bucks per year on your energy bill. I’m hanging these high, and enjoying the long time I won’t have to get on a ladder to change ‘em.

Note! The new bulbs aren’t measured in watts anymore—they’re measured in lumens. Here’s your shopping cheat sheet:

  • If you had a 40-watt incandescent, look for 450 lumens
  • If you had a 60-watt incandescent, look for 800 lumens
  • If you had a 75-watt incandescent, look for 1100 lumens
  • If you had a 100-watt incandescent, look for 1600 lumens

Go on, make the switch.

Will you miss the old bulbs, or are you excited about the phase-out? Let me know in the comments!

Find inspiration for using your new and old bulbs in the gallery below.

19 Responses

  1. suebobdavis says:

    You need to consider the light temperature of the bulbs, too. I bought a bunch of daylight LEDs (temp 5000-5500) and found they way too white and glarey (though I believe they help with my seasonal depression!). A better temperature that looks more like old-fashioned incandescent bulbs is 2400k.

  2. Diane says:

    Shopping for light bulbs is getting as complicated as ordering a cup of coffee:)

  3. minitoni says:

    Are the old Argon bulbs gone too? They lasted forever but are very hard to come by and are low wattage/low in lumens.

  4. minitoni says:

    I will miss the old bulbs but they still make 3 way incandescent bulbs. But we have mostly switched to LED bulbs now. Halogen bulbs put out a great deal of heat so we're avoiding them. And we use full-spectrum fluorescents for close work.

  5. galinwa says:

    Sounds like a hassle for renters who will pay more and then have to leave them behind, if they are going to last so long, well past the lease of 12 months.

    • Carley_Knobloch says:

      Unfortunately this is the new reality. I suppose you could take them with you to your next rental, no?

  6. [...] over to the Made & Remade blog to read my primer on shopping for “new” bulbs, whether they be CFLs, LEDs, [...]


About Carley Knobloch 


I'm all about smart, simple solutions to managing life, work and family. I blog about the intersection of tech and living at and delve into smart home technology ...

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