Choosing The Correct CFL Brightness

By Robert Robillard on Electrical

Choosing The Correct CFL Brightness Choosing The Correct Compact Florescent Bulb Brightness

Compact Florescent Bulbs  or CFL’s are a variation of the fluorescent tube.  CFL’s work the same way, only are designed to fit into a standard incandescent bulb socket. They operate on a quarter of the energy used by incandescent, and can last up to ten times longer.

Choosing the correct CFL brightness is easy.  Manufacturers of CFL bulbs list on the product packaging equivalency information to help consumers choose a bulb that produces enough light.

For example, if you are looking for a CFL to replace your 60-watt incandescent, look for the words “60 Watt Replacement” on the packaging.  The CFL will be rated at 13-watts but give off the same light as a 60 watt incandescent bulb.

“Warm” or “Soft”  CFL light is also the best to use for residential lighting.

“Cool white, or daylight” CFL bulbs give off a bluish white light that most people prefer for reading or detail work.

The majority of CFLs available in the market offer soft or warm white light (2700K–3000K), which is comparable to an incandescent bulb. When changing out multiple bulbs in one room, select ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs with the same color and the same manufacturer to help ensure more consistent light color.

Energy Use for Incandescent Light Bulbs (Watts) Minimum Light Output (Lumens) Energy Use for common ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs (Watts)
25 250 4 to 9
40 450 9 to 13
60 800 13 to 15
75 1,100 18 to 25
100 1,600 23 to 30
125 2,000 28 to 40
150 2,600 30 to 52



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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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