Katie Schenk needs light-bulb help:
I replaced two light bulbs on Sunday night and both are already out. Yes, I bought the cheap kind but I really expected them to last a little bit longer than three days. And of course I have no extras because I am never domestically prepared for anything.
So, I ask you all - Which light bulbs should I be buying? (Marco, I’m looking at you on this one. It’s your moment to ‘shine’ so to speak.)
The first decision: whether to buy compact fluorescents (CFLs) or regular incandescent bulbs. Both have their advantages:
- Incandescents are smaller, come in more shapes and sizes, and are always dimmable. They’re much cheaper, much simpler, and their color never changes. But they use a lot more energy, produce a lot more heat, and burn out more quickly than CFLs.
- CFLs last much longer, use much less energy, produce less heat, and can get much more light out of many low-wattage fixtures. But they’re more expensive and larger than incandescents, with a fat base that shadows light output from the bottom and prevents them from fitting in some recessed fixtures. Lower-quality CFLs also tend to shift colors and turn blue or pink over time. Very few CFLs are dimmable, and the dimmable ones usually suck and are very finicky, so you can’t really use CFLs in dimmer-equipped fixtures. And if the bare bulb will be visible and unshaded/undiffused as part of the fixture’s design, CFLs are usually uglier and harsher to look at than incandescents of similar brightness.
Buy CFLs if they’ll fit the fixture, aren’t connected to a dimmer, and won’t be directly visible most of the time. Buy incandescents if any of these conditions don’t apply.
Color temperature is important. If in doubt, buy “warm white” 2700K, since that’s probably what you’re used to. “Daylight/full-spectrum” 4100K/5000K/5500K bulbs will look significantly more white, and slightly blue by comparison, compared to average indoor lighting. To most people, this look is more harsh and sterile. Tiff hates it and compares it to being in a hospital. I suggest, if you’re going to try whiter bulbs than the typical 2700K “warm white”, that you start with one or two 4100K bulbs in select fixtures and work your way up to 5000K if you like the look. I’d never suggest a 5500K bulb — I’ve never seen one that didn’t look completely ridiculous.
They seem like great-quality bulbs so far. If you get weird grocery-store or IKEA CFLs, they’re usually very cheap and bad and will shift to a pinkish tint after 6-12 months. The higher-quality bulbs from good internet vendors don’t seem to do this, or at least won’t do it for a much longer time. I just bought a bunch of CFLs from here with no problems yet, although it’s too early to tell how good they are long-term.
If you end up getting incandescents, of course, you can get them pretty much anywhere and they’re about the same.