How to Shop for Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)

A homeowner recently asked me why my CFLs were brighter, smaller, and lasted longer than the ones she had purchased “down the street”. As I thought about how to best answer her question, my inner self was telling me that she doesn’t really want to hear all that would go into my answer. To really address her question would involve a recap of five years of information regarding the evolution of CFLs as we know them today.

The answer I actually gave her went something like this, “First of all, I am a consumer, just like you. I use CFLs exclusively in my home because I want to save energy and see better. I also want them to last as long as the technology allows in order to get my money’s worth, and reduce the waste thrown into the landfill. So, I use the Eagle Rating System when I am shopping for CFLs of any style, size or wattage.”

To further explain, the Eagle Rating parameters cover:

Life Expectancy
Amalgam Technology
Lead-free Glass
Mini Size
Full Spectrum
Approval for Enclosed Fixtures.

Realizing that many others would benefit from this information, I am providing it here in more detail.

Eagle Rating System for CFL Shoppers

Eagle 1: Life Expectancy
Spirals are expected to last at least 10,000 hours.
Decorative CFLs are expected to last at least 8,000 hours.

Eagle 2: Amalgam Technology
This provides cooler operating temperatures for consistent performance in any position (base up, base down, or horizontal). This feature alone will guarantee the long life performance one would expect.

Eagle 3: Lead-Free Glass
This technology produces better lumen maintenance (the ability to maintain its “brightness”) over the life expectancy of the lamp. Added to the above, now we are really getting our moneys worth!

Eagle 4: Mini Size
27 Watts or less are engineered to fit into smaller compartments & fixtures in order to maintain decorative appeal. Now we have more places around the house where we can use this wonderful energy-saving technology.

Eagle 5: Full Spectrum
Kelvin temperature of 5,000 – 5,500 degrees. The human body needs at least 2 hours of this kind of light daily as part of its nutritional program. We can all see better with a daylight type light source.

Eagle 6: Approved for Enclosed Fixtures
These can be used in enclosed areas or fixtures where heat build-up might be a concern. For example, some bathroom shower fixtures have a heat- sensing thermostat that will automatically shut down the light source at a certain temperature. This may only take a few minutes of operation with an incandescent bulb.