Brands matter a lot, both in terms of actual lumen output and in
terms of bulb life. Lights of America is the biggest offender, at
least based upon my direct experiences, those of friends, and the
testers at Consumers' Union (ie, Consumer Reports).
The folks at LOA are aware that the word is getting out about
the poor quality of their products, so they have resorted to marketing
many of their products under pseudonyms. Check the back of the
package on many low cost off-brands and you are likely to read
that the manufacturer is actually LOA.
All brands of bulbs start off dim & yellow, especially in cold applications
such as garages or outdoors. But I've been extremely happy with
them once they warm up.
We buy the 60w and 100w equivalents at Sam's Club in 6 packs,
and we purchase the bigger, 200w equivalents at Walmart. We've
got some of the extremely low power lights and I believe those were
bought at Sam's Club in 3 packs.
I believe that the most recent 6 packs of 100w equivalents that we
purchased at Sam's Club cost $15.50, give or take a few cents. I'm
also fairly certain that the 200w equivalents are $8.88 each at Walmart.
Unfortunately, the purchase price per watt tends to be disproportionately
high for both the low output lights and the high output lights. For many
of our table lamps we have been able to install one or more "Y" adapters
so that we can install multiple 100w equivalent bulbs.
Full spectrum bulbs are also more expensive at all output levels, but
some folks that I know feel that the natural light is worth the extra cost.
The bulbs are reported to be very effective in treating season depression
in some people, but I've also heard that large doses of vitamin D are
In addition to the savings in direct energy consumption, there are other
advantages to the CFs. One is the fact that they produce a lot less heat,
which is important for those of us who run the AC much of the year.
Another advantage is the fact that lamp sockets and wiring last a lot longer
since the fixture is carrying about 75% less current.
One warning: The CFs emit a considerable amount of stray RF noise,
so nearby electronics such as radios may be negatively impacted. I don't
have a wireless LAN setup, but I would imagine that CFs could cause
interference for some folks' wireless Internet systems at home.
Yes, that's a good question. Do brands matter? Westinghouse, Panasonic,
Sylvania, TCP etc.?