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Which CFL will give me the same light as my current bulb?

Check out the lumens.

Compact fluorescent bulbs can help you to save energy in your home.  A common question when it comes to compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, is which bulb should you use to get the same light output as your current incandescent light bulbs?

One way to compare light bulbs (and probably the best way) is to compare the lumens emitted by each light bulb.  You will typically find the lumens output on the package of the light bulb.  In many jurisdictions, the lumens are required by law to be printed on the packaging.  All you have to do is find the lumens on your current light bulb and buy a CFL with comparable lumens to achieve the same light output.

Sometimes the CFL package makes it easy by providing information in a conspicuous place on the packaging.  For instance, it may say something to the effect of “This bulb replaces a 60 watt incandescent bulb.”  In the case of a 60 watt incandescent bulb, a CFL will produce the same amount of light while only using 13 watts of energy.  Keeping on that train of thought, a 100 watt incandescent bulb will be replaced by a CFL using 23-25 watts of energy.  If you have any doubts, take a look at the lumens of each bulb, they should be comparable.

The initial price of a CFL may be a little bit shocking when compared to the low cost of an incandescent bulb.  Keep in mind that the CFL will most likely last much longer saving you money on the bulb in the long run.  Also keep in mind that the CFL will save you money in energy costs every month.  The CFL looks more costly initially but will actually end up saving money over time.