Compact Fluorescent Light: Definition, Efficiency & Benefits

Compact fluorescent lamps were considered the most energy efficient lighting choice until the widespread adoption of LED lighting.

Definition of Compact Fluorescent Light
Definition of Compact Fluorescent Light / Ecolife

What is compact fluorescent light?

Compact fluorescent light (CFL) is a more energy efficient and longer lasting (when compared to incandescent bulbs) light bulb that fits into regular light sockets; making them a functional light source for consumers in most types of light fixtures.

Why use CFL lighting rather than regular incandescent light bulbs? There are several significant money and environmental benefits of using CFLs, including the following:

  • CFL light bulbs use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs
  • CFLs last around 6000 – 15 000 hours while incandescent bulbs will last about 750-1000 hours
  • Unlike regular incandescent bulbs that use 10% of the energy they consume for light and the remaining 90% for producing heat, CFLs do not generally give off heat, making them safer to use and easier on indoor cooling loads

Build of compact fluorescent lights

Why are CFLs so spiraled and curly? Most CFLs are made of long, thin tubes that make it possible to generate more light with less electricity. Normally, fluorescent lights are made into long tubes – like the ones found in offices and schools, but in order to get the same length in consumer-friendly bulbs, the tube is coiled up. That said, some electrodeless CFLs have a normal light bulb shape using induction couplings.

Consumers have complained that CFLs provide poor color quality, a common problem with older models of compact fluorescent lamps. However, recent legislation in the US now requires that CFL packaging list the Correlated Color Temperature of any given lamp. Those with a Correlated Color Temperature between 2700K and 3000K provide the best color for everyday use.

Compact fluorescent light vs LED lighting

While CFLs are more efficient than incandescent light bulbs, LEDs are even more so. The overall efficiency of LED gets better marks than compact fluorescent lights in all categories. This includes the duration of the lifetime, energy consumption, and cost-effectiveness.

In a nutshell, LED lights are currently the most environment-friendly and energy-efficient type of lighting.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Compact fluorescent light is a spiral-shaped light bulb that uses less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs. It is also known as CFLs, or compact fluorescent lamps.

When compared to incandescent bulbs, CFLs are more efficient both in terms of longevity and energy consumed. However, LEDs are generally the most efficient widely available lighting option today.

LED is more energy-efficient than CFL in all categories and can be considered the most energy-efficient lighting option currently available for mass consumption.