Practical and stylish energy-efficient light bulbs for your home
Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs can reduce your household bills, limit your carbon footprint and save you the hassle of replacing them frequently. Here’s our edit of the ones you should add to your basket today.
In the past, energy-saving light bulbs have been described as dim, slow to warm up and too cool in colour - but now they perform just as well as less efficient options. They’ll also save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run, so we’ve created a guide to the best ones on the market.
Types of energy-efficient light bulbs
These days, most people have replaced their old halogen bulbs for either CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) or LEDs (light emitting diodes). In general, LEDs tend to be more practical than CFLs, as they’ll last roughly 2.5 times longer and don’t contain any toxic mercury, which can escape if smashed.
Here are some of the different types of energy-efficient light bulbs:
- Smart (control them via an app)
- Fixing type: wide/narrow bayonet, wide/narrow screw
- Shapes: traditional, globe, candle, downlight
- Brightness: most bulbs have a rating between 450 and 1,600 lumens
- Warmth: choose 2,700K for warm white or anything above 4,000K for daylight or cool white
The benefits of energy-efficient light bulbs
As energy-saving light bulbs use less power than inefficient alternatives, they can lower your household bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, they can last for decades, so you won’t need to change them as often.
Let’s say you switch all the light bulbs in your home to energy-efficient ones. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you’d be decreasing your carbon emissions by up to 40kg per year - that’s 140 car miles. Your household bills could also reduce by up to £5 per bulb every year.
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The best energy-efficient light bulbs to buy
Philips Hue White Filament Smart LED Bulb
Philips Hue products are a solid choice if you’re upgrading your current bulbs, as the brand has released some of the most innovative lighting systems to reach the market. Its lightstrips can react to your Spotify music and even recreate the colours of your television as it plays.
This smart Edison-style bulb, on the other hand, is perfect for creating a warm, cosy ambience in your home. With its warm orange filament, it takes inspiration from vintage lighting.
Connect the bulb to the companion app to control it from any mobile or tablet, or use voice assistants. Just remember you may need a Philips Hue Bridge if you’re using certain Amazon Echo devices.
Bayonet Light Bulb 60w
With over 280 five-star Amazon reviews, these energy-efficient light bulbs are a popular choice. According to the makers, they need less than 15% of the energy used by traditional 60W incandescent bulbs.
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Rest assured these energy-saving bulbs have a long lifespan; they’ll last up to 25,000 hours in your home. Plus, they take less than 0.5 seconds to start up, so you won’t be waiting for the light to kick in.
It’s worth noting these bulbs have a simple on/off function and won’t work with dimmer switches.
TCP LED Amber Globe
- Buy now from Wilko (£12.40)
This may be the prettiest energy-efficient light bulb we’ve seen so far. A fluted amber glass globe serves the dual purpose of giving it a quirky vintage look and creating a pool of warm light.
You’ll get up to 15,000 hours of light from this non-dimmable bulb, which comes with an E27 connection. It gives out 120 lumens with a warmth of 1,800K, so it’s a cosy, low-level light, perfect for adding ambience, rather than lighting a whole room.
Argos Home Light Bulbs
- Buy the traditional bulbs from Argos (£4.00)
Argos is a fantastic place to shop for affordable energy-efficient light bulbs, so take a look if you need to stock up. These two designs are particularly popular and should come in handy around your home.
Both shapes provide up to 15,000 hours of warm white light at around 800 lumens, and can withstand being switched on and off up to 40,000 times.
Tala 6W Porcelain II ES LED Dimmable Globe Bulb
Sometimes, it pays to keep things simple, which is why we love this matt white globe. While bulbs with a visible filament hint at vintage style, opaque options like this are perfect for contemporary homes. Add them to rigid light fixtures like sputnik chandeliers for a clean, crisp look.
Another benefit of this globe-style bulb is its dimming function, which allows you to achieve the perfect level of lighting at any time.
LIFX Colour A60 Smart LED Light Bulb
Here’s a bulb you may not have seen before. Lifx is known for its energy-efficient, multi-colour smart bulbs, which you can control from the companion app or via voice assistant.
With the bulb in place, you can set up colourful lighting landscapes and organise on/off schedules. Thanks to the bulb’s clever in-built technology, it can even fade up when your alarm clock goes off.
You’ll have the chance to get truly creative here, as Lifx’s dimmable bulbs can emit over a billion different colours, which you can select on the app’s colour wheel.
6W Antik Gold LED Light Bulbs
If you’re after an Edison bulb but don’t want to pay the higher price of smart bulbs, try one of these. They offer 360 lumens and a 15,000-hour lifespan.
While some vintage-style bulbs come with straight filaments, these ones have a pretty spiral design inside. Mix and match the globe and teardrop designs above your dining table or breakfast bar to help create a relaxed atmosphere.
Alice is a digital writer with a knack for tracking down the most innovative and exciting products to hit the market. Working across several of Our Media's special interest brands, she's written for publications including Countryfile, Gardens Illustrated and Science Focus. Outside of work - and lusting over homeware and gardening products - you’ll find her rambling in the great outdoors or watching an old film.