Energy savings (for real)

Many of the top products we test are also the most efficient

Last reviewed: October 2011
pink piggy bank
Illustration by Dan Page

To hear critics carp about the improved efficiency standards for lightbulbs, you'd think that energy efficiency is all about sacrifice, not savings. But as our latest lighting report reveals, you don't have to give up light quality when switching to a more efficient bulb, provided you know what to look for. In fact, some of the best appliances, electronics, and heating and cooling equipment from our recent tests are among the most efficient. And we've tapped a number of home-energy retrofits that, if done right, can quickly pay for themselves. But not all efficiency promises pan out. Here's what's new, what works, and what to think twice about, including some products that, based on our analysis, oversell their energy savings.