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A bright idea from GE—color-coded lightbulb packages

Consumer Reports News: May 01, 2012 03:36 PM

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Choosing a replacement lightbulb got a little more complicated with the arrival of energy-saving bulbs. The Lighting Facts label on the back of most packages is meant to help you find the right bulb for the task, but to diffuse any chaos in the lightbulb aisle, GE has color coded its packaging.

For years we bought bulbs based on their watts, but that tells you how much electricity a bulb uses. Lumens indicate brightness and the more lumens, the brighter the bulb. A yellow GE package signals that the CFL or halogen bulb provides the brightest light—2,000 lumens or more—similar to an incandescent bulb that's 150 watts or higher. Next brightest is green, then blue, orange and purple packaging, in dimming order.

Consumer Reports has recommended several GE bulbs in its lightbulb tests, which feature brightness scores as well as the number of lumens after 3,000 hours of testing. When buying energy-efficient bulbs, look for at least 800 lumens for a 60-watt replacement, and keep in mind that all bulbs lose brightness over time, including incandescents.

Kimberly Janeway


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