Identifying CFL Bulbs

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated January 5, 2022)

Have you ever come across a light bulb in your house that you could quite identify? With the rising popularity of CFLs (or compact fluorescent light bulbs as they are more properly known) this isn't that surprising of a scenario. Is there some way of identifying CFL bulbs from regular incandescent bulbs? That is, without relying heavily on the box? Actually, there are a few ways that you can identify between light bulbs. Keep in mind that some of these will require you to do a little testing, and the others will require a little objectivity.

  • Appearance. Strictly speaking, there is no set appearance for a CFL bulb. However, there are enough out there that appear the same way that you can use this as a great guide for identifying CFL bulbs. This general appearance is going to be of two tubes coiled around each other, tapering near the apex to give a similar shape to a regular light bulb. There are other kinds of CFLs that have an appearance of two or three tubes that jut straight out before bending back on themselves, but the first type is more prevalent.
  • Heat. One way that you can identify CFL bulbs from incandescent light bulbs is the heat. CFLs produce less heat than their incandescent counterparts. In fact, they produce about 75% less heat than the traditional light bulb. While you could always hold your hand near a light bulb and test its heat that way, it would be better to use a thermometer. Those that are lower in the heat range are more than likely going to be a CFL bulb.
  • Longevity. On the average, a CFL will last around 10 times longer than the average light bulb. The only way to really tell if you have a CFL bulb (which doesn't look like one of those described earlier) will be to pay close attention to how often you need to change the light bulbs. If you have a particular light bulb which has not been changed in a very long time, while those around it have, then it could very well be CFL bulb.
  • Identifying marks. Many times you can find identifying marks either on a CFL bulb, or if you are lucky, the box they are stored in. These marks are beyond any simple statement that says "CFL" or Compact Fluorescent Light bulb". Often, these markings will say something to the effect of listing a K-rating (or Kelvin Rating) which lists the brightness of the bulb. In addition you may see something along the lines of X Watt = Y Watt. The lower number (X) usually signifies a CFL Wattage which is equivalent to an incandescent bulb's Wattage (Y). If you see these markings, then you are more than likely dealing with a CFL bulb.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


Cleaning Vegetable Steamers

Vegetable steamers are a great appliance and cooking tool to have around, at least that is until it is time to clean ...

Discover More

Summer Salads

Salads can be a great way to help beat the summer heat, but what type of salads should you have? Summer salads can be ...

Discover More

Do Grow Lights Really Work?

If you are looking at creating an indoor nursery, or are simply thinking of starting some plants off in your home, then ...

Discover More

MAX Power! A powerful lithium-ion drill/driver that delivers 0-to-650 RPM and 115 inches-per-pound of torque in a lightweight, easy-to-use package. An anti-slip soft grip and LED worklight makes this tool a delight to use. Check out Black & Decker 20-Volt Cordless Drill/Driver today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Hanging Lamps

A hanging lamp is a great way to add overhead light to an area. These lamps give a unique and beautiful look to a room.

Discover More

Replacement Lamps

The lighting in your home might not be the first thing you notice, but these fixtures still have an impact on the look ...

Discover More

Installing Track Lighting

Track lighting is a wonderful lighting option that you can have in your home. Not only does it provide much needed ...

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight more than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)