CFL Reviews

Splitting up my review of various energy saving retrofit lamps as I test them in a home environment. This post will focus on compact fluorescent lamps. The first lamp review is moved from my original post, the second is new for today. (Prices include 20% VAT and may vary between countries.)

* 7W Osram Duluxstar ‘warm-white’ E14 frosted CFL mini globe

Info: Appearance-wise, one of the most incandescent-like CFLs on the market, with a correlated colour temperature (CCT) at 2700K. CRI around 80 = standard (mediocre) colour rendering capacity. Price: about €10, but if you want a decent-looking (and decent-performing) CFL, be prepared to pay for it.

Impression: Visually, the light looked very soft and incandescent-like in the shop, but at home it still has a touch of that pink shade typical of flourescent light, though less markedly so than its early predecessors, more warm-pink than cool-pink, and admittedly an improvement compared with older CFLs and all the cheap budget lamps on the market.

Size-wise it only fit in one of my reflector luminaires.

As for colour rendering capacity, my do-it-yourself-spectral analysis with the back of a DVD shows the spectrum cut up into distinct bands with all the wavelenghts inbetween missing, as is normal for standard-quality FL light.

It does look bright enough to replace the promised 40W bulb (now in the beginning, will fade with age) though it took several minutes to reach full output. And the light was actually nicest before it did. Now it has turned a little more pink-white and makes the room look uniform and sterile. Many may not notice that much of a difference from an incandescent, or care if they did. But as I have a very well-developed sensitivty to such nuances, I could not relax in such a light and would never use it in my home.

* 8W Osram Duluxstar Mini Twist ‘warm-white’ E14 spiral CFL

Info: Correlated colour temperature (CCT) 2500K (“warm comfort light”). CRI around 80 = standard (mediocre) colour rendering capacity. Light flow: 470 lumen. Price: about €6. Made in China.

Impression: With even warmer light (= lower CCT) this one actually looks very much like incandescent light colour-wise = more golden than pink. Still a bit flat due to the lower CRI but definitely the best incandescent-copy I’ve seen so far.

Size-wise it is too big for all my different reflector luminaires, even though this is the most compact spiral CFL model I’ve seen. I can screw it in just fine but half of it sticks out. The part that is visible is very glaring. Calling my bf:s attention to the experiment, his first response was a loud “ouch” as the glare pierced his eye, and I got a dark afterimage in my visual field for several minutes afterwards from looking at it just briefly. I’d recommend it only in luminaires with shades.

Brightness seemed OK too. 470 lumen is even a bit more than the equivalent 40W incandescent (410 lm) with margin for the eventual light loss.

Nice job, Osram! Only took 2 decades to finally get it (almost) right.



  1. January 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Superbly informative reviews. Thanks!

    I am intrigued by your “back of a DVD” do-it-yourself-spectral analysis. Can you explain further so I can use this testing device too?

    • halogenica said,

      January 17, 2012 at 10:52 am

      It’s not a testing device. It’s just a regular CD or DVD.

      Turn on the lamp, hold the silvery side of the DVD under the lamp and see how much of the spectrum you can see reflected.

      • In incandescent and quality LED lamps you should be able to see a perfect rainbow with no gaps. (This method works best with standard bulbs. Reflector lamps are harder to test due to the way the light is distributed.)

      • With fluorescent lamps such as CFLs you’ll only see a few separate bands of colour, with all the intermediate wavelenghts missing. In newer CFLs of good quality you’ll see more bands than on an older type fluorescent tube which may have only a few.

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