Customer Reviews: GE 13-Watt Energy SmartTM - 8 Pack - 60 watt replacement
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on October 20, 2008
At a little over 10 bucks for 8 of these, you can't go wrong.

These are just your basic CFLs, at the 2700 kelvin temperature range. That means they're about the same shade as your basic ordinary 60W incandescent bulb. A pale yellow white, not pure white (5100 Kelvin), or daylight (around 6300 Kelvin).

Pure white or daylight CFLS cost more because the phosphors in them are more expensive, but they do have the advantage of being more natural light, rather than imitating the poor quality light of an ordinary light bulb.

So if you're thinking of upgrading to CFLs these bulbs are a great deal to start from. But do take advantage of the technology & get a higher quality light at a higher color temperature for some of your areas, & enjoy better quality light, rather than just using CFLs that imitate the poor quality light of old fashioned light bulbs.

Winter depression can be triggered by lack of natural light because of less hours of daylight, & more cloudy, overcast days in winters. In northern climates when it's cold, people stay inside more, use heavy insulating window curtains, further reducing their exposure to natural light. 5100K-6700k CFLs help with winter depression by exposing you to more natural light. Colors look more rich & vivid. Things look more cheery. It's even easier to read under natural light.

I find I can read just as easy under a 4-watt 5100k CFL than a 13 watt 2700k CFL.

The backlight in your LCD display that you're probably reading this from is probably a 5100k-6700K bulb.

Look at the white areas on the screen & then look at your lighting in the room. Doesn't that ordinary light bulb or 2700K CFL look a lot more yellow by comparison?
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on October 12, 2009
Things to look on the package:
1. Kelvin temperature (K): The only accurate measurement for the kind of light or "color" of light you'll get. 2700K is pretty close to the "warm" incandescent we are all used to, 4100/4200K is known as "Cool White" (you might look "ghostly under that) and 5,000+ is the daylight/sunlight. If the lamps do not have the K designation, do not buy them - they are the cheaper variety since establishing the K temp. costs more.
2. Lamp Life (Hrs): The life of a light bulb is the MEAN life, that is at the stated hours HALF of them will be dead and HALF of them will still be working. Life can be affected by many factors, one being how many times a day you turn them on and how long they stay on. As a rule, the more on/off's, the less they last.
3. Initial lumens: If it is not listed try another brand. For the typical 60W equivalent it ranges between 700 and 900 lumens. Try for 800+ In general the highest the K temp. (see #1 above) the higher the lumens.
4. Make sure you read what they say about DIMMERS, as well as photocells, timers, etc. Avoid costly surprises.
5. Make sure they are rated for outdoor use - if that's where you want to install them. The environment's temperature has a lot to do with the CFL performance.
6. Buy as few as you can first and redo, say one room. See how YOU like it (allow 90 seconds warm-up time). If you are a male, have your female with you...she might have some objections you can't even think about!

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I bought two 8-packs at my shopping club a couple of years ago. I needed them to replace 8 incandescent bulbs in the basement where, with the exception of the area where my home office is located, I didn't need very bright lights. The second carton was bought for 'spares' and because they were on sale at the time I made the purchase. Two years later, the spares carton has 3 bulbs left, indicating that 5 out of 8 have burned out. This tells me that the 5-years/8000 hours life expectancy claim is wildly optimistic, to use a mild term.

My personal experience with these bulbs is as follows:

- the light they produce - yellow, not very bright is more or less on par with what you get of a 60W incandescent, maybe a little less than a traditional 60W.
- they do save energy for as long as they last - given their short lifespan in my basement, not sure if they pay for themselves
- quality seems to be an issue - 5 out of 8 burned out before 2 years - all 8 subjected to about the same conditions (they all go on/off at the same time
- the claim of 8000 hours or 5 years life expectancy is clearly way off-base - perhaps GE should make their test data available
- the Amazon price at the time I am writing this review is competitive with what I saw at my shopping club.

This may come close to comparing apples to oranges but I must say that I am very happy with the Feit Electric ESL40TN/D 42-Watt Compact Fluorescent High-Wattage Bulb, Daylight of which I am using 2 in the same basement, in my 'office' area and I bought 2 more a few months ago for the study. I paid a premium for them and I've only used them for a little less than one year at the time I write this (Feb. 2010) so the fact that none has burned out yet is not 'proof' but... time with tell.

I hesitate between 2 and 3 stars - 2 Amazon stars means 'I don't like it' vs. 3 stars meaning 'it's okay'. My generous nature wins this time and it's 3 stars but GE needs to seriously look into the 'quality' thing or these CFL may discourage some people from adopting replacing their incandescent bulbs with the more efficient fluorescents.
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on February 21, 2011
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL bulbs) do use significantly less energy than incandescent bulbs (IC bulbs), so if you eventually replace all your burned out IC bulbs with CFL bulbs, you will see a decrease in your electric bill.

CFL bulbs also put out much less heat than IC bulbs reducing the heat load in a home in summer. High wattage IC bulbs can actually burn you if touched or cause a fire if they stay in contact with lightweight flammable material.

However, CFL bulbs are more expensive, so it will take a while to recover the few dollars more that you pay for a multipack with your savings in electricity (and then start saving real money).

And there are some other considerations:

1. These GE CFL bulbs do NOT last five years in normal household use as GE claims, so their long-term cost advantage over IC bulbs is not as great as advertised, especially if you already have a supply of spare IC bulbs to use up. The five years is a dubious GE advertising claim which is apparently based on assumptions about intermittent usage rate (hours on per day), amount of on/off cycles, good fixture ventilation, and steady voltage (which all affect bulb life).

I have bought a few packages of spiral GE CFL bulbs over the last few years, and at least half of them have burned out - well before the five year claim.

UPDATE 3/2015: I have been keeping accurate records of the life of one set of 12 GE CFL bulbs that I purchased in December of 2013, by writing the install dates on the bases. After 15 months of use, eight of the 12 bulbs that I bought have failed. They were being used in a five-bulb ceiling fixture. They were in the base-up position inside glass enclosures, but had air circulation at the bottom. The bases all became slightly discolored. In the "base-down" orientation in open lamps with complete air circulation around them, and about five hours of use per day, I'm getting around 18-24 months life. In both applicaitons there have also been some obviously defective bulbs failing very early, due to (smelly) burn-outs of the electronic components in the base.

2. CFL bulbs need to warm up. When you first turn the bulb on there is a very slight delay before any light is produced (less than one second). Also, there is a short time before it comes up to full light output, although this has improved in the latest bulbs. However, if you are using them outside or in a garage, this warm up period can be a few minutes if it is cold.

3. If you break the bulbs, they release a small amount of mercury vapor into the surrounding area. The federal and state governments and GE say it is a tiny amount, so you shouldn't be worried. But they also say that the burnt out bulbs are considered unsafe to put in landfills. According to government and recycling Web sites, you are supposed to double bag all broken CFL bulbs, store them away from children, and take them somewhere that can "dispose of them properly." So I guess they are not a health problem according to the government, but then again, they are.

There is only one store in my area that takes burnt-out bulbs (Home Depot), and they don't take broken ones. If you have a local recycling center, you can call them or check their Web site for guidance on what to do with broken ones. Obviously, you may just have to double bag them and throw them away in the regular trash if there is no alternative in your area.

UPDATE 2013: Inside the CFL bulb base there are multiple electronic parts soldered to a round circuit board (see below). These parts contain various chemicals which are not good to put in landfills. Electrical solder still contains lead in the U.S., though there may be a transition to less toxic tin/silver/copper solder. Compare that to IC bulbs which have no electronic parts and contain mostly glass, steel, tungsten and inert gasses.

4. UPDATED 2013: The electronic parts in a CFL bulb eventually fail, either causing the bulb to flicker or just go out quickly. These parts are inside the plastic base of the CFL bulb. These include capacitors, resistors, diodes and a transformer - all packed tightly together and soldered onto a round circuit board. Any of these parts can fail, causing the bulb to go out. The most annoying failure mode is when one of the capacitors heats up excessively and actually chars black from the high heat. (I took a CFL bulb apart after this happened to see.) If this happens, you will smell a pungent electrical burning smell in the room as the bulb fails over several minutes. The capacitor may get hot enough to discolor the inside of the plastic bulb base housing - causing more burning smell (though nothing actually catches fire).

If you mount the bulb with the base up inside a recessed lighting fixture or in any fully enclosed fixture with no ventilation, the electronic parts will get hotter than usual, fail prematurely, and the bulb won't last as long. The plastic base will also turn light brown due to the higher heat.

5. The light from CFLs has a slightly different hue than the light from IC bulbs. Some people say the light does not look as pleasing, particularly when compared to the special IC bulbs from GE and Sylvania that are advertised to produce natural-looking light. While older CFL bulbs looked noticeably blue, the light has improved significantly in the newest GE bulbs, so that I see little difference from standard IC bulbs. However, check on the package because some say "bright white," which is more blueish-looking and same say something like "soft white" or "warm," which are closer to the yellow IC bulb light.

6. UPDATE 2013: There have been articles in Consumer Reports and Popular Science about research showing that tiny cracks common in the coatings on CFL bulbs allow the release of ultraviolet radiation which can cause damage to the skin, just like sunlight. Popular Science wrote, "...the researchers suggest not using them at close distances and putting an extra glass cover around them." There are some CFL bulbs available with an extra glass dome around the coils to reduce the UV exposure. Ref: "Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Could Cause Ultraviolet Damage to Skin," PopSci dot com, 07/19/2012.

7. UPDATE 2014: CFL bulbs produce electromagnetic interference (EMI). The electromagnetic radiation that they produce can interfere with the operation of other electronic devices that are close to the bulb. The easiest way to see this is to bring a radio set to AM next to the bulb. You will hear a buzzing noise from the speakers.

8. In any case, politicians are going to force you to buy these bulbs whether you like them or not. The U.S. Congress passed legislation that will effectively outlaw most IC bulbs, except for certain high and low wattage bulbs, and some other specialty IC bulbs.

IMPORTANT SIZE NOTE: Because of the plastic base which houses the electronic parts, these 13 Watt GE CFL bulbs are about 3/4 inch longer than the 60 Watt IC bulbs that they are supposed to replace (with about the same amount of light output). So if you are putting them in a very small lamp or light fixture, they may stick out slightly and look a little odd. Also, GE also makes larger 26 Watt CFL bulbs (to replace 100 Watt IC bulbs). These are about one inch longer than 100 Watt IC bulbs.
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on October 29, 2011
*IF* & I stress the word *IF*... you buy this product...SAVE YOUR RECEIPT or WHEN this product does NOT last up to it's "guarantee" the company will do nothing for you. We bought a package of these bulbs one year ago (almost to the day!) when we moved into our new place. Today the last bulb blew. In no way has this product lived up to even half of what GE says it will. Regular light bulbs have lasted much longer, being used longer!
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on August 30, 2011
I used this bulb every evening for a year in my freshman year of college (last year). As others have said, these bulbs are a good value. At less than $1 per bulb, these are priced below many of the infernal but cheap incandescent lights that are so widespread. At the same time, you get what you pay for--in this case, not very much. The bulbs are admittedly functional, and well-packaged, but they emit a subtle yet noticeable buzz typical of many low-end compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Furthermore, they cast a horrible pale light that lacks the warmth to which many are accustomed, and which seemed to make reading harder on my eyes. If you want to illuminate things at which you will be looking every day for some time, then it is probably worth it to invest a tiny bit more more in a CFL that can reproduce the rich, golden warmth of an incandescent bulb. I recommend the EcoSmart 75-watt Soft White CFL bulbs (formerly sold under the n:vision brand name), selected by Popular Mechanics, Consumer Search, and many other sources as the best such bulb on the market. Like the GE bulbs, however, these do not work with dimmers. If you need a bulb to use with a dimmer, look elsewhere. A quick Google search for <<CFL dimmable>> (no punctuation) should turn up the right stuff.
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on July 31, 2011
I have switched all of my bulbs to CFLs over the past 5 years. I started noticing that I was changing bulbs more often that I used to with the incandescent type. I then started writing the date on the ballast of the bulb when I changed it. I discovered that it was only the GE brand bulbs that were burning out in less than 6 months. In fact, the last one I changed lasted 20 days (8 of which I was on vacation). It was in a two bulb fixture with a generic bulb that lasted for several years which proves that under the same conditions the GE bulb lasted 3 weeks and the generic lasted several years. On average I get one or two months from the GE CFLs. I have bought generic unlabeled bulbs that have lasted several years. The 5 year warranty requires you to pay more for shipping than it would cost to buy a new one. Talk about a company selling junk with a fake warranty. I will never buy anything made by GE ever since all they make is junk.
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on January 24, 2010
I replaced almost every bulb in my house with these compact fluorescent bulbs. While they are quite pricey, I thought it would even out in the long run since they were supposed to last so much longer than conventional bulbs and also lower my electric bill. I did notice a slight difference in the electric bill, but these bulbs certainly don't last any longer than the conventional bulbs. In fact, half of them have burned out in less than a year! They weren't on dimmer switches either, just regular light fixtures. I also don't like that they take so long to go to full brightness. I have no window in my bathroom and with these bulbs, it was like having only a night-light on for several minutes until they warmed up. Just did not like them at all.
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on March 5, 2012
I have changed to CFLs (GE) in my home. I now write the install date on the bulb because of failure sometimes within three (3) months. The fixtures that fail are random but have used standard bulbs for years. ALSO PLEASE NOTE: The package states the bulbs should be placed base down. What kind of saving do you get if you need to replace the fixture? One positive point is that GE has provided me with discount coupons when I called.
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on November 6, 2011
In these tough times one has to think sensibly and buy products that will save them money and this product does exactly that. The reason why I gave this product 4 stars only was the packaging - the item was packaged with one bulb already broken since the packaging seemed to be acceptable. I have been buying items from Amazon forever that this has never, ever happened before and I would really like a replacement bulb thank you very much. Buyers, a good buy but be aware that the item may arrive already broken as was my case. I'm waiting to see how Amazon resolves this problem and that will determine whether I will order with them ever again.

Update: Amazon resolved my concerns regarding the broken bulb wonderfully. Very pleased with follow-up service. Thank you Amazon!!
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