Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (2024)


By Brittany Vincent

/ Essentials

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Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (2)

If your home is lit with incandescent light bulbs, it might be time for a change.

The production and sale of incandescent light bulbs have officially been banned in the United States because of their low energy efficiency. The rule, which was initially proposed all the way back in 2007, officially went into effect as of Aug. 1, 2023.

If you can't buy and use incandescent lightbulbs anymore, what can you use? There are plenty of great alternatives, but the push is for LED bulbs, which consume less energy and last much longer than their incandescent or halogen counterparts. You may have heard about LED bulbs or "smart bulbs" in the past and made the assumption that they're only for users who want brightly-lit rooms, multi-colored homes and newfangled tech controlled via their smartphone.

  • Related:How we choose our products

True, you can have those things, but it's not a requirement. While you can opt for smart bulbs to connect to your smart home hub and turn them on and off with a single tap on your phone, you can get by with "dumb" light bulbs just as easily. And there are a ton of readily available picks for you to outfit your home with.

The best incandescent bulb alternatives in 2023

Want a light that you can connect to your smart home controls? Or are you looking for a regular, plain old bulb to light things in your home? Look no further than these picks. The best smart lights come with both white and color options, Bluetooth, hub, and smart plug connectivity, and simple installation options. They're reliable, quality fixtures and are your best overall bets for setting up a smart home. Below, find "dumb" bulbs as well as top-rated Philips, GE Cync, TP-Link, and Lifx smart lights.

Sylvania ECO LED light bulb

Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (3)

These energy-efficient 9W bulbs are an extremely affordable replacement option for 60W incandescent bulbs you're still using at home. They shine with a brightness of 750 lumens and come with a stated lifespan of 7 years, so you won't be stuck pulling and replacing them like your old bulbs. They give off a soft, pleasing light and come in a variety of hues and wattage, so whether you prefer a more natural sunlight analogue or a bright white light, you can get a hefty 8-pack of these bulbs and outfit your whole home with them. Dimmable.

Sylvania ECO LED light bulb, $12

$12 at Amazon

Philips LED basic frosted light bulb

Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (4)

These energy-efficient Philips LED bulbs claim to use 80 percent less energy than their 60W incandescent counterparts. They're rated for 10 years, or 10,950 hours of light when meted out over 3 hours a day, meaning you likely won't have a reason to replace these bulbs for some time. They aren't dimmable, however.

Philips LED basic frosted light bulb (16 pack), $31

$31 at Amazon

Cree Lighting LED Daylight bulb

Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (5)

Need a pack of basic light bulbs? You can't go wrong with this set of seven Cree Lighting 100W equivalent bulbs. They're dimmable, rated for 22+ years of use (over 25,000 hours) and come with a shatterproof plastic bulb. They emit a bright, pleasing daylight-inspired hue, so they'll illuminate your space just the way your old incandescent bulbs would have. And they're pretty affordable, too, for the specs on offer here. They aren't solely for budget shoppers, but they'll surely get the job done for anyone who doesn't mind splurging a bit.

Cree Lighting 100W Equivalent LED Bulb Daylight 5000K (7 pack), $47

$47 at Amazon

Philips Hue High Lumen smart bulb

Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (6)

The Philips Hue line is tough to beat when it comes to smart lighting. The premium-priced 100W High Lumen series boasts serious brightness, which is especially useful for larger living spaces. Choose from white light or over 16 million shades, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth setup that's simple to control straight from your phone or digital smart home platform. Change lighting effects with the touch of a button, indoor or outdoor. Add the Hue Hub (sold separately) to enable additional options, including timers, lighting scenes and much more.

An Amazon customer called this smart light bulb one of the best on the market: "These are some top of the line smart bulbs. Can you find cheaper bulbs as far as costs is concerned? Yes, you can. But the saying goes, 'You get what you pay for.' And that holds true with these bulbs. If you are willing to invest into the Hue system, you won't be disappointed."

Philips Hue High Lumen smart bulb, $55

$55 at Amazon

GE Cync Direct Connect smart bulb

Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (7)

GE's Cync Direct Connect smart bulbs are affordable and full-featured lights that come with a wide variety of options. They're a little less bright than other smart bulbs in their price range, at 750 lumens, but they support millions of colors and different features.

Without the need for a hub, they can connect via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi via app to allow set schedules, saved color scenes and some of the simplest setup options you'll find.

An Amazon buyer proclaimed these smart lights as a "kaleidoscope for the hearth": "It has all the colors on the spectrum, and can imitate settings like the flickering of a candle or sunset. The light can be dimmed or enhanced in intensity. These are also rated to last 15 times longer than regular bulbs."

GE Cync Direct Connect smart bulb, $47

$47 at Amazon

TP-Link Tapo smart Wi-Fi light strip

Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (8)

If strip lighting is more your speed, this TP-Link smart light strip is a simple, straightforward option that has everything you need to illuminate your room. You'll have access to a kaleidoscopic 1,000 lumens of brightness and 16 million colors. But if that's a bit overwhelming, no worries: It comes with preset color scenes to choose from, right out of the box.

Plus, it's nearly foolproof to set up, and is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, which means you're covered, no matter which smart home platform you've opted for. These lights are great for adding effects to doorways, entire rooms or the back of a TV to enhance shows and movies.

An Amazon buyer called them perfect: "Couldn't ask for a better setup, the app works flawlessly and the lighting is better than I was hoping. I'll be getting more sets!"

TP-Link Tapo smart Wi-Fi light strip, $35

$35 at Amazon

Lifx Mini White smart bulb

Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (9)

If you're looking for a no-frills smart light that you can plug in and use within minutes, the Lifx mini bulb is a fantastic option. It boasts a smaller form factor than its brethren, and it offers only white light, but it's impressively bright, with 800 lumens. It connects quickly and painlessly to your Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth, and doesn't require a hub. It's barebones in terms of additional features, but it's so simple and reliable that it may as well be like screwing in a traditional light bulb.

An Amazon buyer was thoroughly happy with the purchase: "I got a top tier, non hub, competitor multi-color bulb that works well. They all integrate seamlessly with Alexa routines including on/off times or commands, sunset/sunrise times, dim down or ramp up brightness rates (e.g. go to 80% in 50 minutes). Quality product."

Lifx Mini White smart bulb, $10

$10 at Amazon

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance smart bulb

Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (10)

This smart light boasts exceptional quality, with more than 16 million shades, including brilliant white. It's also very simple to set up. Adjusting voice control settings can be done directly from the Bluetooth-enabled app, which lets you manage up to 10 smart bulbs at a time. It boasts a whopping 25,000-hour lifetime. Heavy users can purchase a Hue Hub (sold separately) to unlock additional features, including timers and routines.

One Amazon customer praised this light's response time when used for general lighting or special effects: "I have been able to sequence lightning strikes with sound effects, sudden rapid color changes and a whole set of fun effects. When not being used for effects, these lights illuminate my porch with a realistic yet not too distracting flame effect."

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance smart bulb, $37

$37 at Amazon

Wyze Bulb Color smart bulb

Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (11)

The affordable 4.2-star-rated Wyze Bulb Color is a midrange option that can hold its own against the incomparable Philips Hue smart bulb. It offers 16 million colors to choose from, and a connected Wyze app to adjust scene changes, hue, and lighting temperature control, with no hub or bridge required for additional features.

An Amazon customer praised the bulb for its excellent value and reliability: "These bulbs do everything promised and are very reliable. I've used them for a few weeks and I'm ordering another four pack to use in a second floor lamp in my living room."

Wyze Bulb Color smart bulb, $14

$14 at Amazon

Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED light bulb

Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (12)

This budget bulb is the cheapest smart light option available, and you get a 2-pack for less than the price of its competitors. It offers 16 million colors and works with both Alexa and Google Home, though it does not support Apple HomeKit.

It does, however, come with a variety of features, including scheduling and routines, without the need for an additional hub. For simple voice-controlled lighting with additional remote setup options, Sengled's bulbs are viable and frugal buys that come with a few of the bells and whistles their competitors offer.

One Amazon customer proclaimed they love these bulbs and that there's no hub required: "Overall, I highly recommend the Sengled smart bulb to anyone looking for an easy and convenient way to control their lighting. It's a great investment that pays off in both convenience and energy savings."

Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED light bulb (2 pack), $14

$14 at Amazon

What makes a LED light bulb worth buying?

There are several factors to consider when buying LED light bulbs. Here are a few of the most important.

  • Brightness:Unlike traditional bulbs that are categorized by wattage, LED bulbs' brightness is measured in lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. For instance, if you're replacing a 60-watt incandescent bulb, you should look for an LED bulb with about 800 lumens, but this will vary from product to product.
  • Energy Efficiency:Check the lumens-per-watt rating on the bulb's packaging. The higher this number, the more energy efficient the bulb is. More efficiency means less energy consumed and, in turn, lower electricity bills.
  • Lifespan:LED bulbs usually last longer than incandescent or CFL bulbs. Look for a bulb with a rated life of at least 20,000 to 25,000 hours. You can usually find this on the packaging or in product descriptions.

What's the new light bulb rule?

In April 2022, a new regulation was passed by the Department of Energy under President Joe Biden's administration. The rule requires light bulbs to emit a minimum of 45 lumens per watt. Lumens refer to a specific measurement of brightness. That means there will be no more common incandescent bulbs in production or on sale, as they usually about 15 lumens per watt. In comparison, most LED bulbs offer 75 lumens per watt or more.

Which light bulbs are still legal?

Not all incandescent bulbs are impacted. The rule still allows several types of specialty bulbs to stay available for purchase and in production. These include fridge and oven lights, bug lamps, colored lamps, infrared lamps, plant lights, flood lights, reflector lamps, showcase lamps, and traffic signals, among others. So if you need a special type of bulb, it's probably still going to be available.

Why are incandescent bulbs being banned?

It's all in an effort to promote energy conservation. The Department of Energy estimates that U.S. consumers could save nearly $3 billion on their utility bills by ditching the older, less efficient bulbs. The transition is also expected to reduce carbon emissions by 222 million metric tons over the next three decades.

What does this mean for the bulbs you still have?

The good news is, you don't have to throw out your old bulbs -- they're not illegal to own or use. As long as your current incandescent bulbs are still working, you can keep using them. When they burn out, you can replace them with LED alternatives.

What bulbs might be banned next?

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are next on the list for a potential ban. In December 2022, the Department of Energy proposed a new rule meant to double the current minimum light bulb efficiency level to over 120 lumens per watt. If it actually comes to pass by the end of 2024, we could be seeing the same type of ban for CFL bulbs.

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Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering gaming, tech, and all things entertainment for 16 years for a variety of online and print publications. She's been covering the commerce space for nearly a decade. Follow her on Twitter at @MolotovCupcake.

Incandescent light bulb ban: The best light bulbs you can still buy (2024)


Can I still buy incandescent bulbs? ›

If you walk into a store, you won't find any of the traditional incandescent light bulbs originally patented by Thomas Edison. A federal law eliminated the sale of most incandescent and halogen lighting products.

What is the best light bulb to replace incandescent lights? ›

Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs have been around for many years, but if it has been a while since your last purchase, you may be pleasantly surprised with their quality. These bulbs use roughly ¼ as much energy as incandescent bulbs, resulting in huge cost savings for you.

Why are incandescent bulbs not the best choice for lighting? ›

LEDs operate at an impressive 80-90% efficiency, emitting light and generating minimal heat, showcasing the superiority of LED vs incandescent energy use. In contrast, incandescents lose 80-90% of their energy as heat, making them only 10-20% efficient.

What is the modern version of the incandescent light bulb? ›

Most incandescent bulbs can be replaced by fluorescent lamps, high-intensity discharge lamps, and light-emitting diode lamps (LED). Some governments have begun a phase-out of incandescent light bulbs to reduce energy consumption.

Why are there no incandescent bulbs? ›

Incandescent and halogen light bulb ban

But they've slowly been phased out thanks to the emergence of more energy efficient products, like LEDs. The end of the incandescent bulb started when former President George W. Bush signed EISA (Energy Independence and Security Act) in 2007.

How long can I buy incandescent bulbs? ›

A ban covering most incandescent bulbs in the United States took effect in 2023. Objections to replacement of incandescent lamps for general lighting mainly include the higher purchasing expense of alternative light bulbs.

Can you just replace incandescent bulbs with LED? ›

You can simply replace them with LED light bulbs without having to change anything about your lighting system. Although they were once known as energy-saving light bulbs compared to incandescent filament light bulbs, they consume more electricity than LED light bulbs and have a shorter useful life.

Should I replace incandescent bulbs with LED? ›

They can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, which reduces the frequency of replacements and lowers maintenance costs. Additionally, LED bulbs emit very little heat, making them safer to use and reducing the strain on cooling systems during warmer months.

Are incandescent bulbs better for your eyes than LED? ›

LED Lights

These innovative bulbs are less likely to cause eye strain than traditional incandescent light bulbs as they produce less heat and do not contain mercury. LEDs are regarded as a safer option for many who have dry eyes, glaucoma or other eye ailments.

What is the healthiest light bulb? ›

We suggest using incandescent or halogen bulbs throughout the day + night if you're after a greater sense of well-being. Also - unlike most harshly flickering LED or fluorescent bulbs - incandescents (and color-correct halogens like Chromalux®) will also be the healthiest type of light for your eyes!

Does anyone use incandescent bulbs? ›

As of August 2023, those “normal” lightbulbs are really, truly banned from sale in the United States. You can still install and use those bulbs, but you won't find them on shelves legally. You'll find far more efficient LED or fluorescent bulbs instead.

What are the healthiest light bulbs for your eyes? ›

Luckily, “warm light” CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) are okay for your eyes, as well as being much more efficient. They do emit UV rays, but a much smaller amount. You can also use LED bulbs or halogens.

What light bulbs last the longest? ›

Today, the longest-lasting light bulbs are primarily light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. General-purpose LED bulbs fit standard light sockets and are the most energy-efficient option. LED bulbs have a lower wattage than incandescent bulbs — meaning they use less energy — but still have the same light output.

Can I still buy incandescent bulbs in California? ›

It's Official: Stores Can No Longer Sell Most Incandescent Lights. New efficiency rules, more than a decade in the making, have taken effect, relegating Edison's glowing orbs to the history books.

Why are some light bulbs not allowed in California? ›

Lighting products are required to meet certain energy efficiency standards or they cannot be sold in California. General service lamps (GSLs) that do not meet a minimum efficacy of 45 lumens per watt (LPW) are no longer for sale in California. Beginning in 2024, most CFL products will no longer be for sale either.

Can I replace an incandescent bulb with an LED bulb? ›

You can simply replace them with LED light bulbs without having to change anything about your lighting system. Although they were once known as energy-saving light bulbs compared to incandescent filament light bulbs, they consume more electricity than LED light bulbs and have a shorter useful life.

Do people still use incandescent? ›

By 2020 only about 15% of U.S. households still used incandescent bulbs for most of their indoor lighting, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The muted reaction suggests that we have nothing to fear by phasing out other outdated and wasteful technology to fight climate change.

Where can I use incandescent light bulbs? ›

Incandescent lamps are commonly used in desk lamps, table lamps, hallway lighting, closets, accent lighting, and chandeliers. They provide good color rendering and, in fact, serve as the color standard by which all other lamps are measured. Incandescent lamps are easily dimmable.

Can you sell incandescent bulbs on eBay? ›

The sale of incandescent light bulbs on eBay or any other platform may be subject to regulations and restrictions, depending on the jurisdiction and specific marketplace policies. In many countries, there have been efforts to phase out or restrict the sale of incandescent bulbs due to their energy inefficiency.

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