(MOBILE, Ala.) - The new year means lights out for 75-watt incandescent light bulbs. The government is gradually phasing out all models of the bulbs in favor of more energy efficient ones.
"90 percent of the energy that the bulb generates is wasted," says Celia Kuperszmid-Lehrman of Consumer Reports, "So what they replaced them with are much more energy efficient bulbs."
So what's the alternative? We checked in with our local Lowe's store to find out. Assistant Store Manager Tim Smith says compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs are our best bet.
"The fluorescent will last quite a bit longer, they're only a little bit more expensive," Smith says, "With the LED, they last even longer, put out the same amount of light and the same quality of light as an incandescent."
The good news is both types of bulb will save you money on your power bill in the long run. The bad news is there's quite a price difference up front.
Incandescent bulbs go for less than $1 a piece. We found a four-pack for $1.28. A four-pack of CFLs is around $14, and a single LED bulb can cost as much as $25.
"Fluorescents have come down quite a bit since they were introduced," Smith says, "and the LED is going to be the most expensive, but that's also your best light bulb."
It is now illegal to import or produce 75 watt incandescent bulbs in the U.S., however you can still buy them while existing supplies last. 100 watt bulbs were phased out starting last year, and 40 and 60 watt bulbs will be taken out of production in 2014.