As of January 1, traditional 75-watt incandescent light bulbs can no longer be manufactured in the United States, continuing a national transition to more efficient lighting by 2014.

The first phase of the new federal light bulb standards, as set forth in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, went into effect last January with traditional 100-watt bulbs being phased out (though Congress de-funded the enforcement of those standards at the end of 2011). Under the regulations, all bulbs must be 27 percent more efficient. (See related post: “LED Holiday Lights Boost the Season’s Energy Efficiency.”) That means a bulb that used to use 75 watts must now use fewer than 53.

Conventional incandescent light bulbs tend to cost less up front, but waste more money and energy over the long haul. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that incandescent bulbs waste 90 percent of the electricity they use through emitted heat. On the cost front, Consumer Reports found, for example, that a $40 Philips AmbientLED bulb can save $160 in electricity and replacement bulbs when used in place of a 75-watt incandescent.

Shoppers in the U.S. are learning, via product labeling and public information efforts, to look for lumens (a measure of brightness) rather than watts (how much power the bulb uses) when buying light bulbs. (See related quiz: “What You Don’t Know About Energy-Efficient Lighting.“) The equivalent of an old 75-watt bulb produces a minimum of 1,100 lumens.

The EPA notes in a fact sheet that incandescents aren’t going away completely. Many halogen bulbs, which are incandescent, meet the new regulations (but they won’t last as long as LEDs and CFLs). To get a sense of the impact you can make by replacing traditional light bulbs with more efficient ones in your home, check out the Light Bulb Savings Calculator.


  1. Henker
    July 18, 2014, 8:48 pm

    I wanted to say “the Brighter these bulbs are the shorter the life span is”

  2. Henker
    July 18, 2014, 8:37 pm

    They fail to mention that the Bright these new bulbs are, the shorter the life span is for them. Plus they have Mercury in them which is poison and they give off some type of radiation. They say to sit at least 5 feet from them! lol

  3. Bulb man
    St. Louis, MO
    December 13, 2013, 11:33 pm

    You can still get any wattage you want – just mail order it. I use but you will always have access to incandescent bulbs. This idiotic law can be skirted; I have to because fluorescent bulbs (even the compact fluorescent ones) make me sick.

  4. D S
    March 7, 2013, 11:36 am

    CFL’s emit high amounts of RF radiation. On the other hand, incandescent bulbs are very quiet. I can’t use CFL’s near many electronic gadgets & appliances because they induce hiss, noise, or interference that can damage or hinder the performance of said equipment. Give me a CFL that meets FCC Class-B conducted & radiated emissions standards & I’ll use it! Otherwise you can keep your noisy bulbs & I’ll stick with the conventional bulb that won’t damage my TV’s, wireless receivers, audio equipment, etc.

  5. Dan M
    January 14, 2013, 5:17 pm

    Those that think this law was repealed: The 100 watt “ban” was removed in 2011, but by then the last US maker of the bulbs was already closed and production of “new” bulbs was moved to China. The newer technology makes sense in a lot of applications and can save money to an educated public.(Good old public schools!) The heavy hand of government strikes again.

  6. Lonnie
    January 13, 2013, 2:49 pm

    I am retired from the construction field. Many construction site are depressing by nature. In the past the general would string lights around the job site and individual workers would use halo light to work with. Halo lights provide heat along with a bright light which is a real comfort when working in cold weather and provides a place to warm hands and dry gloves. That is no longer the case. In the last few years light is usually provide with a low watt CFL light spaced far apart and the light lever is low and quite depressing. To compensate many workers wear really bright led lights on their forehead to every time you talk to someone the bright light blinds you and make the overall environment much darker and depressing. I am so glad I no longer have to work in that type of depressing environment.

  7. GS
    January 12, 2013, 9:54 am

    All I can say is your manufacturers must make poor CFL bulbs. We’ve been using them here for well over 20 years, have not had any flickering or buzzing despite our notoriously unstable electricity supply.
    They warm up in less than a minute and are bright enough to read by. If yours aren’t you’ve chosen the wrong strength of bulb.
    If you think things look “washed out”, you’ve chosen the wrong colour- there is cool white and warm white.
    The only ones I can recall putting in are over a year old and the only reason I know how long they’ve been there is because they are in a new addition we finished Christmas before last. I can’t recall when we replaced one of the older ones and we’ve had this house over 20 years.
    Stephen, I can’t imagine a room that needs 9 x 100W bulbs. We used to light our whole back yard with one 100W bulb. Why is a small space heater “dangerous”? If you’re so worried, why not just put on a sweater? There’s an environmentally friendly solution for you. And what do you do in summer? Put the airconditioning on no doubt, to counteract all that heat your light bulbs are putting out.
    Instead of moaning about lightbulb “rights” why don’t you agitate for the manufacturers to bring their product up to the standard we have in Australia?

  8. Mr. Gregor Hoss - Fed. Certif Electrician
    Zurich Switzerland
    January 12, 2013, 9:29 am

    Ok. We are even more ahead in this new inlighting process in my country. However; in an EMP the starter electronic is bloted out. Also, the inlighting power in cold temperature environments is far weaker than of an Edison! Finally, that with the lifespan is not true: hit an Edison and she shines forth, hit a new energy saving and she goes out. Finally in the lower shaft is produced too much heat, and that high integrated part of electronics can’t stand the heat. So too: Edison: 1,80 $ for 2 bulbs, Energy savings14$ for 1 lamp! The light emission is too diffus. The new LED have still too much blue-UV part in the spectrum. In the midle of the source they are more blinding than a halogen. Lawgivers should wait till the technique is ready. Thank you.