Australia is about to ban the sale of incandescent lightbulbs.  The replacements have a completely different look and though they can be purchased in warm or cool tones, they still are not highly visually appealing.  Like every revolution, we will get used to the changes, but a fair bit of consumer research is needed. Here’s what you need to know.

Quality of light

This gives an indication of the colour of the light. It is measured in degrees Kelvin. Incandescent bulbs give light in the 2700-3000 range and are most closely approximated by warm white energy efficient light-bulbs.  The alternatives are quite bright and cold and I must admit that to me they look like third world country bazaar lighting and impossible to read by.  Perhaps I just haven’t got the right combination yet!


Mercury is a poisonous metal and energy efficient light-bulbs contain enough mercury, in gaseous form, to make it inadvisable to dispose of them in the normal garbage. Thus 2 levels of recycling are being considered in Australian cities, the mercury to be harvested and recycled.  Kerbside recycling means that they can be recycled in a collection that takes place with your normal recycling collection, although in a separate container, and the other alternative is recycling at a special bin at the store where you buy the lightbulbs.


Not all energy efficient light-bulbs are suitable for use with dimmer switches so if this is important to you, read the packet and choose one that is.

Time to reach full brightness

Commonly, there are two levels of 5 seconds and 60 seconds.  You will notice that they improve greatly after being left on just as street lights do these days.


The running cost is the same for all of the light-bulbs. The replacement costs are around $3.50, $7, $10.50 and $14 per light-bulb, but there are presently deals through local city councils for FREE changeover.

Lifetime of bulb

The lifetime of the bulb is the total number of hours that the light-bulb is expected to last. The new bulbs have a life of  one of four levels (6000, 9000, 12000, 15000 hours) which correspond to (3, 4.5, 6 and 7.5 years) assuming 5.5 hours of use per day.


The globes are generally quite different looking from the incandescent globe we have been used to but there is a huge variety out there.  We recommend looking at a known lighting specialist shop rather than a supermarket to have the options explained for all uses including decorative lights.   Even the Christmas LED strings that were available this year are great once you get used to them and are quite inventive and pretty.  Some of the lights are not suited to common lamp fittings so take those with you when replacing bulbs.

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