MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

Screw-base Fluorescent Lights

Tool photo.

If you spend your workday in Cube Hell, the very words "fluorescent light" might send you off screaming. But there's been a quiet revolution in compact fluorescents lately: No deathly blue pallor, no hum, no flicker. The light is warm and slightly pinkish; their form factor is a drop-in replacement for old-tech incandescent bulbs. But who would buy a $5 light bulb?

You will, once you do the math: You can save more than $50 over the lamp's lifetime in electricity. And since they last ten times as long as incandescents, you'll save a bit more on bulb replacement too. But they're best for locations where they'll stay on for a few hours — frequent on/offs can burn them out earlier than their rated lifetimes.