CFLs or Compact Fluorescent Lights came about to give the lighting efficiency of a fluorescent light strip but from the fitting of a standard light bulb.
Of late they have been greatly criticised for three main things
- too expensive (Ed…but they are not)
- contain dangerous levels of mercury (but the E.U. have a law on the mercury content to make them safe)
- slow to start (but only if you buy the cheap ones, more expensive instant light version have since been developed)
I think it is fair to say that if you switch your household lighting to CFLs you will find them to be easier on your pocket. The light is not the same as from old fashioned bulbs but they are constantly changing to meet consumer demands.
I recently saw a CFL on the shelf with a built in LED. Turn it on once CFL gives light to the whole area. Turn it on and off and on in quick succession and the LED only will light giving low light with a tiny amount of power used. Ideal for a room where the switch is on the wall opposite the door or an infants room at night. The CFL was sold in a standard bulb fitting thus no requirement to change switches or light fittings.