Q: I have tried to use 130V bulbs as an energy-saving technique, but found that the light output was different when I compared a 60W 130V bulb and a 60W 120V bulb. The 130V 60W looks more like a 120V 40W. Is there a better way to get energy savings?
A: Yes, 130 volt bulbs are like giant tortoises … long life/low output. I normally recommend using 130V bulbs when it is a matter of maintenance, not energy efficiency. These bulbs are operating at roughly 10 percent below their wattage capacity, so they will definitely be dimmer than the stated wattage would imply. The voltage change does greatly extend the life of the bulbs. Normally, a standard household bulb lasts 750 hours. Using a 130V bulb will get you close to 2,500 hours.
There are plenty of very good LED household bulbs on the market that offer 60W equivalent illumination for 6W to 12W of power consumption. Many are dimmable and come in a variety of color temperatures. I feel confident we will be seeing LED equivalents in lumen output to the higher wattage household bulbs, with even better color rendering quality, in nine months to a year. For now, I would suggest that you go to a lighting showroom to see samples from various manufacturers and decide which one works best for you. Make sure to take a friend so you can see how the light source affects skin tone when held near that person's face.