How to choose LED CFL Replacements (Compact Fluorescent Lamps)

LED CFL Replacements

CFL bulbs or compact fluorescent bulbs are a little trickier to replace with LED bulbs because you have to make sure you have the correct base/pin configuration.  You also want to make sure you get the color output you want because there may be more than one available.  Light bulbs coloring is measured by Kelvin temperature, so you may see a number like 4100K or 41K which means that the bulb is a cool white color.  The lower the Kelvin number, the warmer or “pinker” the bulb output color will look, and the higher the number the “whiter” it will look.  For example, a 2700K or 27K bulb is considered a warm color, and is usually the fluorescent replacement for the old style incandescent bulbs.  This is all a preference, but most people think the whiter the color, the brighter the bulb will be.  This is not always the case because you need to look at the lumens.  A lumen is a measure of the total “amount” of visible light emitted by a source.  Sometimes the cool and warm bulbs will have the same lumens which means they actually give off the same amount of light.

GX23-2 Base Bulbs

A CF13 (13 watt) fluorescent quad lamp with two pins has a GX23-2 base and the bulb looks like this:Quad13 CFL w/2-pin base


A really nice CF13 2-pin LED replacement like this one is available at  It is available in a 2700K warm color, or a 4000K cool color, and even a nice 5000K daylight color.

G24q-1 Base Bulbs

A CF13 (13 watt) with 4-pins has a G24q-1 base and looks like this:Quad 13 4-pin w/base


A CF13 4-pin LED replacement would have a G24q-1 base, and is also available in three different Kelvin colors.

G24q-2 Base Bulbs

A CF18 (18 watt) with 4-pins has a G24q-2 base and looks like this:Quad18 4-pin w/base


This is a nice CF18 4-pin LED replacement, which comes in additional colors as well.

G24q-3 Base Bulbs

A CF26 (26 watt) AND a CF32 (32 watt) with 4-pins both have a G24q-3 base and look like this:Quad26 4-pin w/base


If you have a CF26 or a CF32 bulb and you want an LED replacement, you could go with something like this at  If your application is a recessed can, you might consider going with a vertical style LED replacement in 2700K.  This LED replacement is also available in 3500K and 4000K.

vertical led cfl

If you’re looking for information on replacing LED T8 tubes, check out my LED T8 Tube Replacements page.

2 thoughts on “How to choose LED CFL Replacements (Compact Fluorescent Lamps)”

  1. So this is a little off topic of your post, but I have a question. We have LED CFL bulbs, but what is the material inside of the glass part of the bulb? I’ve heard that if they break, the gas inside is very harmful if inhaled. So I’m always really nervous when I’m handling them incase they could be harmful. But maybe I’m wrong. Let me know, thanks!

    • Hi Sarah,

      The older style CFL bulbs have phosphors and mercury inside and should be handled with care if broken. LED bulbs are much safer because they do not contain mercury. You would have to break thousands of CFL bulbs to have any adverse reactions to them. I wouldn’t purposely inhale near broken LED bulbs, but they aren’t dangerous in small quantities.


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