Philips Genie E-Saver

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Genie E-saver compact fluorescent lamps having integrated 220-240V ballasts with E14 and E27 bases


  • Triphosphor internal coating (similar to Super 80 lamps)
  • E14 or E27 base
  • Color rendering index Ra of 76 to 82
  • Typical lifetime of 6.000 hour
  • Luminous efficacy of 47 to 61 lumens/watt
  • Two white appearances (2700 and 6500 K colour temperature)
  • Universal operating position

Lamp control gear

  • Not required

Philips Genie E-Saver 18W

Best retro purpose

Flourescent lamps are the most popular and widely used lighting source. Still widely used in most indoor environments due to their high efficiency and very good colour reproduction, flourescent lamp stocks and availability is still high. Millions of these lamps have been produced worldwide for decades. They are clearly suited for indoor lighting especially when paired with an electronic ballast that eliminates flicker and also increases system efficiency. Due to the great variety of lamps, there are some suggestions for use. Most flourescent lamps operate well at 25 degrees Celsius ambient temperature and have very low light output in freezing or below freezing environments but hot environments also reduce efficiency.

Genie E-saver lamps are usable as classic light sources although they do not have any particular feature. Since they were cheaply built and mass market produced, they do not have any feature that was not covered by LED lamps or previous incandescent lamps. This is why they are not really suited for retro applications. On the other side, the lamps themselves do not have any design flaw or energy efficiency shortcoming. If used, on indoor or outdoor applications, for whatever reasons, fixtures should not be fully enclosed, as it prematurely damages the lamp's internal components. Due to the lamp's low power rating, probably indoor lighting is better suited.

Understanding manufacturer data

Lamp light output is always measured in lumens. This is a way of measuring by averaging light output at a distance of 1 meter in an integrating sphere. This was carried out in lab environments and this information was mentioned in lamp datasheets and catalogues. While this information is accurate it should be considered only across similar lamp types.

Lamp life is presented in thousands of hours. It does not point at a specific moment when an installed lamp will not operate anymore but a statistical point at which some of the lamps may not operate, giving a rough estimate of useful life.

Ra8 colour rendering index, or simply colour rendering index is a way of expressing the typical colour rendering capability of a lamp. While it may be non-intuitive this is a computed average of brightness of certain coloured samples that are light by the lamp. The brighter they are, the more efficient is the lamp in this task. Most lamps do not have a continuous colour spectra so only some specific colours might look very bright and others look very dull. Colour samples are not intense reds, greens and blues but intermediately vivid colours that are focused on human skin colours and some fabrics or surfaces, meaning that a only very high colour rendering indexes are desirable for indoor home lighting. Sun light renders colours almost perfectly, having a value of 100 while typical lamps have a rendering index between 50 and 80, a good value being above 80 and a poor one below 50.

Colour temperature is another important detail. The value is presented in Kelvins and follows a theory that boils down to the fact that light can be produced by heating a metal up to a specific temperature. A camp fire releases light as the flame reaches around 1500-2000 degrees Celsius and a slightly higher value expressed in Kelvin. The designation is warm white for a value of around 2700 Kelvin, natural white with a value of around 3200-3500 Kelvin, cool white for a value of around 4000-4500 Kelvin, daylight for a value between 5000 and 5500 Kelvin, and cool daylight for a value above 6000-6500 Kelvin. There are cultural preferences that make some warm colour temperatures preferred in colder climates and cool colour temperatures in warmer climates. The most popular home lighting worldwide is mostly warm white, due to a comfortable, pleasant atmosphere that is close to the old incandescent lamp.

Technical details

Designation Base Lamp wattage Luminous flux Colour appearance Colour Temperature Colour Rendering Index (Ra8) Life (to 50% failures)
Genie E-Saver 5W/827 E14/E27 5 W 259 lm Incandescent White 2700 K 82 6000 hours
Genie E-Saver 5W/865 E14 5 W 235 lm Cool Daylight 6500 K 76 6000 hours
Genie E-Saver 8W/827 E14/E27 8 W 420 lm Incandescent White 2700 K 82 6000 hours
Genie E-Saver 8W/865 E27 8 W 400 lm Cool Daylight 6500 K 76 6000 hours
Genie E-Saver 11W/827 E14/E27 11 W 600 lm Incandescent White 2700 K 82 6000 hours
Genie E-Saver 11W/865 E27 11 W 570 lm Cool Daylight 6500 K 76 6000 hours
Genie E-Saver 14W/827 E14/E27 14 W 810 lm Incandescent White 2700 K 82 6000 hours
Genie E-Saver 14W/865 E27 14 W 760 lm Cool Daylight 6500 K 76 6000 hours
Genie E-Saver 18W/827 E27 18 W 1100 lm Incandescent White 2700 K 82 6000 hours
Genie E-Saver 18W/865 E27 18 W 1040 lm Cool Daylight 6500 K 76 6000 hours

Durability and Repair-ability

Due to their construction, these lamps are not serviceable in the true sense. The lamp itself cannot be plugged in and out of the base, to allow simple replacements. While some board repairs can be done if the ballast experiences failure, the most likely cause is the lamp itself burning out, meaning that fillaments are so damaged that the lamp behaves erratically or does not work at all. The lamp's fillaments can be joined to allow forced lamp starting although success varies on the actual lamp condition.

Philips Genie E-Saver lamps have some useful life left, especially as the starting method is quite harsh on electrodes if the lamp is frequently switched on and off. The lamp's ballast is quite difficult to access but considerably more durable than typical Chinese unbranded or no-name lamps. Operation in enclosed fixtures still is the biggest premature failure cause due to the high stress posed by high temperature operation, mainly in the case of the internal ballast components.

Greatest features & flaws

Features Flaws
Low glare risk, uniform lighting Quite large lamps and fixtures
Good colour rendering Fragile construction
Mostly suited for directional light Sensitive to operating temperature
Instant lamp start and restart, inexpensive Frequent switching wears the lamp


Genie E-Saver lamps were very cheaply made incandescent replacement lamps. There was no real advantage to using such lamps over incandescent types other than lower energy consumption. Due to the lamp's mediocre build quality there were many issues with shorter than average lamp life, especially for lamps produced late in 2000s in China, when competition centered mostly on cost. While it is true that these lamps served their purpose, they were not appreciated as light quality was nowhere near the lamps they replaced while, relatively soon, LED lamps were available. This product range was considered by users mostly an unwanted transition solution to the energy crisis of the 1970s.


The lamp's operation is straightforward, as no gear is required and the lamp can be directly plugged into the mains. On the other side, dimmer switches designed for classic incandescent lamps (almost all classic mains voltage dimmers operate as such) should be avoided as they cannot reliably operate the lamp and they increase the failure rate of it due to additional stress. Just as well, classic light switches with a neon probe lamp should not be used as their low leakage current through the lamp creates potential cycling of the lamp every few seconds. If many lamps are operated on a circuit, such as 10 or more higher powered ones, keep in mind that the circuit load or apparent power is much higher than what the sum of wattages might suggest, due to no power factor correction. This also means that lamps have some small radio interference since they are unshielded and not built to handle these emissions in any way.


Due to their low power and light output, these lamps are mostly suited for indoor use even if some cool daylight lamps may be particularly suited as accent light with good results on foliage and vegetation.

Closed as well as open fixtures are very well suited for any lamp type. In general, open fixtures are better suited for lamps operating in warmer indoor environments while enclosed fixtures are better suited for colder environments.


Compact fluorescent lamps with integrated ballasts were designed as a more energy efficient product that replaced incandescent lamps. Although there was another competing technology in late 70s that could have prospects as energy saving lamps, the small metal hallide lamps, the flourescent lamp won in the end. Flicker, colour variations, slow start and especially long delays on the restart made low power metal hallide lamps as entirely unsuitable. Also, there was the issue of cost and tighter manufacturing tolerances that made metal hallide lamps very expensive compared with incandescent lamps. The research on compact fluorescent lamps was centered on miniaturization of the lamp and integrated ballast while keeping a reasonably moderate efficiency. Tubes could be made slimmer if the flourescent coating could operate at higher temperature and avoid absorbing mercury so development was not entirely straightforward. Development of more powerful green an blue phosphorus than the standard halo phosphates was essential, while a good red phosphorus of Yttrium/Vanadium was already available from research on cathode ray tube high efficiency red emitting powders. In the end, cost was extremely important.

While this lamp generally follows the typical progress of flourescent light sources, there is one major feature that was specific to this range. In late 1980s, a compact flourescent lamp was designed, the venerable SL. It was the first product to use a magnetic ballast and starter that were integrated into a rather bulky base. The lamp had a noticeable hum and flicker but it brought major advantages in terms of energy efficiency in replacing typical incandescent lamps. In the 1990s, compact lamps received an improved electronic ballast that improved lamp's efficiency and lifetime, with no visible flicker. This development lead to later mass market popularity of compact fluorescent lamps, as they were more compact and slightly more pleasant to use. Of course, there was also a downside. Philips noticed that lamp replacements at the end of their useful life was not popular due to the typical user mindset so Philips did not bother to create, from that point further, lamps that had separate bases and lamps, reducing user mistakes upon replacement.

As all compact fluorescent lamps were ultimately an economy prospect to replace consumer's incandescent lamps, price was the most the important factor. This lamp's design was slightly changed over the years as tubes having a lower diameter were used and this brought a modest improvement in light maintenance, useful life and efficiency. The compact fluorescent lamp market was increasing up until the early 2000s, when most incandescent fixtures were replaced, and it slowly declined with the transition towards led lighting. The worldwide incandescent bulb ban had a major impact in increasing sales but in a slightly different way: users simply purchased lower quality bulbs or cheaper integrated compact flourescent lamps, meaning that there was little incentive in the design improvement except manufacturing cost savings.

Manufacturing specificities

Philips flourescent lamps had very good manufacturing tolerances and the lamp's construction along with flourescent powder quality made reliable, predictable operation entirely ensured. However, the lamp's build was significantly worse when production switched to China in late 2000s as lamps' service lifetime was significantly reduced even if catastrophic failure were never as common as on cheap unbranded Chinese products. This can be attributed to a lack of interest in maintaining a specific product design when most of the market was interested in cheaper products and competition centered on even more volume. Of course, this had a major drawback as there are still, as of today, massive amounts of unsold stock.

Philips lamps were capable of similar performance to other world manufacturers. However, some slight differences were noticeable. For instance, Philips had slightly less powerful red phosporus than Osram, which means that entirely equivalent lamps from both manufacturers had slightly different colour appearance. On the other side, Chinese branded lamps were much inferior in terms of flourescent powder quality and colour reproduction as well as efficiency and service life.