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This paper focuses on performance variations associated with lamp geometry and distribution in portable table luminaires. If correctly retrofit with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), these high use fixtures produce significant energy savings, but if misused, these products could instead generate consumer dissatisfaction with CFLs. It is our assertion that the lumen distribution of the light source within the luminaires plays a critical role in total light output, fixture efficiency and efficacy, and, perhaps most importantly, perceived brightness. We studied nearly 30 different integral (screw-based) CFLs available on the market today in search of a lamp, or group of lamps, which work best in portable table luminaires. Our findings conclusively indicate that horizontally oriented CFLs outperform all other types of CFLs in nearly every aspect.