Types of light bulbs.
  • Category:
    Home Energy Savings
  • Published:
    September 8, 2023

Types of Light Bulbs: Everything You Need to Know

Given the different types of light bulbs, you have more choices than ever. Five different kinds of light bulbs are widely available for many light types. This guide has the details about each of the light bulb types, their advantages and best uses.

LED (Light Emitting Diode)

LEDs are a popular choice because they are:

  • Extremely energy efficient. They use 90% less energy than traditional bulbs. To get the same light as a 60-watt incandescent, an LED uses only 8 watts.
  • Longer lifespan. LED bulbs have an impressive lifespan, lasting roughly 30 times longer than comparable incandescent bulbs.
  • Coming down in price. Inexpensive LEDs are about $3.
  • Recyclable. 95% of an LED bulb can be reused. Many big box stores and waste management companies offer light bulb recycling drop-off.
  • Versatile. LEDs provide bright light for kitchens and mood lighting for dining rooms. They are also great for using outside.

Long lasting and durable, LEDs don’t contain dangerous chemicals, making them even more environmentally friendly. They produce much less heat, so you won’t challenge your air conditioner. With so many types of LED lights, your options are nearly endless.

CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp)

Among alternative types of light bulbs are CFL bulbs. The CFL vs. LED bulb debate is ongoing. Light bulb differences are in how they work. In a CFL bulb, electrical current flows through and reacts with mercury vapor to produce light. Benefits include:

  • Efficiency. CFL bulbs use 60 to 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
  • Long lasting. They may last up to 20,000 hours.
  • Affordable. Prices are in line with incandescent bulbs.
  • Recyclable. Nearly every part of a CFL can be recycled. Look for a certified recycling facility.
  • Ideal for long use. These light types are suited for areas that must be lit for long periods. Turning them on and off shortens their lifespans.

Consider the differences between LED and CFL lighting. Their biggest drawback is the mercury they contain, which is toxic. They don’t work well in cold or humid environments.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs and Tubes

Standard fluorescent lights come in tubes and specialized shapes.

  • Fluorescent lights are 4 to 6 times more energy-efficient than incandescents.
  • If used properly, they will last 10 to 20 times longer than a comparable incandescent light source.
  • Prices vary depending on size and configuration, from between $7 and $12.
  • They are often used in offices, hospitals, factories and libraries that need bright light and cost efficiency.

Most fluorescent lights are tubes. They are a more efficient choice than incandescent bulbs, but they are not as energy efficient as LEDs.

Incandescent Light Bulbs

One of the oldest types of light bulb is the incandescent light. Electricity flows through a filament that gets very hot and glows to produce light.

  • Most of the energy used by incandescents is wasted as heat, making these bulbs very inefficient.
  • The typical light bulb will burn for 1,000 to 1,200 hours.
  • Of all the light bulb types, they are the cheapest, running about $1.50 each.
  • They work nearly anywhere, but be careful, as the heat they produce can damage some materials and risk a fire.

Though incandescent bulbs are inexpensive to buy, they can cost in the long run. You will likely pay more for energy and may have to replace them more often.

Halogen Light Bulbs

No list of different kinds of light bulbs would be complete without mentioning halogen light bulbs. They are like incandescent bulbs, burning a tungsten filament to produce light. Features include:

  • Better energy efficiency, producing 16 to 29 lumens for each watt, compared to the 12 to 18 lumens of regular incandescent bulbs.
  • Halogen bulbs last more than twice as long as incandescent lights — between 2,500 and 4,000 hours.
  • These bulbs cannot usually be recycled. The halogen vapor is toxic, so be careful not to break the bulb.
  • If you have a large and open space to light, halogen bulbs are a good option. Use care, however, as these bulbs get extremely hot.

If you are looking for a light that also provides warmth, halogen lights are a good option.

What are the Most Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs?

What are the most energy efficient light bulbs?

LEDs are the most energy-efficient of all types of light bulbs. They last longer, keeping them out of landfills. Manufacturers are quickly developing new styles to make these light fixture bulbs extremely versatile.

CFLs are a good second choice, especially if you are on a budget. Check your local regulations as some jurisdictions are banning them due to the mercury issue.

What to Look For When Buying a Light Bulb

With so many new technologies, buying replacement bulbs can be confusing. Here are the considerations to keep in mind.

How to Choose Color Temperature for Light Bulbs

Light bulbs are marked with a color temperature, measured in Kelvin.

  • Warm White. Soft white bulbs offer a familiar warm light between 2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin. This cozy kind of light works in bedrooms, dens and dining rooms.
  • Soft White. When you want warm and welcoming light, such as in bathrooms for putting on makeup or in living rooms for reading, try soft white between 3,000 and 2,500 Kelvin.
  • Bright White. For seeing well and staying alert, such as in an office or kitchen, bulbs over 4,000 Kelvin are ideal. Sometimes called “cool white,” they include more of the ultraviolet spectrum.
  • Daylight. These specialty bulbs mimic sunlight at 5,000 or more Kelvin. They are used mostly in commercial buildings and factories, hospitals, and in high security situations.

Understanding Lumens (Brightness of a Bulb)

Lumens are an accurate measure of brightness. A 40-watt bulb puts out 450 lumens, equivalent to an 8-watt LED light. A 100-watt incandescent bulb puts out 1,600 lumens, as does a 20-watt LED bulb.

Understanding Light Bulb Bases

Different types of light bulbs have different bases. Many fluorescent and halogen bulbs have pins. Others screw in. The most common size is medium at 26 mm. Narrower bases at 17 mm are called intermediate. A chandelier or a fan may take a 12 mm base. Bring a light bulb with you to help pick out the right light bulb types.

Benefits of Smart Light Bulbs

Smart light bulbs connect to your smart home system or an app on your phone. Program them to turn on and off and control them remotely. Smart lighting for home energy savings works by optimizing their usage and can offer greater convenience.

Learn More Energy Saving Tips for Your Home

With all the light bulb differences available, you have many choices, and you can enjoy greater energy efficiency. Learn more with these energy saving tips that can make a difference.

Sources for image:

  • https://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact%20Sheet_Lighting%20Technologies.pdf
  • https://mn.gov/commerce-stat/pdfs/bulbs.pdf

Get Pricing on Electricity or Natural Gas Plans in Your Area

Whatever your energy needs are, we've got a plan for you

Comments ( 0 )

Your email address will not be published.

  • |

Get Pricing on Energy Plans in Your Area