Light Bulbs: Knowing the Different Types

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Light Bulbs: Knowing the Different Types

Buying a light bulb used to be a no-brainer. Now it’s a brain teaser with the array of light bulbs now available to us. Lights are one of the most significant pieces of a home and making sure each room of your house and outdoor lighting is properly lit can be a big project. Whether you are choosing custom lighting for a new construction project, or just refreshing the look of your home, you can find lights of nearly any shape and style. Bulbs range from incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, CFL and LED bulbs. They vary according to their initial cost and energy use. You must consider these factors carefully to determine the best lights to use for a particular installation.


This is the most common used light bulb because it is least expensive. These can last, on average, for 1 year. These types of light bulbs are being phased out and will no longer be produced. Basic light bulbs require new energy-efficient standards.


Fluorescent bulbs or tubes are filled with mercury that emits UV light when electricity is applied. They will not work without a ballast. These typically give a flat, cold light. They produce more light and last longer than incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs work well to light a large area like an attic or a basement


Halogen bulbs use a filament that’s heated to the point of glowing. It’s the same concept as an incandescent light bulb, but it uses less energy. Most often halogen bulbs are used in under-cabinet lighting. On average, they last about a year.

CFL Bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Bulbs)

CFL’s consume less energy than an incandescent bulb. They save up to 75% a year in energy costs and can last up to 9 years. Unlike fluorescent lights, CFL’s are quiet and can be used anywhere you would typically use an incandescent light bulb. They are less expensive than an LED bulb.

LED Bulbs (Light Emitting Diode)

LED Bulbs use an electrical current passed through semi-conductor material to illuminate the tiny light sources called LEDs. The heat is absorbed into a heat sink which keeps the bulbs cool to the touch. These do not contribute to heat buildup which helps save on air conditioning. This type of lighting is long-lasting (up to 20+ years), extremely energy-efficient, and can save up to 80% a year in energy costs.

Each light bulb has its pros and cons and certain bulbs work better in different spaces of home. Of course, you can always use a combination of these in different parts of your home according to the lighting needs in different rooms. In time, you may develop a preference, or find you like one for certain applications.