Light bulbs come in all shapes and sizes, along with energy ratings, too. Your reading lamp doesn’t require the same bulb that your bathroom vanity or an outdoor security fixture needs. With so many different light bulbs on the market and entire store aisles devoted to them, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the best bulbs for each of your applications.
Let Mister Quik take some of the guesswork out of shopping and explain the differences between today’s most popular options.
Types of Light Bulbs
From traditional to energy efficient, you have choices when buying bulbs. We’ll highlight the most common kinds and list some pros and cons of each.
Thomas Edison would be proud to know his invention is still going strong and burning bright more than 130 years after its creation. Incandescents are the most common light bulbs on the market today. They are also the most affordable, but don’t last as long as other bulb types.
Commonly designed as long, tubular lights, fluorescent bulbs are often used in offices and other large spaces. They last longer and are brighter than incandescent bulbs but their light emitted is whiter and duller.
Compact fluorescent (CFL)
Designed to be a more energy-efficient replacement to incandescent bulbs, CFLs only use about a quarter of the energy as traditional bulbs and last a lot longer, too. Because of this, CFLs generally cost more, and since they contain small amounts of mercury they can be toxic if broken or disposed of improperly.
Light-emitting diode (LED)
LED technology is a newer take on light bulbs, and creates a bulb that is both ultra energy-efficient and very long-lasting. Since LEDs only emit light in one direction, they are great for task lighting. Some bulbs have large clusters of LEDs facing many directions, but these bulbs are far more expensive than their incandescent ancestors.
Light Bulb Colors
We typically think of bulb light as white, but there are many variations of the color emitted from bulbs.
- Soft white – A popular hue found in most incandescent bulbs. It is warm with a yellow glow.
- Bright white – A colder variation of the common soft white hue. As its name implies, bright white features less yellow in the color.
- Daylight – This describes the color of most fluorescent bulbs. It is a harsh, cold white that mimics natural daylight, and may have a hint of blue in the color.
- Clear – Clear bulbs do not have frosted glass and therefore emit much brighter light.
- Colored – Party bulbs come in a variety of colors as well as black.
Other Light Bulb Considerations
From light bulb shape to those little letters and numbers printed on the bulbs themselves, here are some things to consider when shopping.
- Wattage – This number describes how much energy a light bulb uses when turned on. For example, a 100W bulb will consume 100 watts of energy in an hour. Likewise, a 60W bulb will use 60 watts in an hour.
- Lumens – The standard measurement for the brightness of a light bulb. A 75W bulb has a brightness output of about 1,100 lumens.
- Life – Light bulb boxes are required to state the estimated life of a bulb. This number will be listed in years, and is based on three hours of light bulb use per day.
- Shape – You have probably noticed the many different light bulb shapes at the store. Standard, twist, blunt, reflector, candle, parabolic, globe… the list goes on and on. Different shapes are designed for different fixtures and applications. Base shapes typically come in medium and candelabra sizes. Medium bases screw into standard 1-inch sockets, and candelabra bases fit smaller sockets.
This information should help answer most of the questions you have about light bulbs. For more electrical assistance, feel free to contact Mister Quik online or by telephone. Our expert electricians are more than happy to help!