Light Bulbs

Info about light bulbs for a variety of lighting styles

There are many different types of light bulbs available today, but sometimes, only one will do. Most often, your light bulb choice is determined by your existing light fixtures, but if you're buying new ones, it can be helpful to know about the different types of bulbs available in advance.

Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent bulbs (or compact fluorescent bulbs, which are most commonly used) were formerly associated with "cold, blue" light, but nowadays, they produce a much softer white light that is more suitable for home lighting. Their main selling point is that they use 60 to 80 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, which means you could see big savings on your energy bill. Plus, they have a much longer lifespan, which means even without the energy savings, and even with the slightly higher cost per bulb, you might still be saving money.

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Types of Light Bulbs

Incandescent Light Bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs are recognizable by their balloon shape and the line of filament running inside the globe. They are still the most common bulbs in houses today and are the cheapest bulbs available. However, due to their short lifespan and their lack of energy efficiency, they are slowly being replaced by other sources, such as compact fluorescent bulbs.

Halogen Bulbs

Halogen light bulbs are a form of incandescent bulb, but are a lot brighter. They're also more efficient and generally last longer than traditional bulbs. Halogen bulbs are most commonly used in head lights and flood lights because they are so bright, but they can be used in the house as well, especially for entryways or around staircases where you may need brighter light.

LED Bulbs

Light Emitting Diode or LED bulbs are practical for their long life and the fact that their casing is made from plastic, not glass. They are also an energy saver, which makes them great for your home. Unfortunately, most lighting fixtures aren't equipped to take LED bulbs, so for now, you may only find use for them in night lights or rope lighting.

Full-Spectrum Light Bulbs

You probably won't have much need for full-spectrum light bulbs in your home, but it's handy to know what they are. These light bulbs are used to simulate natural sunlight and can be beneficial for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or low mood. They produce a clean, slightly bluish light, similar to daylight.

Choosing the Right Light Bulb

Some lighting fixtures are able to take many kinds of light bulbs, but many are restricted to just one kind. Using the wrong kind is actually quite dangerous, as it can cause the lighting fixture to short-circuit or cause the bulb to explode.

Before you buy light bulbs, be sure to read the information about the type of bulb your lighting fixture requires. You'll also need to know the optimal bulb wattage in order to use your lamp safely and efficiently. This information can typically be found on the box or on a sticker attached to the light or its power cord, but if you can't find it, be sure to consult an expert before trying any bulb.