The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Choosing the right light bulb is just as important as choosing your light fixture or shade as they can give your room ambience and character. This guide highlights the key things to consider to help you choose the perfect bulbs for your home.

Which cap fitting do you need?

The instructions on your lamp or light fitting will tell you the style of cap fitting to choose. Make sure you check this carefully as the wrong cap fitting will not work in your light.

B22 Bayonet cap

B15 Small bayonet cap

E27 Edison screw cap

E14 Small Edison screw cap

GU10 Spotlight cap

Choosing the technology

The three main technologies for light bulbs are Halogen, Energy Saving (CFL) and LED. They all have different lifespans and energy saving abilities, so here’s a short guide on the differences between them.

  • 30% energy saving*
  • 2 year lifespan**
  • Instant, crisp, bright light
  • 80% energy saving*
  • 10 year lifespan**
  • Warm, soft, diffused light
  • 90% energy saving*
  • 25 year lifespan**
  • Instant, crisp, bright light

*Compared against traditional incandescent bulbs
**Based on average usage of 1000 hours per year (3 hours per day)

Select the brightness level

Lumens vs Wattage

Wattage is the amount of power needed to light a bulb. Lumens refer to the level of brightness that the bulb produces.

Traditionally, a higher wattage always meant a brighter bulb. However, due to the introduction of newer technologies (Halogen, Energy Savers (CFL) and LED), you can now produce the same amount of light using far less energy (wattage) and money. To know how much light a bulb produces, we now use lumens to measure brightness.

Although lumens and wattage do not directly correlate, the below table will give you a good indication of which bulb you need.

A helpful example:

To find a bulb that produces the same amount of light as an old 60W bulb, you will need any one of the below:

LED 10W bulb
Energy Saving (CFL) 15W bulb
Halogen 42W bulb

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Warm or cold light?

Shown in units called Kelvin (K), ‘colour temperature’ determines whether light bulbs produce warm or cold light.

Bulbs with a low Kelvin value produce a warm yellow light that’s great for creating a cosy ambience.

Bulbs with a higher Kelvin value produce a cool blue light that’s more energising.

For example, the colour temperature of candlelight is around 2000K, while bright sunlight is about 6000K. LED lights have a colour temperature between 2700 and 3000K, Halogen around 2800K and energy saving lights between 2700 and 6500K.

The Kelvin value of a bulb is usually marked on the packaging, along with a simple description such as ‘warm white’ or ‘cool white’.

LEDs, CFLs, fluorescents and incandescents: learn where each bulb works best.

Related To:

Each light bulb has its pros and cons, and certain bulbs work better in different spaces of a home. Our light buying guide takes a deeper look at the different bulbs to see where each should be used.

LED Lights

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

These days, it’s hard to tell LED bulbs from incandescents. In this photo, the bulb on the far right is an 18-year-old incandescent. The other two are LEDs.

These days, it’s hard to tell LED bulbs from incandescents. In this photo, the bulb on the far right is an 18-year-old incandescent. The other two are LEDs.

LED stands for “light-emitting diode.” This lighting technology is extremely energy-efficient, and it’s the one you’re most likely to find at the store these days. LEDs can provide both directional and diffused light, making them great for under-counter task lighting as well as overall room illumination. Prices are competitive with most other energy-efficient technologies, but LEDs are still more expensive than many task-specific incandescent bulbs such as nightlights and appliance lights. While these bulbs usually last longer than incandescents, non-dimmable bulbs may burn out more quickly in areas with frequent power fluctuations. As such, you may want to err on the safe side and purchase dimmable bulbs. In addition, you can now find WiFi-enabled LED bulbs that work with Google Home, Alexa and other “smart” devices that allow you to brighten and dim lights – and even change their colors – just by speaking.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Chances are, you use light bulbs every single day, but have you ever thought about the science behind them? What started as a simple glass orb with a filament inside (thanks, Thomas Edison!) has now evolved into a surprisingly diverse and somewhat complex series of products. But don’t worry if you need help navigating the options—we’re here to help break down the different types of light bulbs you probably use throughout your house, from the various gases inside the glass to the shapes of the bulbs themselves.

Types of Light Bulbs

1. Incandescent

The original electric light bulb as developed by Thomas Edison and his contemporaries in the mid-to-late 19th century, incandescent bulbs are made of glass with a gas like argon plus a tungsten filament inside. Light is produced when an electrical current runs through the filament and causes it to glow. While incandescent light is known to be very flattering on skin (use it in your bathroom vanities!), these bulbs are not very energy efficient at all. In fact, Congress passed an act in 2007 to promote more energy-efficient lighting, which has killed the production of standard 40-to-100-watt incandescent bulbs. Now incandescent bulbs come in far lower wattage models, varying in shape, size, and styles. (P.S. Ever-trendy Edison bulbs fall into this category.)

Globe Electric 60-Watt Incandescent S60, Home Depot, $4.97 BUY NOW

2. Standard Fluorescent

Fluorescent light bulbs are often recognized by their long, tubular forms. While you’re more likely to see them in offices and stores than in private homes, you might also use them personally in your garage, basement, or workshop. They produce light when the mercury vapor inside their glass tubes is ionized through an electrical charge, and they’re known for their long lifespans—several years on average.

CW 13-Watt T5 Fluorescent Cool White 4100K, Amazon, $14.89, BUY NOW

3. Compact Fluorescent (CFL)

Like their brethren, CFL light bulbs emit light when their mercury gas is ionized, but they have a small twisted shape that’s easier to use in a household setting rather than a long tubular one. The pro to CFLs: They use far less energy than incandescent light bulbs. The cons: They emit a harsh light, they’re more expensive than incandescent bulbs (though they do last longer), and they do contain mercury, which means they’re toxic if they break.

EcoSmart 14 Watt (Four-Pack), Walmart, $19.99 BUY NOW

4. Halogen

Coming in somewhere between incandescent bulbs and fluorescent ones on the energy-efficiency spectrum, halogen bulbs produce an artificial light that’s most similar to natural light, which is certainly better for your health. They function very similarly to incandescent light bulbs in that they feature a glass bulb filled with gas and a tungsten filament that glows when electricity is introduced. But the difference is the gas—incandescents commonly use argon, while halogens use halogen (duh!). The downside is that they get incredibly hot, so they’re best used in limited-use settings, like floodlights outside your garage or in your backyard.

Flood Light Bulb (Two-Pack), Home Depot, $9.97 BUY NOW

5. Light-Emitting Diode (LED)

The most energy-efficient light bulb of them all, LEDs function a bit differently than their filament-burning compatriots. They produce light through semiconductors, or materials that are not as conductive as things like metal, but more conductive than insulators like rubber. It’s pretty technical, but the gist is that LEDs don’t require nearly as much energy to work, they have long lifespans (somewhere around a decade!), and they don’t emit much heat at all. Use them anywhere you’d use an incandescent bulb in your house, i.e., everywhere!

LED Light Bulb Soft White (Four-Pack), Walmart, $5 BUY NOW

6. Smart Bulbs

Pretty much everything in your home can be “smart” these days, and that includes light bulbs. Smart bulbs are usually LED lights, with the added benefit of being WiFi-enabled, meaning you can control them remotely via an app or an AI like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. As you might expect, they’re usually quite expensive.

Smart LED Bulb (Two-Pack), Best Buy, $90 BUY NOW

Shapes of Light Bulbs

1. A Group (Traditional)

Picture a light bulb in your head. You’re probably imagining a pear-shaped bulb with a metallic screw base—that’s an A-Group light bulb (the A stands for arbitrary), otherwise known as a classic light bulb. They’re perfect to use all over your house, especially in lamps.

A19 Filament LED Light Bulb Daylight (4-Pack), HomeDepot, $10 BUY NOW

2. G Group (Globe)

Similar to A-Group light bulbs, the G-Group bulbs, also known as globe light bulbs, have a rounded form, but they lack the thick “stem” that connects to their screw base. Use them in ornamental lighting, such as in a chandelier or atop your bathroom vanity.

Aooshine G25 LED Bulb, 50W Incandescent Bulb Equivalent, Amazon, $14 BUY NOW

3. B Group and C Group (Flame/Candle)

Almost exclusively used for decorative lighting, B-Group (blunt-tip) and C-Group (conical) light bulbs are shaped like flames. As you might imagine, they’re best suited for light fixtures that emulate candelabras, though they’re also found in things like Christmas lights.

Bioluz LED 60 Watt Candelabra Bulbs (Six-Pack), Amazon, $25 BUY NOW

4. BR Group (Bulge Reflector)

Bulge reflector light bulbs have—you guessed it—a bulbed shape lined with a super reflective material to help direct the light emitted. As such, they’re great for floodlights or recessed lighting.

Philips Color and Tunable White BR30 LED, Home Depot, $13 BUY NOW

5. MR Group (Multifaceted Reflector)

Multifaceted reflector light bulbs are akin to bulge-reflector bulbs in that they have a reflective interior. They’re commonly used for track lighting, accent lighting (say, in a display case), or outdoor path lights.

MR16 Dimmable Bright White Reflector Appliance (2-Pack), Lowe’s, $12 BUY NOW

6. PAR Group (Parabolic Aluminized Reflector)

Yep—another light bulb with a reflector. The “parabolic” in its name refers to the fact that it uses a U-shaped reflector to focus light in a given direction. These light bulbs were originally used for car headlights, but they can now be found in or on houses as floodlights or accent lights.

Simba Lighting 39PAR20 (Four-Pack), Amazon, $16 BUY NOW

7. T Group (Tube)

Probably the most self-explanatory of all the light bulb shapes, T-group light bulbs are tubular rather than round. They can be incandescent or fluorescent and are often used as overhead lighting or in appliances.

LED Bulbs are energy efficient and long lasting. They use up to 90% less energy than traditional bulb sources which significantly reduces waste and saves money in the long term. They are proven to last longer than that of a traditional halogen bulb, lasting up to 15,000 hours which is 8 x longer than halogen. All of our lights which require LED have a recommended bulb type on the product page.

Smart bulbs

LED bulbs that you control remotely from your smart device through wifi or bluetooth. You can set timers, turn your lights on and off and with some bulbs, create the perfect lighting level and colours to suit your mood. A number of smart bulbs can also be controlled with your voice, working with products such as Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit devices for hands-free voice control.


Halogen is being phased out in most light bulb types (excluding specialist bulbs), due to being energy inefficient. Where applicable, you will find the recommended LED bulb type on the product page.

Lumens, Kelvins & Watts


Lumens refers to the brightness of the light bulb. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light bulb.

Lighting a room will take roughly 800 Lumens, depending on the size of the room. A lower number will create a soft, ambient atmosphere.

Watts are no longer used to correlate with the brightness but as an approximate guide:

1600 Lumens = 100W
1100 Lumens = 75W
800 Lumens = 60W
450 Lumens = 40W


Kelvins are a measurement of the light bulb’s colour temperature. A low kelvin value produces a warm yellow light, while a higher value produces a cool blue light.

Less than 3000K produces warm light. 2700-3000K is the standard range for indoor lighting. 3000-4500K gives a neutral white light which is good for workspaces and offices. More than 4500K produces a cool white light or daylight effect, which is good for reading.


Watts are no longer the measurement used for brightness. Instead, please refer to Lumens. Watts referred to how much energy a light bulb uses. The higher the wattage, the more energy it needs.

Lighting products are still tested to an original incandescent or tungsten wattage which is why many products still have a ‘Max Tested Wattage’ label.

Need some help purchasing new light bulbs for your home? Buying an energy efficient light bulb that saves money, is long lasting, and protects the environment is easy with these four simple tips. From dimmer capabilities to light color and brightness, EPA has the answers you are looking for as you head to the store. Just Look for the ENERGY STAR and let the experts at EPA lead the way!

Links to related resources


Have you ever had a question about saving energy home, but didn’t know where to turn? Now you can get the energy efficiency advice you need to read from Energy Star program. Just ask the expert!

Today we’re at the Home Depot in Bowie Maryland to answer a question that’s on the mind many Americans.

How do you buy a light bulb these days?

A lot has changed in the lighting world, and today we’re going to get the skinny from expert ENERGY STAR. Taylor Jantz-Sell is the lighting program manager for Energy Star and today she’s going to tell how to buy a light bulb in four easy steps.

Taylor, what do people need to know?

Well it’s not as confusing as people think. You just need to know what to look for and the good news is it’s right there on the package.

Step one: look for the ENERGY STAR. You can usually find the familiar blue label right on the front of the package. Bulbs that have earned the Energy Star have undergone extensive testing to make sure they save energy and perform properly.

Step 2: Decide how much light you need. What you’re probably used to is the old 60-watt incandescent. It puts out about 800 lumens. To find a new more efficient bulb with that amount of light you should look for lumens not watts.

Watts are simply a measure of energy is used, the amount of electricity a bulb needs to operate. The light output or brightness of the bulb is actually measured in lumens. More lumens, mean more light. ENERGY STAR bulbs save you energy and money by giving you the lumens you need with much less wattage. If you don’t remember lumens, don’t worry. ENERGY STAR requirements ensure you will get the right amount of light for the replacement claim on the package.

Ok so we know to look for the ENERGY STAR and we also know that lumens tell us how bright the bulb is. Taylor, what’s next?

Step 3: Think about where you’re going to use the bulb. New bulbs are specially designed for certain applications. Let the package be your guide.

Take these two bulbs for example. They both say they are going to replace your old 60 watt incandescent. Because they have the ENERGY STAR on them you know they are going to shine light out in all directions. Just like you’re old bulb. If there’s no ENERGY STAR, you just don’t know what you’re going to get.

And if you’re going to use them in a ceiling fixture that’s totally enclosed with limited air flow, you need to read the fine print. See, this one says it’s not intended for use in enclosed fixtures. Also are you going to use the bulb with a dimmer switch? You need to make sure the bulb is marked dimmable.

Step 4: Think about the mood you want from your light. CFL and LED bulbs are available in warm to cool white light which is also indicated on the package. This comes down to personal preference. The nice thing is that stores like this one have displays so you can see the different types of light before you buy them.

Now you see how simple it can be to find the perfect lighting for your home. Remember to always look for the ENERGY STAR when shopping for light bulbs. Certified bulbs use 70-90 percent less energy than the standard incandescent and they’ll last 10-25 times longer. Bulbs with the trusted blue label will save energy, save money, and help prevent climate change.

See if a simple incandescent or WiFi-enabled smart bulb is the perfect pick for you.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

If Thomas Edison were to walk down the light-bulb aisle of a modern home-improvement store, he’d be shocked to see what’s become of his brainchild. Long gone are the days of simply choosing a light bulb based on its wattage.

Today, light bulbs are available in a dizzying array of types, sizes, and shapes. Pity the poor shopper who enters the light-bulb aisle ignorant of the evolutionary changes to Ole’ Tom’s electric arc lamp, as it was originally called. Here are the five light bulbs you’re likely to encounter, and how to pick the best bulb for you:


The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Contrary to what you may have heard, the incandescent bulb isn’t dead; it’s on life support, but still available online and in some stores. In 2007, Congress passed a law stating that incandescent bulbs could no longer be made in the U.S. because they didn’t meet new federal energy-efficiency standards. Over the past 12 years, there has been a gradual phase-out of incandescent bulbs, but as mentioned, you can still buy them, though they’re becoming scarcer.

Incandescent bulbs are very affordable, dimmable, commonly available in sizes ranging from 40 to 150 watts, and they emit a warm, soft light that’s complementary to skin tones. On the downside, traditional incandescent bulbs produce a lot of heat, only last 1 to 2 years, and consume more electricity than any other type of bulb.

Compact Fluorescent (CFL)

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Unlike traditional tubular fluorescent bulbs, which buzz, flicker, and produce a harsh bluish light, compact fluorescents come on quickly and produce a pleasing, color-corrected glow. Plus, modern CFLs are 75 percent more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, and they have a life expectancy of 7 to 9 years. They’re commonly available in sizes ranging from 3 to 120 watts. (A 14-watt CFL is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent.)

Keep mind, however, that not all CFLs are dimmable, some are slow to reach full brightness in extreme cold, and they contain trace amounts of mercury. So be careful when handling shattered bulbs.


The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Halogen lights are similar to incandescents, in that they that contain a filament that’s heated to the point of glowing. However, halogens consume between 25 and 80 percent less electricity than incandescents, depending on the specific bulb. Halogens emit a pure white light that’s very close to natural daylight, so colors appear sharper, crisper, and more vibrant.

Halogens are fully dimmable, available from 5 to 500 watts, and they typically last between 2 and 3 years. However, they get extremely hot, so allow the bulb to cool down before touching it. (That’s why halogens aren’t ideal for table lamps, floor lamps, and other fixtures where the bulb is within easy reach.)

Also, never use your bare hands to change a halogen bulb. Natural oil on your skin will transfer to the bulb, causing the bulb to warm too quickly and possibly shatter.

Light-Emitting Diode (LED)

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

There’s a lot to like about LEDs: They are affordable, super energy-efficient, stay cool to the touch, and can last an astonishing 10 to 20 years. LEDs are 75 percent more energy-efficient than standard incandescent bulbs, and come in sizes ranging from 2.5 to 16 watts. And be aware that some, but not all, LEDs are dimmable.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

LEDs produce directional light, not diffused light, so they’re not great for ambient room lighting. They’re much better suited for task-lighting situations, such as under-cabinet kitchen lighting. There are some newer versions that cluster together several LEDs in one bulb to produce a broader light display, but they cost up to six times more than directional-light LEDs. And specialty LED bulbs are now available to replace incandescent bulbs in recessed light fixtures.

Wi-Fi Capable

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Get your geek on with these specialty bulbs that allow you to remotely control the lighting in your home via a smart phone or tablet. Simply screw a Wi-Fi capable bulb into a light fixture, download the app, and then from anywhere in the world you’ll be able to turn lights on or off, adjust the brightness, and program lights to come on and off at preset times. Note that Wi-Fi-capable bulbs are often device-specific, meaning they’re only compatible with either an Apple or Android device.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Okay, so we can all agree that light bulbs aren’t the sexiest topic to discuss in the world of interior design. But provided you don’t live in a dungeon, shopping for light bulbs is simply a part of life. With the extensive array of options and confusing technicalities regarding bulb types, picking the right option can be an overwhelming task. That said, using the incorrect bulb type can burn through unnecessary energy, increase your electric bill, or simply disrupt the ambience of your home. Mastering the basics of light bulb types will make shopping a breeze, and can actually change the way you live (and spend).

So watts the difference? Here’s a foolproof guide to help you make sense of it all.

If you know even the smallest amount about light bulbs, chances are you’ve heard of lumens and watts. These two terms refer to the input and output of bulbs.

Lumens refers to the light output, a.k.a. how bright the bulb is. The more lumens a light bulb has, the more light it omits. It’s important to understand lumens, as this measurement is listed on all light bulb packages. Many experts suggest using this formula to determine how many lumens you need in a space:

Hallways: Square Footage x 7.5

Bedrooms: Square Footage x 15

Bathrooms: Square Footage x 75

Kitchens and Dining Rooms: Square Footage x 35

Watts refers to the amount of energy a bulb uses. Traditionally, higher wattage equals more lumens, which equals more light emission, though this has changed with the increase in energy efficient bulbs (like LED bulbs). When it comes to choosing a light bulb, it’s more important to consider the lumens over the watts.

Choosing a pendant style to suit your room is hard enough! But what about light bulbs? Snap Lighting and Liquid LEDs have teamed up to help you choose.

There are a few considerations when choosing the right bulbs-

Choosing the Right Light Bulb Base Connection

The first thing you need to consider is the base of the bulb. This needs to match the light fitting you’ve chosen.

Snap Lighting has made it super easy for you! All Snap Lighting pendants have E27 Edison Screw fittings, and Snap Lighting only sells E27 Edison Screw LED globes. Simple!

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

If you decide to buy bulbs somewhere else, such as Liquid LEDs, make sure you select the right bulb base to match your light fittings. Liquid LEDs have a great guide to bulb bases if you need a little more detail –

Choosing the Right Light Bulb Shape

The choice of bulb style and shape is very personal, and depends on the style of the light fitting as well as other decor in the room. Here are a few guidelines to get you started-

Stick to the theme.

If you’ve got vintage light fittings, use a vintage LED globe like an Edison shape – .

If you’ve got modern fittings, choose a modern LED bulb

If it’s hidden – it doesn’t matter!

For mostly-enclosed light designs the bulb is hidden. So we suggest you get the cheaper frosted LED bulbs and move on.

Screw the guidelines – let your personality show!

Liquid LEDs have an incredible range of globes including spiral filament, oversized bulbs, tubular bulbs and many more! Go nuts!

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Choosing the Right Light Bulb Colour

The colour of light impacts the overall look and feel of a room. So which colour is right for you?

The choice of white depends a lot on what you plan to use the light for. In general, warm white is for relaxing rooms like bedrooms and living rooms. Cool or natural white is for working areas such as studies or kitchen benchtops. Liquid LEDs has taken a more in-depth look at the different white colours here –

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Typically the choice is between warm and cool white bulbs. But some may prefer purple or green! For those who want something a little different, colour change smart globes might be a good option for you. The Philips Hue range is the market leader in smart lighting and is sold by Snap Lighting here-

Choosing the Right Light Bulb Brightness

Bulb brightness is measured in Lumens, but that can be a little bit difficult to understand in reality. This comparison table should help clear it up a bit:

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

So depending on the size of your room you can choose the brightness you want. As a rule of thumb, for general lighting (bedrooms, living areas, etc) allow about 100-150 lumens per square meter. For work areas (studies, kitchen benchtops, etc) 200-300 lumens per square meter is more suitable.

If the bulb is simply decorative and the room is lit another way, then a fairly dim bulb will be adequate.

If this is all too hard, then one simple solution is to choose dimmable globes with a high brightness – then you can’t go wrong!

Choosing a Dimmable or Non-Dimmable Light Bulb

Dimmable globes are a great option if you can’t figure out what bulb brightness you need for your room. They’re also great for multi-use spaces – especially in the working-from-home era where the dining room table becomes your office for part of the day!

Disclaimer: This material is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at the time of publication, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information, and parts may not function in current web browsers.

If you need a new light bulb, you have a hard decision to make. There are several kinds of light bulbs to choose from. What are they? Does it make a difference?

Lights use a lot of electricity, so it’s important to use the most efficient ones. Efficient bulbs use less electricity to make light. Using less electricity in turn creates less pollution. It’s better for everyone.

So what are the different kinds of light bulbs?

The most common light bulbs you can find at the store are incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), light emitting diodes (LED), fluorescent, and halogen. It can feel overwhelming!

Let’s look at each one individually.


The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Credit: KMJ, alpha masking by Edokter


The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Credit: Sun Ladder


The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Credit: Christian Taube


The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose


The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Credit: de:Benutzer:Ralf Pfeifer

Remember to turn out the light!

One of the easiest ways to save energy at home is to turn off the lights when you’re not using them. Don’t let that energy get wasted. Don’t light up an empty room. To help remind yourself to turn it off when you leave, you can decorate with your own special light switch cover!

Regulations change and technologies advance. For these reasons, it is always useful to know the lighting of the different types of bulbs on the market, and thus be able to carry out our projects with the best alternatives available.

But before we begin, let’s differentiate the aspects to be taken into account when choosing the type of bulb.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Main characteristics of the bulbs
The socket is the part that will be inserted inside the lampholder, and therefore it is the first element to take into account when choosing the right one.

Consumption in watts (W)
Here it is very important to make a difference. The watts (W), or power of a bulb, is the consumption of the bulb, and not the intensity of light it produces. To measure the latter parameter, there are lumens.

Lumens (lm)
Lumens are the unit of measurement used to express the amount of light produced by a source. The confusion lies in the fact that in the past, light bulbs used similar systems, and therefore, the more watts, the greater the luminescence. With new technologies, a 9W LED light produces the same lumens as an 80W incandescent.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Duration or useful life
Due to the design and the elements used, all bulbs have a useful life ranging from 2,000 to 50,000 hours.

On/off cycles
This term is related to the previous one, but refers to the number of times a bulb can be turned on and off.

Light color temperature
We can define the color temperature of light as the ability of light to reproduce colors according to the human eye. It is expressed in degrees Kelvin (K), and the lower this number, the higher the “warmth” of the light, leaning towards reddish colors. Conversely, the higher the K, the whiter and cooler the color tones perceived by our eyes.

The speed at which it lights up
Sometimes, the time it takes for the bulb to be at its maximum output is an important factor when choosing materials for our buildings.

Aperture angle
We can define the opening angle as the cone where the greatest intensity of illumination of the bulb will be concentrated.

Bulb management
New technologies allow us to leave behind the typical light keys, using different devices to turn on, turn off and control the light. These can be by remote control, through sound, and even the cell phone itself.

Now that we know the main factors to take into account, we continue with the different types of light bulbs.

Types of light bulbs and their main characteristics
We start with the most traditional ones. Incandescent bulbs produce light by heating a filament. These bulbs waste a lot of heat, and that is why they are the least efficient when we evaluate consumption/luminosity. In addition, their lifetime is very short, rarely exceeding 2,000 hours.

Halogen and ecohalogen
They are very similar to incandescent bulbs. In fact, the mechanism of operation is the same, with the difference that the halogens incorporate in their interior this gas, which makes them more efficient.

Before continuing with their characteristics, we have to emphasize the most important of all: they are prohibited.

They are based on an efficient technology that combines gases and salts, which emit light when in contact with an electric current. They consume up to 80% less than incandescent lamps and have a very good luminous efficacy. With respect to useful life, a fluorescent bulb can last between five thousand and seven thousand hours. On the downside: Their cost can be somewhat higher, the ignition time is not instantaneous, and their sockets and installation require special lamp holders.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

They use a technology similar to fluorescent tubes, with the difference that fluocompact bulbs have sockets similar to the rest of the bulbs, and can be placed in small spaces. Their great disadvantage is that their on/off cycles are lower than the rest, and therefore they are not recommended for passageways or bathrooms.

Despite having a high price compared to their competition, LED lights are today the most attractive alternative on the market. Their consumption with respect to the lumens they produce is low, they last up to 50 thousand hours, can be controlled with different devices, and do not emit any heat.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Did you know that the lighting in the average home uses around 16% of the total power consumption? This means the lighting in your home holds considerable cost-cutting potential! Replacing your old lamps with a modern alternative is a good start.

In order to help you choosing the right bulb, you will find below a series of handy comparison charts about:

  • the power (expressed in watts)
  • the light intensity (expressed in lumens)
  • the colour temperature (expressed in kelvin)

When replacing an incandescent bulb or a halogen lamp, you will now have to choose between a LED or a compact fluorescent light. But what exactly is the difference?

Compare wattage

The comparison chart below shows you exactly which energy-saving light bulb or LED lamp you can replace your old incandescent light bulb or halogen lamp with to get the same amount of light (i.e. the power expressed watts).

Traditional bulb 1 Halogen 2 Compact fluorescent LED
25 watts 15 watts 6 watts 2 watts
40 watts 25 watts 10 watts 5 watts
60 watts 40 watts 15 watts 7 watts
75 watts 45 watts 18 watts 9 watts
100 watts 60 watts 25 watts 12 watts

(1) off the market since 1 September 2012
(2) gradually phased out from 1 September 2018

Think in terms of lumens and forget about watts!

The light output of LED lamps continues to increase exponentially year by year. Which is why the comparison chart above merely serves as a guideline. Where a 7-watt LED lamp is currently required to deliver a certain light intensity for instance, in a year from now, this may well have dropped to just 5 watts, and is likely to have dropped even further to just 2 watts in four years’ time.

Looking to replace an old incandescent light bulb and don’t exactly know the equivalent LED lamp? The best way forward is to go by the number of lumens, which is now clearly specified on the packaging.

Traditional bulb Luminosity
100 watts 1.300-1.400 lumens
75 watts 920-1060 lumens
60 watts 700-810 lumens
40 watts 410-470 lumens
25 watts 220-250 lumens
15 watts* <150 lumens

(*) lamps for refrigerators or ovens with very low light intensity

Colour temperature

Alongside the light intensity (number of lumens), the colour temperature is another deciding factor when choosing the right LED lamp.

The appropriate colour temperature enables you to choose the ambiance you would like for each room. Colour temperature is expressed in kelvin. The higher the colour temperature, the higher the Kelvin rating and the more blueish the colour. Light sources with a (comparatively) low temperature tend to be more reddish.

To give you some idea, below is a summary table showing the most common light types and their corresponding colour temperature:

Cool white 5,500 to 6,000 kelvin
Neutral white 4,000 to 4,500 kelvin
Warm white 2,500 to 3,000 kelvin
Yellowish white +/- 2,200 kelvin

LED lamp or energy-saving light bulb?

Incandescent light bulbs are no longer an option, with halogen lamps too now on their way out. Which means the duel is now between compact fluorescent lights and LEDs. A quick reminder …

Energy-saving light bulbs

The energy-saving light bulb, also known as the compact fluorescent lamp, is actually a folded fluorescent strip tube lamp that fits inside a regular bulb fitting.


  • use 65 to 80% less power than a traditional incandescent light bulb
  • last a lot longer (ca.10,000 hours instead of 1,000 hours for an incandescent light bulb)


  • contain a small amount of mercury: if an energy-saving light bulb drops to the floor and breaks, please be very careful how you clean it up because of the hazardous mercury vapours.
  • get very hot compared with LEDs; they dissipate energy on heat, although to a lesser degree than traditional incandescent light bulbs or halogen lamps.
  • most CFLs take a while to work up to full light intensity, which makes them unsuited for use in places where the light is switched on and off for short lengths of time (like the toilet).

LED lamps

LED lamps are made up of clusters of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). As they are so small, LED lamps come in all shapes and designs.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Buying the right light bulb used to be a simple, straightforward task. There weren’t many options – if any at all – so your choice was easy. When Thomas Edison figured out how to create light bulbs, he definitely didn’t imagine the vast array of specialized bulbs we have access to today, but here we are.

Figuring out which type you would benefit most from can be time-consuming and a real head-scratcher. But it doesn’t need to be! The different varieties of light bulbs have different benefits and drawbacks, and we’re confident you’ll be able to find the right one with the help of the lighting pros at Roman Electric!

Let’s Work Through the Types

It’s best to start with a breakdown of the different types of light bulbs, just so you’ll have an idea of how the varieties you’ll encounter at a store will work.

  • Incandescent bulbs – These are what you probably envision when you think of a light bulb. They use a filament to emit light, and they’re the cheapest. But they’re also the most prone to breaking and to burning out, so you have to weigh how much you care about cheaper bulbs versus replacing them more frequently.
  • CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs) – All of those twisty bulbs you’ve seen are CFLs. They’re better for the environment and have a pretty long shelf life. However, they’re not great at emitting ambient light for a room.
  • Halogen bulbs – Usually brighter than incandescent bulbs, and they’re more efficient. These resemble the harsher light you see during daytime, which makes them not so great for lamps and things like that. They’re better for direct task lights.
  • LEDs – These bulbs are more expensive to buy, but they’re electric-based instead of heat-based. As a result, they last much longer and are way more efficient.

What Do You Need?

If you’re just aiming for the bulb that will light up your living room the best, then it’s hard to go wrong with an incandescent bulb (if you don’t mind replacing them somewhat frequently) or an LED (if you’d prefer to just get one bulb and forget about them).

But other times we need different features. For example, perhaps you need a bulb with dimming capabilities. If that’s the case, then you’d want to avoid CFLs, which can’t dim at all.

Look for the Lumens (and the Warmth)

It’s obviously a good idea to figure out how bright you want a light bulb to be. Brightness is measured in lumens (not wattage, which is just a way to tell how much power the bulb needs to emit light), and a traditional incandescent bulb that you’d use in a living room lamp will give off anywhere between 300-600 lumens on average.

With that baseline, you can begin to get an idea of how powerful you need a bulb to be when you’re browsing the aisles at your local hardware store.

Light bulb shopping doesn’t have to be stressful. If you’re in the market for a new lighting setup or just need a few pointers on how to make your space really “pop,” give the lighting experts at Roman Electric a call at 414-771-5400 today!

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Understanding the LED Lighting Facts Label – Video & Infographic

CFL, Halogen, Linear, HID, Bulb Reference Chart

Light Bulbs, also known as lamps in the industry, come in a vast variety of sizes, shapes, and temperatures (colors) to allow for an array of fixtures, which need different bases and other considerations. Superior Lighting stocks thousands of bulbs, including incandescent and halogen bulbs, CFL, Linear, and HID fluorescent bulbs as well as the latest technology with LED bulbs. Whether you’re using identical bulbs to replace those that have burned out or you’re upgrading to something more efficient or perhaps with a higher CRI, we’re here to guide you through the decision process with bulbs, fixtures, and lighting. Is a coveted floor lamp or chandelier fitted with a base you’ve never seen before? Or calls for a certain filament to get just right the glow? Read on if you’ve ever been confused on the right bulb shape for a certain project.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Bulb Size Reference Guide

How to use the chart: The code number of a bulb consists of a letter or letters followed by a number. The letter indicates the shape of the bulb and the number relates to the diameter of the bulb in eighths of an inch. The most commonly used household bulb is the A-19. The bulb is “A” type and the diameter would be 2 3/8″ A 120BR40 is a 120-watt reflector 5″ in diameter.

Kelvin degree lamps used in task lighting are as follows:

Kelvin Associated Effects & Moods – Appropriate Applications

2700° Friendly, personal, intimate Homes, libraries, restaurants

3000° Soft, warm pleasing light – Homes, hotel rooms and lobbies, restaurants, retail stores

3500° Friendly, inviting, non-threatening Executive offices, public reception areas, supermarkets

4100° Neat, clean, efficient Office, classrooms, mass merchandisers, showrooms

5000° Bright, alert – Graphic industry, hospitals

6500° Bright, cool – Jewelry stores, beauty salons, galleries, museums, printing

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Color Rendering Index

There are two standard measurements for the color characteristics of light: “color rendering index” (CRI), a term used to describe the extent to which an artificial light source is able to render the true color of objects as seen by natural outdoor sunlight which has a CRI of 100, and “color temperature”, which expresses the color appearance of the light itself.

Color Rendering Index : Incandescent is used as the base reference of 100 CRI. Compact fluorescent lamps are graded at 82-86 CRI, which is considered high quality color rendering. CRI is a more important consideration for retail lighting design than it is for office lighting.

Any CRI rating of 80 or above is considered high and indicates that the source has good color properties. Incandescent lamps and daylight have a CRI of 100, the highest possible CRI. The higher the CRI of the light source, the “truer” it renders color. Sources with CRI values less than 50 are generally regarded as rendering colors poorly, that is, colors may appear unnatural.

So how important is CRI to you? Depending on the project or use of your bulbs, it can be equally important as the look. By comparing the appearance of a colored object under an artificial light source to its appearance under an incandescent light already set at 100 CRI. The higher the CRI value, the better the light source is at interpreting colors accurately.

Color Temperature : Refers to the way color groups are perceived – the psychological impact of lighting. Color temperature is how cool or warm the light source appears.

The color temperature of a light source is a numerical measurement of its color appearance. But why is color temperature measured in degrees Kelvin (K)? This temperature is based on the principle that any object will emit light if it is heated to a high enough temperature and that the color of that light will shift in a predictable manner as the temperature is increased. This system is based on the color changes of a black metal as it is heated from a cold black to a white hot state. Colors and light go from red, orange, and yellow (warm – incandescent) to blue and white (natural daylight).

So if you’ve ever asked what color is daylight, imagine how the sun, for example, rises at approximately 1800 Kelvin and changes from red to orange to yellow and to white as it rises to over 5000 Kelvin at high noon. It then goes back down the scale as it sets.

Satco Light Bulb – Product Guide

Founded in 1966, Satco is well known as the premier supplier of a variety of lighting products. The SATCO brand of light bulbs, electrical accessories, lighting hardware and glassware are primarily sold through its 8,000 retail lighting showrooms and electrical distributors, like Superior Lighting.

The Satco organization is privately owned and operated with warehouse distribution and sales locations all over the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Under the Satco brand, the company’s product categories include incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, HID, and LED lamps as well as hundreds of styles of builder-oriented lighting fixtures, track lighting and lamps.

Search Satco Product’s catalog of light bulbs and LEDs. All varieties of light bulbs from energy efficient LEDs to incandescent light bulbs and their uses are free to explore in this engaging and extensive catalog.

One surprise difficulty of choosing light fixtures is choosing light bulbs to go in them. Some fixtures simplify the process by only taking one type of bulb, but many light fixtures do accept multiple types of bulbs. This guide is intended to help you make an informed decision about which light bulbs will work best for you.

Here are 4 key things to consider before choosing a bulb type for your home

  • Brightness – Measured in Lumens

Light output or brightness of a bulb is measured in lumens. Wattage is the amount of power needed to light a bulb. Measuring the light output of different bulb types based on wattage can be misleading.
Dimmable smart LED bulbs are always a good choice as most provide more than 700 lumens and are equivalent to a 60W traditional incandescent bulb.

  • Colour temperature – Measured on the Kelvin scale

Based on your personal preference, choose bulbs that provide 2700K or “warm white” light for relaxing and more than 4000K or “cold white” for work. Colour temperatures that simulate daylight are 5000K or higher.

Tip: Choose smart LED bulbs that can provide a range of colour from warm white to cool daylight. For more personalised ambiance, go for smart colour-changing LED bulbs.

  • Colour rendering index (CRI)

CRI measures the ability of a light bulb to accurately reproduce colors and is measured on a scale from 0 to 100. A CRI of 65 is considered poor while a CRI of 80 is considered good.

  • Lifespan – Measured in hours

The lifetime of a bulb depends on the average number of hours it is in use. Bulbs that are always on will die faster than those that are rarely used.

Choose LED bulbs that have a high lifetime (average 25,000 hours). Longer life means less trouble buying and changing bulbs.

  • Energy efficiency label (ENERGY STAR)

The energy label on the box shows the energy efficiency on a scale from A++ (most efficient) to E (least efficient).


These bulbs used to be the standard and for many years were the only type of bulb available. They give off a soft, warm glow similar to candlelight. Their nice ambiance isn’t enough to makeup for their terrible energy efficiency. Many countries no longer produce incandescent bulbs because of this. Even though they come in a wide range of color temperatures, shapes and wattage, they have a short life span, contributing to their energy inefficiency.

The term CFL stands for compact fluorescent light. CFL bulbs function by passing an electrical current through fluorene gas, which then gives off light. This design doesn’t lose much energy to heat. Originally CFLs had a limited range of color temperatures, but it’s been updated to include more colors. A wide range of wattages is available. They have good energy efficiency and a good lifespan. They do require a ballast to be dimmable. Like their larger cousins, disposal requires special treatment.

Standard Fluorescent Tubes

These bulbs are familiar to anyone who’s ever looked up in a supermarket or warehouse. Long glass tubes filled with fluorine gas are lit when an electrical current passes through them (just like with CFLs). They have excellent energy efficiency and very long life spans, but a terrible range of color temperatures. Most standard fluorescent light fixtures are fitted with ballast to regulate electricity. Unfortunately, the ballast often creates an irritating buzz. Mostly associated with institutional lighting and industrial spaces, fluorescent light is rarely looked on favourably. Its best use in the home is in utility spaces (garage, laundry room, mud room, basement, etc.). Because fluorine gas is hazardous, disposal requires special treatment.

Halogen bulbs are a specific variety of incandescent bulbs. They use the same tungsten filament to produce light, but the bulb itself is filled with halogen gas. This makes the light brighter and the lifespan longer. The halogen gas actually causes light to be given off across a broader spectrum that incandescent alone. This means that stones that catch light (like diamonds) sparkle more intensely under halogen lights than other types of light. Halogen bulbs are sensitive and should be installed while wearing gloves to prevent oil transfer. If oil is transferred, the oil will heat faster than the glass and burn out the bulb too quickly. While common in jewelry stores, residential applications for halogen bulbs are normally limited to outdoor floodlights since the light is often too intense for indoor fixtures. Sometimes they are used in track lighting for a professional gallery effect.

Of the options on this list, LEDs have the best energy efficiency and lifespan. Although the brightness is comparable to incandescent bulbs, LEDs measure this in lumens instead of watts. They have a very wide range of color temperatures. The base of an LED bulb is designed to vent heat away from the bulb, which means only certain varieties can be used in recessed or enclosed areas. They also require special adaptations to be dimmable, so keep this in mind if you have dimmable fixtures.

Smart Bulbs

These high-tech specialty bulbs are usually LED based. They contain a Wifi or Bluetooth receiver to connect with smart devices for fine-tuning. Depending on the exact bulb you can adjust color, brightness, automated timers, and you can create lighting profiles for different lighting situations. These bulbs can be app controlled, voice controlled, or switch controlled. One thing to remember with smart bulbs is that you need to leave the light fixture switched on for the bulb to receive commands.
Learn more about how Philips Hue smart light bulbs work.

Neon Lights

Although we’ve all seen neon signs in shop windows, they’re limited to decorative use only in residential applications. Light in these bulbs comes from passing an electric current through neon gas. Neon bulbs usually have a long lifespan, but they do require specialty maintenance to replace when they burn out. They can be had in a wide range of colors and any desired shape/design.
Did this guide help you find the right bulb type for your home? The next steps to choose the right bulb is to understand the different bulb sizes.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Though our homes may differ in paint schemes, furniture layouts, and decor, we have at least one thing in common: the lights in our homes influence all of that! The kind of bulbs we use can change the brightness, hue, and aesthetic of any room. Light bulbs affect energy efficiency at home and at work, not to mention interacting differently with our mood, health, and productivity. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types of light bulbs, with tips to help you make the best choice for your wallet, aesthetic and safety.

1. Incandescent: The Original Bulb

Incandescent lights are the most traditional form of light bulb and are based on technology developed by Thomas Eddison. The electricity passes through a filament, causing it to burn and give off light.

Incandescents are more expensive in the long run because they are not energy efficient compared to fluorescent or LED options. Why? The method of heating a filament in an incandescent bulb produces much more heat than light, wasting most of its energy consumption.The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act reformed the incandescent market by creating a minimum standard for incandescent energy efficiency, but even still, fluorescent and LED lights are much more energy efficient.

Incandescent lights come in a variety of colors and work with dimmer switches. Their design allows for more variation in style, and they’re typically more aesthetically pleasing than other options. This makes them a popular choice for easy-to-see places, like in lamps and hanging from low ceilings.

Incandescent bulbs also do well in easily-accessible locations, since they have the shortest lifespan of all the bulb options and burn an average of 1,000 hours. Incandescents are also good for spaces that don’t use light often, like closets and garages.

As for pricing, incandescent bulbs are typically the cheapest of bulb options. Most incandescent bulbs range from $.70 to $1.50 per bulb.

2. LED: Best for Customization

LED stands for “light-emitting diode”. Simply put, they’re microchips that glow as electricity passes through them. Because there’s no exhaustible filament burning in LED lights, they don’t actually die or burn out. They simply dim over time, and are considered replaceable once they emit 70% of their original light.

This unique design makes LED’s up to 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, with the average LED lasting up to 25,000 hours. LED circuitry still gives off a good amount of heat, but it is processed through a type of heat sink common to microchips. If the heat sink does happen to malfunction, your LED may not last for its expected lifespan.

Additionally, the microchip design allows for customization in size and grouping. Lights can be easily lined up in a strip, or grouped in clusters for a bulb-like configuration. They also glow in every conceivable color, a feature that allows for further customization and creative flair.

Beyond adding flair and personality, LEDs add functionality and value. Simply adding LED strips under kitchen cabinets or along a dark stairway brightens an otherwise shadowed space. LED bulbs are commonly used as smart bulbs, in conjunction with smart home assistants like Google Home and Alexa. They’re a smart, energy-efficient choice for any home or workspace.

LED bulbs average around $8 per bulb, and strip lighting (depending on length and color of strip) ranges from $20-$50.

3. Fluorescent: Easy Choice for Large or Commercial Spaces

The original fluorescent light bulb, shaped like a long tube, often lights offices and commercial spaces. Fluorescent bulbs use a gas and a filament combination, like argon and tungsten, to emit a glow. They are much more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, consuming 75% less energy. Fluorescents also have a longer lifetime than incandescent bulbs, estimated between 6,000 and 15,000 hours.

Fluorescent lights do contain small amounts of mercury, but as long as the bulbs remain intact, they’re perfectly safe. When it’s time to dispose of old bulbs, contact your local waste management for local guidelines and keep them away from the reach of children.

Expect each fluorescent tube to cost $2-3.

4. CFL: Energy-efficient Home Upgrade

CFL bulbs, or compact fluorescent lamps, are a condensed version of fluorescent lights. It’s similar technology, with the electricity activating a gas such as argon. The difference, however, is that these don’t have a filament— instead, the argon interacts with a fluorescent coating called phosphor to produce visible light. These bulbs are largely replacing incandescent bulbs in the shift for green homes.

CFL bulbs can last anywhere from 6,000 to 15,000 hours of use, making them 6-15 times more efficient than incandescent options. They come in a variety of shapes, and if the bulb is tinted, they can even come in a variety of colors.

Generally these bulbs will be about $5.50 to about $10 each. While they’re more expensive than incandescent options, the price is typically offset by their much longer life.

5. Halogen: Best for Headlamps and Flood Lights

Halogen bulbs produce light through a heated filament, similar to incandescent bulbs. However, the filament in halogen bulbs is surrounded by a tiny tube of pure glass (quartz). This tube is filled with a halogen gas, and when the filament emits wasted energy, the halogen gas returns it to the filament. This recycled energy causes the filament to live much longer than those used in incandescent lights.

Unfortunately, halogen bulbs still create a large amount of heat, resulting in wasted energy. Though their lifespan is significantly longer than incandescent, they still only last about 2,000 hours.

Halogen lights are commonly used in vehicle headlamps, outdoor floodlights or to light workspaces. If you choose to use these elsewhere, be aware that they generate significant heat and could affect the temperature of small areas.

Expect each bulb to cost between $6 and $12.

6. HID: Great for Street Lamps

HID stands for “high intensity discharge”. These bulbs function by passing electricity in an arc between two metal points, aided by a gas like xenon, which glows in reaction to the electricity. They produce strong, long lasting light, but are typically restricted to street lighting or warehouses because of their orange hue and intensity. HID bulbs are also used in headlights at times, and usually clock in at about 2,000 hours.

These are a great option for outdoor spaces, or in places where nighttime safety is a concern. HID bulbs range in price from about $14 to $21.

How Will You Light Your Space?

You know your space better than anyone, and now, you know a lot more about light bulb technology! When deciding which bulb is best for you, consider the details of your space. Is it residential or commercial? Indoor or outdoor? How much do you value aesthetic, energy efficiency, or purchase price? There are plenty of right choices, and at Hansen Lighting we’re happy to discuss all possible options. Give us a call and let our lighting experts make your project easier.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

We are not just the number one stop online for modern lighting, we also offer a wide variety of light bulbs to meet any need you may have. Here you can shop for the right light bulb for your fixture by light source or by the actual type of bulb. We offer a wide variety of light bulbs including incandescent, fluorescent and halogen, as well as the latest and greatest in LED bulbs. Light up your fixture with just the right type of bulb.

Shopping For Light Bulbs at Lumens

While a ceiling fan may require a certain type of light bulb for its integrated light kit, you will likely not want the same kind of bulb for your living room’s table lamp or your island lighting in the kitchen. When shopping for light bulbs , it is important to know where the bulb will be used to find the right bulb type, the bulb’s light output (usually represented in lumens), its base type and the shape of the bulb. Put simply, there is a lot that goes into finding the exact bulb you need. Thankfully, with any lighting product you choose, we’ll show you the right bulb you need to pair with the lamp. And if you have any questions about how to choose the right light bulb, simply call our lighting experts at 877.445.4486.

Find Decoration In Your Choice of Bulb

While a light bulb serves a fundamental purpose of getting a light fixture lit, you’ll find certain bulbs are able to stand out on their own. If you have an exposed bulb lighting fixture, you will want to see the selection of decorative light bulbs and old-fashioned Edison light bulbs to really make a statement. In this case, it’s absolutely okay to show off your bulb. Translucent glass pendant lights also show off the bulb within the fixture, so you’ll want to choose something you would enjoy having on display, be that a decorative bulb or any of the available Edison bulbs. And if you are searching for long-lasting bulbs you can set and forget for years to come, look to an energy efficient LED light bulb . Finally, consider a hanging light bulb fixture to achieve a minimalist look with your lighting.

Additional Light Bulb Resources

With so many different kinds of light bulbs available, choosing just the right one can be rather complicated. If you have questions about the different types of light bulbs, how to choose an energy efficient bulb or the color temperature of a light bulb, we are here to help! We have dedicated resources to help you understand the facts behind light bulbs and to you find the perfect bulb for your specific application. For almost any question you may have, we have just the right answer.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

When you switch to energy-efficient lighting, you can light your home using the same amount of light for less money. Lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home’s electricity use, and the average household saves about $225 in energy costs per year by using LED lighting. if you are still using incandescent light bulbs, switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. For high-quality products with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR.

In addition to efficient lighting, consider using controls such as timers and dimmers to save electricity. Timers automatically turn lights off when not in use by turning lights off when not in use, and dimmers can be used to lower light levels. Be sure to select products that are compatible with the energy-efficient bulbs you want to use.

If you have outdoor lighting that is left on for a long time, using LEDs or CFLs in these fixtures can save a lot of energy. LEDs and CFLs are available as flood lights, and have been tested to withstand the rain and snow so they can be used in exposed fixtures. For high quality products with the greatest savings, look for ENERGY STAR-qualified fixtures that are designed for outdoor use and come with features like automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors.

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are a type of solid-state lighting — semiconductors that convert electricity into light. Although once known mainly for indicator and traffic lights, LEDs in white light, general illumination applications are today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly-developing lighting technology. LEDs use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

LED technology is available in many lighting product types including replacements for 40W, 60W, 75W, and 100W traditional incandescent bulbs, reflector bulbs used in recessed fixtures, and track lights, task lighting, undercabinet lighting, and outdoor area lights. LEDs come in a variety of colors, and some bulbs can be tuned to different colors or different hues of white light. Some are dimmable or offer convenient features such as daylight and motion sensors. LEDs work well indoors and outdoors because of their durability and performance in cold environments. Look for LED products such as pathway lights, step lights, and porch lights for outdoor use. You can also find solar-powered LED outdoor lighting.

The cost of LED light bulbs has decreased dramatically since they entered the market and prices are expected to come down further as more products become available. While LEDs are more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs, they still save money because they last a long time and have very low energy use.

An E14 bulb is one of the most used bulbs in our homes today and is also called the bulb with the small screw socket. It is the little brother of the E27 bulb that we know as the old-fashioned light bulb. The bulb is called E14 because it refers to the socket: 14-millimeter diameter. A bulb with an E14 socket always has the same base but can differ in shape.

What does an E14 bulb look like?

An E14 bulb comes in different shapes and sizes, but the most famous is the candle-shaped bulb. This one comes in both a curled shape and the standard candle shape. We often see these bulbs in chandeliers. But we also see the E14 back in other lamps such as reading lamps, table- and desk lamps. You may also know that E14 bulbs are very common in the kitchen. This type of lamp is often found in kitchen appliances, such as refrigerators and ovens. Depending on their length, some E14 bulbs even fit your cooker hood. Please note that E14 LED bulbs are not suitable for ovens, as most of them contain plastic and cannot withstand heat. Because the E14 bulb is available in different sizes and shapes. For every application, there is an E14 lamp with the right characteristics. Golf, Ball or Candle. There is a choice for everyone, matt or clear, large or small, round or oval, and even in a spot shape.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Eco friendly – Eco friendly – The E14 bulb is available both as incandescent, halogen and LED. Incandescent bulbs are not produced any longer since only 5% of the required energy turns into light, only last for 1000 hours (>1 year) and contains toxic chemicals such as mercury. LED-bulbs contains no toxic chemicals, has a lifetime of 10 000 to 40 000 hours (4-15 years) and uses less electricity to generate light. Here you can read more about the benefits of LED: LED vs incandescent.

Do you want to switch to E14 LED bulbs?

If you want to make the switch to LED bulbs it is important that you know which wattage your current bulb is using. In the past, the wattage was equal to the amount of visible light. This is not the case with LED bulbs. When choosing the right LED bulb it is important to make a choice for the light output that the bulb emits, we call this lumen. If you use the filter on the left side of the page to choose the right E14 LED bulb.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Manufacturers make many types of light bulbs, but which types are right for residential use? Oftentimes, it can be hard to tell. When changing light bulbs, it is important to know which will work best to provide ideal lighting for each room in the home.


Although incandescent light bulbs have decreased in popularity, most stores still carry them. The reason they have fallen out of favor in recent years is their high energy usage and warm color temperature. However, these bulbs work well in low-key areas such as the living room and as an affordable dimmable option.


Fluorescent bulbs come in standard and compact sizes for use all throughout the house. The standard bulbs are found most often in the garage, while compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, work virtually anywhere, except around a vanity. The rather harsh lighting emitted by these bulbs is great for tasks but is not flattering while looking in the mirror.

LED light bulbs have quickly become a fan favorite due to their excellent energy efficiency and wide range of styles. Plus, they come in a variety of hues, ranging from warm to ultra-cool. While these bulbs are more expensive than the other options, they last a lot longer. Many LED light bulbs will provide lighting on a daily basis for well over 10 years without a problem.


Halogen bulbs use more energy than LEDs, but less than incandescent bulbs, to emit vivid white light across a large area. Because they get quite hot with normal use, halogen bulbs are typically used outdoors in fixtures with a metal shade. They work great in fixtures activated by motion sensors, brightly lighting up the space on demand even on the darkest nights.


As Wi-Fi connected features have become more common in homes to turn them into smart homes, light bulb manufacturers have set their sights on creating smart bulbs. These LED light bulbs easily screw into regular fixtures but provide much more functionality than basic bulbs. Instead of just using a switch, these bulbs are activated with an app. The user can choose from a variety of colors, adjust the intensity, and even have them turn off and on at specific times of the day.

With a newfound understanding of all the residential light bulb options, everyone can head out to buy their preferred types. Then, they can perfect the lighting outside and in every room with ease.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Remember the old days of picking out a light bulb for your house? It went something like this:

“I need a light bulb.”

Go to the store.

Choose between 40-watt or 60-watt bulbs.

If you were really trying to be fancy, you might get one of those three-way light bulbs for lamps that offered you a bright-brighter-brightest option. With advances in energy-efficient bulbs, it’s no longer enough to simply know the wattage.

As a home stager, one of the most common (and most easily fixed) “boo-boos” I see among home sellers is using the wrong light bulb for the job. Replacing light bulbs can have a big return on investment, not only in terms of energy costs, but in the visual impact it makes on potential buyers. Even a subtle change in lighting can make a big difference in the vibe of the room! Next time you’re shopping for the best light bulbs to showcase your home, be sure to check these four crucial details:

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Type of Light Bulb

For homes, LEDs are typically superior to all other types of light bulbs because they:

  • have the longest lifespan (up to 10 years or more)
  • are more durable (solid structure, no glass or filaments)
  • emit great quality light (available in a range of color temperatures)
  • use the least amount of energy (replacing just one bulb saves about $52 annually in energy costs)

The cost of LED bulbs has also decreased so significantly in recent years that the bulbs pay for themselves in a matter of months.

Avoid CFLs and halogen bulbs. CFLs contain mercury and take too long to warm up. Halogens use a lot of energy and create heat.

Shape of the Light Bulb

Save yourself multiple trips to the hardware store by bringing the old bulbs with you when you go shopping. It’s also not a bad idea to use your phone to take a few pictures of the light fixture. LEDs are now available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but newer technology may mean a slightly different design than your old bulb. Make sure your bulb is a perfect fit by heading out with the right info on hand.

The Color of the Light

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Light appearance, or color temperature, refers to a particular number on the Kelvin scale (degrees Kelvin, or K) used to measure the color of light. This is an objective number that will tell you how red, yellow, white, or blue the light will appear.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Let’s break it down like this:

  • Candle light is nice and orange-y, somewhere around 1800 K to 1900 K.
  • The most commonly found light bulbs are 2700 K. While this is the color temperature of the typical incandescent light most of us are used to, it tends to be rather yellow. These are a good second choice for staging, but not ideal.
  • Bulbs in the 3000 K to 3500 K range are ideal for home staging in nearly every interior room of the home. LEDs in this range cast a bright light that is still slightly warm, yet fairly neutral, allowing your home’s true colors to shine through and giving you the most consistent results on your listing photos. *Pro tip: These are also the best color bulbs for evaluating interior paint colors !
  • Bulbs in the 4000 K to 6000 K range look rather blue. This cooler temperature light usually doesn’t work well for home staging or residential use. These bulbs are rather unflattering to skin tones and cast a more sterile, cold light. Daylight bulbs are best used in retail displays, security lighting, work places, or garages. Avoid using these bulbs when staging your home or photographing listing photos.

The name of the color (e.g., “warm white” or “daylight” or “soft white,” etc.) varies by manufacturer so rely on the actual degrees Kelvin number instead of the name. You can find the bulb’s color temperature, or Kelvin scale number, on the Lighting Facts Label of the bulb package under “Light Appearance.”

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

The Brightness of the Light Bulb

Wattage tells you only how much energy a bulb uses — not how bright it is. Since newer light bulbs like LEDs use far less energy, wattage is no longer a reliable way to gauge a light bulb’s brightness. Instead, we use lumens.
Brightness is measured in lumens, not watts. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. A standard 60-watt incandescent bulb, for example, produces about 700 to 800 lumens of light. By comparison, a CFL bulb produces that same 700 to 800 lumens using only about 12 watts of electricity. An LED bulb uses even less energy — only about 10 watts — to produce the same amount of light. You can use lumens to compare the brightness of any bulb, regardless of whether it’s a halogen, incandescent, CFL, or LED.

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

When staging your home for sale, we recommend the brightest bulbs safely* possible, usually around 750 lumens or more. You can find the bulb’s lumens on the Lighting Facts Label of the package under “Brightness.”

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

*If for some reason you’re not using energy-efficient LEDs, wattage may still be a relevant factor to evaluate. For safety reasons, make sure you don’t use a bulb that exceeds the light fixture’s recommended wattage, or energy use.

Download Our FREE Cheat Sheet!

If all this seems like too much to remember, fear not — we’ve created a FREE CHEAT SHEET you can download and take with you to the store or keep next to your computer for ordering online. You can get download it from our Library of Freebies:

The different types of light bulbs you can buy and how to choose

Have you tried to pick out a light bulb and been overwhelmed by the options?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s how to navigate the light bulb aisle like a pro:

  • Know your bulb types (LED, CFL and incandescent)
  • Focus on lumens, not watts
  • Match your light colors

The 3 main types of light bulbs

There are 3 main types of light bulbs for everyday use in your home. They are:

  • Incandescent
  • CFL
  • LED

Let’s look at each of them in a little detail.

Incandescent bulbs

Originally patented by Thomas Edison, these bulbs have been the prevailing method of illuminating homes for over a century.

How they work: A small wire (or filament) is heated until it glows, producing light.

Pros: They’re simple and cheap.
Cons: They are very inefficient, converting as little as 5% of the energy they use into light (the rest is converted into heat).

CFL bulbs

CFL stands for compact fluorescent lamp. These bulbs were introduced as a more energy efficient replacement for the incandescent bulb.

How they work: Electrons and mercury atoms create ultraviolet light that is then converted to visible light as it strikes the fluorescent coating on the bulb.


  • Much more efficient than incandescents, using as little as of the electricity of an incandescent bulb.
  • Longer lifespan. They can last 18 times longer than an incandescent bulb.
  • Less expensive than LED bulbs.


  • More expensive than incandescent bulbs
  • They contain mercury, which is extremely poisonous
  • Most are not dimmable
  • Can be damaged by being turned on and off frequently
  • They take a little bit to ‘warm up’. So you might notice the lights come on slowly when you flip a switch

LED bulbs

LED bulbs are actually a device composed of many smaller LEDs.

How they work: LEDs are small devices where electrons combine with electron holes, giving off light (photons).


  • The most efficient lighting available
  • Longest lifespan
  • Most are dimmable
  • Don’t take any time to warm up
  • Don’t give off any noticeable heat


  • Most expensive to purchase
  • Not all are dimmable
  • Light output may lessen over time. However, this happens with most types of lighting

So which one is best?

For overall quality, efficiency and lifespan, you can’t go wrong with LED bulbs. They’re more expensive to purchase upfront, but you’ll probably sell your home before you need to replace them. And they don’t give off any heat, which means you could save on your air conditioning bills, also.

If you just want a cheap replacement bulb, incandescent bulbs are your best choice. Just know that you’ll likely be spending more money on them in the long run (both on purchase price and energy costs).

CFLs are a nice middle ground. They’re more efficient than incandescent and less expensive than LEDs. However, they also come with some serious limitations (not dimmable, taking time to warm up, containing mercury).

Lumens vs. watts

Nowadays, you’ll probably see both watts and lumens on every bulb package. But the important one is lumens.

Lumens is a measure of brightness – how much light the bulb will give off.
Wattage is a measure of energy consumption – how much energy the bulb will use.

It used to be that if you were replacing a light bulb, you’d look for a new one with the same wattage as the old one. However, since LED and CFL bulbs are more energy efficient than old incandescent bulbs, they use fewer watts while achieving the same brightness.

Therefore, you’ll want to focus on lumens rather than watts.

For example, an old 60-watt incandescent bulb is 800 lumens. So if you’re looking to replace that incandescent bulb with an LED bulb, you’ll want one that’s around 800 lumens, even though it will likely be only 8-10 watts.

Now that you know the type of bulb and brightness you need, it’s time to look at light color…

Find your color

Old incandescent bulbs all gave off close to the same color – a warm reddish light. But with the introduction of CFLs and LEDs, you now have many more choices.

Light bulb color is measured on the Kelvin scale and ranges from 2700K to 6500K. The lower the number, the warmer the light (think candlelight) while the higher numbers are closer to white or blue cool (like daylight).

The packaging will likely have the Kelvin measurement on the packaging as well as a description like “warm white” or “daylight”. Refer to the handy chart below for reference.

A light color chart from Energy Star.

There really is no right or wrong about which color bulb you choose – it comes down to personal preference.

Choose warmer lights like ‘warm white’ or ‘soft white’ (lower on the Kelvin scale) if you like the light you get from incandescent bulbs. On the other hand, choose cooler lights (higher numbers on the Kelvin scale) if you prefer the color of natural light from windows.

We do recommend at least keeping all the lights in the same room around the same color. That way your decor will look the same no matter which light is on.

That’s it!

Use these 3 steps to help you navigate your home lighting options like a pro!

And if you need help with something a little more complicated (like installing a new fixture or ceiling fan), we’d be happy to help. Contact us for more information.

George Brazil Plumbing & Electrical is ready to help when you need an electrician in the Phoenix area.

Bulbs. They can seem like such simple things to purchase. Light is light, right? Not exactly.

The light that comes from the fluorescent lights you might find in your office is completely different from the light that pours from your beautiful chandelier .

This is thanks to the various colour temperatures that light emits. Woah, sounds a bit too technical? Stick with us.

As you think about which type of lighting to use in your home, you should consider how you can use colour temperature to optimise your living areas. Here’s everything you need to know.

The benefits of choosing the right light bulb

The light bulbs you choose will determine the atmosphere and ambience of your rooms. Think about what the needs of each spare are. Is your chandelier purely decorative? Or will it be used as the main light source?

Choosing the right bulb helps you to:

  • Create brilliance and sparkle
  • Create warmth and cosiness
  • Be more energy efficient

We’re going to give you the Luxury Lighting Boutique lowdown on the pros and cons of the various types of bulbs. A little bit of research beforehand will save you time and money.

The types of light bulbs

Selecting chandelier bulbs for your crystal light fixture may sound confusing. Chandelier light bulbs come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. We’re going to break the bulbs down for you. Figuratively.

Incandescent bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are the most familiar type of household bulb. The styles are chandelier or candelabra bulbs, standard bulbs such as “A” or “G”, and flood lamps.

These bulbs have a screw-in base and are easy to install.

For incandescent bulbs the wire filament is heated, then the light is emitted.

We always recommend a good quality clear bulb as opposed to frosted as it allows the crystal to pop.

Although incandescent bulbs are the least energy-efficient, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in your decision making.

Halogen bulbs

Halogen bulbs are technically incandescent bulbs but are slightly more energy-efficient and longer-lasting.

A halogen bulb has a glass envelope with gas inside the envelope.

As skin oils can cause a halogen bulb to burn out, the glass portion of the glass shouldn’t be touched with a bare hand.

Clear halogen bulbs are the perfect choice for many modern crystal chandeliers , ceiling lights, and sconces.

LED bulbs

LED bulbs are a firm favourite. They are the most energy-efficient bulbs and the most environmentally friendly.

The savings on your electricity bills will eventually cover the onset cost of the bulb over time.

Generally speaking, a good quality LED bulb is long-lasting.

Like anything else, quality is important. A high-quality light bulb makes your crystal chandelier pop.

How to choose an LED bulb

Choosing the right LED light bulb for your fixture is the best way to achieve the desired effect of your room.

Light colour is measured in degrees, which is referred to as Kelvin (K).

A lower temperature bulb will emit a soft yellow/white light, whereas a higher temperature will have a blue tone.

Soft white has a more yellow tone and ranges between 2000K to 3000K. This tends to be the preferred tone for bedrooms, living rooms, and dens. Most like the light given off from incandescent bulbs.

Warm white ranges between 3100K to 4500K and appears rather white, which works well for task lighting in the kitchen, bathroom, and workspace.

Daylight or cool white is next with a range between 4600K and 6500K. This has a blue-white tone, which is perfect for reading. It is ideal for task lighting.

Last but not least, bright White is over 6500K with a bright blue quality and is ideal for spaces that require a very high intensity of light output.

We suggest either warm white or soft white to achieve the best quality of light and sparkle in a crystal chandelier. 2700k is ideal for crystal light fixtures. It gives off warm hues and brings out the best in your chandelier. Additionally, the warm white or soft white will enhance the reflective qualities of the crystal.

Ready to purchase a chandelier?

We hope this has helped you to narrow down your search for the perfect lighting. If you’d like more information or to book an appointment, contact us here .

View our full chandelier collection here .

Read our cheat sheet on how to choose the right size of chandelier for your space.