Choosing a Lightbulb

lightbulb types

Are you confused about the vast choices of lightbulbs these days?  If you have purchased lightbulbs recently, you are aware of the variety.  There are traditional bulbs, CFL bulbs, LED bulbs, multiple watt choices, warm light, soft light, multiple color bulbs, and the list goes on and on. 

Lightbulbs used to be incandescent, but they were a big waste of energy.  CFL bulbs were created next, then LED bulbs appeared on store shelves.  LED lights use the least amount of energy than any of these.

Incandescent lightbulbs are in the process of being phased out in the United States.  An incandescent bulb contains a wire filament that is heated to a high temperature that glows, such that it puts out light.  They are not energy efficient and there are other lightbulb choices available now.

CFL lightbulbs, otherwise known as a Compact Fluorescent Light, is a type of fluorescent light that is curved into a small enough space so that it is about the same size of the incandescent bulbs that they are replacing.  CFL bulbs use a lot less energy than the incandescent bulbs, however, they can take some time to brighten to their full capacity.  CFL bulbs are priced higher than incandescent bulbs, but use much less energy and should last about 8-15 times longer.  CFL’s do contain mercury, so it is not advised by manufacturers to dispose of them in the regular trash.  You should check with your local garbage company to find out regulations for disposing of the CFL lightbulbs.

LED lightbulbs are the current rage, as far as lightbulbs go.  LED bulbs can be very pricey, however, their costs are decreasing slightly over time.  LED lights are actually electrical devices.  Manufacturers are becoming very creative with LED bulbs: some bulbs include built-in cameras, motion sensors, or speakers.  Although LED bulbs are priced higher than all other bulb types, they are the most energy efficient bulb, and they will last the longest.  The manufacturers claim the LED bulbs will last between 18-46 years, depending on the average daily use of the bulbs.  Another plus with the LED lightbulbs is that they turn on full brightness immediately; they do not require a warm-up time like the CFL bulbs. 

All of the different types of lightbulbs are available in a variety of brightness levels, base sizes, shades of color, and price ranges.  It may be most beneficial to you, as a consumer, to do some investigating before you even leave your home to purchase new lights.  The first thing to consider is the purpose for the new bulb.  Are you looking for a light to read your favorite book by, or are you looking for a cozy corner light?  Perhaps you are trying to replace your outside lighting, or you need to brighten up your garage workspace.  You will also need to consider how much money you would like to invest in your new bulbs.  If you are replacing a bulb in a lamp you plan to keep for some time, it may be the best choice to purchase a LED lightbulb that will last for many years, and will save you the most energy.

With the huge array of choices available to consumers in the lightbulb departments, it can be a bit overwhelming.  With some investigating and comparisons, you can quickly become an expert on picking the right light for your purpose.  You may even find it fun to try different shades or colors!