Different Types of Light Bulbs and Their Pros and Cons

It has been a long time since the days when the incandescent light bulb was our only choice. Today, we have energy-efficient options for replacement lamps and many different bulb possibilities. As you outfit replacement lamps and warehouse lighting fixtures, private homes or enormous hospitals, here’s what you need to know about the different types of light bulbs and their pros and cons.


The incandescent bulb is currently the least expensive lightbulb to buy and produces a light quality that most people find warm and inviting; though newer generations who have grown up without incandescent lighting in their homes are beginning to show a preference for LED and other types of light quality. The great downside of the incandescent bulb is that it only lasts around 700 to 1000 hours and is very energy inefficient. Whatever savings there might be from buying the bulb itself, it quickly becomes the most expensive option in terms of energy needed to run them and the need to constantly replace them


Fluorescent bulbs have also been around for a while, and the most common type of fluorescent bulb today is the compact fluorescent bulb, or CFL. The fluorescent bulb has a life expectancy of 20,000 hours, so significantly longer than an incandescent bulb. And while the original fluorescent lights were known for their flat, harsh light that could not be dimmed, newer versions are now being marketed that produce more light and have a warmer quality. CFLs can now be color corrected to the light quality a person prefers. The main downsides of the modern fluorescent bulb are that it is still less energy-efficient than some other choices, and the bulb itself contains mercury. Mercury is a hazardous substance and, should the bulb break, it must be cleaned up in a very particular way in order to avoid harm to people, animals, or the environment.


Another popular type of bulb for replacement lamps is the halogen bulb. This type of light gives the closest approximation to natural daylight that we are able to get with electric lights. Halogen light makes colors stand out sharply and halogen bulbs can be dimmed in the same way that incandescent light can be dimmed. They are also more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. Unfortunately, halogen lights are also more expensive than incandescent bulbs, and a significant drawback of these bulbs is the high temperatures at which they run. They run so hot that if they are touched while hot the oil from the human hand can cause the bulb to explode.


The term LED stands for light-emitting diode. This is the newest advancement in bulb technology. LED lights are the most energy efficient and long-lasting bulbs we can make. LEDs use only 15% of the amount of energy that a halogen bulb uses while providing 85% more light. The Department of Energy has stated that they believe a switch to LED lighting could reduce the energy usage of the entire United States by close to 50%. LED are especially good choices for replacement lamps in areas where lights are required to be on at all times. An LED light can be expected to last for about 50,000 hours. The current downside of LED lighting is that it only provides directional light. In other words, it is hard to diffuse the light across a wide space in order to make a whole room feel well lit, though LED lights are ideal for lighting up a particular area or spot. In order to overcome this, LED lights can be clustered together; but this makes them more expensive than other bulbs at the point of initial purchase.

There are many types of bulbs you could fit in your replacement lamps, and each has benefits and drawbacks. In the end, LED lights will last you the longest and cost you the least. Other bulbs, however, may provide a different quality of light that is necessary for a particular lighting application. To make your choice, consider what you need to light and what budget you have for immediate purchase as well as for long-term energy payments. Then you’ll be prepared to make the right choice for you.

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