different types of light bulbsLight Bulbs: Different Types and When To Use Them

Shopping for light bulbs seems like it should be a pretty straightforward thing to do, right? But, once you enter the light bulb aisle, it can become a bit overwhelming. Between lumens, energy savings, varying wattage, and more, it could be hard to know if you’re choosing the best bulb for your intended purpose. Different bulbs produce different lighting effects, and they can have varying performance, as well. Check out this short guide to give you a better understanding of light bulbs, so you’re well-equipped in determining how to choose the correct one.


Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are both the most energy-efficient options. CFL bulbs do produce UV light and heat, while heat produced by LED bulbs is absorbed by a heat sink, so they stay cool to the touch.  CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and last about nine years. LED bulbs contain no mercury and can last up to 20 years. Both can be used in standard light fixtures like table lamps, pendants, and ceiling fans, and CFL bulbs are a little less expensive than LED bulbs.

Halogen and Fluorescent

Halogen bulbs give off the light that is the most similar to natural daylight. They burn at a higher temperature and are most often used in under-cabinet lighting, pendant lights, or recessed lighting. Fluorescent bulbs are tubes filled with mercury vapor that emit UV light, and they contain a coating that turns the UV light into visible light. They are typically tube-shaped but also come in u-shaped and circular. They work well to light large areas like basements, attics, or garages.

Lumens and Watts

Lumens is the measurement of light emitted by a bulb. So, more lumens means a brighter light. Watts signify the amount of energy a bulb uses. Lower wattage means your energy bill will be lower, too. Even though CFL and LED bulbs use a lower wattage than standard incandescent lights, they emit the same amount of lumens. When choosing a bulb, you should never exceed the maximum recommended wattage for your light fixture.

Light Color Light Bulbs

Light color is measured by the Kelvin temperature scale. The lower the number means the more yellow the light while a higher number is a whiter – or, bluer – light. Warm white is great for bedrooms, dens, or living rooms. Bright, or cool white or cool white is ideal for kitchens, workspaces, and bathrooms.

Light Bulb Shape

LED, CFL, and halogen bulbs are available in a variety of shapes and bases to fit nearly any fixture. A good idea when lightbulb shopping is to bring in the old bulb, so you make sure you choose the correct base and size.

While the options for light bulbs can seem overwhelming at first, this guide should help you understand them a bit better – bookmark it so you can pull it up on your next trip to the hardware store. You can adjust light color, lumens, and light bulb shape depending on the room and the fixture, so the lighting in your home is always perfect for your needs. If you need light fixtures installed or have any lighting issues in your home, contact the professionals at Wire Craft Electric to help you out. You can submit your question or request on our contact form, and we’ll reach out right away.