'How To' Guides
Littman Bros |  September 20, 2015

A Bulb Isn’t Just A Bulb – Know the types!

A light bulb is just a light bulb, right? You buy it, screw it in, and it works. Yet bulbs are designed differently for different uses. The brightest light possible in a surgical room isn’t necessarily what you might like shining in your eyes when you wake in your master bedroom. Each type is created for different uses and reasons.

Incandescent is the most commonly used light bulb for consumers. The most affordable when it comes to cost, this type of light is warm and complimentary to skin tones and variations. It’s also been known to do wonders for mood when dark rooms make you feel a little blue. Incandescent bulbs can last between 700 and 1,000 hours. Although they can be used on a dimmer for a broader range of light, they are not known to be the most efficient bulb on the market.

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Halogen light bulbs shine brightly. More cost effective, they can last twice as long as standard bulbs do. Halogen bulbs are a “spin off” of incandescent bulbs. Known for the “white light” they emit, these bulbs give off a glow close to daylight. Colors appear brighter and sharper when in the presence of these bulbs. Considered more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, these do cost more.. This bulb is popular for its use in under-cabinet lighting, pendant lights and recessed canned lighting. Halogen lights also burn at a higher temperature so never use bare hands while changing halogen bulb and always let bulbs cool first.

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Fluorescent lighting is a frequent choice when it comes to ceiling lighting fixtures. Fluorescent bulbs provide a glow that often tends to look “bluish.” Many feel it isn’t complimentary to skin tones and seems harsh, or flat. It gives you the look and feel of daylight, yet cannot be put on a dimmer to adjust the amount of light given. Types of fluorescents include warm, cool and special-colored bulbs. They are known to produce more light and have more stamina than incandescent bulbs. If you need to install light in a large area like a basement, workshop, or attic, this can be a good choice.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a fantastic way to save energy in your home. Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) use one quarter of the energy incandescent bulbs need to run and last about 10 times longer, too. CFLs are quiet and turn on instantly so there’s no wait time for them to generate light. Known for their warm, color correcting hues, use them anywhere you might normally use an incandescent bulb.

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LED lights, or a “light-emitting diode,” is an extremely energy-efficient source. They are not your one stop shop for lighting, however. They provide great directional light, yet not diffused illumination, so these are a great choice for under-counter lighting. They are not designed to light up an entire room. Some newer models cluster LEDs together to give more brightness to a larger area, yet these bulbs come with a hefty price tag.

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Not all bulbs perform the same function, so don’t be hasty in throwing away your current bulbs in favor of only using one type. Having an idea of how bulbs work might make it a little less frustrating and overwhelming in the aisles when shopping for new ones. Take a little time to become familiar with the types manufactured. Know which ones you need to perform tasks in your home. From providing workspace lighting in the laundry room to showcasing a piece of art, bulbs are designed with purpose and practicality. Make sure you select ones that are right for your fixtures and your needs.