The Differences in Lightbulbs

lightbulbsWith the recent news that incandescent bulbs would be phased out for home use, there is some confusion about what the differences are between the various types of lightbulbs. Consumers wonder if they should choose halogen, fluorescent or LED bulbs. When it comes time to replace your 1157 LED bulb, it may help to know why you are choosing that type of bulb over another.

Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are the old-fashioned bulbs that were commonly used in home light fixtures. They are inexpensive and provide a warm quality in the home. Many people find incandescent bulbs to be psychologically appealing and they are more complimentary to skin tone than other types of bulbs. However, incandescent bulbs are not as energy efficient as other bulb types and they only last between 700 and 1,00 hours.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) use one quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs. They also have a much longer life, lasting ten times as long as old-fashioned bulbs. CFLs do not have the ‘buzz’ sound that older versions of fluorescent bulbs have and can be used in almost every light fixture. CFLs, like all other fluorescent bulbs, contain small amounts of mercury, which can be harmful, so it is important to avoid breakage. Rather than throw CFLs away, consumers should recycle the bulbs. Some CFLs will not light in extremely cold temperatures, so be sure to read the label before installing them in outside light fixtures in winter.

Light-Emitting Diode

Light-emitting diode (LEDs) are actually lighting technology. The bulbs are long-lasting and more energy-efficient than other types of lighting, including CFLs. However, they are not widely available for use in all types of light fixtures. LEDs only provide directional light, making them ideal for under-cabinet lighting or automotive bulbs, but not to illuminate a room. Some manufacturers are creating room illumination LEDs by clustering large arrays of them together, but the cost is significant.

Halogen Lights

Halogen lights are a type of incandescent bulb. The illumination is similar to natural daylight and colors appear sharper under halogen lights. Unlike CFLs, it is possible to dim halogen lights, but they are much more expensive and burn at very high temperatures. Never use bare hands to remove a halogen bulb as oils from your fingers can remain on the bulb, causing it to heat too quickly. There have been cases where this has led to explosions of the bulb.

Fluorescent Bulbs

Traditional fluorescent bulbs are often used in office and industrial settings, providing harsh, flat light with a bluish-tint. There are colored fluorescent lights available designed to provide warmer, color or colored lighting. They are best for lighting larger spaces.

This guide can help you understand what type of bulb to choose and explain why certain lights are more readily available in one type over another.

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