What to Look for in Light Bulbs

So you are looking to replace your dead incandescent lighting but the light bulb retail store does not carry it anymore. Your standard incandescent bulb is now being phased out for more energy-efficient lighting. Along with this transition comes a dizzying array of products that can leave an average consumer like you confused. They come with different capabilities, price tags and life spans. So how do you pick smartly among the energy-efficient lighting options depending on your needs? Familiarize yourself with the different types of bulbs before buying one.


If you are not yet ready to let go of incandescent, halogens are a good compromise because they are just incandescent bulbs with halogen gas around the filament for increased bulb efficiency. They need twenty-five percent to thirty percent less energy to light up compared to incandescent and last for about a year. Halogens produce a bright, white light that shines in all directions and is dimmable. They come in a wide range of shapes and colors, and do not contain mercury. Led light bulbs are ideal for task lighting such as under-cabinet or ceiling lights because of their intensity relative to their small size.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)

Compact fluorescent lamps are the bulb versions of the tube fluorescent lights. For the same amount of light, a CFL uses seventy-five percent less energy than the traditional incandescent bulb while lasting seven to ten times longer. Compared to halogens, CFLs use about one-third the energy. They are available in a wide range of colors from warm to cool to neutral, and can be linear, circular or U-shaped. CFLs are ideal for illuminating huge spaces like basements or garages, and places where the light is usually left on like hallways and entryways.

Light emitting diodes (LEDs)

Light emitting diodes light bulb are the toast of the lighting world because of their life span of twenty thousand to fifty thousand hours, or approximately eighteen to forty-six years, while using only a fraction of the wattage needed to light up an incandescent bulb. LEDs require only twenty to twenty-five percent of the energy used by incandescent, and twenty-five to thirty percent used by halogens. They emit light by passing an electrical current through a semiconductor. They are available in an assortment of colors, and a few of them are dimmable. Because of their durability, they can be used both indoor and outdoor and in all sorts of weather.