In the past, buying a light bulb was a simple task – the only deviation was wattage and bulb size. However, buying a light bulb today is much different due to the multitude of options on the market. Considerations include energy efficiency, color, bulb life, cost, etc.
Incandescent bulbs are the most common bulb on the market. It is the traditional light bulb that has been sold for years. Incandescent bulbs are inexpensive and come in a variety of sizes and colors. They give off a warm light that is favored by many homeowners. The bulb is also easily dimmable. However, it is not energy efficient and may be eventually phased out for this reason.
Halogen bulbs are very similar to incandescent bulbs in that they use the same technology and filament to produce light. However, halogens are more energy efficient, last longer and are a little more expensive than incandescent. They last up to three times longer and produce almost 50 percent more light for the same amount of energy. Halogen bulbs emit a crisp, warm glow, even at low wattage, that is great for more direct lighting like artwork.
Fluorescent bulbs have come a long way from the traditional blue tube used in commercial settings. Today’s fluorescent bulbs have been color corrected and offer the same warm glow as a traditional incandescent but lasts approximately five times longer. They do require a ballast and bulb shapes are somewhat limited. Fluorescent bulbs are great for linear lighting and home applications include under-cabinet lighting, garages and laundry rooms.
Compact fluorescent Bulbs
Compact fluorescent bulbs are often referred to as CFLs. They are extremely energy efficient and use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs while emitting the same amount of light. For this reason, the upfront cost of CFLs is higher than incandescent bulbs but they are still priced affordably. Some homeowners may shy away from CFLs since they contain mercury and can be slow to reach optimum brightness in colder environments.
Light Emitting Diodes
Light Emitting Diodes are commonly known as LEDs. They have been a hot topic in the lighting industry because they are the most energy efficient bulbs on the market. They use up to 85 percent less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs while emitting the same amount of light and last as much as 25 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs and five times longer than CFLs. LEDs also have the highest upfront price tag, but will pay for themselves over time since one bulb can last 40 years or more. They are great for almost any home application and are very popular for landscape lighting.
There are many factors to consider when purchasing a light bulb. Cost and energy efficiency are important factors as well as the overall quality of the bulb. As with any purchase, it is important to do research beforehand to determine which type of bulb meets your need.
Images provided by Home Depot Canada.
BY: ROBIN NORTHAM, LIGHTING MANAGER AT FERGUSON, BATH, KITCHEN AND LIGHTING GALLERY
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