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How many types of light bulbs are there?

Jun 15, 2021

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Lighting choices can make a world of difference. The right light bulb can transform a room that would otherwise be washed-out and dull into a vibrant, welcoming space.


All comfortable, attractive homes need good lighting… but how many types of lightbulbs are there and which one is the right choice for your home? The best type of light bulb all depends on what you want as they vary in price, brightness, color, energy efficiency, temperature, and even dimmability—but overall, there are four types of light bulbs to keep in mind.

Four Best Types of Lightbulbs

Incandescent Bulb

The incandescent bulb is what we associate with the original lightbulb, the kind that Thomas Edison received credit for inventing. In incandescent bulbs, the electric flow heats up a metal filament until it glows enough to give off substantial light. That filament is protected in a bulb of glass to prevent oxidation and prolong the lifespan of the filament. That bulb is also filled with inert gas, usually argon and nitrogen. 


Advantages to incandescent bulbs include their warm color, the fact that they’re dimmable, and that they are cheap. On the down side, incandescent bulbs get very hot and they are not very energy efficient. 

Halogen Bulbs

Halogen bulbs are essentially an improved version of incandescent bulbs. They have the same metal filament that is protected in a glass bulb, but the bulb lasts much longer. 


Often known as the “bulb within a bulb,” halogen light bulbs have an inner bulb which contains the filament and iodine or bromine gas, while the outer bulb protects the inner bulb and helps prolong the filament’s lifespan.


Advantages of halogen bulbs are their warm color, low-cost, dimmability, and long lifespan. On the downside, they are also not the best option when it comes to energy efficiency. 

Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent bulbs have become incredibly popular in large spaces, such as offices, parking garages, and department stores. They don’t use any kind of filament and are typically designed in a tube shape rather than a bulb, although they are available in a variety of shapes. 


The inside of this tube is coated with phosphor powder and designed to contain inert gas and tiny amounts of mercury. Electric flow ionizes the mercury, emitting ultraviolet light, and as the phosphor powder absorbs the UV light it emits a bright white light.


Advantages to fluorescent lights are their energy efficiency, bright light, long lifespan, and versatility when it comes to shapes. Disadvantages of fluorescent lights are the harshness of the light emitted since they aren’t always dimmable), plus they are not safe to dispose of with regular trash due to the mercury within the bulb. 

LED Bulbs

Light Emitting Diode (or LED) bulbs are now one of the most popular types of light bulbs available. They are the most complicated bulb design but they have a lot of advantages. LEDs work by allowing an electric flow through a semiconductor. This process produces a “jump” across a non-conductive region, emitting light.


LED advantages include their amazing energy efficiency—there’s no filament that needs to be heated, so they use a fraction of the watts to produce the same lumens)—and they don’t require any mercury, so they are safe to handle and environmentally-friendly. They are also dimmable and long-lasting, with the ability to last more than 25,000 hours (compared to 10,000 hour average for fluorescent bulbs and and 1,000 hour average of incandescent bulbs.)


The only disadvantage of LED bulbs is their price, as they tend to be the most expensive option. 

Energy Saving Tips

If you’re finding that your energy bill is going up, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re saving as much energy as possible. Here are a few energy saving tips:


  • Get your wiring checked
  • Shut off all lights when you're leaving a room or going to bed
  • Don't over-light a room; only turn on necessary lights on and leave unneeded lights off
  • Install dimmers so you can adjust lighting to meet your needs
  • Keep light bulbs dusted and clean
  • Invest in energy-efficient lighting like LEDs

Signs of Wiring Issues?

It’s important to upgrade the wiring in your home to prevent fire hazards and ensure that your lighting is as energy-efficient as possible. Thankfully, most fault fixtures give off signs when the wiring is going bad. Here are some signs to look out for to make sure your wiring is safe:


  • Abnormal sounds when turning on a light
  • Flickering
  • Dimming
  • Burning our quickly
  • Excess heat when in use
  • Malfunctioning light switches

Having Electrical Issues?

If your light bulbs keep burning out and if nothing seems to solve the problem, or if you have another electrical issue, reach out to the electrical experts at CroppMetcalfe. Our 5-Star Technicians can repair and replace any faulty electrical fixtures and get your electrical system back up and running quickly and safely. Call or contact us online to request electrical service today!



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