Light bulbs are used for many purposes including lighting homes, offices, commercial spaces, and public places.
In this post we’re going to discuss 6 types of light bulbs and their best uses. This also includes the different types of light bulb shapes and light bulb color temperatures. By the end of this post you will learn about 6 types of light bulb and their uses to help you choose the correct light bulb for your needs, so lets get started.
Various types of light bulbs are available in today’s market. These differ in terms of power output and color temperature. Depending on what purpose you need them for, you should choose the best bulb for you.
Light bulb types have changed over time. In the past, incandescent bulbs were the only type of lighting option available. Eventually, fluorescent lights became popular due to their efficiency and long-lasting lifespan. Nowadays, LED bulbs are becoming increasingly popular, as they consume less power and emit less heat than both fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. Here are some details about each type of bulb:
Types of Light Bulbs
1. Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Light Bulbs
These types of bulbs were first introduced to the market as replacements for fluorescent bulb. LED bulbs are gaining popularity because they are energy-efficient and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
These bulbs emit their light, rather than using filament to produce light. This makes them much brighter and lasts 10 times longer than standard incandescent types of light bulbs. Most modern versions of LEDs use less than 100 watts of power. This means that they consume significantly less electricity than their older counterparts.
Common Use of LED Bulbs
• These bulbs are often used indoors in spaces where temperature control is critical – such as greenhouses and offices.
• Commonly used in commercial and residential settings.
2. Incandescent Light Bulbs
Incandescent bulbs are probably the oldest types of light bulbs. These bulbs have been around since the early 1900s. They were first invented in 1879. They generate light by heating tungsten wire until it becomes red hot. When heated, tungsten emits electrons and creates an electrical current. These bulbs operate at high temperatures resulting in high levels of heat. This increases energy consumption and reduces their lifespan.
These types of light bulbs produce about half the amount of heat as halogens. However, they do offer a great deal of versatility when it comes to both placement and color temperature. These bulbs are not often recommended anymore. However, they do still make up a significant portion of the bulb market today.
Common Use of Incandescent Type of Light Bulbs
• Best for small spaces like bookshelves, desks, ceilings, etc.
• Incandescent is still considered the standard bulb type in homes and commercial buildings.
3. Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Light Bulbs
CFL bulbs have been around since the 1990s and came about as a replacement for both incandescent and halogen bulbs. CFL bulbs use less electricity, but they do produce higher amounts of heat. They only last around three times longer than regular bulbs. So if that isn’t enough for you, then don’t bother with them.
CFL bulbs are widely considered the best types of light bulbs for consumers who want eco-friendly options. However, because they rely on mercury vapor, they should never be disposed of improperly. Instead, they should be recycled through local recycling programs.
Common Use of CFL Type of Light Bulbs
• CFL bulbs are ideal for projecting slides and movies at conferences and seminars.
• Outdoor floodlight.
4. Halogen Light Bulbs
Halogen bulbs get their name from the fact that they work similarly to halogens in chemistry, which produce intense light and heat. They consist of a glass tube containing a mixture of inert gases such as argon. Inside the tube, a series of magnets are connected to two filaments. As the magnets turn, the filaments move back and forth, sending out warmth and light.
Compared to fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs produce high amounts of lumens per watt and have a higher CRI rating. One disadvantage to these lights is that they are costly to operate. Also, they can create a lot of noise while turning on and off. Halogen bulbs are not commonly used today, but they were once extremely popular.
Common Use of Halogen Type of Light Bulbs
• Suitable for use with certain appliances. One example is using them in refrigerators and freezers.
• Car headlights.
• Track light.
5. Standard Fluorescent (SFL) Light Bulbs
Standard fluorescent bulbs have been around since the 1920s, but they’ve recently gained popularity as the energy-saving alternative to incandescent. SFL lights are similar to CFL bulbs in terms of function except that they use three-way tubes rather than two-way tubes. This type of bulb uses a reflector to direct light towards the center of the lamp. SFL bulbs offer good color quality, but they consume a lot of power. They work best indoors.
When choosing between SFLs and CFLs, consider the following factors: SFLs may work just fine for smaller rooms, but CFLs tend to be more effective for larger spaces and commercial applications. Both types of bulbs offer great color quality with little difference in lumen output.
Common Use of SFL Type of Light Bulbs
• Hallway light.
• Track light.
• Table work.
6. Xenon Light Bulbs
Xenon bulbs are becoming increasingly popular. These bulbs cost nearly twice as much as standard fluorescents, but they are 10 times more energy-efficient. They are generally white, but some models may be colored.
Common Use of Xenon Type of Light Bulbs
• Perfect for illuminating spaces that need lots of light, e.g. planetarium.
• Best-suited for smaller spaces and places with low ceilings e.g. stores.
• Xenon bulbs are used primarily for stage and theatrical applications.
Light Bulb Shapes
Arbitrary/Standard (A) Bulbs
A standard-shaped bulb is known for being able to produce high amounts of usable light over a longer period. These types of light bulbs have a rounded shape, which is a great option if you are looking for efficiency when selecting your light bulbs. Standard-shaped bulbs are often used in applications such as aquariums, fountains, and decorative lights.
Globe (G) Bulbs
These types of bulb are also known as a globe bulb because it resembles a globe. These bulbs make use of many small filaments that allow them to spread out light evenly throughout their range. This means that you get a good amount of coverage while maintaining a low consumption rate. Globes are very useful for applications where you need a lot of light coverage, such as general lighting, landscape lighting, and parking lots.
Candle (C) Bulbs
Candles are shaped differently than globes, so these bulbs are referred to as candle-shaped bulbs. They consist of just one filament that is covered with a glass shade. These bulbs provide a narrow beam of light that can be pointed anywhere. Candle bulbs are ideal for spotlights or ambient light.
Tubular (T) Bulbs
Tubular-shaped bulbs resemble tubes because of their design, and they are commonly used to create an accent or task lighting. Tubular-sphere bulbs are often hollow or single-filament bulbs that look like a cylinder. Most tubular bulbs are rated at 100 watts or higher. You can use these bulbs to illuminate a room or hallway without having to worry about wasting power.
Reflector (R) Bulbs
A reflector bulb’s shape is generally more focused than traditional halogen bulbs. These shapes allow for more control over the beam of light and therefore enhance the ability to direct the light where you’re looking at. If you want a more even light distribution throughout the room, these bulbs would make sense. But if you’re trying to get some extra light in specific spots, then these bulbs may not be what you need.
Multifaceted/ Quartz Reflector (MR) Bulbs
These bulbs have many facets. This helps to create a diffused reflection of the light, making it softer and more diffuse. In general, multifaceted bulbs are best suited for small rooms where you’re trying to achieve a softer, warmer look. You can use them to make a room feel cozy and inviting. However, they may not produce as much light compared to others.
Parabolic Aluminized Reflector (PAR) Bulbs
Parabolic bulbs are designed specifically to spread out the light evenly. The curved sides of the parabola help to distribute the light evenly across the room. These bulbs do tend to produce the brightest amount of light, but depending on the size of your room, you may find yourself needing a few of them to cover the area properly.
Light Bulb Color Temperature
The color temperature of light is measured in Kelvin (K). The color temperature scale is a method of rating the approximate color of light emitted by a light bulb. Different bulbs produce different amounts of red, blue, and green wavelengths of light. These colors correspond to specific temperatures, which are rated numerically. Warm colored lights have high ratings and cool colored lights have low ratings. As a result, they are often referred to as warm white and cool white lights.
When choosing light bulbs for specific uses, such as mood lighting, many homeowners choose high CRI bulbs (CRI stands for Color Rendering Index) since these bulbs provide a wide range of different tones and flicker frequencies that enable them to project a wider range of colors.
A cool bulb temperature is generally referred to as being around 3000-6500 Kelvin. These types of light bulbs use cool white bulbs and create a lot of light, but with less warmth than warm lights. They make use of longer wavelengths of the visible spectrum (blue). They are good for general lighting because they provide even illumination across the whole area. They include:
• Cool white – Has a color temperature of about 3000-5000K.
• Blue – Has a color temperature of about 5000-6500K.
A warm bulb temperature is generally referred to as being between 1000-3000 Kelvin. These bulbs emit shorter wavelengths of the visible spectrum (red), thus providing less illumination. These bulbs use warmer tungsten bulbs and create a lot of light while providing warmth. These bulbs are ideal for lamps in dining rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms. They include:
• Candlelight – Has a color temperature of about 1000-2600K.
• Warm white – Has a color temperature of about 2600-3000K.
When choosing a bulb type, there are many factors to consider including price, color temperature, size, lifespan, power consumption, and others. Generally, fluorescent bulbs are cheap, have a short lifespan, and consume a ton of electricity. LED bulbs are expensive, long-lasting, use less electricity than fluorescent bulbs, and are great for growing indoors.
However, they do not produce nearly as much light as the traditional incandescent light bulb, meaning you will need more lighting fixtures. A solution is to simply find a balance between cost, efficiency, and quality.