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Bulb choices: different effects, prices and longevity

As most of us are aware the old incandescent light bulb is now a thing of the past and like it or not we now have to choose from newer more advanced light bulb options for all our light fittings around the home. This is not as complicated as it might at first seem so let’s take a look at what options are available and what effects these light bulbs will give us compared to the old style lights.


Firstly, and probably closest in lighting effect to the old incandescent bulb, is the halogen bulb. This comes in many options for fitting from standard screw in ends to more complicated ampoules to fit specialised fittings.

The halogen bulb gives off a bright white light and is a good option for illuminating large areas such as hallways or basements as the light emitted has a sharp quality. Halogen bulbs use roughly the same energy as the old incandescent bulb, so from as an energy saving option they are not the best choice.

Compared to the old incandescent bulbs the halogen is slightly more expensive but with normal use should last a little longer. However, the halogen bulb is difficult to use and cannot be touched with bare hands as this might cause it to explode and therefore is not the most popular choice.


Next we can look at the LED (light emitting diode) lights. These also come is several types of fitting from screw in to pin fittings. When first brought out these tended to be of poor quality but recent developments have made the LED the light bulb of choice today.

Although they will be considerably more expensive to purchase with average use these bulbs can last for up to twenty five years so will pay for the original investment many times over.

LED’s use almost 90% less energy than the old style bulbs and so from an energy saving point they are by far the best option on the market today. The downside of LED light is that it tends to be directional and new fittings are using a cluster of small bulbs to try to alleviate this effect. They are perfect for under counter lighting or places where a beam of light is needed. LED lights can be dimmed meaning that their energy usage can be even further reduced.

If you compare an old incandescent light bulb using 40watts of power with the equivalent LED light today which would use only 6watts you can see how the energy savings will quickly add up.


CFL lights (compact fluorescent lights) are a good energy saving option and give a warm soft light very much like the old incandescent bulbs. They are instantly bright when switched on and are suitable for almost every area of the house. CFL’s use only ¼ of the energy of the old style bulbs and last for at least ten times longer, making them a good choice for general use.

The light given off is warm and diffused making them suitable for any areas where the old incandescent bulb would have been used. A major downside to the CFL bulb is that it contains traces of mercury and this makes disposal after use more difficult and specialised.

To help you get the best type of light for the different areas of your home it is necessary to understand that the old way of choosing a light bulb is no longer viable. The light given off from an incandescent light bulb was measured in wattage and this is a measurement of power used. With the development of new power saving options this is no longer a suitable way of measuring light strength. Light output is now measured in lumens and this is considered more accurate and easier to understand.

The last thing to take into account is the colour of the light that you want to create. Some light bulbs will give you a stark blue white light and others a softer yellowed light. To help you in your choices all light bulb packaging needs to carry a comprehensive comparison chart that will give you all the information you need to choose the correct light bulb for your needs.

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