Types of Light Bulbs – Lamps become a very vital element for night lighting because of the ease of using lights compared to other light sources such as oil lamps, torches, or other lighting.
There are so many types of light bulbs sold in the market, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. In order not to choose wrong, you should recognize the types of light bulbs and their respective characteristics. Here’s the explanation.
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The bulb that most lamps require is the incandescent bulb, they are the standard bulbs that most people are familiar with and typically the most inexpensive option.
The pros in using incandescent bulbs: They produce a warm and steady light that complements skin tones, they can be used with a dimmer, and they come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes.
Some of the cons are: They are not as energy efficient as some of the other options and although they can last for 700-1000 hours, other bulb options far outweigh this feat.
Types of Incandescent bulbs:
- A-line: The standard lightbulb shape available in a variety of wattage and color options.
- Reflector: An indoor bulb used for directional lighting such as recessed light or as a spot light.
- Globe: A round bulb typically used without a shade, such as in vanity lighting.
- Candle: A decorative bulb that can be used with dimmers or as accent lighting in chandeliers.
- Flicker: A filmament in the bulb that resembles a flickering flame. Typically used in chandeliers and candelabras.
- Bullet/Torpedo: A decorative bulb resembling a torpedo. Typically used in night lights.
- Flame: A flame shaped bulb with wrinkled glass typically used with dimmers or in accent lighting.
- Tubular: A tube shaped bulb used in undercabinet lighting or picture lighting.
- Ceiling Fan: A bulb made specifically for ceiling fans (also available in bulb and flame shapes)
2. Compact Fluorescent Lamps
Of all light bulbs, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are the most energy efficient. They actually use 67% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last longer (some up to 10,000 hours!).
Most CFLs either consist of a number of short glass sticks, or two or three small tubular loops. One of the benefits to using CFLs are they use less wattage than incandescents thus improving energy efficiency.
The cons are they are more expensive than incandescents, though, because their life span is usually six times longer than incandescents they are an economically smart choice.
Additionally, CFLs contain small amounts of mercury and therefore should not be tossed out in your trash like other bulbs can.
Types of CFL bulbs:
- 3-way: Made for 3-way table lamps. This bulb lasts 6 times longer than a standard A-line.
- Dimmable: Made for incandescent dimming circuits. It lasts 13 times longer than a 100 watt A-line.
- Post: Has a shatterproof cover and lasts 16 times longer than a 75-watt A-line.
- A-line: Looks similar to a standard incandescent A-line but lasts 6 times longer than a 60 watt A-line.
- Spiral: Spiral shape provides better light distribution than other CFLs and is great for table lamps. Lasts 8 times longer than a regular A-line bulb.
3. Fluorescent Bulbs
Fluorescent bulbs typically produce more light per watt and have a longer lamp life than incandescents. One of the pros to fluorescent bulbs are they are great for lighting entire rooms.
Some of the cons, however, are fluorescent bulbs usually come in a linear format so they are not used in most home decor lighting, but there are circular and u-shaped options as well and color has been an issue for fluorescents bulbs in the past but now there are more options for varying indoor lighting needs.
Types of Fluorescent bulbs:
- Grow lights: Fluoresecent lights design specifically to provide “natural” light indoors for the growth of indoor plants.
- Linear: Tubes available in lengths of 24″ to 48.”
- Circular: Non linear fixtures.
- U-shaped: Fluorescent bulb with a ballast on one end only.
- Aquarium: Fluorescent lighting designed specifically for fish tanks.
4. High-Intensity Discharge Lamps
High Pressure Sodium (HPS), Metal Halide, Mercury Vapor and Self-Ballasted Mercury Lamps are all high intensity discharge lamps (HID).
Auxiliary equipment such as ballasts and starters must be provided for proper starting and operation of each type bulb, with the exception of self-ballasted lamps.
HID lamps produce a large quantity of light from a relatively small bulb, compared to fluorescent and incandescent lamps.
Housed inside a specially designed inner glass tube, HID lamps produce light by striking an electrical arc across tungsten electrodes. This tube is filled with both gas and metals.
The gas aids in the starting of the lamps. Then, once they are heated to a point of evaporation, the metals produce the light.
5. Metal Halide Bulb
Though they produce a yellowish light, standard high-pressure sodium lamps have the highest efficiency of all HID lamps. Efficiency is somewhat sacrificed, however, High-pressure sodium lamps that produce a whiter light are now available.
Metal halide lamps are less efficient but produce a whiter, more natural light. Colored metal halide lamps are also available. HID lamps are usually used not only when energy efficiency and/or long life are desired, but also when high levels of light are required over large areas.
Such areas include gymnasiums, pathways, outdoor activity areas, roadways, large public areas, and parking lots. Recently, metal halide is successfully being used in residential environments.
6. Low-Pressure Sodium Lamps
Of all commercially available lighting sources, Low-pressure sodium lamps have the highest efficiency. A low-pressure sodium lamp shouldn’t be confused with a standard high-pressure sodium lamp, even though they both emit a yellow light.
Requiring a ballast, Low-pressure sodium lamps operate much like a fluorescent lamp. There is a brief warm-up period for the lamp to reach full brightness.
Low-pressure sodium lamps are generally used where color rendition is not important but energy efficiency is. They are typically used for outdoor, roadway, parking lot, and pathway lighting.
7. LED or Light Emitting Diodes
Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are bulbs without a filament, that are low in power consumption and have a long life span. LEDs are just starting to rival conventional lighting, but unfortunately they just don’t have the output (lumen) needed to completely replace incandescent, and other type, bulbs just yet.
Never the less, technology is advancing everyday, and it will not be long until the LED bulb will be the bulb of choice for most applications in the home and work place.