There are many different types of light bulbs and they all vary in different technologies, energy usage, amount of light produced and color of light produced. There are Incandescent bulbs, Halogen Bulbs, Xenon Bulbs and LED bulbs just to name a few. The type of bulb that you choose should reflect these factors when choosing your bulb. Here are the different types of bulbs on the market today.
Light sources – The Different Types Of Bulbs
When Thomas Edison designed and invented the light bulb, he came up with the incandescent bulb. The incandescent bulb works when the electric current conducts through a filament, causing it to glow. The incandescent bulb is the most widely used and popular bulb used today because they are inexpensive and widely available but as more energy efficient choices enter the market, their popularity is starting to fade.
Incandescent bulbs emit a soft yellowish-white light that is produced in all directions. They vary in wattage from about 15 to 150 watts. There are newer versions on the market that produce a whitish, more neutral color than yellow. You can get incandescent bulbs that are clear, frosted or colored and in a variety of colored glass.
Incandescent bulbs are good for standard light and for lighting for projects that require high levels of brightness although they are generally less energy efficient than other types of bulbs currently on the market.
If you are searching for a bulb that will produce a bright, white light that has a longer life and provides more light per watt than regular incandescent bulbs, then the halogen bulb is just what you are looking for. A halogen light actually replicates the color spectrum of the sun at mid-day and their small size makes them perfect for lighting used with a specific task.
In the beginning, halogen bulbs were unsafe because they burn hotter than other types of bulbs and thus required caution to use. Today’s halogen bulbs however, have a reduced risk of fire because all bulbs sold today have strict safety shields, required by the government. Because these bulbs burn hotter than others, it is recommended that when changing halogen bulb, one must wait some time after turning off so the bulb can cool and you can avoid burning yourself. Never handle these bulbs with your bare hands. When handling these, a clean rag will cut the risk of cutting yourself if the bulb breaks in your hand when turning and oils from your hand can cause the bulb to burn brighter after installation which will reduce the life of your bulb.
When changing a halogen, be sure to wait until the bulb cools to the touch. Always use a clean rag to handle a halogen bulb, as oils from your hand will cause the bulb to burn hotter and can greatly reduce the life of your bulb.
Fluorescents use up to 40% less electricity and last up to 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
Today’s fluorescents will produce tones of light similar to those of incandescent, but will feel warmer. The best part of Fluorescent bulbs today is that they can be used in place of incandescent bulbs in standard light sockets, making them a safer alternative to incandescent as well.
One of the drawbacks to fluorescent bulbs is that because they contain mercury, they must be disposed of properly so as not to harm the environment. It is important to note that when using a fluorescent bulb in a standard socket, you must make sure that the fluorescent bulb will fit properly and not protrude from shade glass or fixture, causing a hazard.
Fluorescents emit light when the electric arc passes between cathodes to excite mercury and other gases. This produces a radiant energy that is converted to visible light by a phosphor coating that lines the inside of the bulb. The larger ceiling fixtures that use long fluorescent tubes have electronic ballasts that allow them to turn on instantly and operate without hum.
The white light of a Xenon bulb will be similar to that of a halogen bulb. The advantage that a xenon bulb has is that it will have a much longer life, sometimes lasting as long as 21,000 hours, closely resembling the life of a fluorescent bulb. Because the xenon bulb burns much less hot than a halogen bulb there is little risk associated with changing them out when they are exhausted. These smaller bulbs are great for cove lighting, lighting that is needed under cabinets and for strip applications. The three most popular designs for the xenon bulbs are festoon, wedge based bulbs and rigid-loop designs.
LED (Light Emitting Diodes)
An LED is a plastic capsule with a semiconductor embedded inside. When voltage is applied to negatively charged semiconductors, the electrons combine to create a unit light. LED units are sometimes combined to produce a single light bulb because they are so small.
LEDs have been popular in under-cabinet strips and some types of down lights, but with recent technological advances, they are being developed for more applications in the home.
In general, LED lighting is vastly more efficient and longer lasting than any other type of light source. To ensure that you are buying an LED bulb with high-quality color and energy efficiency that is as good or better than fluorescent bulbs, look for the Energy Star label.
Hopefully, this list of the types of bulbs available today helps you to select the one that is right and proper for your use. If you have any questions regarding bulbs, you can contact us at the Lighting Expo for more information or the answers to your questions. Please call today at 973.696.2185