The Different Types of Light Bulb
Lightbulbs. They’re something we don’t think of very often until they need changing of course. But life without all these different types of lightbulbs would be incredibly different – and hard work.
Since the 19th Century, lightbulbs have been a key element in every home, office, or industrial setting, and since Joseph Swan first came up with the idea back in 1850 (which was then developed further and then patented by Thomas Edison in 1880) bulb technology has continued to evolve into the convenient and accessible different types of lightbulbs we know and depend upon today.
While the light bulb may have had humble beginnings, it’s now a billion-dollar industry with multiple lighting and bulb options. And while our image of the classic lightbulb has changed extraordinarily little in the last 171 years, variations in materials, style, energy efficiency, voltages and the quality of light make finding the right solution much more comprehensive.
Let’s explore some of the different types of lightbulbs available today.
Brighter yet using less energy than traditional bulbs, LED bulbs are revolutionising the way we illuminate our homes and businesses. A basic example of the LED bulb we know today, first appeared back in 1962, courtesy of the scientist, Nick Holonyak Jr. Fast forward to today, and LED bulb technology is leading the way for energy efficiency, lower energy bills, longevity, low radiated heat and instant illumination – unlike its other energy-saving counterparts. Unlike the other different types of lightbulbs available today, LED bulbs have a potential lifespan of around 50,000 hours, leaving the longevity and efficiency of other bulbs at the wayside.
Using a semiconductor to convert electricity into light, the versatility of the LED bulb means they can be installed in a variety of situations, with different colour options such as Warm White (better suited to relaxing areas of the home) and Cool White (perfect within areas that require concentration). Dimmable LED Bulbs also mean you can create ambience with the flick of a switch or the turn of a dial. It’s hardly surprising that the popularity of LED lights within our homes is persistently growing.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps or CFL
Out of the many different types of lightbulbs available, most of us are familiar with compact fluorescent bulbs or CFL options. Introduced in 1980 as an energy-saving alternative to incandescent bulbs, CFL options have a life span of around 10,000 hours and are instantly recognisable thanks to their looped appearance.
While CFL bulbs have energy-saving qualities and have the ability to produce as much light as a fluorescent lamp but without as much power, they’re not as practical as they seem. These bulbs – also supposedly beneficial for the planet – contain high levels of mercury, and when not disposed of correctly, have the potential to harm the environment. CFL bulbs are also infamous for taking some time to warm up, in order to reach the correct level of brightness and luminosity.
If you’ve ever been to a school, supermarket or any other public place you’ll probably had your way illuminated by fluorescent bulbs. These energy-saving options use chemical reactions inside the tube itself to create the light required by using ultraviolet lights that cause the coating on the lamp to glow. While their energy efficiency is admirable, and the price of these bulbs is considerably lower when compared to the different types of lightbulbs available, they also come with significant downsides.
Fluorescent bulbs give off a very harsh light, which in some scenarios can leave people squinting or even suffering with dry eyes. They also have a warm up period and users can expect the brightness of their fluorescent bulbs to deplete over time. However, the biggest issue many people have with fluorescent lights is their ecological impact – if these bulbs aren’t disposed of correctly, then they have the potential to contaminate the environment around them.
When we picture a lightbulb, the traditional shape of incandescent probably springs to mind. The most common type of bulb available today, these options create light by passing a current through a filament which then glows. You’ll find incandescent bulbs in a variety of shapes and styles including globe shapes, candle styles, golf balls, pygmy, and even coloured designs. This variety makes styling your home incredibly easy.
However, in comparison to other different types of lightbulbs, the life of an incandescent bulb is incredibly short, at just 1000 hours. These bulbs are also incredibly fragile and can also be impacted by power fluctuations or even bad weather. Their lack of energy efficiency means more people than ever are turning to more modern options such as LEDs.
Halogen bulbs are remarkably similar to their incandescent bulb counterparts, in that they work by illuminating a filament to produce light. With halogen bulbs, there’s no warm-up time and their life expectancy is around 2,000-4,000 hours.
Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end because if you’re considering installing halogen bulbs within your property, you might be too late. Halogen - in comparison to the different types of lightbulbs - are notoriously bad for the environment, inefficient and expensive to run, which led to the phasing out of halogen bulbs back in 2018, in the hope of cutting carbon emissions and making our homes energy efficient. Today, retailers continue to sell their stocks of halogen bulbs, once they’re gone – they’ll no longer be available to purchase.
Lighting technology is persistently evolving and with so many different types of lightbulbs available to home and business owners, finding the right lighting solution for your property has never been easier.