Types of Light Bulbs (2024)

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  • Light Color Temperature
  • LED and CFL Bulbs
  • Halogen, Incandescent and Fluorescent Types of Bulbs
  • Light Bulb Shapes and Uses
  • Common Light Bulb Base Types
  • LED Light Bulbs
  • CFL Bulbs
  • Fluorescent Light Bulbs
  • Halogen Light Bulbs
  • Incandescent Light Bulbs
  • Vintage and Decorative Light Bulbs
  • Automotive Bulbs and HID Headlights

Light Color Temperature

Types of Light Bulbs (1)

The light Kelvin scale displays light bulb color temperature. “Color temperature” describes a light’s warmness or coolness, or the appearance of the light that comes from a light bulb. Color temperature is measured in degrees of Kelvin on a scale of 1,000 to 10,000; for consumers in commercial and residential lighting, the range is between 2000K and 6500K.

Color temperature for standard light bulbs include:

  • Soft white bulbs are standard incandescent bulbs. The color range is yellow and between 2700K to 3000K.
  • Warm white bulbs are between yellow and white ranges at 3000K to 4000K.
  • Bright white bulbs are between white and blue ranges at 4000K to 5000K.
  • Daylight bulbs are in the blue range at 5000K to 6500K.

LED and CFL Bulbs

Types of Light Bulbs (2)

This chart compares types of light bulbs.

CFL and LED light bulbs are energy-efficient alternatives to traditional incandescent light bulbs.

CFL bulbs are actually compact fluorescent bulbs that use 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. But because light is produced by heat, they are hot to the touch.

LED lights are 75 percent more efficient than CFL bulbs. LED light is created by light-emitting diodes, or electrical conductors, so they stay cool to the touch.

Different types of light bulbs meet different needs. For the best light possible for a specific area, check the requirements for the lamp or socket where you'll use the light bulb before installing the bulb.

Halogen, Incandescent and Fluorescent Types of Bulbs

Types of Light Bulbs (3)

This chart compares halogen, incandescent, and fluorescent light bulb types.

Halogen, incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs all product different types of light.

Halogen lights are commonly used for spotlights and floodlights. They produce heat, making them hot to the touch and much less energy efficient than CFL and LED bulbs.

Incandescent bulbs are the traditional light bulbs most people are accustomed to, but they only use 10 percent of the energy they create to produce light. The other 90 percent is wasted.

Fluorescent bulbs are best known as the long tube bulbs used in industrial and office settings. They are more energy efficient than halogen and incandescent but still can't match the efficiency of CFL or LED bulbs. They also tend to flicker.

Refer to the color temperature for each type of bulb to determine the best light for your needs.

Light Bulb Shapes and Uses

Types of Light Bulbs (4)

This chart highlights types of light bulb shapes and where to use them.

The brightness and quality of light is critical to accomplishing certain tasks. For example, ambient light sets a mood and lights an entire room, whereas task lighting condenses light into one area, making it easier to perform a task like reading.

For best results, mix-and-match lighting in a room. "Layering light" like interior designers do provides ample lighting to perform a number of different tasks in one space.

Common Light Bulb Base Types

Types of Light Bulbs (5)

Look at the light fixture to determine its base type. Most common lighting, including lamps and recessed flush mount flood lights, has one of the first three base types shown. Pin Type bases are normally used for track lighting and landscape bulbs.

  • Medium – Standard base code: E26
  • Candelabra – Base code: E12
  • Intermediate – Base code: E17
  • Pin Type Bases – Base Codes GU5.3, GU10, and GU24

LED Light Bulbs

Types of Light Bulbs (6)

LED light bulbs, including smart light bulbs, are a great option for everyday use. These types of light bulbs fit a variety of fixtures. They also use less electricity to produce the same amount of light as incandescent varieties. Their brightness is measured in lumens instead of watts.

LED light bulbs often require more upfront investment, but they are also more energy-efficient. Made without hazardous ingredients, they are environmentally friendly and have an exceptional lifespan. To improve energy efficiency, look for light bulbs with the Energy Star label.

Tip: For sunrooms and indoor herb gardens, try LED grow light bulbs. Use LED flood lights for backyard patios or front porches and LED night lights for kids’ rooms.

CFL Bulbs

Types of Light Bulbs (7)

CFL light bulbs usually come in a spiral-shaped design. They emit a softer glow and use minimal amounts of electricity. They contain mercury and can take a while to warm up to full brightness.

CFL bulbs are usually more budget-friendly than LED bulbs. They can be used in many different fixtures around your home, including indoor lamps and outdoor post lights.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Types of Light Bulbs (8)

Ideal for laundry rooms, kitchens and other utility spaces, fluorescent light bulbs use very little energy. They offer optimal brightness and emit a crisp, white glow. They can last up to 20,000 hours.

Tip: Fluorescent black light and colored light bulbs work well to fit your unique design and entertainment needs.

Halogen Light Bulbs

Types of Light Bulbs (9)

Halogen light bulbs are affordable and energy-efficient bulbs. They mimic the warm glow of incandescent lighting. Halogen bulbs are great for indoor and outdoor flood light applications. Unlike CFL bulbs, they don’t need time to warm up. These have a shorter lifespan than other light bulb varieties and usually burn out after 9 to 12 months of regular use.

Incandescent Light Bulbs

Types of Light Bulbs (10)

Incandescent light bulbs are widely available and universally accepted inside many homes. They have a significantly shorter lifespan than CFL and LED options.

Incandescent bulbs are susceptible to temperature changes. They use more energy, but the budget-friendly price point makes them easier to replace.

Tip: Many appliance light bulbs are also of the incandescent variety, including oven, microwave and refrigerator light bulbs.

Vintage and Decorative Light Bulbs

Types of Light Bulbs (11)

Vintage light bulbs add a decorative touch to the conventional light fixtures in your home. Also known asEdison light bulbs, theyare distinguished by the antique-style filament in the center. These types of light bulbs come in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Other decorative light bulbs include candelabra bulbs that complement chandeliers, sconces and ceiling fans. Dramatic globe bulbs are great for custom lighting pieces in the den or dining room.

Automotive Bulbs and HID Headlights

Types of Light Bulbs (12)

Automotive light bulbs come in very specific sizes to match the model of the vehicle. They are available in packs of two. These bulbs were designed to emit bright beams of light for all driving and road conditions. Make sure to look for bulbs that are compliant with the Department of Transportation regulations.

Tip: Some higher-end car manufacturers use HID bulbs in place of LED and incandescent headlight bulbs. Check your owner’s manual to verify which works best in your vehicle.

Different types of light bulbs work and look best in different types of light fixures. Some light bulbs, like LED bulbs, offer energy savings. Others such as common incandescent light bulbs are lower cost options. Decorative bulbs add drama to decorative lighting, while function is most important in appliance bulbs. No matter which types of light bulbs you need, find products fast with image search in The Home Depot Mobile App. Snap a picture of an item you like and we'll show you similar products.

Types of Light Bulbs (2024)
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