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Tips & Guides

Tips & Guides

Your perfect guide to know about light bulbs 

One of the many greatest achievements of Thomas Edison’s was the ‘Light Bulb’ apart from his other 1,903 patents. Well, most people will agree with the fact that we’ve grown up with light bulbs and are probably accustomed to their shape, intensity, and warmth. There are different kinds of bulbs available in the market and before you get all jinxed up, we are here to help you navigate the right choices. There are basic terminologies that we use for bulb shape, base types and light sources that are important to understand before jumping off to the home appliances store for buying the ‘light bulb’. 

Let’s learn more about these bright light bulbs, and how over time they have evolved to become more efficient.

You must have observed ‘bulb facts’ mentioned on the label while buying the bulb. This is done to inform consumers of exactly what they are purchasing and what can be the expected result. These facts are:

  1. Light output in Lumens is the measure of brightness
  2. Lumens per Watt or Efficacy is the amount of power it takes to light the bulb 
  3. Colour accuracy or Colour Rendering Index (CRI)
  4. The light colour or Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT) and is measured in degrees Kelvin.  

Types of bulbs:

  1. Incandescent Bulbs 

This is the most common light bulb that many people are aware of! The standard incandescent bulb is known for being energy hogs as they have experienced an energy-efficiency upgrade since the time they first came into existence. Though, you all might agree that not much has been increased in terms of efficiency as they work or lights up by electricity running through a filament creating a lot of heat and uses a lot of wattage. These bulbs are very limited in shapes and bases. Common household light bulbs which traditionally used between 40 and 100 watts before 2011 now use at least 27 per cent less energy and 100 watts’ bulb now are not manufactured in the USA. The US government has moved to minimize the bulb shapes and bases that are available as incandescent. 

Best for: Incandescent bulbs are everyday home bulbs but they are best suited for dimmable light fixtures, vanity lighting (as the light flatters skin) and low-voltage lighting. 

  1. Fluorescent Bulbs 

Fluorescent tube bulbs have been around for years- the twist, spiral or ice cream shaped that you see in overhead lights in department stores. This light source illuminates by exciting mercury vapour with an electrical charge that in turn males a phosphor coating inside the tube glows. This particular type of light bulb uses less energy than incandescent bulbs and are modestly priced. The look of the bulb and the fact that it contains mercury has made them an undesirable option for many people. 

Best for: Though not much of a favourite these days but are most suitable in factories or workshops where bright lights might be needed.

  1. Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs:

CFL bulbs are easily identified because of their hallmark curlicue design and it uses a fraction of the wattage incandescent bulbs use. These bulbs can be used for reading and project purposes. Like fluorescent tubes, CFLs contain mercury, so broken bulbs should be disposed of according to the EPA’s suggestion for clean-up. 

Best for: As most CFL’s are particularly not suited for light fixtures you switch on and off frequently, as this habit can shorten their useful life. You can still use them as overhead lights, lamps, and task lights. 

  1. LED Bulbs:

Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are currently the most energy-efficient of all types of light bulbs. As a light source, it uses semiconductors to produce electroluminescence. Baffled much? In simple terms, we are talking about atoms, photons, and electrons here. With lifespans that exceed those of most other bulbs and options that encompass a variety of colours, these bulbs are the best fit for any lighting purpose. A quality bulb can last up to 15 years, and that’s a very small investment worth making. 

Best for: These are all-rounder bulbs and can be used anywhere and everywhere. Nowadays, manufacturers are offering LED bulbs that emit whole-room diffused lighting.

Below is the quick comparison of three main bulb lights:

Incandescent CFL LED
Average Lifespan 1,200 hours 8,000 hours 25,000 hours
Watts Used 60W 14W 10W
No. of Bulbs Needed for 25,000 Hours of Use 21 3 1
Total Cost of Electricity Used (25,000 hours at $0.12 per kWh) $180 $42 $30
Total Operational Cost Over 23 Years $201 $43 $38

Bulb Shape:

Bulbs come in many shapes and sizes. However, you have to decide the right one by determining either by a constraint of the fixture or through ‘look and feel’. 

We have listed some basic shapes along with their names for your reference:

  • Spiral: This is a popular shape for CFLs and is developed to create a shorter overall length alternative to 120V screw base incandescent
  • A-shaped (Arbitrary): This is bulb shape, a lot of you are familiar with and are the size of a typical incandescent but can be a CFL, halogen or LED. The light is emitted in an omnidirectional fashion. 
  • Candle: This is shaped like the illuminated aura around the flame when you burn a candle. Also available with a twist or different designs at the top. 
  • Globe: As the name suggests, shaped like a sphere and are available in multiple base sizes depending on fixture needs. 
  • Par: This type of bulb resembles a cone and are often used for directional illumination meaning most of the light goes in one direction such as track, flood or landscape lighting. 
  • T: These bulbs are tube bulbs that are long and come in a variety of bases. T8 and T12 bulbs perfectly fit into this category and usually have a medium bi-pun base to fit into shop lights, clouds or troffer type of fixtures.

Bulb Bases:

There are hundreds of varieties available for bulb types but the one you need is dependent upon what the socket of the fixture accepts. As mentioned, there are many types of bulb bases but we will be only discussing the most popular ones. Most bulbs bases are named primarily with a letter followed by a number that describes a physical attribute of the bulb and some of them also has a nickname! Excited much? Let’s have a look at these:

  • E is for Edison and the number is the diameter of the base measured in millimetres. The base is threaded and screws into the socket.
  • E12 also known as a chandelier, candelabra, or C typeE17 also known as appliance bulbs
  • E26 also known as medium based are the most common bulb base type 
  • G bulbs were first brought into notice by the US EPA and lighting research Centre in 2004 for the introduction of CFL bulbs. The number in these bulbs represents the distance between the pins measured in millimetres. Out of more than 75 G types of bulbs, GU10 and GU24 are the most common ones and are primarily used by hotels. 
  • B (all #s) bulbs are more spotted and common in the UK. You just need to push it into the socket and push. However, this base type is sometimes used for automotive bulbs in the US. The number associated with B bulbs mentions the diameter of the base in millimetres. 

Literally lighting up the lives!!

With their long history of innovation, light bulbs have solved their energy use problem and have hopped onto bigger and better things. Today, you get a more modernised version of bulbs that are voice-activated- Alexa, Google Home that can turn on and off for you. The LED technology is so advanced that now the lights change colour, mood lighting you see!

When it comes to perfect lighting for your mood and home, HUBLIT is a name that you can trust! Now you know what bulbs to look for, let there be energy-efficient light everywhere!