4 Common Types of Lightbulbs – Know the Difference

Have you ever wondered which type of light bulb is the best one? The answer to this question, however, will surprise you because saying that a certain category of bulb is universally better than all others would not be very accurate. That is because every bulb comes with a set of pros and cons. Also, if you are a homeowner, it would be a mistake to install the same types of light bulbs in every part of your property and we will tell you why that is so in just a minute. To get to that part, we will first need to look at the four most popular types of lightbulbs which you can find on the market today:

  • Incandescent
  • CFL
  • LED
  • Halogen


This the grandfather of all fancy lightbulbs that exist today. It has been around for more than a century and it has not changed its design at all. It continues to be a very popular choice in many households but that will change in the future since the production of 40-, 60-, 75- and 100-watt incandescent bulbs will gradually be discontinued. That is because these light bulbs are the least energy-efficient option out there. This also means that they are not eco-friendly either. Plus, they heat up quite a lot which can increase your air-conditioning costs. On the bright side (pun intended), they emit a very warm light that does not cause too much eye strain, they do not contain mercury and they are very cheap. The average lifespan of this soon-to-be-gone bulb is about 1 year.


CFL standards for “compact fluorescent.” Compared to incandescent bulbs, this has a much longer lifespan (can last up to 10 years usually) and it is more energy-efficient. In fact, it is highly likely that fluorescent lightbulbs top the chart when it comes to energy-efficiency. However, they do have a lot of disadvantages. As a start, they contain mercury and are very easy to break. That is why you need to be very careful when you change them. It is always recommended that you use the services of a certified electrician in London if your CFL bulb has broken but it is still in the bulb socket. Another big downside of this bulb option is that it emits ultraviolet radiation. Similar to incandescent light bulbs, this one also emits heat but in a more contained manner. Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFLs require time to warm up and when they do warm up, they emit a very harsh light which can cause eye strain.


LED bulbs (light emitting diode) are quite expensive and just like CFLs, they emit a harsh light. But they pack a ton of advantages. They do not contain mercury, they are not as easy to break as fluorescent light bulbs and they remain cool even when they are on. And wait until you hear about their lifespan – 20+ years! You can also invest in a smart LED bulb which is Wi-Fi connected, voice-controlled and it can change the colour of the light and even play music. How cool is that? Still, LED bulbs are filled with heavy metals which means that although they are indeed energy-efficient and mercury-free, they are not quite green after all.


Halogen bulbs are more suitable for outdoor environments because they heat up even more than incandescent ones and they are extremely bright. Benefits – they last a little longer compared to incandescent light bulbs and are a bit more energy-efficient compared to them.

Bottom line

Keep halogen bulbs outside to light up your driveway, for example. Enjoy incandescent light bulbs while you still can but start switching to CFLs and LEDs. If the latter is too expensive for you, use it only for hard-to-reach bulb sockets.

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