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How to Choose the Perfect Light Bulb

Author£ºAdmin Hit£º265 Time£º2012/5/8 10:59:02

Now that you have selected the perfect lighting fixture, this helpful glossary of light bulb options will easily guide you towards finding the right light bulb for your lighting selection. Although light bulbs are fairly basic in function, there are so many options out there that can leave you uncertain. This useful guide is designed to ease your confusion and direct you towards the perfect light bulb.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Compact fluorescent is a generic term used for a variety of bulbs. CFLs use 20-40% less energy to produce more light per watt and are color adjusted to produce light close to real sunlight. CFLs generate less heat and offer a longer life than incandescent bulbs, saving you money on electric bills and protecting the environment from harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Look for Energy Star labels on fluorescent fixtures and lamps for assurance of maximum savings, quality and standards.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs are commonly used in desk lamps, floor lamps, under cabinet lamps, table lamps, linear strips, wall sconces, flush mounts, chandeliers, close-to-ceiling or flush mounts, pendants, ceiling clouds, kitchen island lights, path lights, outdoor wall lanterns, outdoor post lanterns, as well as outdoor wall and ceiling mounts. First generation Compact fluorescents can not be used in motion sensor fixtures or lights with a dimmer switch; however newer second generation usually more expensive CFLs may be specifically labeled and sold for that purpose.


Plug-in Base CFL

Double Twin-Tube 2-Pin
Double Twin-Tube 2-Pin Outdoor 15mm Tube Diameter
Double Twin-Tube 4-Pin
Single Twin-Tube 2-Pin
Single Twin-Tube 4-Pin
Triple Twin-Tube 4-Pin

Screw-in Base CFL

Accessories & Adapters
Candelabra and Globe: Candelabra light bulbs usually fall under the Compact Fluorescent light bulb category, but not always. They are shaped to imitate the aesthetic of a candle flame and are ideal for chandeliers and other lamps that require small light bulbs. Candelabra light bulbs are commonly used for chandeliers, table lamps, and torchieres.
Covered, Outdoor & Bug
Dark Sky: A lighting style that stops the light from spreading to unwanted areas such as a neighbors yard, the street or into the night sky.
Dimmable: A lighting style which causes single or connected lamps to decrease in intensity.
Reflector: A light source with a built-in reflecting surface.
Spirals and Loops 23 Watt and Lower
Spirals and Loops 25 Watt and Higher
Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Fluorescent light bulbs are an energy efficient bulb, using 20-40% less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs, lasting up to 20 times longer. Many new compact styles make fluorescent bulbs practical for task lighting. Screw-in types can be used in place of incandescent bulbs in standard lamp sockets. The warmth and softness of the fluorescent light bulbs is improving.

Fluorescent light bulbs are commonly used in desk lamps, floor lamps, under-cabinet lamps, table lamps, linear strips, wall sconces, flush mounts, chandeliers, close-to-ceiling mounts, pendants, ceiling clouds, kitchen island lights, path lights, outdoor wall lanterns and outdoor post lanterns.

Circline Fluorescent Lamps: Circular shaped lighting usually used in kitchens or bathrooms.
T-12 Linear 06?-21?
T-5 Preheat & Standard Linear 6-58?
T-5HO High Output Linear 22-58?
T-12 Linear 22? -33?
T-12 Linear 33? - 36?
T-12 Linear 48?
T-12 Linear 60? - 84?
T-12 Linear 96?
T-12 U-Bent Fluorescent Lamps
T-4 Ultra Slim Linear 9?- 46
T-8 Linear 06?- 21?
T-8 Linear 24?- 32?
T-8 Linear 33? - 47?
T-8 Linear 48?- 72?
T-8 Linear 96?
T-8 U-Bent Fluorescent Lamps

Halogen Lamp Light Bulbs: Many of todays lamps use Halogen light bulbs. Halogen bulbs produce a whiter light and produce more light (lumens) per watt than standard incandescent bulbs. They most closely replicate the color spectrum of the sun. Their small size and intensity make halogens great for task lighting.
For precise and controlled beams of light, low voltage halogen bulbs are specified for dramatic effect in highlighting details with pinpoint beams of light on artwork, architectural details, sculptures, etc. Low voltage bulbs are 12 or 24 volt and require a transformer.

Since halogen bulbs burn hotter than other types, they require more caution. All halogen lamps sold today in the USA have approved safety shields to reduce fire risk. When changing a halogen bulb, be sure to wait until the bulb cools to touch it. 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. Examples: GU-10, MR-16, JC/JCD, G9, JDE-11, JT-3, JT-4, PAR

Halogen Lamp light bulbs are most commonly used in desk lamps, torchieres, floor lamps, accent table lamps, under-cabinet lighting, bath brackets, vanity lights, wall sconces, swing arm lamps, ceiling lamps, flush mounts, pendants, directional lamps, chandeliers, kitchen island lights, landscape lighting, path lighting, and also outdoor spot/flood lights.


ALR Aluminum Reflector
Capsule High-Voltage (100+ Volts)
Capsule Low-Voltage (6, 12, 24 Volts)
Double Ended Linear – Long
Double Ended Linear – Short
Halogena & Post lamps
HMI – Double Ended Quartz Arc Tube
HMI – Single Ended Quartz Arc Tube
Infrared Energy Efficient Products (IRC, HIR)
JCR Bulbs
JDR Bulbs
MR-16 (2?) – No Lens
MR-8 (1?) – All Types
PAR-16 (2?
PAR-20 (2 1/2?)
PAR-20 (2 1/2?)
PAR-30 (3 3/4?) – Long Neck
PAR-30 (3 3/4?) – Short
PAR-36 (41/2?).
PAR-38 (4 ¾?)
PAR-46 (5 ¾?)
PAR-56 (7?
PAR-64 (8?)
MR-11 (1 3/8?) – All Types
MR-16 (2?) – Lensed
Single Ended
Tubular Heat Lamps

Incandescent Light Bulbs: The most common bulb used in lamps today are Incandescent light bulbs because they are inexpensive and widely available. Common incandescent bulbs vary from 15 to 150 watts and produce a soft yellow-white light, emitted in all directions. They are generally available in clear, frosted, or colored styles.
With standard incandescent bulbs, light is generated when a filament is heated to incandescence (illumination) through an electric current within a glass bulb. Incandescent reflector bulbs provide general overall illumination and are often referred to as floor and spot lights.
Incandescent bulbs are great for standard ambient lighting and higher wattages are good for task lighting. When using incandescent bulbs ne sure to never exceed the maximum wattage recommended for your lamp! Examples: G25, G16.5, T Bulb, BR/R, Standard Medium Base, Standard Candelabra, Fan/Appliance
Incandescent light bulbs are typically used in accent lamps, buffet lamps, reading lamps, desk lamps, floor lamps, hurricane lamps, magnifying lights, display lighting, bath/vanity lighting, wall sconces, swing arm lights, wallchieres, ceiling clouds, chandeliers, close-to-ceiling mounts, directional lights, flush mounts, kitchen island lighting, pendants, pot rack lighting, outdoor hanging lanterns, landscape lighting, path lights, post lanterns, spot/flood lights, and outdoor wall lanterns.


“Regular? 15-37 Watts (A-Shape)
“Regular? 40-60 Watts (A-Shape
“Regular? 67-100 Watts (A-Shape)
“Regular? Over 100 Watts (A-Shape)
Standard base 100W Edison bulbs (E-type)
Decorative Torpedo & Flame Tip
Director™ (K-Shape)
Elliptical Reflector (ER-Shape)
Exit & Display (T-Shape)
Fiesta (F-Shape
Globe (G-Shape)
Indicator & Sign (S-Shape
Industrial (PS-Shape)
Night Light & Holiday (C-Shape)
PAR-38 (4 3/4?)
Reflector (BR-Shape
Reflector (R-Shape)

PAR Lamps: PAR stands for Parabolic Aluminized Reflector. A PAR lamp can be incandescent, halogen or an HID and has a precision-pressed glass reflector lamp that reflects light coming from the filament much like a parabola. PAR lamps rely on both the internal reflector and prisms in the lens for a controlled or focused light beam. These bulbs are extremely bright and can be used for the accurate controlling of light levels.
Halogen PAR bulbs have a mirrored reflector to control the light. Halogen PAR bulbs are often specified for task and accent lighting.

PAR-16 (2?)
PAR-20 (2 1/2?)
PAR-20 (2 1/2?)
PAR-30 (3 3/4?) – Long Neck
PAR-30 (3 3/4?) – Short
PAR-36 (41/2?).
PAR-38 (4 ¾?)
PAR-46 (5 ¾?)
PAR-56 (7?)
PAR-64 (8?
PAR-38 (4 3/4?)

Specialty Bulbs:

Black Light: A fluorescent light designed to emit invisible ultraviolet (UV) light.

Heat Lamps: Light bulbs used to increase the temperature in a focused area. They are most often used in the food industry and outdoor waiting areas.

Krypton Lamps: A premium light bulb that uses krypton gas instead of argon.

Shatter Resistant, Silicone & Teflon Coated, Etc.: These light bulbs feature a safe shield coating that will protect them from shattering and breakage. They come in many different types.

Full Spectrum Daylight: Full spectrum light bulbs are designed to reproduce natural light and are thought by some to be beneficial to health by reducing stress, depression and headaches, amongst other things. Full spectrum bulbs are most often used in desk lamps and floor lamps.

Germicidal Lamps: Germicidal lamps offer ultraviolet technology that is a non-chemical approach to disinfection. In this process of disinfection, nothing is added which makes this development simple, economical and requires very low maintenance.

Xenon Light Bulbs:
Xenon light bulbs are made from Xenon, a rare gas used in specialized lamps. They are known to last up to 10,000 hours. Xenon bulbs can be touched with a bare hand unlike halogen bulbs.
Xenon light bulbs are commonly used in path lighting.


Festoon Bulbs: Festoon bulbs have a unique shape and are usually a low-voltage bulb. They come in frosted or clear glass. If using festoon lamps for task lighting or indirect lighting (under cabinets and shelves, over cabinets, or inside cabinets), frosted lamps are best. However, if the festoon lamps are being used for accent lighting to illuminate items that should "sparkle" (jewelry, china, crystal), we recommend that you use clear lamps.
LED (light emitting diode): LEDs are a small electronic device that lights up when electricity is passed through it. LEDs are quite energy-efficient and have very long lives. They can be red, green, blue or white in color. LED bulbs are typically used in desk lamps, outdoor hanging lanterns, landscape lighting, path lighting, and spot/flood lighting.

Electron stimulated luminescence (ESL) bulbs: An emerging technology, electron stimulated luminescence (ESL), offers a new choice for consumers seeking energy-efficient lighting, without the dangers of CFLs or the high cost and poor light quality of LEDs. The R30 ESL Bulb is designed to replace the 65-watt incandescent flood bulb commonly used in recessed “can” light fixtures, which are popular in new construction and remodeled homes. The R30 ESL bulb gives uniform flood illumination virtually indistinguishable from the incandescent lamp it replaces. A high power factor gives the R30 ESL bulb less total power load than competing compact fluorescent lamps. The R30 ESL bulb generates approximately 10,000 hours of light without any significant color shift. Pricing for the R30 ESL bulb is expected to be around $20 U.S. It will be available at U.S. retail locations beginning in early 2011.

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