Though we see light everywhere we go, we find ourselves asking what is the right one? what to look for? There are basic specifications that you can learn from this practical guide.
The right fitting for the bulb
The right fit of the bulb is one of the most critical requirements when buying. This is to avoid wasting your time and effort over an unfit bulb.
Caps and bases for light bulbs are labeled differently in terms of letters and numbers. Base is indicated in letters while the number in millimeters stands for diameter.
Most of the common types of caps and bases are:
- E27 socket also known as Edison bulb has a big screw socket about 27 millimeters. Bulbs with E27-socket will have the same base but may vary in shape.
- Screw bases are also known as “Edison” bases. These bases are available in a variety of sizes. There are two electrical wires connecting the filament to the base.
- Pins or Pegs are used in MR16s, linear fluorescent, plug-in compact fluorescent bulbs. It has two pins sticking out of the base that connects the light bulb to the electrical source.
The right type of light bulb
The three main types of regular light bulbs are CFLs, halogens, and LEDs.
You must have seen these types of light bulbs in the store display but likely to get confused in specifications.
One of the criteria in choosing the right type of light bulb is its functionality for daily use. To have a clear understanding of each type, here are the descriptions.
- Compact Fluorescent Lights or CFLs are inexpensive and widely available in different sizes and outputs. CFLs have been improved in the past years but some do not like the heat it emits when turned on for longer hours.
- Incandescent bulbs are commonly described as light emissions by heating the filament. The process behind incandescence contributes to the brightness of all light colors unlike the subset limitation of other bulbs. Because heat generation consumes energy by 90%, this type of light burns out quickly and entails cost in replacements.
- LEDs are known as the most energy-efficient type of light.
Its life expectancy can go up to 50,000 burning hours making it a practical choice to buy. The price point could be a bit costly but justified by the longevity of use.
In terms of lifespan, LED bulbs (50,000 hours) last longer than CFL bulbs (8,000 hours), and incandescent bulbs (750 hours).
For energy consumption, LEDs use 75% less energy whereas CFLs are between 25% to 35%, and incandescent bulbs are at 5%.
LEDs are the brightest among them with 72 lumens per watt. CFLs have 60 lumens while incandescent bulbs have 15 lumens per watt.
The right brightness and color
The personal taste for brightness and color entirely depends on what kind of ambiance you want to achieve in a particular space. Ask yourself whether you need more or less of the brightness and intense or soft color.
Be careful in buying the same brightness and color for all the light bulbs for your home or building. To create balance and harmony, you need to know the basic information to look for.
Color temperature is measured using a thermodynamic temperature in Kelvin (K). The lower the Kelvin scale, the warmer the bulb will be whereas the higher the rating, the cooler and seemingly brighter it gets.
The range of color temperature is between the spectrum from warm white to daylight; and even at the maximum intensity.
The right shape of the light
The shape does matter in choosing a light bulb. It might be the least consideration for others because the light power it gives is far more important.
However, if you want to be detailed in all of its technical aspects then, you may choose the right shape for the base you have. The names of the shapes give you an idea of what to expect. Some of your shape options are:
Candle shape is typically used as a decorative bulb for chandeliers, wall fittings, and exposed fixtures.
GLS / Standard has the common pear-shaped bulb ideal for general home lightings like lamps, overhead lighting, and sconces.
Golfball has a spherical shape and is used as a decorative bulb in small spaces.
Reflector focuses on the beam angle downward used in recessed lighting.
- Globe has a large, round shape used as decorative light.