Types of light bulb

Thanks to technology and innovative minds there are multiple varieties of items to choose from in almost every device. Today you cannot go to a selling point and ask car, the next question will always be which type of car. In late 19th and early 20th century, there was one type of a bulb, the Edison or incandescent bulb and therefore bulb was bulb. This post will highlight the types of light bulbs, the features of each. This will help you to make wise choice when considering to buy, you will be specific. I love specific people, those who know exactly what they want, wrong choice of an item has always brought undesired results.

Types of light bulb

Classification of light bulbs

The main categories are bulbs are classified according to;

  1. Indoor or outdoor installation
  2. Technology of production
  3. Shape
  4. Base of the bulb
  5. Colour of emitted light.

The level of protection of the bulb against weather conditions determines where it is to be installed. Outdoor bulbs are robust to withstand harsh weather conditions while indoor bulbs have to be under the roof to protect them. The shape depends on illumination needed and personal preference of use as far as style is concerned. The available shapes include globe, tube, flame shape, spotlight, panel shape, or circular ring-shaped. The base of the bulb is critical especially when electrical wiring has already been installed. Make sure the bulb base is compatible with the holder. Common bases include; Edison screw, twist and lock, bi-pin, and bayonet cap. The color of illumination is very important, hey not all bulbs emit white light, insist your supplier the color you want. Florescence tubes, compact fluorescent light, and LEDs can give multiple colors, it upon you to choose. Colour gives aesthetic appeal and multi-colored lights are used for decorative purposes, advertising, and emphasis on a theme.

The most pronounced classification is on the basis of technology. There are seven main types namely; incandescent, fluorescence, halogen, compact fluorescence, light-emitting diode, metal halide and high pressure sodium bulbs. Below are the key defining features of each;

Incandescent Bulb

  • They produce a warm glow
  • Have a short lifespan of up to 1000hrs
  • They are dimmable
  • They give an aesthetic appeal
  • They have the least efficiency
  • They are cheap
  • The glass envelope is filled with nitrogen gas is left a vacuum.

Fluorescence Lamp

  • It’s a tube with two electrode elements
  • It’s covered with glass inside filled with mercury vapor that radiates light
  • The glass lining is covered with phosphorus to produce visible light.
  • They are cheap
  • Have long lifespan, up to 10,000 hours
  • High efficiency compared to incandescent.
  • Unhealthy to dispose of when faulty as mercury is poisonous.

Compact Fluorescence Light

  • They operate on the same principle as fluorescence lamps.
  • They spiral-shaped tubes or short linear tubes, its size is the same as incandescent
  • High efficiency, about 80% energy saving compared to traditional bulb
  • Commonly referred to as energy saver bulbs.
  • They have a slightly warm light.

Light Emitting Diode

  • They use a semiconductor device
  • They have the highest energy efficiency, 90% energy saving compared to incandescent.
  • Long life span, about 50,000 hours
  • They can produce multiple colors without using filters.
  • They produce cool illuminance

Halogen Bulb

  • This is an improved incandescent bulb in that the filament is wrapped in a compact transparent envelope.
  • They have a high efficiency compared to incandescent bulbs.
  • Short life span about 2000hours.
  • They produce white light.
  • They are dimmable
  • Mostly used to make spotlight downlighters.


There are other types of bulb manufacturing technology and we expect more to come up in an ever inventing world. As far as brightness is concerned, ensure you provide enough lighting depending on the purpose you are using the bulb for. Brightness is measured in lumen, check this rating on the bulb you are buying. With different technology brightness does not mean high wattage or power consumption. An LED bulb for instance can give more lumen with little power consumption compared to a higher rated incandescent bulb. I hope this post has shed some light on one of the greatest word inventions.

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