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August 16, 2022

Types of Light Bulbs

Types of Light Bulbs

Assortment of hanging light bulbs

From indoor lamps and overhead lighting to patio lanterns and headlights, there’s an appropriate bulb for every fixture. Get the knowledge you need to decide between different types of light bulbs. See the chart below for a detailed illustration of the different types of light bulbs. Learn about both the different light bulb bases and light bulb base sizes.

LED and CFL Types of Bulbs

Types of bulbs chart

Different types of lightbulbs meet different needs. Always check the requirements for the lamp or socket where you’ll use the lightbulb first. 

Halogen, Incandescent and Fluorescent Types of Bulbs

Types of bulbs chart

Halogen, incandescent and fluorescent all product different types of light. Refer to the color temperature for each to determine the mood you want to set. 

Light Bulb Shapes and Uses

Light bulb shapes and application

The brightness and quality of light are critical to certain tasks. For example, ambient light sets a mood and lights an entire room, whereas task lighting condenses light in one area to make it easier to perform a task such as reading. For best results, mix-and-match lighting in a room so that you have the lighting you need for a variety of uses.

Common Light Bulb Base Types

Common bulb base types

Look at your fixture to determine its base type. Most common light bulb uses, including lamps and recessed flush mount flood lights, will have one of the first three base types shown. Pin Type bases are normally used for track lighting and landscape bulbs.

LED Light Bulbs

An LED light bulb

LED light bulbs, including smart light bulbs, are a great option for everyday use. These types of light bulbs fit a variety of fixtures. They also use less electricity to produce the same amount of light as incandescent varieties. Their brightness is measured in lumens instead of watts. 

LED light bulbs often require more upfront investment, but they are also more energy-efficient. Made without hazardous ingredients, they are environmentally friendly and have an exceptional lifespan.  

Tip: For sunrooms and indoor herb gardens, try LED grow light bulbs. Use LED flood lights for backyard patios or front porches and LED night lights for kids’ rooms.

CFL Bulbs

A CFL light bulb

CFL light bulbs usually come in a spiral-shaped design. They emit a softer glow and use minimal amounts of electricity. They contain mercury and can take a while to warm up to full brightness. 

CFL bulbs are usually more budget-friendly than LED bulbs. They can be used in many different fixtures around your home, including indoor lamps and outdoor post lights.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

A fluorescent light bulb

Ideal for laundry rooms, kitchens and other utility spaces, fluorescent light bulbs use very little energy. They offer optimal brightness and emit a crisp, white glow. They can last up to 20,000 hours. 

Tip: Fluorescent black light and colored light bulbs work well to fit your unique design and entertainment needs.

Halogen Light Bulbs

A halogen light bulb

Halogen light bulbs are affordable and energy-efficient bulbs. They mimic the warm glow of incandescent lighting. Halogen bulbs are great for indoor and outdoor flood light applications. Unlike CFL bulbs, they don’t need time to warm up. These have a shorter lifespan than other light bulb varieties and usually burn out after 9 to 12 months of regular use.

Incandescent Light Bulbs

An incandescent light bulb

Incandescent light bulbs are widely available and universally accepted inside many homes. They have a significantly shorter lifespan than CFL and LED options. 

Incandescent bulbs are susceptible to temperature changes. They use more energy, but the budget-friendly price point makes them easier to replace. 

Tip: Many appliance light bulbs are also of the incandescent variety, including oven, microwave and refrigerator light bulbs.

Vintage and Decorative Light Bulbs

A vintage and decorative light bulb

Vintage light bulbs add a decorative touch to the conventional light fixtures in your home. Also known as Edison light bulbs, they are distinguished by the antique-style filament in the center. These types of light bulbs come in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Other decorative light bulbs include  candelabra bulbs that complement chandeliers, sconces and ceiling fans. Dramatic globe bulbs are great for custom lighting pieces in the den or dining room.

Automotive Bulbs and HID Headlights

Automotive bulb and HID headlight

Automotive light bulbs come in very specific sizes to match the model of the vehicle. They are available in packs of two. These bulbs were designed to emit bright beams of light for all driving and road conditions. Make sure to look for bulbs that are compliant with the Department of Transportation regulations.   

Tip: Some higher-end car manufacturers use HID bulbs in place of LED and incandescent headlight bulbs. Check your owner’s manual to verify which works best in your vehicle.

Different types of light bulbs work and look best in different types of light fixures. Some offer energy savings such as LED bulbs. Others such as the common incandescent light bulbs are more affordable. Decorative bulbs add drama to decorative lighting while function is most important in appliance bulbs. No matter which types of light bulbs you need, find products fast with image search in The Home Depot App. Snap a picture of an item you like and we’ll show you similar products.

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