Light bulbs – a look at the four most common types Available Now

When it comes to change to change light bulbs, consumers have four common types of lights to choose from. The experts at Light Bulbs Unlimited explain the difference.


This is the traditional light bulb with a tungsten filament. These are also getting much harder to find as manufacturers have mostly stopped production. “A subset, the three-way bulb, is still being made and probably will continue to be made for years,” said Robin Cowan, owner of Light Bulbs Unlimited.


Incandescent lights are not banned, but a change to a 2007 law requires better efficiency. To meet the standards, light bulb makers are putting halogen gas into incandescent bulbs. The new bulb gives out the same light but uses 28 percent less power than a traditional incandescent.


Compact fluorescent lights, a small screw i-in version of the long tube light bulbs found in many offices, are common today. They use about 75 percent less energy than a traditional incandescent. “They do take a few minutes to achieve full brightness,” said Mr. Cowan. “They also contain small amounts of mercury and should not be tossed in the trash like a regular incandescent. The mercury is one reason many people are no longer interested in using these lights.”


Light Emitting Diodes have some a long way in the past few years. Today’s screw-in LED has a useful life of 20 years and uses 80 percent less energy than the same wattage incandescent. “These bulbs are more expensive, sometimes $10 or more depending on the size,” Mr. Cowan said. “Figure in the cost savings and then amortize the cost of the light over 20 years and these are actually the cheapest lights you can use.”

For more information about lights and changing them to a more energy efficient standard, visit

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