The invention of the light bulb is one of the most valuable for daily life. With the help of artificial light, we can continue to work, read, enjoy hobbies, and socialize long after the sun goes down.
Much has changed since Thomas Edison created the first carbon-filament light bulb in 1879. Today, home improvement shelves are filled with a dizzying number of light bulb options.
The following overview will help you choose your next light bulb with confidence.
Incandescent Light Bulbs
These are the traditional light bulb you probably grew up with. These bulbs produce a warm skin-flattering light, making them ideal for use at bathroom vanities. Be careful handling these bulbs as they get hot when in use. These bulbs cost less but are also less efficient than other types. Federal legislation ended the production of standard 40-to-100-watt bulbs, but you can still find them in lower wattages. These bulbs can be disposed of with your household garbage.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Fluorescent lights offer optimal brightness making them appropriate for laundry rooms, workshops, and garages. These bulbs often last several years. Fluorescent lights get hot to the touch, so be careful when you handle them. They also contain mercury and shouldn’t go into your trash. Instead, ask your local hardware store if they will recycle them for you. There are also mail-back services available.
Compact Fluorescent (CLF)
CFLs are more energy-efficient and last longer than incandescent but cost more (though less than LED). These spiral-shaped bulbs take time to warm up. CFLs are often used to illuminate large spaces like basements, great rooms, and outdoor spaces. These bulbs also get hot when in use. Since these bulbs contain mercury, they shouldn’t go into your garbage can.
Halogen Light Bulbs
Halogen lamps provide a warm light like an incandescent bulb. They last longer than incandescent but share their lower energy efficiency. Halogen lights do not need time to warm up but get very hot, making them great for outdoor and indoor floodlights. They can last up to a year and are safe to go into your trash.
Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Bulbs
Finally, a bulb that doesn’t get hot! Prices have dropped over the last decade, but they are still more expensive than other bulbs. However, these bulbs last 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb. LED bulbs are well suited in just about any application. They also come in an array of fun colors. Check with your local recycling program, but these lights are generally recyclable.